2019: Full speed ahead!

With former Governor Terry McAuliffe focusing on Virginia in 2019, Democratic elected officials Senator Dick Saslaw, Delegate Eileen Fillercorn, Delegate Charniele Herring along with DPVA Chair Susan Swecker and Executive Director Chris Bolling met with Governor McAuliffe to discuss what we need to do to win in 2019.

Primaries are right around the corner and the Democratic Party of Virginia is ready to FLIP THE HOUSE AND SENATE. Are you?

Join us as we make a big wave in 2019 and gain control of the Virginia General Assembly.

GET INVOLVED by clicking here and submit a volunteer form!

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Further show your support for the VA Dems with merchandise!

New this month is our ‘Item of the Month’ sale! The first of each month an item in the web store will go on sale — so don’t miss your chance at reduced merchandise!

This month: Our classic logo navy tee in unisex and womens!

Click here to order your merchandise today!

Brand new designs launch monthly on the 15th!

store.vademocrats.org

Senators introduce bill to protect LGBTQ Americans from housing discrimination (13 News Now)

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine introduced a bill that would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes protected from discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and Representative Jennifer Wexton on Tuesday introduced a bill that would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes protected from discrimination under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) to ensure equal housing opportunities for all Americans.

Under current law, The FHA prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability but not sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill, Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2019, would change that.

Currently, 21 states, the District of Columbia, and over 200 localities protect sexual orientation and gender identity in their housing discrimination statutes.

“I began my career as a fair housing lawyer and I saw firsthand how housing has the power to influence families’ health, stability, economic prospects, and the futures they build. No American should be turned away from a house because of who they love, but that’s the reality many LGBTQ Americans face when they look for a home. As Fair Housing Month comes to a close, I hope my colleagues will join me in pushing to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes protected under the Fair Housing Act. This is about ensuring all Americans have equal access to housing,” Kaine said.

A 2018 study of housing discrimination found that rental unit inquiries by LGBTQ couples were more likely to be ignored than couples not perceived to be LGBTQ. The study also suggests that stronger federal and state anti-discrimination laws are needed.

The Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2019 is supported by the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals, National Association of Realtors, National Housing Law Project, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Equality Virginia, and Human Rights Campaign.

McEachin Leads Letter Opposing Offshore Drilling in Virginia Waters (and is signed by entire Virginia Democratic House Delegation)

Washington, D.C. — [April 25, 2019], Congressman A. Donald McEachin led a letter signed by every Democratic member of the Virginia House delegation, stating their opposition to the inclusion of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s offshore area in forthcoming National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

“Expanding offshore drilling would put Virginia’s coastal communities at risk,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin. “I strongly urge Secretary Bernhardt to exclude Virginia from the Department of the Interior’s next five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing. Virginians understand that an offshore drilling accident would be disastrous for our coastal communities, our economy, and our environment, and could compromise military operations. There is simply too much at stake for the Commonwealth.”

Today, the Trump administration announced that it will halt further progress on a new five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing pending resolution of ongoing litigation. Notwithstanding today’s news, the Congressman and his colleagues stand in strong opposition to any action that would ultimately expose Virginia’s coasts to the harms of drilling.

“Coastal tourism, recreation, and commercial fishing provide more than 86,000 jobs and nearly $4.8 billion in gross domestic product for the Commonwealth,” wrote the lawmakers. “Virginia’s economy is further bolstered by a strong military presence in Hampton Roads, home to the world’s largest naval base, and global commerce generated from the Port of Virginia, which helps support nearly ten percent of the state’s resident workforce. A potential oil spill would devastate these important sectors of the Commonwealth’s economy, destroying coastal communities and the valuable ecosystems along the Atlantic coast and within the Chesapeake Bay. Virginia’s shores, and the jobs and ecosystems they support, must be protected.”

“Virginia is home to more than 3,300 miles of coastline that support communities, economies and marine systems,” said Alexandra Adams, Legislative Director, Nature Program, Natural Resources Defense Council. Communities and leaders from this region have been clear that they are not willing to trade that for the risks and routine pollution that offshore drilling will certainly bring. This administration must now listen the Members of Congress that represent these areas — and all of the leaders around the nation — who have said that they stand with their communities and against risky offshore drilling.”

Full letter text is available here and below

House committee to hold hearing on Equal Rights Amendment (CBS News)

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) conversation is returning to Capitol Hill Tuesday as the House Judiciary Committee hosts the first congressional hearing in 36 years to discuss the legislation.

The hearing will bring together four witnesses including a state senator, legal experts, and actor and advocate, Patricia Arquette

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-New York, is the sponsor of H.J.Res.35, which would restart the amendment ratification process, and has been introducing ERA legislation DURING each session of Congress since 1992.

“This hearing is long overdue,” Maloney said. “It’s an example of what a Democratic majority in Congress means today. We have an extraordinary responsibility and opportunity to seize this moment.”

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Virginia, called the hearing, “an example of what can happen when motivated advocates use their voice and continue to push for things that matter to them.”

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, who is helping lead the ERA ratification effort in the Senate alongside Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said he was excited for the House hearing and the educational opportunity it presented.

“I hope it will shed light in the fact that the constitution does not have an ERA in it,” Cardin said. “Most states do. Any country today that is developing a constitution would include one.”

The amendment states that, “Women shall have equal rights in the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Maloney said that issues of equality “are at the forefront today” and points to issues like equal work for equal pay and a case where a judge in Detroit declared America’s female genital mutilation law unconstitutional as areas where the ERA would ensure
protection for women.

“Women’s rights are not a technicality,” Maloney said. “Women should be protected in the constitution.”

First proposed in 1923, the ERA never officially passed until 1972. However, it failed to get the necessary support from 38 states in order to be ratified before the 1982 deadline — falling just three states short. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, proposed legislation that would extend the deadline for ratification. Murkowski and Cardin did the same in the Senate.

Cardin spoke of the symbolism of moving forward with the ERA movement now pointing out that the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage amendment passing Congress is coming up this June.

“We have the opportunity to pass the ERA to show America is truly a leader in equal rights,” Cardin said.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, said while he hasn’t heard of any plans to have any Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the topic, he is expecting more senators to bring up ERA action.

“We’re going to hear their case for moving it forward but the real question is how do you actually do that and whether or not you take up time on the floor for a single bill or if that’s something that could actually be worked into an underlying bill,” Tillis said.

To date, 37 states have ratified the ERA, although some have rescinded their ratification, raising the possibility of legal battles over whether states have the authority to revoke their ratification. However, Cardin said he has not encountered any vocal opponents in Congress against his ratification efforts.

“There are those who always say, it will lead to incessantly litigation but we don’t think there is a legitimate argument against incorporating it into the constitution,” Cardin said.

In Virginia however, where ERA ratification failed by one vote, there was strong opposition with some state delegates saying the movement was run by pro-abortion advocates or that it could lead to unintended consequences. For Spanberger, these arguments are more political than logical.

“Like anything that has general popular support, the critics are grasping at straws and are trying to make an emotional and fear-based argument against the constitutional equality of women,” Spanberger said.

Maloney is optimistic as well. She expects that once the 38th state ratifies the ERA, naming Virginia or North Carolina as potential options, the argument over the ERA could go all the way to the Supreme Court, where the congresswoman said she is ready to continue the fight.

“Women are more energized,” Maloney said. “Let’s get to work. Let’s make it happen. Let’s make our country a better place for it.”

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