Home GLBT Issues VA Senate Republicans Pass “Kim Davis Bill,” Constitutional Amendment to Permanently Disenfranchise...

VA Senate Republicans Pass “Kim Davis Bill,” Constitutional Amendment to Permanently Disenfranchise Ex-Felons

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Typical Republican nastiness on both counts…

SENATE REPUBLICANS PASS KIM DAVIS BILL
RICHMOND – This afternoon, the Virginia Senate passed legislation by Senator Bill Carrico (R-Grayson) to make it legal for state employees to refuse to provide marriage licenses to people on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs. SB 1324 is reminiscent of the 2015 case of a Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, who refused to provide same-sex couples with marriage licenses after Obergefell v. Hodges was decided. The bill passed on a party-line vote, 21-19.
Said Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), “What this bill does is elevate the religious beliefs of those who don’t believe in marriage equality over those who do. Since last year’s veto, there are no examples of why this is necessary. This bill is not needed.”
Said Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City), “In the Commonwealth of Virginia, you are free to worship as you please. The First Amendment enshrines that right, as does the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. We don’t need this bill to have that right. We have it now. So if y’all want to go up on the board and say, ‘This person as anti-Christian,’ or ‘War on Christianity,’ fine — send them along to me, ok? — because I’m proud to be a Christian, and I’m here, and I’m not voting for the bill.”
Said Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), “During my own lifetime, I have seen mixed-race couples discriminated against on account of what people claimed to be their sincerely held religious beliefs and I will not stand idly by while the same injustices are inflicted upon members of the LGBTQ community. I suggest my colleagues watch the movie Loving and think about their place in history.”
SENATE PASSES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO PERMANENTLY DISENFRANCHISE FORMER FELONS
RICHMOND – This afternoon, the Virginia Senate passed a constitutional amendment, SJ 223, by Thomas Norment (R-James City County) to permanently disenfranchise voters who have been convicted of “violent” felonies. The amendment passed on a party-line vote, 21-19.
Said Senator Dave Marsden (D-Fairfax), “The idea that anyone should permanently lose their right to vote — even after paying their debt to society — is unconscionable to me. Making the payment of restitution a criteria for restoration of rights essentially creates a poll tax. It is a relic of the Jim Crow era. “
Said Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), “If you look at whose rights were restored by the Governor’s order in April, the vast majority of them live in Richmond. A lot of them have reached out to me over the years and the biggest impediment to getting their rights restored — violent or non-violent — was that they can’t pay all of the fines, court costs, and restitution and until this Governor removed the requirement for them to have to pay these fines before they could get their rights restored, they couldn’t get them restored.”
Said Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), “The main purpose of SJ 223 is to overturn the Republican leadership’s loss in the Virginia Supreme Court for an individualized process in restoring rights. This is a cynical, dishonest, and disingenuous effort that the people of Virginia will reject as over 60 percent support the Governor’s action. We are not going backwards on this issue that Mr. Glass let us know his purpose in putting forth — which is all this resolution is: blatant voter suppression of the highest order.”
  • LG Ralph Northam on constitutional amendment barring “violent” ex-felons from voting

    “The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. Disallowing a person who has paid their debt to society and is law abiding from ever voting again goes against our founding principles. This amendment reintroduces new burdens that will prevent Virginians from exercising their rights.

    “We should be doing everything in our power to make voting easier, not harder. Reintroducing these measures is disingenuous, unfair, and a cynical attempt to gain a political advantage.”

  • Some good news for a change; great work by Sen. Scott Surovell!

    SENATE PASSES BILL TO CLEAN UP COAL ASH

    RICHMOND – This afternoon, the Virginia Senate passed legislation by Senator Scott Surovell (D-Mount Vernon), SB 1398, to protect Virginia’s air and drinking water while creating jobs on a 29-11 vote.

    Said Senator Surovell, “Communities are starting to recognize the true extent of the problems associated with coal ash pollution now that environmental regulators are working towards implementing EPA’s closure rules. This legislation is the first step to equip Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality with the tools necessary to clean up coal ash, protect Virginia’s groundwater and rivers, and create Virginia jobs. Today’s vote also demonstrates that clean water is not a partisan issue. I appreciate Agriculture Chairman Richard Stuart’s support on this bill and consistent vigilance for Virginia’s rivers.”

    Said Senator Dave Marsden (D-Fairfax), “We have had some evidence that elements of the coal ash have reacted with ground water in unanticipated ways and have potentially contaminated local wells. I am pleased that Dominion has addressed those concerns by hooking families up to public water but it just goes to show that we are not certain as to the potential future harm that even capped ponds can potentially create.”