VCDL, VAPLAN Rank Virginia’s General Assembly Legislators

Nick Freitas and Mark Obenshain

The pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) has released a scorecard of legislators from the recent General Assembly session, with most Republican legislators scoring 100 percent.  In tallies that count votes, Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) and Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) earned the highest scores based on the number of votes cast and who introduced legislation. The Virginia Progressive Legislative Action Network (VAPLAN) has also released a scorecard, finding that Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) and Delegate Thomas Wright (R-Lunenberg) tied for most conservative in the House, while Senator Steve Newman (R-Bedford) was the most conservative in the Senate.

“Congratulations to Senator Mark Obenshain (R – Harrisonburg) and to Delegate Nick Freitas (R – Culpeper) for having the best voting records in the General Assembly,” the VCDL wrote in an update. “And honorable mention goes to Senator Ryan McDougle (R-Mechanicsville and freshman Delegate Marie March (R-Pulaski), who both came in 2nd place.”

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Keeney Leads New Republican PAC, ‘Bold Dominion’

Taylor Keeny

Former congressional candidate Taylor Keeney is helming Bold Dominion, a new Republican PAC that is starting out by supporting Senator Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico), and Delegates Emily Brewer (R-Suffolk), Carrie Coyner (R-Chesterfield), and Kim Taylor (R-Dinwiddie.)

“This PAC is going to be focused on getting the next generation more involved in supporting Republican candidates. It’s a shared experience among everyone on this board that we can do a better job getting more people involved in the process and provide additional support people in tough races by doing so,” Keeney told The Virginia Star.

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Virginia House of Delegates Passes ‘Divisive Concepts’ Ban

The House of Delegates passed HB 787, Delegate Dave LaRock’s (R-Loudoun) bill focused on controversial teaching in schools.  On Tuesday, the bill passed 50-49, with Delegate Carrie Coyner (R-Chesterfield) joining Democrats in opposition and Delegate Kim Taylor (R-Dinwiddie) not voting.

Before hearing the Democratic amendments, House Education Chair Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) explained a Republican amendment, “which makes it very clear that you can teach literature, history, whatever you’d like that takes into account the past or present beliefs that are set in subsection A above, Mr. Speaker.”

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Virginia General Assembly Off to Slow Start as Committees Evaluate Legislation, Youngkin Cabinet Picks

RICHMOND, Virginia – Most of the action in the General Assembly is occurring in committees as legislators decide which bills will survive to be voted on by the full Senate and House of Delegates. House Republicans have advanced some key bills on local gun control repeals, elections reform, and school misdemeanor reporting. Senate Democrats have advanced some key bills, but much of their work has been in killing Republican-introduced legislation.

“What has not surprised me is there has been a conspicuous partisan divide with Democratic pushback against Governor Youngkin’s agenda, particularly in the area of tax reform and education reform, and masks,” Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment (R-James City) told The Virginia Star.

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New Virginia Gov. Youngkin Announces More Transition Officials

Glenn Youngkin announced a 113-member list of legislators, law enforcement, business owners, and Republican Party of Virginia officials that will be part of his transition “landing teams” — separate from the transition steering committee he announced earlier in November. The teams will coordinate with Governor Ralph Northam’s cabinet.

“In order to change the trajectory of our great Commonwealth, our transition team is utilizing the vast experience of business owners, law enforcement officials, veterans, healthcare providers, industry experts, and—most importantly—parents to determine how government can begin to serve Virginians better and start delivering on our Day One promises of better schools, safer streets, a lower cost of living, and more jobs,” Youngkin said in a Wednesday press release.

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Youngkin, Miyares, Sears Stop in Chester for Take Back Virginia Rally

CHESTER, Virginia – The GOP candidates for governor, attorney general, and lieutenant governor stopped in Chester on Saturday afternoon for a rally with about 350 attendees. In 90-degree heat Glenn Youngkin, Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach), and Winsome Sears spoke, mentioning Juneteenth, opposed Critical Race Theory in schools, and called for tough-on-crime policies.

“Virginians for the last eight years have been crushed. And I’ll say right here, right now, eight is enough,” Youngkin said.

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Virginia Launches Pandemic-Style Equity Dashboards

Virginia’s Health Equity Leadership created two new dashboards displaying equity data in a style similar to pandemic metric dashboards. The dashboards display data on current conditions in Virginia and on mitigation efforts.

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General Assembly Votes to Make Virginia First Southern State to Abolish Death Penalty

The Virginia General Assembly passed a death penalty repeal on Monday. Governor Ralph Northam is expected to sign the bills, which would make Virginia the first state in the South to ban capital punishment. Advocates have argued that the death penalty is vulnerable to wrongful conviction, is expensive, cruel, and applied unfairly, but opponents say some of the most heinous crimes require a death penalty to make sure the criminal doesn’t get free. During the 2021 session, House Republicans have emphasized the names of victims of particularly serious crimes, who they say are being ignored by Democrats.

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