April 21, 2023 News & Press Releases

What’s At Stake: A Recap Of What’s On The Line This November

by Democratic Party of Virginia

RICHMOND, VA – In a recent series published by The American Independent, journalist Josh Israel profiled what’s at risk in Virginia’s critical 2023 legislative elections.

“Gun safety legislation, LGBTQ rights, reproductive freedom, climate change mitigation measures, and voting rights are all on the line this November. So long as Glenn Youngkin is in the Governor’s Mansion, Virginia’s progress on all of these issues is imperiled,” said Liam Watson, Press Secretary for the Democratic Party of Virginia. “That’s why it’s more important than ever that Democrats come together to retake the House of Delegates and expand our majority in the Virginia Senate.”

The American Independent: Gun violence protections are at risk in the 2023 Virginia legislative elections

March 31, 2023 | Josh Israel

  • In 2020 and 2021, "[Democrats] passed background checks, [Democrats] passed extreme risk protective orders, [Democrats] extended local authority to jurisdictions to regulate firearms in certain circumstances, like public spaces, buildings and permitted events. [Democrats] passed a one-gun-per-month purchase limitation."
  • “State Republican lawmakers proposed legislation in 2022 and 2023 that would have loosened concealed handgun rules to a level greater than where they were before 2020.”
  • “Virginia Republicans [will] immediately dismantle existing gun laws should they keep the House majority in November and regain a majority in the Senate.”
  • “A poll published in December 2019 by the Christopher Newport University Wason Center for Public Policy found 86% of Virginia voters supported universal background checks and 73% supported red flag laws. A poll taken by the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Public Policy in the same month found 83% of adult Virginians backed expanded background checks and 82% wanted a red flag law.”

The American Independent: LGBTQ+ rights are at risk in the 2023 Virginia legislative elections

April 12, 2023 | Josh Israel

  • “Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed 10 new laws to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ citizens in 2020 and 2021, when Democrats had a majority in both chambers of the General Assembly.”
  • “After decades of stalled attempts to add sexual orientation and gender identity to civil rights laws, in 2020 Virginia lawmakers passed the Virginia Values Act to ban discrimination in employment and public accommodations.”
  • “In 2022 and 2023, House Republicans pushed an array of bills to repeal legal protections for transgender kids and to weaken the 2020 Virginia Values Act.”
  • In 2023, GOP legislators also killed a bill that would have allowed Virginians to vote on a referendum that would have amended the Virginia Constitution to protect same-sex marriages.
  • “A Washington Post-Schar School poll released April 6 found that only 30% of Virginia voters approve of Youngkin's handling of transgender rights. The same survey found that 52% are against transgender sports bans and 55% oppose bans on transgender kids using the bathrooms that match their gender identity.”

The American Independent: Reproductive rights are at risk in the 2023 Virginia legislative elections

April 17, 2023 | Josh Israel

  • “‘The [Democratic-controlled] House and Senate passed the Reproductive Health Protection Act in 2020, and that repealed all of these really onerous, medically unnecessary restrictions to abortion care.’”
  • “The Democratic-led government also enacted bills allowing abortion coverage in health insurance plans and ensuring that access to birth control is protected and not treated as abortion under state law.”
  • “Republican Glenn Youngkin intentionally played down his anti-abortion views during his run for governor,” then later said “‘any bill that comes to my desk I will sign happily and gleefully in order to protect life.’”
  • “If [Republican] legislators are the majority in both chambers, we should expect to see a 15-week ban or an all-out ban move through the General Assembly.”
  • “A Washington Post-Schar School poll released April 6 found 34% of Virginia voters want to keep abortion laws as they are and 41% want to make them less strict. Just 17% want stricter rules. Even among Virginia Republicans, only 36% backed more strict abortion laws.”

The American Independent: Climate protections are at risk in the 2023 Virginia legislative elections

April 18, 2023 | Josh Israel

  • “In 2020, [Democrats] passed and Gov. Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which established strict environmental goals for energy utility companies.”
  • “The Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act added Virginia to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a coordinated effort by Eastern states to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power generation.”
  • “Another [bill] established tighter clean car standards by requiring a move to low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicles starting in 2025.”
  • “Youngkin and his legislative allies … tried to roll back clean energy rules and to pull out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. These efforts died in the Senate, which is still led by a Democratic majority of 22-18.”
  • “A January poll by the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University in Newport News found that 66% of Virginia voters back staying in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and 62% are in favor of the Virginia Clean Economy Act.”

The American Independent: Voting rights are at risk in the 2023 Virginia legislative elections

April 19, 2023 | Josh Israel

  • Since 2018, with Democrats at the helm of Virginia’s government, the Commonwealth’s “ease of voting” ranking improved from 49th to 12th, nationally.
  • “Virginia [Democrats] enacted more than a dozen voting rights laws, [including] allowing citizens to vote by mail…increasing the number of early voting sites…permitting same-day voter registration…allowing individuals to sign up for an annual automatic vote-by-mail list.”
  • “[Virginia Democrats] also significantly increased the number of valid forms of voter identification to include utility bills, bank statements, paychecks, government documents, out-of-state student ID cards, and signed affidavits.”
  • “The GOP House majority passed bills that would have reinstated a strict photo ID law, prohibited ballot drop boxes, reduced early voting, ended same-day registration, canceled the annual vote-by-mail option, and increased purges of voter rolls. The Democratic-led Senate killed each bill, blocking them from reaching Youngkin's desk.”
  • “The past three Virginia governors, from both parties, have worked to streamline the process and automatically approve the restoration of rights as those convicted of felonies complete their sentences. But Youngkin ended that practice, grinding the process to a near halt.”
  • “‘[Democratic Senator Maime Locke] has pledged to reintroduce a constitutional amendment that she had already put forward, that Republicans killed, that would make this process automatic and take this power from the hands of the governor.’”