Facts from the Floor: Week Two

January 20, 2020

As I finished my first full week of session, I am amazed at how much has transpired in just five days. My day usually starts before 0700 and ends if I’m lucky around midnight. It’s intense but I love it! It’s an awesome feeling to be in the room as the news happens and to read about it later in the paper. I’m surrounded by wise, well-spoken legislators (& a lot of lawyers!) who speak passionately on the various bills that make it to the floor of the senate. It’s an honor to be in the room and to do my part representing my district and voting for the people who put me in my office.

As I said many times on the campaign trail, we must find ways to reach across the aisle and find compromise. However, listening to the debate that happened later in the week concerning three “gun bills” reminded me that there are major party differences, especially concerning interpretation of the Constitution. The three bills that were voted on this week on the floor included:

SB 35: Locality gun bill: Would permit localities to restrict law-abiding citizens Right-to-Carry or transport of firearms under a wide variety of circumstances.

SB 69: One gun a month: Limits law-abiding citizens to purchase only one gun a month (one hand gun in 30 day period)

SB 70: Background checks: Requires gun owners to obtain government permission before selling or trading firearms to another individual without exception.

I voted ‘no’ to all three above bills after listening to both sides arguments and agreeing that these three bills were in violation of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, would have hurt law-abiding gun owners, and most importantly would not have prevented the shootings in Virginia Beach nor elsewhere. All three passed due to the Democratic majority. There was no mention of mental health at any point during the day. There will be more debate this coming week on more “gun bills” including the red flag bill. Monday is Gun Lobby day and we are expecting up to 100,000 people to visit to exercise their First Amendment rights. Virginians on both sides of the gun control issue have been peacefully and safely participating in “lobby day” activities for decades. This year, the Governor declared a state of emergency for the area around the Capitol, banned the possession of weapons, and put up temporary fencing around the Capitol. And while the Governor has cautioned people against participating this year, I will be here to welcome and listen to the people who have elected me to represent them. Stop by and see us in Room 518!

Among other bills that were discussed and voted on in my committees this week was a bill to eliminate Lee-Jackson Day as a state holiday and to make Election Day in November a holiday in its place. Another bill was presented to lower the age of prisoners eligible for parole to age 50 (which was defined as “geriatric” much to my dismay). I voted “no” to both of these bills.

Week TWO of session ended mid afternoon Friday and I came home to see my family whom I missed dearly this past week. The highlight of my weekend was welcoming home two squadrons from Naval Air Station Oceana on Sunday who returned from a ten-month deployment- the longest carrier deployment since the Cold War era. There’s nothing like a Navy Homecoming to remind why I get up everyday to fight for our families, our state, and to keep our country the best place in the world to live.

In closing, I leave you with my Top 5 Most Shocking things I saw this past week….

SENATOR KIGGANS’ TOP FIVE MOST SURPRISING THINGS SEEN IN THE VIRGINIA SENATE THIS PAST WEEK:

1- The line that wrapped around the block on Monday morning after the “gun ban” in Capitol buildings. It took my staff over an hour to get through the metal detectors and in the front door!

2- I sat through a 40-minute discussion on the legality of goat grazing along riverbeds in the Agriculture committee meeting. Learn something new everyday!

3- During “gun debate” on the floor, I learned that Virginia is apparently the cause of the gun violence problem in New York…. Hhhmmmm….

4- According to proposed legislation, the definition of “geriatric” is now age 50! (In the medical world, it’s 65!)

5- The same people who are opposed to walls to keep illegal immigrants out of the United States are ok with installing 6-foot fences to keep Virginia citizens out of their capitol.