A great moment in 2023 Women’s History Month in Virginia. As reported by WRIC, the portrait of former Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, the first woman and Jewish speaker in the House of Delegates’ 404-year history, was unveiled at the state Capitol on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. (Read the entire WRIC coverage here.)
This week, Filler-Corn sent her supporters this reflection on the historical moment.
The Virginia General Assembly adjourned “Sine Die” Saturday, February 25th after considering approximately 3,000 bills! Our legislators also filled judicial vacancies, approved/rejected the Governor’s nominations, and passed a “skinny budget” which addresses Virginia’s most pressing financial needs. You may find the version of the budget as passed on the LIS website.
Dialogue on the budget between the House and Senate will continue for weeks, the goal being to settle the differences in the budget proposals between “Governor Youngkin’s Republicans” and “our” Democrats.
2023 Annual FREE CPR & AED Education Day is Saturday, June 3
Every first Saturday in June, the Compress & Shock Foundation holds their Annual Free CPR & AED Education Day with the goal of establishing a National CPR & AED Education Day. "We empower the public to intervene as bystanders and improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival."
Dr. Karen Perkins, Vice Director of Roanoke-based Compress & Shock Foundation, invites us to get involved and support the foundation’s mission to “deliver free and equitable access to CPR and AED education all communities with a specific dedication to those communities most adversely affected by cardiac arrest due to race, ethnicity, primary language, or access to healthcare education.”
The House and Senate committees working on the budget have released their proposed changes to the budget for fiscal year 2023-24. The information gathered by the Commonwealth Institute and the charts available at their website provide a summary-level assessment of key general fund changes proposed by the money committees and Gov. Youngkin compared to the current budget. The institute (and President Joe Biden) remind us that, “budget proposals are the clearest expressions of our priorities and values.”
Yesterday, the Roanoke Times dramatically headlined the front page of the paper: “Bills Fall to Wayside”. . . referencing the work being done in Richmond at the General Assembly.
Effective today, Wednesday, February 8, aside from working on the budget… each house may only consider the legislation and amendments of the other house. (We will report more about the budget next week.) Though almost 2,000 bills were introduced this session, most “died in committee.”
Observing the 2023 Virginia General Assembly with this divided government provides us with a real-life example of why our votes are so important! The Republican majority in the House passed three bills that would have drastically restricted or even eliminated abortions in Virginia, a legislative priority of our governor. The Senate’s Democratic majority is our “brick wall” against extreme measures, and the Education and Health Committee there effectively nixed all three of those bills.
Unfortunately, the Democrats’ push for stricter gun laws, including efforts to ban assault weapons, is being axed by the House Republicans due to their holding the majority. Republicans continue to try to roll back the progress made when Democrats held a majority in the House, Senate, and statewide offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General.
The Campaign to Rename the Federal Building for Reuben Lawson.
RVDW’s January 27 meeting guest speakers, attorney John Fishwick Jr. and Reverend Edward Burton, gave members an important message and a call to action. Fishwick and Rev. Burton are leading a campaign to rename Roanoke’s Federal Building after civil rights leader Roanoke attorney Reuben Lawson. “Reuben Lawson was a civil rights titan, but unfortunately is not as well-known as his peer and another Roanoke attorney, Oliver Hill,” Fishwick explained. “Lawson brought the legal cases that successfully integrated the schools in Grayson County, Floyd County, Pulaski County, Lynchburg City, Roanoke City, and Roanoke County. This was not easy work, as he had to overcome many roadblocks and the massive resistance that was commonplace in the South in the late 1950s and 1960s. A federal courthouse is where our citizens go to vindicate rights and it should be named after someone who reflected that principle. Reuben Lawson did just that.”
HB2192 would transform Catawba Hospital into a state-of-the-art substance abuse treatment and recovery services facility.
HB2192 has cleared a major hurdle toward passage with unanimous, bipartisan support of the Health, Welfare and Institutions subcommittee. (More HERE on Cardinal News: “House panel unanimously backs Catawba transformation project“) The “Catawba Hospital; substance abuse treatment and recovery services” bill, with Del. Sam Rasoul of Roanoke as patron, Del. Joseph P. McNamara of Salem as chief co-patron, and Del. Chris Head of Botetourt County among several more co-patrons, “Directs the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to transform Catawba Hospital into a state-of-the-art facility at which a continuum of substance abuse treatment and recovery services is provided in addition to the array of behavioral health and other services currently provided to geriatric individuals in need of mental health care.”
Virginia’s General Assembly began on January 11th for a 46 day “short” session (projected to end February 25th). We are represented in Richmond by a divided government right now, with a Republican majority in the House this year, and a Democratic majority in the Senate. This session’s discussions will be focused on amendments to The Budget, in addition to all the discussions of the thousands of bills typically filed by legislators during an election year.