2022 Session: Week Three

No more ramping up–we are at full throttle! My team and I are working hard.

The week started with a press conference held by the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses in which I proudly stood with my Democratic colleagues–and concerned parents from across the Commonwealth–in opposition to Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order purporting to prohibit local School Boards from requiring masks in schools. The Governor has threatened to withhold funding from local schools as retribution for not complying with his illegal Order. Equally disturbing, the Governor has established a tip line, where parents can make anonymous reports on teachers, in an effort to enforce his Order so that “critical race theory” and “inherently divisive concepts” are “rooted out” of Virginia schools.

The irony is remarkable. A Governor–pitching unity–claims to be concerned about phantom “inherently divisive concepts,” and then openly and eagerly pits parents against teachers. The same Governor who pays lip service to “treating teachers as the professionals they are” and “paying them what they’re worth” does a 2-step and then demonizes them, urging parents to turn in teachers they feel are violating “parents’ fundamental rights” or engaging in “inherently divisive practices.” 

Let’s push back. Let’s tell Governor Youngkin, through his tip line, all of our stories of the wonderful teachers we have here in Virginia and the remarkable work they do preparing our kids to thrive in the 21st century. 

More irony: just yesterday, the General Assembly honored Ms. Daphne Fulson, Virginia’s Teacher of the Year. She teaches third grade at Portlock Primary School. My colleague Cliff Hayes introduced her to the House and– to thunderous applause from both sides of the aisle– quoted one of her third graders who said that “Ms. Fulson  teaches my head, and my heart.” We need more Ms. Fulsons, and we don’t need Governors making teachers the boogeyman. To read more about Governor Youngkin’s tip line please click here.

On Wednesday a Courts of Justice subcommittee considered my HB370, the Uniform Fiduciary Income and Principal Act. Long and boring (except to Trust and Estates lawyers), the bill replaces the prior Uniform Act, and modernizes trust management in Virginia. The bill passed the full Courts Committee Friday afternoon, and is headed to the floor early next week.

Another one of my bills has made it out of  Committee (Transportation), and I anticipate it will be on the floor early next week. HB386 will improve traffic flow and law enforcement cooperation on the bridges that span the Potomac River. It updates the Potomac River Bridge Towing Compact. Not an earth-shattering piece of legislation, but it highlighted the story many of us remember (at least those of us old enough to remember) of Arland D. Williams Jr., who was a passenger aboard Air Florida Flight 90, which crashed on take-off in Washington, D.C., on January 13, 1982, killing 74 people. One of only six people to initially survive the crash, Mr. Williams, helped the other five escape the sinking plane before he himself drowned. The 14th Street bridge over the Potomac River at the crash site has been renamed in his honor. And deservedly so. 

Finally, on the environmental front, I’ve been busy defending attacks on the Virginia Clean Economy Act and other advances we made on energy and climate legislation when we were in the majority. My friends at Virginia Advanced Energy Economy put a full page ad in today’s edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch, outlining the progress we have made with respect to energy and the environment. The ad is quite correctly titled: “Virginia is on track to build a reliable, affordable, and clean energy future. Let’s stay the course!”