Senate and House Denounce Republican Focus on Divisive Legislation that Takes Virginia Backwards
At a press conference in Richmond on Thursday, members of the House and Senate Democratic caucuses stood together to denounce the dozens of extreme, divisive bills passed over the first month of session. Republicans have shepherded scores of bills through both chambers on controversial topics like abortion, handguns, voting restrictions, and discrimination while largely ignoring the economic and education focus that voters were promised in the recent legislative elections.
"Republicans are so focused on divisive policies that they are hindering our efforts at progress, putting our kids' education at risk, and leaving them less prepared for the future," remarked Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Donald McEachin (D-Henrico). "In the last four weeks, Senate and House Republicans have introduced hundreds of bills that target the poor, women, and immigrants, make it harder to vote, and discriminate against gays and lesbians. It's time for Republicans to put divisive ideology and raw partisanship aside."
"The Republican budget is chipping away at the priorities of Virginia families," said Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington). "My son went to Arlington County Public Schools, and with the quality education he received, he now attends George Mason University. I want to preserve the opportunities my family had for today's Virginia families."
"It was just last month in his State of the Commonwealth address that Gov. McDonnell warned Republicans not to overreach," remarked House Democratic Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville). "All people need to do is look at these bills – allowing guns in child care parking lots and airports, drug testing for poor people, and restricting a woman's right to choose. Meanwhile, we are short-changing our schools and not focusing enough attention on creating jobs and economic opportunity."
"Republicans have tried to minimize and downplay their support for these bills, claiming they are but a small portion of the legislation before us," said House Democratic Caucus Chair Mark Sickles (D-Franconia). "But they are generating the vast majority of headlines across the state, the vast majority of debate on the floor, and the vast majority of constituent responses in my district."
House and Senate Democrats remain committed to returning the General Assembly's focus to jobs, education, and transportation while ensuring that our schools and safety-net programs remain fully funded in the budget.