The Virginia General Assembly has finally reached “Crossover,” the halfway point by which each chamber must complete work on its own bills and begin considering legislation passed by the other body. Over 870 bills have passed the House of Delegates and over 700 made it through the Senate. We will be working diligently over the coming weeks to consider the remaining legislation, including 13 of my bills that have passed the Senate and await consideration by the House.
One noteworthy bill I’ve passed through the Senate is SB327, which eliminates the automatic six month driver’s license suspension for first-time marijuana possession. Co-patroned by Senators Bill Stanley (R-Franklin) and Tom Garrett (R-Buckingham), this bill enjoyed broad support and was endorsed by both Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Porter and Alexandria’s Public Defender Melinda Douglas. This legislation removes a consequence wholly unrelated to the underlying criminal offense, which too often results in loss of employment and other hardships that disproportionately impact the most economically disadvantaged Virginians. Passing this bill through the House would allow Virginia to join the 34 states — including every state bordering the Commonwealth — in eliminating this ineffective policy. I also co-patroned SB22, sponsored by Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Hanover), which allows for the expungement of alcohol and marijuana possession offenses after a period of five years if those offenses occur before a person turns 21. This passed the Senate unanimously.
This week on the floor I spoke against two bills — SB270 and SB705 — that seek to end the non-existent problem of “sanctuary cities” despite federal prohibitions, the Dillon Rule, and state mandates that already make “sanctuary cities” an impossibility in Virginia. Rather than asking localities to enforce immigration law to the extent required by federal law, this legislation demands immigration law be enforced “to the full extent permitted.” These bills mischaracterize localities that have internal police policies that discourage profiling and encourage community policing as “sanctuary cities.” Currently, policies such as not inquiring about the immigration status of witnesses at a crime scene are widely practiced to encourage residents to report wrongdoing regardless of their residency status. SB270 would reduce state funding to localities with such policies, while SB705 would hold them liable for the “full amount of any personal injury or property damage” caused by an undocumented person forcing law enforcement to choose between public safety and state dollars. Unfortunately, these bills passed the Senate along party lines despite the fact that effective pro-community policing policies exist throughout the state, from Virginia Beach to Prince William County, and despite the Senate’s unanimous support for such policies three years in a row.
Please join me at one of my Town Hall Meetings on Saturday, Feb. 20:
- Lee District: 9:30-11:30 a.m., Hayfield Elementary School, 7633 Telegraph Road, Alexandria
- Mt. Vernon District: 12:30-2 p.m., Whitman Middle School, 2500 Parkers Lane, Alexandria.
Please share your thoughts on legislation and other state-related matters with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me 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.