This week we honored and celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the 46th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

This week, the Democratic Party of Virginia honored and remembered Martin Luther King, Jr., which this year commemorates what would have been Dr. King’s 90th birthday.

“On this commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 90th birthday, I find that the lessons he preached speak louder than ever,” said DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker. “As we reflect on his memory today, we ought to remember and embolden the vision of prosperity and equality for all Americans that he fought so hard to achieve. In spite of the short time Dr. King was on this Earth, his impact has and will continue to be felt throughout the World for eternity — for that his dream lives on.”

This week, the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade was recognized across the nation. As we commemorate the anniversary, it’s imperative we fight harder than ever for women’s health care rights.

Roe v. Wade was a landmark legal decision issued on January 22, 1973, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute banning abortion, effectively legalizing the procedure across the United States. The court held that a woman’s right to an abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Prior to Roe v. Wade, abortion had been illegal throughout much of the country since the late 19th century (Source). The decision gave women autonomy over their bodies during their first trimester.

The latest in the News

Descendants of two Confederate generals appeared in the Virginia Senate on Monday to show their support for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who days earlier sat out a Republican senator’s ode to Robert E. Lee. […]

“To have the three of us — the great-great-great-grandson of Simon Fairfax, Robert E. Lee’s descendant and Stonewall Jackson’s descendant — stand in solidarity together and say we need to take this commonwealth, this country, in a different, more positive, more uplifting course, I think sends a signal of hope and light out into the world,” Fairfax said.

Read the full article with the link above.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02), a former U.S. Navy Commander, this week secured a coveted seat on the influential House Armed Services Committee, where she will bring an experienced Hampton Roads military voice and perspective to national security issues.

“As a 20-year Navy veteran, I am honored to serve on the House Armed Services Committee. These are difficult times in a dangerous world, and our brave service members in Virginia’s Second Congressional District and across America deserve our strongest support,” Congresswoman Luria said. “Our warfighters need proper equipment, training, and funding so they can succeed in their missions to defend America. I will work every day to make sure our nation lives up to its values, and that our most courageous Americans are treated with dignity and respect.”

Read the full article with the link above.

This impasse could have long-lasting, detrimental impacts on our economy, federal workers, and national security. Departments and agencies central to our national security and public safety — including the FBI, State Department, TSA, and air traffic controllers — are currently making tenuous decisions about staffing and their essential work functions. And even though they are protecting and serving their fellow citizens each day during the shutdown, critical law enforcement officials are working without pay.

As a former federal employee, I [Rep. Spanberger] understand the commitment to country that led federal employees to public service, and now many are calling our offices as they wonder how they will make ends meet.

Let me be clear: I’m no stranger to the challenges facing our borders, ports of entry, and the needs of the dedicated men and women who protect them. As a CIA officer, I worked counterterrorism and counternarcotics cases, and I have an acute awareness about the threats facing our country, both foreign and domestic. I’m always willing to have a conversation about strengthening our national security in a long-term, comprehensive, and cost-effective manner. But we should be able to engage in these critical discussions without keeping the government closed.

As the shutdown drags on, I’ll keep fighting to reopen our government immediately. Our district has priorities we need to address — from boosting broadband internet access to making sure prescription drugs are affordable for our neighbors. And to achieve success in these areas, we need a fully operational government.

Read the full article with the link above.

Virginia could lose the $100 million a month it uses to finance food stamps if the federal government’s partial shutdown continues past February, state Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne told lawmakers Wednesday. […]

Layne told the committee the shutdown has cut off pay for 64,378 Virginians, half of whom are on furlough and half who are working without pay.

Those unpaid wages amount to $127 million a week, on which the state normally collects $7 million a week in payroll taxes.

Read the full article with the link above.

The Latest in the General Assembly

The bid to make Virginia the final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment was stopped in the House of Delegates Tuesday morning.

A House subcommittee on privileges and elections voted 4–2 along party lines to recommend killing the House and Senate resolutions that would have ratified the amendment, which declares that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

In the United States, after an amendment gets a two-thirds vote from both the U.S. House and Senate, it is sent to the states for a vote. At the state level, three-fourths of the states must approve the amendment. And out of 50 states, that means 38 must vote in favor for the amendment for it to be enacted. Right now, 37 states have done that.

The Virginia House recommendation means it is almost certain the resolutions will not make it to the House floor.

Click the link above to read the full article.

Republicans in both chambers of the General Assembly rejected Governor Northam’s and Virginia Democrats’ calls for common ground on the issue of gun safety, defeating in committee and subcommittee a number of common-sense reforms that have received bipartisan support in many states.

VIRGINIA SENATE

SB1162 (Saslaw) — Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; age requirement; penalty. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING FLOOR VOTE.

SB1458 (Barker) — Firearms; removal from persons posing substantial risk, penalties. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING FLOOR VOTE.

SB1454 (Lucas) — Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penalty. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING FLOOR VOTE.

SB1034 (Locke) — Handguns; limitation on purchases, penalty. Firearms; use in commission of crime, civil liability for negligent gun storage. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING FLOOR VOTE.

SB 1084 (Marsden)— Firearms; use in commission of crime, civil liability for negligent gun storage. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING FLOOR VOTE.

