Budget Compromise Not Expected in Time for Veto Session

Glenn Youngkin

The General Assembly will be back in town Wednesday to vote on Governor Glenn Youngkin’s amendments and vetoes to legislation passed earlier this year, but are unlikely to have a budget compromise ready for approval by then.

“Informally, the chairs are going back and forth a little bit, and we keep getting briefed, but we have not really gotten to a point where we can do a final negotiation, if you will. There’s still significant differences there in what we we’re working on,” conferee Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) told The Virginia Star on Thursday. “We’ve got some tentative agreements, I guess you’d say.

Read More

Youngkin Amends Legislation to Protect Religious Expression; Del. Shin Says He Hijacked Her Bill

Delegate Irene Shin (D-Fairfax) called Governor Glenn Youngkin a “wolf in fleece clothing” after he amended her bill to protect people wearing religious items against discrimination. Youngkin’s amendments to HB 1063 expand the definition of “religion” in the legislation. The bill passed out of the General Assembly with unanimous support, but the legislature will meet next week to vote on Youngkin’s amendments to the bill and other legislation.

“And in the face of this bipartisan collaboration, the Governor has drastically changed the scope and intent of this bill and warped into something much more insidious,” Shin said in a press release Wednesday. “The practical implications of the Governor’s amendment would be to create legal protections for discriminatory and bigoted policies, acts and beliefs under the guise of religion. The fact that this Administration would co-opt a universally approved bipartisan measure designed to ensure equal protections and weaponize it to advance their agenda of discrimination and division, while sadly unsurprising, is still appalling.”

Read More

With Charter School Bills Dead, Virginia Republicans Turn to Lab Schools, but Democrats Are Wary

Governor Glenn Youngkin campaigned on creating 20 new charter schools in Virginia, but the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee killed Republican-led charter school legislation. As a result, Republicans are pivoting to lab schools — schools that are part of the local district operated as partnerships with education programs at local higher ed institutions. Legislation to expand Virginia’s lab schools to institutions with programs beyond education is currently in conference committee with negotiators from the House of Delegates and the Senate to try to create a compromise to send to Youngkin.

“It’s going to be an opportunity for us to move some charter-schools-lite through,” House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore (R-Scott) told The Virginia Star during a discussion of top priorities at the beginning of the 2022 special session.

Read More

Virginia General Assembly Passes Bill Protecting Teachers Who Speak Out Against School Policy

While it was in session, the General Assembly passed a law protecting state and local government employees from being penalized by their employer for expressing their opinion about policy or proposals during public comment periods.  According to a Monday email update, The Family Foundation asked for the bill after Loudoun County teacher Tanner Cross was fired from his position after he spoke against the district’s proposed transgender policy.

“If you’re a science teacher, and you don’t believe in evolution, that’s fine. But your job requires you to teach it, so you have to teach it; but on your own time, if you want to say evolution is BS, you can do that and you can’t be penalized for it. But you have to do your job,” bill sponsor Education Committee Chair Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) told a committee in February. “I’ll use the other example, the Pledge [of Allegiance.] A teacher doesn’t believe in the Pledge, their job is when the day starts, as directed by the principal, to have their class stand up and say the Pledge. But on your own time, if you want to go out and speak against it, that’s your right. We can’t be penalized for it.”

Read More

House Education Committee Promptly Advances School Mask-Optional Legislation

RICHMOND, Virginia – The House Education Committee voted to advance school mask-optional language in a special meeting Friday; Senator Siobhan Dunnavant’s (R-Henrico) SB 739 was the only bill on the agenda.

As introduced in the Senate, Dunnavant’s original bill focused on in-person learning, but earlier this week Senator Chap Peterson (D-Fairfax City) moved to amend the bill to include the masking clause; that vote got broad support from both sides of the aisle. A later vote to pass the amended bill only had two Democrats supporting it, but that was enough to pass out of the Democrat-controlled Senate. On Wednesday, Delegate Amanda Batten (R-York) said that the sudden change surprised Republicans.

