Last week, my fellow Democratic Senators and I unveiled our 2015 legislative priorities, an “Opportunity Agenda,” which focuses on six core principles. They are Economic Security; Voter Access and Participation; Equality; Education for a Brighter Future; Restoration of Faith in Government; and Leading Healthier and Safer Lives. When I spoke at our news conference, I invited our Republican colleagues to partner with us in support of these core Virginia values.
An integral part of building a stronger economy is making sure that hardworking Virginians receive an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. In 2013, 113,000 Virginian’s earned the minimum wage of just $7.25 per hour. If the minimum wage was indexed to inflation, it would be more than $10.50 per hour today. That is why I co-sponsored Sen. David Marsden’s bill to give hardworking Virginians a raise. Unfortunately, the bill failed on a party line vote in the Commerce and Labor committee.
Much of the focus this session so far has been on the budget. One budget amendment I submitted is for smart investments in support of Community Health Centers (CHC’s), non-profit organizations that provide primary medical care in addition to dental and behavioral services to those in need. Neighborhood Health is one CHC with branches in Alexandria, Arlington, and Mount Vernon that provide services to low-income residents who would otherwise go without healthcare. My proposal would provide state grants to match private, foundation, and federal funding. Supporting great organizations like Neighborhood Health will bring down medical costs by increasing access to preventative care.
I introduced multiple pieces of legislation to address tax disparities that would bring in more revenue. One would to be levy an excise tax on e-cigarettes at a lower amount than tobacco cigarettes. The second would reduce the tax preference for yachts valued at over $100,000.
I have also introduced a bill to outlaw the import and sale of ivory and rhinoceros horns. While it is illegal under federal law to transport ivory and rhinoceros horns across state lines, there is a loophole regarding trade within states. The ivory black market is a global security issue, as many of poaching proceeds fund terrorist networks like al-Shabaab. My bill aims to close the loophole and expand the penalties for dealing with those who break the law.
Please join my colleagues and me for a legislative town hall meeting this winter.
- Mt. Vernon: Saturday, Feb. 14, 10:30 a.m. – noon, at the Mount Vernon Government Center (2511 Parkers Lane) with Sen. Toddy Puller and Del.Scott Surovell.
- Alexandria: Saturday, Feb. 14, 2:30 – 4 p.m., at the Charles Houston Recreation Center (905 Wythe Street) with Del. Rob Krupicka.
Take my online survey at www.AdamEbbin.com/Survey. You can also email me at email@example.com. I am active on Twitter @AdamEbbin and Facebook at www.facebook.com/EbbinCampaign. You can sign up for my weekly email updates at www.AdamEbbin.com.
It is my continued honor to represent the citizens of the 30th Senate District.