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On MLK Day, Virginia Republicans Kill as Many Gun Violence Prevention Bills (Other Than “Bump Stocks”) as Possible


All I can say is, we need to vote every one of these NRA tools – especially people like State Sen. Glen Sturvevant, whose district was won big time by Ralph Northam this past November – out of office in 2019.  If you want to watch the travesty unfolding, click here.

UPDATE: Senate Republicans are now voting down hate crimes bills. As I just tweeted, So…@RalphNortham is all “bipartisanship” (the corporate media laps it up) and the Republicans’ first move is – 100% predictably – to vote down a bunch of commonsense gun violence prevention bills, hate crimes bills, etc. How’s that “bipartisanship” working out so far? Grrrr.

  • From the Virginia Senate Dem Caucus:


    RICHMOND – This morning, Senator Adam Ebbin’s (D-Alexandria) S.B. 5 – which incorporated S.B. 412, introduced by Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth); S.B. 432, introduced by Senator Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun); S.B. 145, introduced by Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke); and S.B. 447, introduced by Senator Scott Surovell (D-Mount Vernon) – failed to report on a party line, 6-9 vote, in spite of the fact that an April 2017 Quinnipiac poll shows that 94% of Virginians support universal background checks.

    Said Senator Ebbin, “Background checks stopped guns from falling in the wrong hands in Virginia 3,584 times in 2017 alone. Research shows a lower rate of gun fatalities in states with universal background checks. The General Assembly needs to step up and do all it can to reverse the horrible trend of gun violence in Virginia. If current trends continue, there will be well over 3,000 gun-related deaths over the next four years here in Virginia alone. Not a single one of those 3,000 people deserves to die.”

    Said Senator Wexton, “Let me be clear: Gun violence is a public health problem in Virginia. We know that if we enact universal background checks, fewer law enforcement officers will be shot and killed, fewer intimate partners will be shot and killed, and there will be fewer gun-related suicides. Gun violence is an epidemic and the time has come to act if we are going to keep our communities safe.”

    Said Senator Lucas, “I am absolutely dismayed that my NRA-funded colleagues on the other side of the aisle continue to prioritize the all-powerful gun lobby over the safety of their constituents. People are dying, and they are going to keep dying, because guns are falling into the wrong hands. ​’​Thoughts and prayers’​ are important, but that won’t stop the violence.”

  • The following is from ProgressVA, as Virginia Senate Republicans – despite only holding a narrow, 21-19 overall lead – continue their demolition of anything progressive on MLK Jr. Day.

    Virginia Workers Let Down Once Again After Senate Committee Kills Minimum Wage Bills

    Richmond, VA— Bills to increase Virginia’s minimum wage were defeated Monday afternoon by conservatives on the state Senate’s Commerce & Labor Committee. SB 251, sponsored by Senator Roslyn Dance, would have raised Virginia’s minimum wage to $15/hour, following a wave of minimum wage increases across the country in 2016 and 2017.

    “No one who works a full-time job should have to live in poverty. Too many Virginians have seen their wages and opportunities stagnant while corporations rake in record profits,” said Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia. “The conservative Senators standing in the way of wage increases should spend just one week living on a minimum wage budget and reconsider if they think $7.25 an hour is a living wage.”

    People want to work hard and earn a decent wage that can support a family, and they can’t do that when the minimum wage is only $7.25. According to the Economic Policy Institute, CEO pay increased 875% during the past 35 years (accounting for inflation), while average worker pay only increased 5%. One quarter of workers who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage have children. Close to 300,000 Virginia children live in a household that would see increased income from raising the wage. The numbers make it clear, Virginia’s workers and families deserve better economic opportunities.

    • Laura Lee

      WV minimum wage is higher then Va.