Read More

House of Delegates Passes Bill to Ban Consideration of Race in Governor’s Schools Admissions

RICHMOND, Virginia – The House of Delegates passed a bill banning consideration of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in admissions to Virginia’s governor’s schools. That’s a reaction to controversy at Thomas Jefferson (TJ) High School for Science and Technology, where officials instituted a merit lottery to try to expand the largely Asian American student base to underrepresented groups while still maintaining a high standard. Conservatives saw that as part of a broader wave of watered-down academic standards in the name of equity, and Republicans campaigned in 2021 on restoring Virginia’s educational standards of excellence.

Delegates debated HB 127 on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Delegate Richard (Rip) Sullivan (D-Fairfax) said he and his wife spent years as proud TJ Colonials parents.

Read More

Virginia General Assembly Continues to Debate Youngkin Critical Race Theory Ban

RICHMOND, Virginia – The General Assembly continues to debate Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order One banning Critical Race Theory and “inherently divisive concepts.” On Wednesday, legislators debated the policy in the House Education Committee, on the House floor, and on the Senate floor. The newly-Republican-controlled House of Delegates has been slow to hear bills in committee, which generated another House floor back-and-forth, but although key anti-CRT bills haven’t been heard in the Education Committee yet, delegates got a jump-start on debating the topic when interviewing Youngkin nominee for Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow.

Balow previously served as Wyoming’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, where she supported anti-CRT legislation.

“I share Governor Youngkin’s priorities for education,” Balow said.

Read More

Speaker of the House Gilbert Takes the Dais, Republicans Preview Agenda on First Day of 2022 General Assembly Session

Virginia House Republicans took power on Wednesday with the formal election and swearing-in of Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah). The first day of the 2022 General Assembly session was marked by ceremony and by minor squabbles between Democrats and Republicans over House rules. In the morning, Gilbert and other Republican leaders previewed their legislative goals for the session in a press conference.

“Our agenda for 2022 is a direct response to what we heard from voters on the campaign trail,” Gilbert said. “Throughout the campaign, voters consistently told us they were worried about their children’s education, inflation was making it harder to take care of their families, and they wanted to see the safety of their communities improved.”

Read More

Rejuvenated Virginia GOP Prepares for Future Victories at 2021 Advance

In a weekend that was part play, part work, attendees at the Republican Party of Virginia’s Advance spent weekend networking and attending events including a Friday reception with Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, breakout sessions, a congressional breakfast, a luncheon with Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares, and a 1920s-themed gala and ball featuring Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears. The event was held at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia, which provided activities like the Cascades Gorge hike or a hayride. Moods were high as Republicans celebrated Virginia’s sudden-seeming return to swing state status, with more wins expected in future years.

“I encountered a relatively empty shell of an organization in August of 2020. But we have worked together, we have grown, we have expanded, we’ve answered the challenge,” RPV Chairman Rich Anderson said in remarks at the Saturday gala. “Virginia Republicans: we fought! We won! The Virginia GOP is red again.”

Read More

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.

Read More

School Board Politics Underlie Virginia Beach House Races

Virginia Beach has several competitive House of Delegates races where Republicans hope to make gains that will help power them to a House of Delegates majority.  GOP candidates are focusing on a mix of law-and-order and education policy in a city where school board politics underlie several of the local House races.

In HD 83, Attorney Tim Anderson is challenging Delegate Nancy Guy (D-Virginia Beach), a former school board member. In the past, Anderson has endorsed and legally represented School Board Member Victoria Manning, a member of a conservative minority faction on the school board. Manning herself has pushed for recalls of her fellow school board members, including Vice Chair Kim Melnyk, who is challenging Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 84. Additionally, 2020 school board candidate Jeffrey Feld is challenging Delegate Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 81.

Read More

Redistricting: Draft Virginia Senate Map Highlights Different Definitions of ‘Fair’

Capitol of the Commonwealth of Virginia

A new working draft of a Virginia Senate redistricting map is highlighting the question of what creating a fair map means. The working map was hammered out on Saturday in a closed-door meeting between the Democratic and Republican co-chairs, Democratic and Republican legal teams, and Democratic and Republican map-drawers.

