WASHINGTON — At the halfway point in Virginia’s legislative session, Democrats have already started delivering on the campaign promises that led to their resounding victory last November. Years of Republican control stymied progress in the commonwealth for years, an era that finally came to a close with the dawn of this year’s session.
“What a difference a year makes,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “Not that long ago, these popular, commonsense policies would have been sent to the Republicans’ legislative graveyard. Virginians voted for change last November and I’m so proud of the way our incredible leaders have delivered on their promises.”
With majorities in both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly for the first time in a generation, majorities that are far more representative of Virginia’s diversifying population, Democrats wasted little time in making history. Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
Yesterday marked crossover day, the deadline for legislation to pass the chamber where it originated. With a little a over a month remaining in the session, Democrats have already taken steps that will transform Virginians’ lives for the better:
- Voting rights: Passed no-excuse absentee voting, instituted automatic voter registration, allowed same-day registration, made Election Day a state holiday, repealed photo ID
- Equality: Passed LGBTQ non-discrimination protections, voted to ban conversion therapy, included the LGBTQ community in hate crimes legislation
- Gun violence prevention: Passed a comprehensive package of reforms that includes universal background checks, a red flag law, the reinstatement of the former “one gun a month” policy, and allows for localities to regulate guns
- Reproductive rights: Repealed medically unnecessary and burdensome restrictions on reproductive freedom and abortion clinics, including the 24-hour waiting period, mandatory ultrasounds, state-mandated inaccurate counseling and TRAP laws that had shuttered abortion clinics around the state
- Climate change: Passed the Clean Economy Act to pave the way for 100% renewable energy and joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
- Health care: Passed legislation to create Virginia’s own health insurance exchange, safeguarded protections for consumers in the event the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
As the legislative session comes to a conclusion, Democrats in both chambers will continue to pass bills that will make a dramatic difference in the lives of their constituents.
After campaigning on this platform, Democrats flipped six seats in the House of Delegates and two in the Senate en route to claiming trifecta control over the commonwealth’s government. The DLCC was instrumental in this success, making early investments to in-state partners and ultimately spending nearly $2 million to coordinate an unprecedented statewide legislative campaign.
“As a Virginia voter myself, I couldn’t be more thrilled about the changes we’ve seen this year in Richmond,” added Post. “When Democrats win, we get things done, and Virginia is moving forward and setting an example for the nation. As we look towards the 2020 elections this November, Virginia’s success is an incredible model as we at the DLCC look to Flip Everything this year.”