  • From ProgressVA:

    Women’s Equality Coalition Condemns Senate Committee For Failure To Pass Minimum Wage Increase

    Richmond, Virginia—The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee defeated three bills that would have increased the minimum wage on Monday afternoon. Members of the Women’s Equality Coalition are disappointed that politicians in Richmond have once again failed to act on behalf of hardworking Virginia families who deserve to be able to afford to live with dignity and raise a family. Because women, many of them working mothers, make up a majority of low-wage workers in Virginia, raising the minimum wage is an important step towards closing the pay gap and promoting economic security for the Commonwealth’s women and their families.

    “No Virginian who works hard should be forced to live in poverty,” David Broder, President of SEIU 512 and member of the Women’s Equality Coalition, said. “It is long past time for the commonwealth to follow the lead of states and cities across our region and raise the minimum wage.”

    “Hardworking families in our community deserve to be paid fairly for their work,” Diana Egozcue, President of the Virginia Chapter of the National Organization for Women and Women’s Equality Coalition member said. “It is impossible to support a family on just $7.25 an hour, and it well past time for politicians in Richmond to do the right thing for women and families and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.”

    The minimum wage is currently only $7.25 an hour and has not been raised since 2008. Raising the wage to $15/hour over three years would generate a total wage increase in Virginia of $1,126,776,000 and a GDP impact of $713,249,000. The Women’s Equality Coalition is made up of 14 organizations across Virginia and is dedicated to dedicated to ensuring that all Virginia women are able to fully participate in social, economic, and political life.

  • From Sen. Barbara Favola:

    Senate Courts of Justice Committee Defeats Gun Safety Bills

    RICHMOND, VA –– Senator Barbara Favola’s robust efforts to pass sensible gun safety legislation began in earnest Monday when several bills were heard by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. Despite significant support by citizens from across the Commonwealth, Republican committee members voted along party lines and defeated the bills.

    One of the most significant bills presented by Favola to the Committee was Senate Bill (SB) 63, a bill to empower local governments to prohibit the “open carry” of firearms in protests or demonstrations within their localities. The bill was similar to SB 630, a bill submitted by Senator McClellan on behalf of the Governor’s office, and the two pieces of legislation were combined as SB 630.

    “Regarding, SB63, it was my hope that lawmakers would better understand the need for people to feel safe and be safe when they assemble.”

    Many people spoke in support of the legislation including two members of the Charlottesville City Council, Councilors Kathleen M. Galvin and Dr. Wesley Bellamy. The President of the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice and representatives of Moms Demanding Action also spoke to the committee.

    It is important to note that the Heller Opinion, a decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court with conservative Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the majority, reiterated that the right put forth in the Second Amendment “… is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” (Page 54.)

    Localities should be empowered to regulate their permitting process in order to best ensure public safety and peaceful assembly, just as the state already does. According to Favola, what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia on August of 2017, is a tragic example of the need for this legislation.

    Favola’s efforts to create sensible gun related policy in the Commonwealth are an on-going priority for the Northern Virginia Democrat who represents portions of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudon Counties.

    Senate Bill 732, which was also on the January 15 docket for the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, would require a perpetrator convicted of two misdemeanors for sexual assault of a household member or two misdemeanors of stalking offenses to give up possession of firearms for two years before petitioning the Court for firearm restoration rights. Favola introduced the legislation in a previous General Assembly session and continues to advocate for policies that prevent the escalation of domestic violence.

    Referencing statistical evidence, Favola said “About 4,000 women die each year due to domestic violence and studies have indicated that a woman’s chances of being killed by her abuser increases 500% if the abuser has access to a firearm. By prohibiting possession of a firearm by someone with a history of domestic violence would allow for police intervention, should a violation occur, and consequently empower a woman to protect herself and her family.

    Despite public support from advocates, such as Moms Demanding Action, SB 732 was passed by indefinitely by a nine to six vote along party line, with Republican members in the majority.

    Republican committee members also voted to defeat legislation intended to expand the hate crimes statute to include those with disabilities (SB45) and other categories of individuals including gender, sexual orientation and gender identity (SB112); and a bill that dealt with the reporting of lost or stolen firearms (SB 119).