Playing Games with Virginians' Lives: Republicans making farce of their final session of legislative control
VA GOP prioritizes partisan trickery and political vengeance over public policy; All 140 Senate and House seats up in November
Richmond, VA – With all 140 seats in General Assembly up for election this November, Virginia Republicans are using what will be their last legislative session in control to play petty political games instead of working to improve their constituents’ lives. While tricks and backhanded maneuvers are old hat for Republicans in Richmond, this legislative session has set a new high bar for acting in bad faith and placing personal political grudges above the welfare of the public.
“Republicans in the General Assembly have shown they do not take their jobs seriously. We will replace them this November with Democrats that do. Enough is enough.”– Jake Rubenstein, DPVA Communications Director
Jan. 22: Early this morning, in a hastily called 7:30AM subcommittee meeting, Delegate Margaret Ransone’s Privileges and Elections Subcommittee #1 killed – on a party-line vote - a block of resolutions for the Equal Rights Amendment before it could even receive a full committee hearing. Del. Ransone also attacked an ERA advocate, Eileen Davis, from the dais for "shaking her head," claiming ERA supporters believe women are "not worthy."
Jan. 21: Yesterday afternoon, in another party-line, Republicans in the Virginia Senate killed passage of SB1200, a bill that would have raised the minimum wage in Virginia from $7.25/hr. Jeff Ryer, chief Republican Senate aide, admitted to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, that the bill was brought to the floor and voted down to show what a “Democratic majority [would] mean.” Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment admitted on the floor the defeat of the minimum wage was sending a message to his “buddies” at the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce for endorsing Senator Jennifer Boysko in her 40-point special election victory earlier this month.
Jan. 17: Last Thursday, Republicans in both chambers of the General Assembly defeated in committee and subcommittee a number of common-sense reforms that have received bipartisan support in many states, including an “Extreme Risk Protection Law” in HB1763 and SB1458, that has been touted by President Trump. House Subcommittee House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee #1 Chairman Matt Farris continually made a mocking of the process by asking “Is it something we haven’t heard before?” before letting Virginians speak on the bills. Some of those speakers had lost loved ones to senseless gun violence.
Jan. 16: Last week, Republicans in a vote sprung on Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly brazenly slammed through far-right, anti-environmental Republican Patricia West for a Judgeship on the State Corporation Commission, just hours after House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert said on that "we will not be ready...tomorrow" to bring an SCC nominee to the floor of the House. The SCC Judgeship had been vacant for over a year, yet Republicans rammed West through in less than 24 hours.
Jan. 15: The Wednesday before, Republicans in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee stripped a disabled military veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq and Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment’s Democratic opponent this fall, Herb Jones, of his unpaid position on the Virginia Military Advisory Council.
Jan. 4: Just days before the General Assembly was gaveled into session, Virginia House Republicans unveiled a set of last-minute, reckless tax proposals that would give Trump-style tax-cuts to Virginia’s ultra-wealthy while shortchanging education, transportation, and public safety needs in order to further enrich the wealthiest Virginians.