With Alan Suderman and Sarah Rankin | Related Press
RICHMOND, Va. – In a state synonymous with the Old South, the Democrats are using their new legislative control to redecorate Virginia as the region’s progressive leader on racial, social and economic issues. Lawmakers are about to run the Southern and Stroke gun laws, expand the largest LGBTQ safeguards, the highest minimum wage and some of the worst abortion restrictions, mastering through significant daily legislation.
The jump on the left has given fierce pressure from Rural Virgin, social curators and other politicians in the state, where honors leave Robert Robert Lee Lee and Stonewall Jackson and monuments to the Consolidation. those men of the landscape.
“It’s like smash and grab a jewelry store,” said Republican Sen. Bill Stanley on the Democrats strategy. “They are going to stick everything they can and can get it before the lights go on and the siren goes off.”
It is a great change after decades of legislative strife. Virginia was a political citizen among the southern states for some time, regularly electing Democrats to a statewide office. But the Republicans had a strong grip on the legislature until President Donald Trump chose in 2016, which disputed suburban voters and reinforced the Democrats in two successive legislative elections. This year, for the first time in forty years, they have full control over the General Assembly.
“It’s nice to be able to do what I think the majority of the Magicians wanted for a long time,” said Democratic Del.
Voters have voted to end a state holiday which honors Lee and Jackson and Election Day is an official holiday. They spent Tuesday – the deadline for each room to run their own version of the legislation – passing over many other bills, including a measure to raise the minimum wage to a minimum of $ 15 hours and legislation to permit give local governments sculpture statues. This bill follows a white supremacist abundance in Charlottesville, which encouraged some of the city to remove Lee’s statue, which turned violent.
Law makers have also progressed this year: t
- a renewable energy measure that will increase electric rates but, say environmentalists, make the state among the greenest in the country t
- comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation
- Bills that advocate abortion rights say Virginia will make a “safe hall” for women in neighboring neighboring states t
- resolutions to make Virginia the 38th critical state to secure the Equal Rights Amendment, a major victory for women’s rights advocates t
- repeal a provision requiring voters to show ID before they cast a ballot.
The legislature, led by the first female speaker and the largest number of African-Africans in leadership positions in the state’s 400-year history, is about to pass most of the significant pieces of legislation before March 7. .
The highest profile fight was on pushing Democrats for tighter gun laws, including universal background checks and banning attack weapons, after a fatal shooting last year at a government complex in Virginia Beach. Many Democrats campaigned on the issue in 2019, while candidates were heavily funded by gun control groups.
Democratic gov measures went Gov. Ralph Northam over the House, but the more conservative Senate blocked some of the measures, including the prohibition of assault.
Despite a largely curatorial history, the Democrats in Virginia have been looking for years. It was the only state in the South to choose Hillary Clinton in 2016, and the Democrats have made significant progress in other legislative elections. The latest blue change has been greatly enhanced by growing suburbs in the state, particularly in Northern Virginia, where voters are likely to be immigrants, skilled colleges and liberal.
“The North-East megalopolis migrated to Virginia,” said William Frey, a demographic at the Brookings Institute.
He said that Virginia was at the forefront of demographic trends playing in other Southern states such as North Carolina and Georgia, who were elected the first black-female governor in the country in 2018.
But Republican leaders say that the Democratic Party is stretching beyond the mainstream support of Virginia voters.
“The policies that are enacted in their virgin awakening in most Virgin, even those who voted for the Democrats last year, will have to continue their pockets more and more to pay for this agenda,” said House. Republican leader Todd Gilbert.
Keepers’ opposition to a lot of changes in Virginia, especially on gun measures, has reached beyond the borders of the state. Thousands of activists put the rights of guns from all over the country to the Capitol and the surrounding area as a protest last month, some wearing tactical gear and military rifles. In West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. after the counties of Virginia encourage dissatisfied with the new direction of the state, especially regarding gun laws, leave the state.
Business groups also voiced their opposition, and the Democrats alarmed labor-friendly measures. Only a handful of liberal states, including California, New York and Maryland, have passed laws that set minimum wage $ 15 hours in the end.
“It’s not a good company, at all,” said Brett Vassey, president of Virginia Manufacturers Association.
But the progressive Democrats say that the room has not done a number of issues. Lawmakers have refused to seek the right to repeal the right to work law of the state which over-subscribes the mandatory membership of the trade union as well as some criminal justice reform bills, including measures to abolish single childbirth, parole. and to make criminal records of misconduct and non-violent felony convictions easier.
“Some people are going home and depending on what has been done, and some people are going home and saying, see what was left on the table and we have to fight for more,” Del says. Lee Carter, a democratic socialist. “I’m in the second camp.”