Archive for May, 2021

Virginia General Assembly Report

Friday, May 14th, 2021

The annual General Assembly wrap-up meeting was held on May 12 with five local representatives participating: Senator Creigh Deeds and Delegates Rob Bell, Matt Fariss, Sally Hudson and Chris Runion. The program was moderated by SSV Vice President Sue Friedman.  Topics included: Criminal justice reform, broadband access, the pros and cons of Zoom including changing role of lobbyists, the death penalty, redistricting, and passenger rail.

Click here to see a video of the meeting –

Listen to the podcast here:

Program Summary

The Zoom session started with a four-minute opening statement by each presenter on their impression of significant and essential issues of the session. Bipartisanship and collegiality were often described. Among those mentioned were a new license plate stating, “I have difficulty communicating,” criminal justice reform, broadband access, pros and cons of Zoom including changing role of lobbyists, death penalty, redistricting, and passenger rail.

Following the initial portion, questions were asked from the audience with each representative having a chance to reply. Topics were varied. Involvement of the minority party in decision making (21 D and 19 R in the current session) focused on informal discussion and learning from each other. Is it time to rescind the state of emergency? This is the governor’s job, but all were encouraged by decreasing COVID cases and increasing vaccine rates.

That there is no redistricting representation from the Charlottesville-Albemarle area will not be adjusted until next census, but there is plenty of opportunity for local citizens to participate in hearings, which they were encouraged to do. Passenger rail service was enthusiastically received and encouraged by the panel with all pleased with federal funding assistance. The final question dealt with the legalization of pot and was the most divisive among the speakers. Emphasis is that the bill currently is a work in progress and the public health concerns will be studied over the next three years.