SB 1096 (Howell) — Minors; allowing access to firearms, penalty. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING FLOOR VOTE.

SB 1119 (Peterson) — Mechanics’ liens; right to withhold payment. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING FLOOR VOTE.

SB 1162 (Saslaw) — Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; age requirement; penalty. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING FLOOR VOTE.

SB 1303 (Edwards) — Control of firearms; chambers of local governing bodies.- BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING FLOOR VOTE.

SB 1324 (McClellan) — Firearms; reporting when lost or stolen, civil penalty.- BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING FLOOR VOTE.

SB 1446 (Locke) — Purchase of handguns; limitation on handgun purchases; penalty.- BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING FLOOR VOTE.

SB 1473 (Deeds) — Control of firearms; permitted events. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING FLOOR VOTE.

SB 1482 (Deeds) — Firearms, certain; prohibition on carrying in public places.- BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING FLOOR VOTE.

VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES

HB1644 (Bourne) — Firearms; reporting when lost or stolen, civil penalty. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

HB2399 (Lopez) — Firearms; transfer, criminal history record check delay. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

HB1992 (Price) — Localities; regulation of firearms in government buildings. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

HB1654 (Rasoul) — Prohibited public carrying of certain firearms in public areas; penalty. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

HB1763 (Sullivan) — Firearms; removal from persons posing substantial risk of injury to himself, etc., penalties. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

HB1956 (Toscano) — Firearms, etc.; permitted events. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

HB1957 (Toscano) — Children in need of services; disposition, certification by parentthat firearms are secure. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

HB2492 (Tran) — Prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., of certain firearms magazines and firearms; penalties. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

HB2604 (Ward) — Handguns; limitation on purchases, penalty. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

HB2244 (Sullivan) — Possession or transportation of firearms following convictions for certain misdemeanor crimes. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

HB2285 (Hayes) — Allowing access to firearms by minors; penalty. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

HB2479 (Plum) — Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; penalty. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

HB1856 (McQuinn) — Firearms; libraries owned or operated by localities. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

HB1691 (Simon) — Manufacture, import, sale, transfer, or possession of undetectable firearms; penalty. — BLOCKED BY REPUBLICANS FROM GETTING COMMITTEE HEARING AND VOTE.

As victims of gun violence and prevention advocates, along with Governor Ralph Northam and Virginia Democratic leaders, met at the Virginia State Capitol for the 27th Annual Gun Violence Prevention Vigil and Advocacy Day, The Washington Post highlighted that last week Republicans in the General Assembly defeated a number of common-sense reforms in committee and subcommittee — striking their all-too-familiar hyper-partisan, politics-over-policy tone when it comes to gun safety.

Among the measures Republicans disallowed from reaching a floor vote was an “Extreme Risk Protection Law,” a measure shown effective to combat suicide, sponsored by Senator George Barker in SB1458 and Delegate Rip Sullivan in HB1763, which has been touted by President Trump and passed by Republican administrations in several other states.

While The Post covered the complete Republican intransigence when it comes to this public safety issue, they particularly focused on the Republicans’ almost unthinkable rejection of a suicide prevention measure supported by President Trump.

“Republicans in Virginia’s legislature are on track to kill almost all gun control legislation touted by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) as a priority, including a “red flag” bill aimed at preventing suicide that has been endorsed by the Trump administration and passed by Maryland and 14 other states.”

Read the full article in The Washington Post HERE.

The Senate, on a 21–19 party-line vote by which Republicans sought to send a message to the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, defeated a bill Monday to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021.

Virginia’s minimum wage of $7.25, set in 2009, is the same as the federal minimum wage. States can go above but not below the federal minimum.

Democrats argued Monday that Virginia is overdue in raising the minimum wage, while Republicans argued that doing so would hurt the workers Democrats said they’re trying to help.

Dance introduced her bill saying said she has a constituent from Hopewell who has been a home care provider for 20 years who has cared for people with disabilities and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dance said the constituent’s wages have made it difficult to pay her own rent and meet the needs of her family.

“I will tell you, Mr. President, it’s been 10 years since Virginia workers received an increase in wages,” said Dance, addressing her comments to Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, president of the Senate.

Meanwhile, prices have gone up, she said.

Her bill would have raised the minimum wage to $10 this year, $13 next year and $15 by 2021. Later in the day, Republicans on the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee killed Senate Bill 1017 by Sen. David Marsden, D-Fairfax, which would have raised the minimum wage to $11.25 over three years.

Read the full article with the link above.

Debate over whether Virginia should ratify the Equal Rights Amendment grew more emotional on Tuesday when a Republican lawmaker sparred with a longtime ERA activist during a House subcommittee hearing. Republicans then voted to kill the measure (4–2) and supporters said they want it brought back for a full committee vote.

Read the full article with the link above.

Special Election HD86 — February 19

Looking to get involved? Volunteer here!

I’m deeply humbled to announce that tonight I was elected to be the Democratic nominee to run to fill Delegate Jennifer B. Boysko’s seat. A huge thank you to the Virginia Democratic Party for running this special election and congratulations to my fellow candidates for stepping up and throwing their hats into the ring. On to the general election next month! — Dr. Ibraheem Samirah

Upcoming Events

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2/13: Lynchburg Democratic Committee Meeting