Virginia House of Delegates Blocks 45-Day Regular Session

The Virginia House of Delegates voted against extending the regular session from 30 to 45 days on the first day of the regular session. The move by House Republicans to block extending the session means that the Democrat-controlled General Assembly will have a short amount of time to handle standard government business and check off items from their progressive wish list.

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Out-of-Court Settlement Reached to Provide Space for Virginia Legislators to Meet With Constituents

On New Years Eve, Senator Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) struck a deal with leaders of the Virginia General Assembly that will provide space for constituents to meet with legislators near the Capitol grounds even though the Pocahontas Building and Capitol Building remain closed to outsiders due to COVID-19.

DeSteph said the out-of-court settlement was a win. “This will allow citizens, subject matter experts, and other professional staff to meet face-to-face with legislators during the upcoming regular session. This is a huge victory for the First Amendment and for open access to government for all Virginians,” the press release states.

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Injunction Filed Against Democratic State Legislators for Shutting Out Public from General Assembly

State Senator Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) and attorney Tim Anderson filed a petition for injunction against Democratic legislators to preserve constituents’ in-person access to General Assembly members. State Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), Chair of Senate Rules, and Speaker Eileen Filler Corn (D-Fairfax) decided to close the Pocahontas building to the public, which hosts office appointments for both the House of Delegates and State Senate.

“The closure of the legislative office building to the public is contrary to the explicit historical purpose of the building to allow the public access to its elected legislative members, especially during the General Assembly Session,” read the lawsuit. “Most importantly, the right to assemble and address lawmakers at the state and federal levels is fundamentally protected by the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution: a. ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.'”

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Virginia Wants to Pay Nearly Half a Million or More in Commonwealth Funds to Remove and Replace U.S. Capitol Lee Statue

The Commonwealth will pay nearly $500,000 or more to remove and replace the Robert E. Lee statue in the U.S. Capitol. In charge of the project is the Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol, created for the sole purpose of removing the Lee statue from the National Statuary Hall Collection.
The projected costs total $498,500 – funds the commission says could total more or less in the coming months. Their estimate comes from other states’ costs for similar projects.

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Busted: Judge Rules Virginia House Speaker Filler-Corn Violated the Freedom of Information Act

Richmond General District Court found Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) guilty of violating the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on Friday. Filler-Corn must pay a civil penalty of $500 and a partial reimbursement of attorney fees.
The filing attorney, Timothy Anderson, told The Virginia Star that this court ruling was a big win for Virginians. Anderson also shared that the judge had expressed doubt during the trial that Filler-Corn didn’t know about the documents.

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Virginia House Democrats to Introduce Legislation ‘Demilitarizing Police Departments,’ Ending Qualified Immunity, and More During Special Session

Virginia’s legislature will meet in a Special Session on August 18, and House Democrats are eyeing new laws and regulations that will place tighter regulations on Virginia police departments and officers.

In a statement released today, the House Democrats listed a myriad of points (detailed at the end of the article) they hope to address by introducing new legislation during the Special Session.

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