As that special legislative session to consider gun control measures loomed earlier this month, Ebbin spent several days prepping at the statehouse with advocacy groups such as March for Our Lives, and passed part of the opening day at a peace vigil alongside Governor Ralph Northam, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, and other politicians. Then, an hour and a half after the session began, Republican lawmakers abruptly adjourned the session, promising to reconvene after November’s elections. “The corporate gun lobby is a powerful force,” Ebbin says, “and I think we’re representing the majority of Virginians trying to push forward.”
Reeves sort of apologized to Ebbin: “I certainly meant no disrespect to him or anyone in the LGBTQ community,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Ebbin says the two have been in touch briefly since the comments surfaced. He’s saddened by the rift, but he says it makes fits the tone set by the current occupant of the White House. “As long as the current president is in office, Trump will divide people among Virginia just as he is across the country.” As an important election approaches, Ebbin says, “you never know what tactics Republicans will turn to next.”
As elected officials, it is our job to assess problems and solutions to protect the best interests of our constituents. In this case, this means taking immediate action on practical approaches to prevent gun violence. We can do this in a way that still allows Virginians to possess firearms whether for self-defense, hunting, or sport.
Yet, on the morning of July 9, 2019, with the eyes of the nation focused on Richmond, and hundreds of activists and advocates from across our Commonwealth gathered on the sloping lawn of Capitol Square, Virginia Republicans adjourned the special session in less than 90 minutes without any discussion, floor votes or committee consideration.
They summarily sent all gun violence prevention legislation to the Crime Commission for “study.” The General Assembly will not resume the special session or consider gun violence prevention legislation until after this November’s election — conveniently allowing the embattled majority to skip out on votes related to this important issue.
This was a callous and calculated attempt to silence the voices of Virginians.
A new bill in the Virginia General Assembly, introduced by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30), would attempt to combat this issue by imposing a state tax on e-cigarettes. “Anything we can do to stop more young people from getting hooked is desirable,” said Ebbin. “Right now there’s no tax on e-cigarette products other than the sales tax. If you’re going to tax tobacco, there’s no reason you shouldn’t tax other tobacco products that have a profound health impact.”
But more than 7,400 low-income children in the state of Virginia could not attend any early education provider in the state because of lacking funding and limited space, according to the Common Wealth Institute, a local think tank.
“Pre-K is really a great equalizer,” says Adam Ebbin, a Democratic state senator on the school readiness committee. “If children don’t come to school knowing the letters of the alphabet, shapes, colors and numbers, they are not on the same level of their peers and more likely to fall behind.”
Ebbin says his team is currently involved in a study that will measure which early education government programs show the best results for students in places such as Alexandria and Fairfax. He says the study is ongoing and does not have a due date yet, but they hope to use that information to inform their work.
Supporters of marijuana decriminalization say the track record for change in Virginia has been dispiriting, but they are cautiously optimistic. State Sen. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria), who has sponsored bills on changing marijuana laws, said the recent primary victories by like-minded commonwealth’s attorney candidates has been encouraging.
Candidates who favor dropping marijuana prosecutions recently won primaries in Arlington and Fairfax counties, two of the state’s largest jurisdictions. They unseated incumbents with stricter stances on marijuana.
Last month, approximately 150 community members, local businesses, elected officials and County leaders came together to celebrate the completion of the Huntington Levee and improvements to Farrington Park. Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck welcomed those assembled and thanked former Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland for his perseverance in getting this project planned, funded and built to protect the Huntington neighborhood which, historically, has been susceptible to flash flooding from heavy rainfall upstream and tidal surges from the Potomac River. Fairfax County Board Chairman Sharon Bulova, Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay, Senator Adam Ebbin, Fairfax County School Board Chair and Mount Vernon District Member Karen Corbett Sanders and former Congressman Jim Moran also joined the festivities.
State Senator Adam Ebbin (30th District), who represents parts of Alexandria and Arlington, commented that “the Republicans abruptly adjourned without a single minute of debate and summarily sent us back to our districts without taking any action.
“This callous indifference to the 11,000 Virginians who have died at the hand of a gun since Virginia Tech is a new low. With the eyes of the nation on Richmond, and hundreds of advocates from all walks of life filling Capitol Square, Republicans wouldn’t even talk about gun violence.”
Ebbin said Republicans “cowered behind parliamentary procedure.”
Sullivan's office was closed when Nesby arrived a little before 9 a.m. But three floors up, he had better luck with Ebbin, who not only remembered the email Nesby had sent him but invited him into his office to talk about it.
Ebbin explained his desire for universal background checks, recalling how he visited a gun show and saw how easy it was to buy weapons without one.
"We walked in the gun show, and I said, 'We do not want to go through a background check, and they said, 'Go to this booth,' " Ebbin said. "They said, 'Fine, you don't look like a bank robber.' "
Democratic Senator Adam Ebbin of Alexandria says lots of those armed people were in the gallery upstairs.
“The House rules allow for them in the chamber, I believe including when the governor is giving the State of the Commonwealth Address," says Ebbin. "But the Senate does not allow guns except the members that are bearing arms, which are several. Apparently the police are not enough to protect them.”
At the nearby bell tower in Capitol Square, Northam, in a suit and tie despite the summer heat, addressed an hour-long peace vigil, leading several hundred people in chants of “Enough is enough!”
The governor held hands with African American community leaders, and they sang “We Shall Overcome.” He was joined by Richmond’s mayor, Levar Stoney (D), as well as the city’s police chief, schools superintendent and other officials. Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) also stood with Northam, as did state Sens. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Barbara A. Favola (D-Arlington) and Del. Delores L. McQuinn (D-Richmond).