Today the Senate of Virginia gavels into session at noon. There have certainly been considerable changes over the last 249 years since we first met in Williamsburg, with many occurring in just the last year. Senators will wear masks, meeting at the Science Museum of Virginia to allow for adequate social distancing.
Preparing for the legislative session has always been a hectic time, as we finalize legislation, draft budget amendments, and pack our office up to travel down to Richmond. I am confident, however, that there has never been a more hectic week preceding session in Virginia’s history. The shocking assault on our nation’s Capitol, whose halls had not been breached since the war of 1812, rattled our nation to the core. Five people lost their lives, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick of Springfield. This violent, shocking insurrection was inspired and directed by the sitting President of the United States. The rally was attended by one of my colleagues, Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), who spoke to the crowd of protestors before hopping in her car and hightailing it back to Chesterfield. The actions by these elected officials must and shall be condemned in the strongest possible manner.
Overshadowed by these shocking events in DC were the momentous Senate runoff elections in Georgia. Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock flipped Republican seats, handing Democrats a trifecta and opening the door to true progressive change at the national level. As white nationalists stormed the halls of Congress in a psychotic attempt to derail our democracy, the son of a sharecropper who preaches from the very same pulpit as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did, became the first Black Senator from Georgia. He and many others overcame voter suppression, intimidation, and historic wrongs. That is democracy at work.
I look forward to seeing what President Joe Biden is able to accomplish with control of Congress, and expect him to take bold action quickly. Virginia Democrats, after seizing power last year, did just that, and I am prepared to expand that work in the coming weeks.
With bill limits imposed this year I have introduced bills and Constitutional Amendments to achieve the following:
- Create a legal adult-use market for cannabis that will equitably address the unfortunate impacts caused by the misguided war on marijuana.
- A Constitutional Amendment repealing the same gender “marriage ban” and replacing it with an affirmative right to marry, regardless of gender.
- Entering Virginia into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Under the compact, Virginia, and other states in the compact, would award electoral votes to the presidential ticket that receives the most popular votes nationwide. The compact would take effect once the electoral votes represented by the states in the compact total 270.
- Imposing statutory damages for illegal evictions and providing that illegal eviction cases be expedited by the courts for immediate remedy.
- Returning Virginia’s sole private prison to state management, and banning the Commonwealth from entering into new private prison contracts.
- Banning dangerous weapons in state buildings and Capitol Square.
- Updating our genetic counseling regulations to ensure no person is denied care.
- Expanding localities’ ability to provide grants for flood mitigation for both small and neighborhood-size projects.
- A Constitutional Amendment allowing a Governor to serve two consecutive terms.
As we work through hundreds of bills and amendments to the budget, I hope constituents will contact me with their opinions. It helps me represent the 30th District best. I hope you will consider filling out my legislative session survey, attend one of my upcoming Town Hall Meetings, or write to me at email@example.com.
I look forward to hearing from you, and continuing the work of the people in Richmond.
It is my continued honor to serve the 30th District,
Adam P. Ebbin
Member, Senate of Virginia