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Senator Adam Ebbin represents the 30th Senate District in the Virginia General Assembly
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“It’s a huge deal,” said Christie Marra, director of housing advocacy for the nonprofit Virginia Poverty Law Center. “They put people in dangerous situations.”
Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, and Del. Sally Hudson, D-Charlottesville, said they will introduce bills in their respective chambers that would let judges punish landlords by awarding illegally evicted tenants $10,000 or six months’ rent, whichever is greater. The legislation would also push judges to hold hearings quickly when tenants file petitions claiming they’ve been illegally evicted.
Weeks after an election that saw unprecedented early balloting amid the pandemic, voting will again be a focus for Virginia lawmakers in the General Assembly session that starts Jan. 13.
Sens. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria and Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, are chief patrons of legislation in which Virginia would join the Popular Vote Compact. That is an agreement among states that pledge to award their electoral votes to the presidential ticket that wins the popular vote nationally.
The Virginia Values Act outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity when it comes to housing, private employment, and public accomodations and creates a framework for those who believe they’ve been discriminated against to take legal action.
“People can’t be turned away from a restaurant, turned away from an apartment, or denied a job because of who they love or who they are,” the bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Adam Ebbin told COURIER in an interview.
Virginia is home to an estimated 257,000 LGBTQ adults and 50,400 LGBTQ youth, according to a January 2020 report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.
The law doesn’t just protect LGBTQ residents, either; it also bans discrimination on the basis of race, age, sex, religion, pregnancy, veteran status, and other categories. “There’s a lot of people in Virginia who need protection … It’s our broadest civil rights bill in Virginia history,” Ebbin said. “It would be wrong to just include one group without others.”
However, Senator Ebbin disagrees.
“Lawrenceville’s ratio of inmates is 40% higher than the Department of Corrections requirements for their own facilities,” Ebbin said.
He also noted that report also found an excess of $10 million in deferred maintenance work at the facility. Over the summer, 8News reported on flooding and water outages at the prison. It was the result of some leaky pipes.
“In July of this year water was cut off to inmates for 4 days in some units due to pipe leaks,” Ebbin said.
“If we truly believe in fairness, and value democracy over partisanship, it is time to elect the president based on the people’s will,” said Ebbin. “This legislation affirms the core principle of American democracy – one person, one vote.”
“The needs of every Virginian need to be on the ballot during Presidential elections -- our experiences understood, our questions answered. The President doesn’t just represent Miami- Dade in Florida, Kent County in Michigan, and Erie County, Pennsylvania. They also serve Virginians from Lee County to Accomack, Alexandria to Brunswick -- but if you follow presidential campaigns, that wouldn’t be clear under the current system” added Senator Ebbin.