Alexandria/Mount Vernon Column: Nondiscrimination Bills Pass State Senate

Alexandria/Mount Vernon Column: Nondiscrimination Bills Pass State Senate

Council members spar over last minute additions.

As the snow thawed and the General Assembly went about its business last week, a number of developments occurred involving LGBT rights.

I am excited that both SB12, my bill prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination in public employment, and Senator Jennifer Wexton’s (D-Loudoun) bill SB67, prohibiting discriminatory housing practices, passed the Senate 25-15. Six fair-minded Republicans joined Senate Democrats in passing these bills to promote fair hiring and housing practices that have been endorsed by business coalitions and political advocacy groups alike. My bill SB10, which removes provisions in the Code of Virginia prohibiting same-sex marriage in light of the landmark US Supreme court decision Obergefell v. Hodges, was carried over to the 2017 session, awaiting the review of the Virginia Code Commission as to which changes will be necessary to comprehensively update the code to bring the current terms of “husband” and “wife” into alignment with this decision.

Four more of my bills passed the Senate this week and now await consideration by the House of Delegates. They include SB373, which clarifies the scope of food that must be served at restaurants holding mixed-beverage licenses. Under current law, only restaurants that serve "full course meals with a single substantial entrée" can prepare cocktails. This does not reflect the current culinary diversity of the Commonwealth. For example, in Virginia, you can have oysters on the half shell; then enjoy pizza and salad, or head for sushi at another establishment and under current law you would have never consumed a single “substantial entrée" that would enable the restaurateur to serve spirits. My legislation, which passed the Senate unanimously, would allow an applicant for a license to serve any food, not just substantial entrees; simplifying the process for independent small business owners. After all, a restaurant menu should be prepared by a chef, not a lawyer.

My bill SB322 — which would end the practice of charging prison inmates exorbitant phone rates to contact their families and loved ones — passed 37-2, while SB420, which simplifies the voter registration process for those who have had their rights restored, also passed 26-14.

I will be holding four Town Hall Meetings over the coming weeks and hope you can join me at one:

  • Arlington: Saturday, Feb.6, 10-11:30 a.m.

Walter Reed Community Center – 2909 16th Street South, Arlington

with Del. Alfonso Lopez

  • Alexandria: Saturday, Feb. 6, 2-3:30 p.m.

Mt. Vernon Community School – 2601 Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandria

with Del. Mark Levine

  • Lee District: Saturday, Feb. 20, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Hayfield Elementary School – 7633 Telegraph Rd, Alexandria

with Sen. Scott Surovell, Del. Mark Sickles and Del. Paul Krizek

  • Mt. Vernon: Saturday, Feb. 20, 12:30-2 p.m.

Whitman Middle School – 2500 Parkers Lane, Alexandria

with Sen. Scott Surovell and Del. Paul Krizek

Please share your thoughts on legislation and other state-related matters with me by emailing Follow me on Twitter @AdamEbbin and Facebook at You can sign up for my weekly email updates at

It is my continued honor to represent the citizens of the 30th Senate District.