The major news story that broke last week was the 14-count felony indictment filed against former Governor McDonnell and his wife for ethics violations. There is no question that public confidence in government officials has diminished. The people of Virginia expect accountability from their elected officials, and my colleagues and I have invested a lot of time and effort in crafting legislation to meet that expectation. Many provisions I proposed have been endorsed by the Senate Rules Committee.
Last week also marked a big victory for proponents of marriage equality in Virginia when Attorney General Mark Herring announced that, after a thorough legal review, he concluded Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. Virginia has a proud history as the birthplace of the Bill of Rights, but too often our Commonwealth has been on the wrong side of history, as we were in Loving v. Virginia in 1967 arguing against interracial marriage. It is exciting and refreshing to see Virginia waking up from history and looking forward, not backward.
Several of my other legislative proposals have made progress. One of these bills (SB27) would reinstate the option for individuals to receive their tax refunds in the form of a paper check instead of a pre-loaded debit card. Consumers around the state complained that the debit cards being used were fraught with fees and not consumer-friendly, and I am pleased to report this bill passed unanimously through the Senate.
Another bill I’ve co-sponsored with Senator Bryce Reeves of Fredericksburg (SB96) would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. These e-cigarettes contain nicotine and have addictive properties. We need to regulate them in the same manner as we regulate traditional cigarettes by not allowing their sale to children.
I have also introduced legislation (SB663) to establish a mental health pilot program at eight community college campuses around the state. This bill would provide important services given the alarming increase in violent tragedies at campuses around the country.
Thanks to all who attended the Mt. Vernon Town Hall Meeting last Saturday with Sen. Toddy Puller and Del. Scott Surovell. For those who could not make it to that one or who live in other parts of the district, there are two additional Town Hall Meetings:
Lee District: Feb. 1, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Kingstowne Thompson Center (6090 Kingstowne Village Parkway, Alexandria) with Del. Mark Sickles, Sen. George Barker and Sen. Toddy Puller.
Alexandria/Arlington: Feb. 15, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Charles Houston Recreation Center (905 Wythe Street, Alexandria) with Del. Rob Krupicka.
If you’re in Richmond between now and March 8, please stop by my office and see me. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 804-698-7530 with your
thoughts on legislation or state-related matters. I am active on Facebook and Twitter (@AdamEbbin) and more information is available at www.AdamEbbin.com, where I encourage you to sign up for my email updates.
It is an honor to represent the citizens of the 30th Senate District.