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Monday News: Trump Defends “Killer” Putin, Trashes America; VA GOP Pushes New Voter Suppression Measure; GOAT

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by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, February 6.

  • Interesting, I had heard about this over the weekend (“Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello has raised more than $1.1 million in the month since he entered the race, his campaign announced Monday”) from a good source, was just trying to confirm but looks like the Washington Post scooped me. C’est la vie. Anyway, here’s what the Perriello campaign just sent me:

    All numbers as of Sunday noon:

    More than 2,500 online contributions, averaging $67.53 each.

    Total contributions since launch: $1,182,149

    Cash on hand: $1,118,419.74

  • Progress Virginia Applauds Senate Passage of Borrower’s Bill of Rights

    Richmond, VA – Progress Virginia today applauded the Virginia State Senate’s passage of SB1053, sponsored by Senator Janet Howell, which establishes a student loan borrower’s bill of rights in Virginia.

    “Far too many hard-working Virginians are saddled with unaffordable student loan debt,” said Progress Virginia executive director Anna Scholl. “These student debt borrowers have done nothing wrong—in fact they’re working hard and playing by the rules, trying to make good on the loans they took out. When servicers give borrowers the run around or engage in intentionally deceptive practices, they’re punishing borrowers who are striving to join the middle class and obtain financial security. The Borrower’s Bill of Rights would establish commonsense protections for student loan borrowers to ensure they’re treated fairly and that servicers play by the same rules as other financial institutions.”

    Over 1 million Virginians hold over $30 billion in student loan debt. According to The Institute for College Access and Success, 59% of Virginia college and university graduates leave school with debt and the average debt load is $25,780. Student loan debt is the second largest consumer debt held by U.S. households after mortgages.

  • Video: Sen. Tim Kaine Questions Timing of Tillerson Confirmation & Pro-ExxonMobil Legislative Move

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScwVLA8hrIE

  • From the VA Senate Dem Caucus:

    Virginia Senate Passes Bill Punishing Sanctuary Cities

    RICHMOND – This afternoon, the Virginia Senate passed a bill introduced by Senator Dick Black (R-Loudoun), SB 1262, to confer liability on localities who have adopted “sanctuary city” policies for damages caused by undocumented immigrants.

    Said Senator Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax), “Contrary to what another State Senator said, our counties are not harboring a horde of rapists and murderers. This is an unnecessary burden for a problem that simply is not there.”

    Said Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington), “If people fear that they will be forced to provide residency information every time the police are involved, they will be less likely to rely on law enforcement to peacefully resolve disputes — which will inevitably make our communities less safe.”

    ​Said Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax), “We have thousands of folks living, working, and studying in Fairfax ​who are here on legal visas, but as we have seen in recent weeks the terms of these visas are subject to change. Then what?”

  • From the VA Senate Dem Caucus:

    Virginia Senate Passes Another Disastrous Voter ID Bill

    RICHMOND – This afternoon, the Virginia Senate passed another disastrous voter ID bill proposed by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Augusta). The bill, SB 1253, passed on a party-line vote, 21-19.

    Said Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke), “This troubling proposal serves as yet another unnecessary burden for voters. It does not address the large proportion of citizens throughout our Commonwealth who do not have a photo on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Rather, it empowers officers of elections to make subjective determinations to turn eligible voters away.”

    Said Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), “Inexplicably, what we’ve done here is create unfunded mandates to address non-existent voter fraud at the same time as State Board of Elections is chronically underfunded. It makes no sense.”

    Said Senator Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax), “Every year, we see a litany of bills come through the General Assembly aimed at preventing voter fraud but none regarding our constituents being struck by lightening — which is interesting given the fact that they are three times more likely to be struck by lightening than to commit voter fraud. We have not been presented with any evidence showing in-person voter fraud is a problem occurring throughout the Commonwealth.”

  • From the VA Senate Dem Caucus:

    VA SENATE REJECTS BILL TO VOUCHERIZE EDUCATION

    RICHMOND – This afternoon, the Virginia Senate rejected a bill introduced by Senator Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) to establish “Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts”; a thinly veiled attempt to pull taxpayer dollars out of public schools and into the pockets of parents who wish to home school their children or send their children to private schools with no accountability or oversight. SB 1243 was unanimously opposed by Democrats and died on the tie-breaking vote of Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam.

    Said Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, “Economic opportunity for all Virginians begins with making sure that every child has access to a good quality school. SB 1243 would have diverted taxpayer dollars to a school voucher system, giving some children a leg up while leaving far more behind. Our teachers and public schools have given so many Virginians, including myself, the opportunity to succeed, and I will continue to be a strong advocate for them.”

    Said Senator Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria), “This bill would have specifically put taxpayer dollars into private schools with zero public oversight. Further, all schools receiving public dollars should meet the same standards as public schools. Virginia’s children deserve better.”

    Said Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), “Our public schools are underfunded and our teachers are underpaid. The students who suffer the most under the current system are not the children who are going to be helped by measures like this. They are our special needs students, they are our students living under the poverty line, they are our students from broken homes. What will help them is fully funding public education — not taking funding away.”

