General Assembly Update

 
This was a big week for my bills in the Virginia Senate. Here are the bills that passed both the House and the Senate and are headed to the Governor’s desk:

  • HB1992: a bill that I have worked on for many years to prevent domestic abusers from having access to guns. This is a major accomplishment to protect victims of domestic abuse and strengthen gun safety measures in the Commonwealth.
  • HB1994: expands the number of businesses that can participate in the Small Agricultural Generation program, which allows an alternative option for agricultural businesses to use solar energy outside of the constraints of traditional agricultural or nonresidential net metering.
  • HB1995: creates a Rare Disease Advisory Council in the Executive Branch to study and advocate for the needs of Virginians with rare diseases.
  • HB1999: allows the Tax Commissioner to waive the accrual of interest on overdue tax payments during a state of emergency.

HB1992: Keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers
 
Since I was elected, I have been relentless in working to pass bills that keep Virginians -- and especially victims of domestic violence -- safe from gun violence. This year, we were finally able to pass my bill to keep guns out of the hands of violent domestic abusers.


Working to negotiate these deals through the legislative process takes commitment and patience. It takes building strong relationships with other members and recognizing that not even all Democrats agree.
 
I have served in the House for seven years. Only the past two have been with a Democratic majority. Since joining the House of Delegates, I started the Gun Violence Prevention Caucus with Senator Adam Ebbin and patroned and co-patroned several significant gun safety bills.
 
We have made progress on gun safety, education, energy, healthcare, and more. But on some issues (especially gun safety issues) there is no guarantee that all Democrats will vote together.
 
HB1992 went through several iterations. Concerns were raised that people could lose their gun rights and be put in jail for simply throwing a carrot at another family member.  A Senator objected to taking guns away for violent domestic abuse because it would mean the person wouldn’t be able to go deer hunting. (I’m not kidding.)
 
I would have preferred a stronger bill with a more expansive definition of victims of domestic violence. But after many negotiations, this was the only way to obtain consensus to get this bill through the Senate. It isn’t perfect. But it is progress that we can build on.
 
I make this promise: I will continue fighting for common sense gun safety legislation. I won’t give up.


Re-opening schools
It is critical that we get our kids back in school as soon as it is safe to do so. The House Democratic majority has included items in the budget to ensure that schools can reopen quickly and safely. I will send an update when the budget is finalized.
•    $429.5 million to ensure our schools have the resources they need to hit the ground running for in-person instruction;
•    A 5% pay increase for our teachers;
•    $123 million to assist with COVID-19 remediation and student supports;
•    $26.6 million to put more counselors in schools;
•    And $30 million to support competitive grants for other innovative learning programs.
 


Loudoun Cares: Coronavirus Relief
https://www.loudouncares.org/
Loudoun Cares is a nonprofit hotline that connects residents with the resources they need. They can help connect you with rent/utility assistance, food, clothing, medical/dental, housing, job services, and more.


 
Healthcare.gov Reopens
The Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as Healthcare.gov is now open. Anyone who needs health insurance or wants to evaluate their options will be able to search for plans and see how much financial aid they qualify for. Visit Healthcare.gov for more information.


Help Democratic Candidates Get on the Ballot
Each election year, candidates are required to get signatures from their district in order to appear on the ballot in primary and general elections. It is now easy to sign. Just visit this link created by the Fairfax County Democratic Committee to sign the petitions for candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and the House of Delegates: https://www.vadempetitions.org/.
 
Stay safe.
 
My best regards,
Delegate Kathleen Murphy
House District 34