Lt. Gov. Earle-Sears Kicks Off 2022 RPV Advance with Stories from Her First General Assembly Session

HERNDON, Virginia – Republican Party of Virginia faithful are gathered at a Hilton outside Washington, D.C., to build on the momentum of their 2021 wins and help their 2022 congressional candidates. Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears kicked off the Advance on Friday at a reception held by the Virginia Federation of Republican Women.

Earle-Sears regaled the crowd with stories from the recent General Assembly session. Governor Glenn Youngkin once confused Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) with Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton,) leading Lucas to rib Youngkin about it on Twitter.

“And then a curious thing happened: I started mixing her up with Mamie,” Earle-Sears said to laughter. “I would call, ‘The Senator from Hampton, Senator Lucas.’ They got mad.”

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Virginia General Assembly at Crossover: Republican House, Democratic Senate About to Clash over Budget, Conflicting Policy

Halfway through the 2022 Virginia General Assembly session, the House of Delegates has passed a wave of Republican reforms focusing on taxes, law enforcement, and education, while much of the Senate’s work has involved Democrats killing Republican bills in committee. The legislature has just passed crossover, when each chamber sends its finalized bills to the other chamber. Now, the chambers will clash over conflicting policy as they evaluate each other’s bills and work on the budget.

“[W]e ran on a platform that was informed by what voters told us they wanted the General Assembly to accomplish on their behalf in 2022. They wanted lower taxes and safer communities. They wanted parents involved in their child’s education, not boxed out,” a Tuesday House GOP release said.

“As the House completes its work on our legislative priorities, I’m pleased to report that we’ve accomplished what voters sent us here to do,” Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) said in the release.

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Senate Public Education Subcommittee Recommends Blocking Youngkin’s ‘Inherently Divisive Concepts’ Ban Introduced by Sen. Kiggans

RICHMOND, Virginia — The Senate Education and Health Public Education Subcommittee recommended killing two bills from Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach): SB 766 which would ban transgender girls from playing girls’ sports, and  SB 570, which would codify Governor Glenn Youngkin’s “inherently divisive concept” ban. In its Thursday afternoon meeting the subcommittee also recommended killing Senator Travis Hackworth’s (R-Tazewell) SB 20 to eliminate a requirement that school boards adopt policies for the treatment of transgender students.

Kiggans, who is running for Congress, told the subcommittee that she was carrying SB 570 on behalf of the Youngkin administration.

“I said yes to carry this bill because I heard the voices of parents that spoke in November. You know, I was one of those parents as well,” Kiggans said, noting that Youngkin frequently talked about teaching kids how to think, not what to think.

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Youngkin Shifts Northam Diversity Office Focus from Equity to Opportunity

Governor Glenn Youngkin is changing the focus of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, created by former Governor Ralph Northam in the wake of his 2019 blackface scandal. Youngkin issued his tenth executive order Wednesday and announced his desire for the General Assembly to change the office name to Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion Office. He also named former Heritage Foundation official Angela Sailor to head the office, moves that Democrats saw as direct efforts to gut the office of its core purpose.

“The people of Virginia elected the most diverse leadership in the Commonwealth’s history. Virginia is big enough for the hopes and dreams of a diverse people. Angela Sailor’s experience in government, nonprofits and the private sector will guide us as we ensure that the government is working for all Virginians across our diverse Commonwealth, especially when it comes to economic opportunity for all Virginians,” Youngkin said in a press release.

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General Assembly Session Day Two: Filler-Corn Criticizes Speaker Gilbert for Tweet About Northam State of the Commonwealth

Eileen Filler-Corn

In a Wednesday tweet, Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert blasted Governor Ralph Northam’s final State of the Commonwealth address, leading House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn to respond in a floor statement on Thursday.

“Ralph Northam is leaving office as his own lost cause, condescendingly lecturing us all from some assumed moral high ground because he read the book ‘Roots’ and then went on a non-stop reconciliation tour. Saturday can’t come fast enough,” Gilbert wrote.

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General Assembly Back in Session, in Person, to Allocate ARPA Funds

RICHMOND, Virginia – The budget bill to allocate $4.3 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds passed out of the House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations on Monday, the first step to passing Governor Ralph Northam’s proposals for the money.

But the first day of the second 2022 special session saw legislative gridlock between the Senate and the House of Delegates. The House passed HJ 7003, which establishes the rules and schedule for how the session will operate. When the legislation was sent to the Senate, Senate Democratic leaders introduced three amendments which received broad bipartisan support.

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Governor Northam Approves Cultural Competency Requirement for Virginia Teacher’s Licenses

Governor Ralph Northam approved legislation on Thursday to require cultural competency training for educators to be licensed by the Virginia Board of Education. HB 1904, introduced by Delegate Clinton Jenkins (D-Suffolk), and companion SB 1196, introduced by Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton,) require that anyone seeking licensure or re-licensure must complete cultural competency training by the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year. Licenses with social science or history endorsements require additional training in African American history.

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Virginia Senate and House Disagree over How to Restore Felon Voting Rights

The Senate and the House of Delegates face a disagreement over constitutional amendments to end felon disenfranchisement. SJ 272, introduced by Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) and HJ 555, introduced by House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) both effectively restore felon voting rights after the term of imprisonment is completed. However, the two bills feature different language, and on Wednesday, the Senate shot down an attempt by the House to change SJ 272 to match HJ 555. Now, the two chambers will attempt to draft a compromise bill in conference.

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From Same-Sex Marriage to Equal Education Opportunities, Seven Constitutional Amendments Are Moving Through Virginia Legislature

The Virginia General Assembly considered over a dozen constitutional amendments in its two chambers this session; seven of them have been passed in either the House or the Senate. Last week, Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment (R-James City) criticized the high number.

“I recognize that times change,” he said on the Senate floor. “I recognize that Virginia has changed and I recognize that there is a new cadre of legislators who have a different perspective on what the policies of the commonwealth should be.”

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Virginia State Senator Sues Democratic Leaders Over Public Access to Office Building

Republican Senator Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) is suing Democratic legislative leaders over plans to restrict the public’s access to the Pocahontas Building during the upcoming regular session due to a rise in COVID-19 numbers.

On Tuesday, DeSteph filed a complaint in Richmond Circuit Court against Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax County), Senate Rules Committee Chair Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), both the clerk of the House and the Senate as well as the Virginia Division of Capitol Police.

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House and Senate Name Legislators for Virginia Redistricting Commission

Party leaders from the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates have appointed the eight lawmakers that will serve on the newly-formed bipartisan redistricting commission tasked with redrawing the Commonwealth’s legislative and congressional lines.

The Senators on the commission will be Steve Newman (R-Bedford), Ryan McDougle (R-Hanover), George Barker (D-Fairfax County) and Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), Amigo Wade, acting director of the Virginia Division of Legislative Services, told The Virginia Star.

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Virginia Senate Gives Governor Power to Oust Police Officers

The Criminal Justice Services Board (CJSB) will have the responsibility of decertifying officers engaged in misconduct or criminally charged and implementing statewide conduct standards for law enforcement, if the Senate’s omnibus policing and reform legislation is signed into law.

Last Friday, the president of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Delegates both signed the legislation, and on Wednesday the bill was communicated to Governor Ralph Northam for final approval.

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Virginia State Senator Locke, Others, Move to Block Kanye West From Virginia Ballot

Senator Mamie Locke (D-Virginia Beach) is part of a group trying to remove Kanye West from Virginia’s upcoming presidential election, according to reporting by WTKR. Leaders of the group claim that West’s 13 Virginia electors were registered deceptively, according to The Washington Post.

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