Read More

Republicans Pick Winsome Sears for Lieutenant Governor, Completing Their Ticket for 2021 Election

Winsome Sears is the Republican Party of Virginia’s (RPV) nominee for lieutenant governor. With her nomination, the Republicans have their ticket: former Carlyle CEO Glenn Youngkin for governor, current Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) for attorney general, and Sears, who represented Virginia Beach in the House of Delegates from 2002-2003, and then challenged U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (D-Virginia-03) in 2004.

Read More

Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association Starts Podcast Series on 2021 Candidates and Healthcare

Set up of podcast with microphone and desktop computer with editing software.

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) have announced a podcast series focusing on the 2021 candidates for office and their stances on healthcare. The series features statewide candidates from both parties addressing the healthcare issues of the Commonwealth. 

Read More

Lieutenant Governor Candidate Glenn Davis Sues over Text Message Sent to Convention Delegates

Lieutenant governor candidate Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) is suing “Jane Doe” over an anonymous text message sent to voters in April. Davis is seeking a subpoena against telecommunications provider Onvoy, LLC to reveal the sender of the text, which the lawsuit argues is defamatory.

 “The text message sent out essentially says that if you are gay then you are disqualified from being a Republican candidate. That is not what our party believes. That is not what our party stands for,” Davis told The Virginia Star on Tuesday.

Read More

With GOP Nominating Convention Two Weeks Away, Snyder, Sears Launch Tours

With two weeks until the May 8 GOP nomination convention, GOP candidates are hitting the road. On Friday, gubernatorial candidate Pete Snyder announced a new “Conservative Outlaw Tour” of ten stops over 12 days spread across Virginia accompanied by his barbecue smoker the “Pig Rig” and  “conservative outlaw” special guests. The same day, Lieutenant Governor candidate Winsome Sears announced her “Take Back the Commonwealth” RV tour with 24 scheduled stops over five days.

Read More

Q1 Finance Reports for Statewide Campaigns Filed, Youngkin Leads in GOP, Snyder Comes Close

Per the Code of the Commonwealth of Virginia, all campaigns must have their Campaign Finance Report filed with the State Board of Elections by 11:59PM  Thursday. These reports give voters a behind-the-scenes look on how candidates run their campaigns, who is giving them money, and how the candidates are spending their campaign cash.

According to public reports available as of press time, former Carlyle Group CEO Glenn Youngkin has out-raised the Republican field for Governor. Youngkin filed a sizable return, reporting $7.6 million in raised funds. However, he did not post yet how much cash on hand (COH) he has. Former New Media Strategies CEO and Youngkin’s main opponent Pete Snyder, meanwhile, raised $6.4 million – but also with no report yet on his cash on hand.

Read More

Winsome Sears Shocks Race for Lieutenant Governor, Receives Endorsement of Amanda Chase and Octavia Johnson

On Monday, former Delegate Winsome Sears, candidate for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor in Virginia, was endorsed by gubernatorial candidates State Senator Amanda Chase (I-Chesterfield) and former Roanoke City Sheriff Octavia Johnson. The dual endorsements have caused a tremendous uproar in a race that until today was considered rather quiet.

Read More

Guzman and Davis Debate Future of Education in Virginia

Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William) and Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach), who are both running for lieutenant governor, started their education debate on Twitter during the 2021 General Assembly session. On Saturday, the two candidates met on Zoom to continue their discussion about the future of education in Virginia.

Read More

Governor Northam Approves Cultural Competency Requirement for Teacher’s Licenses

Governor Ralph Northam approved legislation on Thursday to require cultural competency training for educators to be licensed by the Virginia Board of Education. HB 1904, introduced by Delegate Clinton Jenkins (D-Suffolk), and companion SB 1196, introduced by Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton,) require that anyone seeking licensure or re-licensure must complete cultural competency training by the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year. Licenses with social science or history endorsements require additional training in African American history.

