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Latest News and Press

House Dems Demand Re-Districting Vote

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia House Democratic Caucus today called for a full floor vote on a bill that would amend the state’s constitution to create a nonpartisan re-districting commission.

According to House Rules, the Rules Committee can send a bill directly to the floor for a full vote “without specific recommendation.” The procedure has been used several times in the past on matters deemed by the Speaker to be of great public importance.

In a letter sent to Speaker of the House William J. Howell on Friday, House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano noted that after the last election cycle, Americans increasingly “believe our system is ‘rigged’ in favor of the powerful.” He requested that Howell send two proposed Constitutional Amendments, one sponsored by Del. Ken Plum of Reston and one sponsored by Del. Rip Sullivan of McLean, to the Rules Committee so that they could come directly to the floor for a full vote.

“Constituents want to know where we stand on re-districting reform and the only way they can find out is if we have a floor vote,” said Toscano. “A system that gives incumbent politicians the power to pick their own voters and draw political opponents out of districts is undemocratic and unacceptable. Voters should choose their elected leaders – but in Virginia, the opposite is true. Since both parties have been guilty of gerrymandering, both parties must fix it. I call upon Republican leadership to send these two amendments directly to the floor.”

“The system for electing our leaders forms the very core of government,” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “Seventy-four percent of Virginians support giving control of re-districting to an independent board, and they deserve to know where their leaders stand on this fundamental issue of the franchise. We look forward to the Speaker’s response.”

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House Dems Condemn Abortion-Shaming Resolution

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia House Democratic Caucus today condemned the advancement of a resolution that would shame women who have had abortions.

The resolution, which was introduced by Del. Ben Cline of Rockbridge, would recognize Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, as a “Day of Tears.” The resolution passed the House Rules Committee by voice vote, over the opposition of Democrats.

“Shaming women is the end result of this resolution, regardless of intention” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “While the Democratic Caucus is focused on creating jobs and raising wages for all Virginians, the Republicans are focused on divisive social issues that stigmatize women and members of the LGBT community. Legislation that discriminates and stigmatizes sends the message that Virginia is not business-friendly. I call upon all members of the House of Delegates to condemn this insult to women.

“Within the last week, House Republicans have introduced a bathroom bill even more extreme than North Carolina’s HB2, refused to stand in support of civil rights hero John Lewis, and pushed a resolution out of committee that would shame women who have had abortions. Meanwhile, House Democrats have held rolled out major legislation that would raise the minimum wage, allow borrowers to re-finance student loans, and help ensure equal pay for equal work. The socially divisive sideshow that the Republican Caucus has led this session will do nothing to improve the lives of working Virginians.” 

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House Dems Welcome Ward, Price to Leadership Team

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia House Democratic Caucus today elected two new members to fill vacancies on their leadership team.

Delegate Jeion Joyner Ward will serve as Vice Chair of Operations and Delegate Marcia “Cia” Price will serve as Secretary.

Both women hail from the Hampton Roads area. Ward represents the 92nd District, which encompasses a portion of Hampton. Price represents the 95th House District, which includes parts of Newport News and Hampton.

“We are honored to welcome Delegate Ward and Delegate Price to our leadership team,” said House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano. “Jeion and Cia have both been fierce advocates for the working people of their districts, and we appreciate the fresh perspective that they bring to the table. I look forward to working with both of them in this upcoming legislative session.”

“Delegate Ward and Delegate Price are known for their relentless work ethic and dedication to their constituents,” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “Jeion and Cia bring even more diversity to our leadership team, which is an excellent reflection of the Commonwealth we represent. I welcome their perspective and experience as together we work to create jobs and build an economy that works for everyone, not just those as the top.”

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