The 2020 General Assembly session is officially underway! As I have in year’s past, I’ll be writing a weekly email that covers the actions of the House of Delegates. I hope that you’ll find these weekly updates informative and useful.
The House of Delegates officially convened at 12 noon on Wednesday, January 8th for the 401st year. During even numbered years, the first order of business is the swearing in of members-elect and the election of the Speaker.
Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax County) was elected as the 56th Speaker of the House. She holds the distinction of being the first woman and first person of the Jewish faith to hold that position. Having served as Speaker myself for the past two year, I know that the job is an awesome responsibility. I wish her well as she navigates her new role and seeks to lead the institution that is the House of Delegates.
The first day of session typically includes a vote on the House Rules package drafted by the majority party. This is required for the House to officially organize and get started with business. In an odd turn of events, House Democratic leadership introduced a continuing resolution to have the body operate under the old 2018-201 rules for the first day of session. This marks the first time since 1998 that the House did not adopt permanent rules on the opening day. A rules package was subsequently passed on Thursday, finally allowing the House to begin its work.
State of the Commonwealth & GOP Response
Governor Northam delivered his second State of the Commonwealth address on Tuesday evening. In his address, the Governor presented his wish list for the upcoming session.
While a number of his proposals do give me concern such as multiple tax increases and significant increase in government spending, I will review each of them carefully. I’ll specifically be looking at how new programs are funded, as I don’t support raising taxes on working class Virginians. I appreciate the calls and emails I’ve received on a number of his proposals, and I hope you’ll continue sharing your thoughts with me.
If you missed it, you can watch the State of the Commonwealth address here.
Traditionally, the party not occupying the Executive Mansion gives a rebuttal to the Governor’s address. This year’s Republican response was delivered by Senator David Suetterlein of Roanoke County and Delegate Roxann Robinson of Chesterfield County. They both highlighted the positive state that Republicans leave Virginia in, including our Triple-A bond rating, low unemployment rate, and strong economy.
You can take a look at the Republican response here.
Guns in the Capitol
On Friday, the House and Senate Rules Committees voted to ban guns in the Capitol and the legislative office building. This policy applies to all individuals with the exception of on-duty law enforcement and covers all types of firearms.
I voted against this new policy because I disagree with the policy and because of the way the meeting was conducted.
The meeting was called with only a few hours notice, no agenda was made available to the public, and a copy of the policy was not made available to Republican legislators or the public before the meeting occurred. The committee meeting was not live-streamed, meaning that citizens from across the state were unable to tune in. This comes despite the fact that it is standard for House committees to be live streamed, and the room that the committee met in is equipped for such activities.
With the legislative session fully underway, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to fill out my 2020 legislative survey.
This survey hits on a range of policy areas that will be under consideration by the legislature. The 23 question survey certainly isn’t comprehensive, so I welcome your thoughts on matters not included in this survey.
As the General Assembly is now in session, my team and I will be working out of our Richmond offices.
During the session, my staff and I will be primarily working out of our offices in Richmond. The legislative session is scheduled to run through Saturday, March 7th. This year’s session is known as a “long session” due to its 60 day duration, as opposed to the 45 day “short session” in odd numbered years.
You can reach me in Richmond by emailing DelKCox@house.virginia.gov or calling (804) 698-1066.
It remains an honor to serve you and your family in the House of Delegates. If I can be of service to you, please let me know.