Read More

GOP Lieutenant Governor Candidates Ramp Up Their Campaigns

71 percent of Republican voters are undecided about the GOP Lieutenant Governor candidates; a recent Christopher Newport/Wason Center Poll found just eight percent of voters supported Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach), with Tim Hugo in second place at four percent. But the Republican Party of Virginia nomination convention is just over two months away, and the five candidates for the nomination are working to build the biggest list of delegates to the convention.

Read More

PPP Loan Tax Exemption Bills Go into Conference in Virginia General Assembly

The General Assembly has so far failed to find middle ground for tax breaks on forgiven Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans, and will now form a committee of three senators and three delegates to reconcile differences between the two chambers.

While a Senate bill calls for a $100,000 cap on income deductions claimed under PPP expenditures, the House of Delegates bill calls for only a $25,000 cap. When the two chambers considered each other’s bills, the House modified SB 1146 to a $25,000 cap, while the Senate amended HB 1935 to a $100,000 cap. After passing the modified versions, both chambers then rejected the modified versions of their original bills. On Friday, the two chambers agreed to form a conference committee to work together to create a bill that can pass both chambers.

Read More

Virginia House Passes Same-Sex Marriage-Ban-Repeal Bill SJ 270, But the Constitutional Amendment Still Has a Long Road Ahead

The Virginia General Assembly has taken another step towards repealing the one-man-and-one-woman marriage clause from the Virginia Constitution. On Monday, the House of Delegates passed Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) SJ 270 in a bipartisan vote.

Read More

Virginia House Gun Bill Roundup

The Virginia House of Delegates sent four gun bills to the Senate over the past week, and is scheduled to vote on two more on Monday.

Read More

Six Gun Bills Move Through Virginia House Committee

The House Committee on Public Safety (CPS) approved several firearms bills on Friday morning.  The bills include HB 1909, which allows school boards to declare non-school zone property owned by the board as a gun free zone; HB 1992, which prohibits people convicted of assault from owning or possessing a firearm; HB 2128, which increases the firearm sale background check delay from three days to five days, HB2276 which bans plastic firearms and 80 percent receivers; and HB 2295, which bans carrying firearms or stun weapons on Capitol grounds in Richmond. HB2081, which bans carrying firearms at a polling place, passed out of the Privileges and Elections Committee on Wednesday.

Read More

Second Amendment Advocates Pour Into Virginia’s Capitol for Lobby Day 2021

Buses, a decommissioned ambulance, and lots of cars and trucks traveled through Richmond for hours on Monday afternoon as part of the Virginia Citizens Defense League’s (VCDL) Lobby Day 2021 demonstration. Most vehicles sported VCDL flags and decals; a few also waved Trump flags and other paraphernalia.

“When the first bus came, it just seemed like car after car after car, decked out, horns honking, people waving,” VCDL President Phil Van Cleave said. Car caravans came from all corners of the Commonwealth.

Read More

Republicans Pre-File Three Pro-Gun Bills in Virginia House of Delegates

In 2020, Virginia Democrats used their new majorities to pass sweeping gun control resolutions through the General Assembly, and Democrats will retain control during the upcoming regular session. But that isn’t stopping Republicans in the House of Delegates from trying to pass some pro-gun legislation. So far, legislators have pre-filed three pro-gun bills for the 2021 session that, if passed, will expand concealed carry handgun (CCH) rights and remove sovereign immunity in areas with government gun bans.

Read More

Republicans Pre-File Three Pro-Gun Bills in Virginia House of Delegates

In 2020, Virginia Democrats used their new majorities to pass sweeping gun control resolutions through the General Assembly, and Democrats will retain control during the upcoming regular session. But that isn’t stopping Republicans in the House of Delegates from trying to pass some pro-gun legislation. So far, legislators have pre-filed three pro-gun bills for the 2021 session that, if passed, will expand concealed carry handgun (CCH) rights and remove sovereign immunity in areas with government gun bans.

Read More

Delegate Mark Levine Announces Run for Lieutenant Governor in 2021

Virginia State Delegate Mark Levine (D-Arlington) announced last Monday that he was officially running for lieutenant governor and joining the crowded contest.