    • True Blue

      Good riddance of this bill! Stealing funds from public education to give to private or home school teachers who are not held to the same accreditation standards as public educators is criminal. Public schools accept all students!

  • Video: Trump falsely claims “dishonest press” purposely not reporting terrorist attacks. This guy is utterly demented.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et5w0R5vhPs

  • Del. Mark Levine’s prepared remarks for tonight’s Alexandria Dems meeting:

    Dear Fellow Alexandria Democrats,

    I write this letter at 7:00 pm as I sit in my seat on the House Floor representing you. I’m extremely disappointed that I cannot join you this evening. I had every intention of jumping in the car and driving to Alexandria to give my three-minute speech at the ADC meeting and then turning around and driving back to Richmond this evening. That’s how important you are to me.

    But more important than telling you in person what I’m doing for you in Richmond is doing my job for you in the State Capitol. Today is the day before Crossover. That means I have already voted on hundreds of bills. In fact, two of my bills passed today, a bill to help survivors of sexual violence and my bill I chief co-patroned to protect protesters’ First Amendment rights. But we are still not done on this, the longest voting day of the session. So I must stay here. I will never put politics above doing the job you have elected me to do.

    I will have to tell you in writing instead of in person what I have done for you and why I’m running for re-election as your Delegate.

    To give you an idea of how busy I am, I invite all of you to check out the weekly newsletter I sent you last Sunday (and the Sunday before and the Sunday before…). If you’re not on my mailing list, you can subscribe to my newsletter at MarkforDelegate.com. I’ve also archived old newsletters there.

    Check it out. You’ll see that last week, the Democratic House Leadership chose me to give the Floor speech for the Caucus opposing the Trump Travel ban. (It’s been viewed more than 17,000 times on Facebook so far.) You’ll also see me challenging Republican patrons on their bills attacking immigrants, their bill attacking gay and lesbian families, and their bill harming victims of domestic violence. I’m proud of the trust my colleagues have placed in me to be in the forefront on these very important issues. Please watch the videos!

    You’ll also see in last week’s newsletter that I was in the news last week in twelve separate articles on eight separate issues:
    1) Opposing the Trump Travel Ban
    2) My Bill on Paid Family and Medical Leave
    3) My Bill Requiring Virginia Presidential Candidates to Disclose Tax Returns and Foreign Emoluments
    4) My Bill on Medical Marijuana
    5) The Virginia Transparency Caucus I co-founded
    6) How Guns Make Domestic Violence Victims More Unsafe
    7) Fighting for Marriage Equality
    8) The Alt-Right in Alexandria
    You’ll also see in my newsletter that I argued seven separate bills in Committee or Subcommittee. All just last week. (The week before, I had a different set of seven bills.) These bills would, among other things, have protected children from abuse, expanded broadband internet in rural Virginia, and protected citizens from predatory towing.

    In my newsletters, I always describe in detail exactly what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and what happened. I also provide video of everything that occurred in Committee.

    With these videos, we are changing the way business has been practiced in General Assembly committees and subcommittees for centuries. Last year, my freshman year, I co-founded the Virginia Transparency Caucus with Republican Senator Amanda Chase. Amanda and I don’t agree on much, but we do agree you have a right to know what is going on in Richmond. Our proposal – and our bicameral, bipartisan caucus – has taken off like wildfire. I’m proud to say, with the help of Progress Virginia, approximately 75% of our committee and subcommittee hearings are now recorded. Our ultimate goal, of course, is 100%, but we’ve come a long way.

    At home, my proudest accomplishment was achieved with Senator Barbara Favola, Arlington County Board Member Katie Cristol, and the help of local government leaders in Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax. Starting in March, for the first time in Northern Virginia history, we will have 24/7 help for survivors of sexual assault. The last thing a rape victim wants to face, after this very brutal moment in her life, is to have to wait several hours until she can find a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Now, in partnership with Inova Fairfax and with a grant we managed to obtain from the Federal Government, we should have funding to assure that any sexual assault survivor is seen immediately by qualified SANE nurses. That’s a big deal. I’ll tell you more when I see you next month.

    I could go on and on. Last week’s newsletter, for example, showed video of my speech to the Virginia contingent of the Women’s March on Washington (with bullhorn in one hand and the Constitution in the other) and the passionate speech I gave for the Affordable Care Act at the Alexandria Rally for Health Care. I haven’t even told you yet about the many bills I’ve succeeded in amending and making better in committee and on the Floor.

    If you want to find out more, most of you know I have instituted a practice that I believe is unique among my fellow members of the General Assembly. I invite you each and every month to lunch with me at Mark’s Monthly Meetups at Los Tios in Del Ray. The next one is Sunday, February 26 at 2pm.

    But I’ve only just begun. And I respectfully ask that you elect me to another two-year term. There is much still to do. And now more than ever, I believe Democrats need a powerful, experienced voice who is unafraid to take on Trump or Virginia Republicans but can still accomplish important innovative things with them whenever they act reasonably.

    Now more than ever, I humbly ask for your vote.

    Delegate Mark Levine

    P.S. Attached please find an incomplete list of the elected officials who have already endorsed me. I apologize that I haven’t had time to call everyone yet. But I am honored and grateful that so many of my fellow elected officials have faith in my leadership.

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