Levine, 54, is the 12th contender to enter into the race so far and, if elected, he would become Virginia’s first openly gay statewide elected official. 

Read More

Delegate Hala Ayala Hopes to Bridge the Divide Between Politicians and the People in Virginia as Lieutenant Governor

Virginia Delegate Hala Ayala (D-Prince William) wants to be a bridge between lawmakers and Virginians throughout the Commonwealth and offer a new perspective in state politics if her bid to become the next lieutenant governor is successful. 

Ayala, 47, entered Virginia’s 2021 lieutenant gubernatorial election on July 14th, and was one of the first candidates to enter into the race that now features a dozen Democratic and Republican hopefuls. 

Read More

Elizabeth Guzman Says She Will Bring a Progressive Voice to the Senate as Virginia Lieutenant Governor

State Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William) is determined to bring a fresh progressive voice to the Democratic-controlled Virginia Senate and advocate for the Commonwealth’s working class if elected as lieutenant governor next November.

Guzman, who has represented the 31st House of Delegates District since 2018, announced her campaign for the 2021 Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial election at the beginning of October.

Read More

Puneet Ahluwalia Wants to Bring Pro-Business Leadership Back to Virginia as Lieutenant Governor

Northern Virginia lobbyist and consultant Puneet Ahluwalia is running for lieutenant governor to offer a fresh perspective in state politics and provide a pro-business mindset to help Virginians overcome the current economic challenges. 

Originally from India, Ahluwalia announced his bid for the 2021 Republican lieutenant governor  nomination in September and is one of many people who started campaigns for the position in the last couple months. 

Read More

Glenn Davis is Determined to Make Second Run at Virginia Lieutenant Governor a Success

Virginia State Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) says he wants to restore the Commonwealth as a bastion of business and help bring increased equity to education throughout the state if elected as lieutenant governor in 2021.

Davis, 47, announced his second run for the position back in September and was the first Republican candidate to enter the 2021 Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial election, which will take place next November.

Read More

Delegate Sam Rasoul Announces Run for Lieutenant Governor, Joins Crowded List of Hopefuls

Democratic House of Delegates member Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) announced his bid for the lieutenant governor position earlier this week, officially entering the 2021 race.

Rasoul, who has served as a state legislator since 2014, made the announcement Tuesday morning through a video posted to twitter.

Read More

Virginia Second Congressional District 2022 Race Candidate Preview

With the 2020 state congressional elections completed and incumbent Democratic Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA-02) having defeated Republican challenger Scott Taylor, conservative hopefuls must now look toward 2022 when the 2nd District seat will again be up for grabs.

Securing her second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Luria handily beat Taylor by just under six percentage points and received nearly 21,000 more votes, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

Read More

Lance Allen Wants to Bring a Fresh Approach to Virginia Politics as Lt. Gov.

Virginia lieutenant governor candidate Lance Allen is determined to bring a new approach to state-level politics in the Commonwealth and offer Virginians with something that has been lacking: a politician who will listen to their problems. 

Allen formally announced his entrance into the 2021 Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial election back in August, joining a handful of other Republican hopefuls in a pursuit to become the second-highest-ranking government official in the state. 

Read More

Sean Perryman: It’s Time For a New Generation of Leaders to Emerge

Virginia Lieutenant Governor candidate Sean Perryman does not want to use the position as a stepping stone or to be just another cog in the political machine. Instead, he is aiming to lead the Commonwealth by solving key issues currently facing the majority of Virginians.

“Sometimes people look at lieutenant governor as a role where if you sit quietly and don’t offend anyone then you can become governor. I have no interest in that,” Perryman said in an interview with The Virginia Star. “I am going to be very vocal on a set of policies and values that we should be championing, and let the chips fall where they may. I am not going to stifle myself or take a position to further political ambitions, I am going to do what I think is right.”

Read More

Former State Delegate Tim Hugo Announces Bid for Lieutenant Governor in 2021

Former member of the Virginia House of Delegates Tim Hugo announced Monday that he is officially entering the 2021 Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial election.

Hugo is the fourth Republican to enter the race and is the ninth person to announce their candidacy overall.

Read More