Facts from the Floor: Week One

January 21, 2022

Dear Friends:

We are back in session in Richmond! We reported to work last week on Wednesday, January 12, and jumped right into our routine. We had not been back in the Senate Chamber for regular session since March 2020 right before Virginia was locked down for COVID19. It felt great to be back, to have our office doors open, to have staff and pages on the floor, and to be allowed to choose if we were to wear masks or not (that was a bit of a process, but we got there)!

The first few days were spent with a flurry of activity around us getting ready for the Inauguration of Governor Glenn Youngkin, Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, and Attorney General Jason Miyares. Since the November election, the air has been cleaner in Richmond, the sun has been brighter, and the birds have been singing more sweetly. But despite the beautiful bouquets of flowers around and the excitement in the air, the Senate chamber was a staunch reminder that the Democrats still had the majority there. Despite great objection, we are still caged in clear plexiglass boxes for our own “safety”. I have trouble hearing, seeing my colleagues, and generally communicating with my neighbors. The new Lt. Gov. is also in a box on her stand. It’s unnecessary and they need to come down. We’ll keep fighting.  

Things are very different this year in the House. There’s now a Republican majority with a new Republican speaker and a new leadership team. Meeting via video conference is out and meeting in-person, without cages (!), is in.

On the policy side of the house, I have had one bill pass out of committee! My bill, SB212, passed unanimously out of the transportation committee on Friday, January 15. This bill establishes a US Navy specialty license plate available for $25 fee with proceeds benefiting Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Special thanks goes to Mr. Roger Hirsh who collected over 450 prepaid orders in order to have this bill be brought before the General Assembly. Since Virginia has the highest percentage of veterans living here, it was an honor to patron this bill on their behalf and a great way to kick off Session 2022!

Not all of my other legislation has been numbered yet but this session I will personally be focusing on:

SB 406: Nursing Home Reform: Staffing Ratios: much work has been done this year with the Joint Commission on Healthcare to get this bill in a bipartisan format with some state funding behind it. After 18 years, it is time to push this legislation across the finish line for our Greatest Generation.

SB 570: This bill came from the new Youngkin Administration and would require each public elementary or secondary school principal to ensure that no curriculum utilized or instruction delivered in the school includes inherently divisive concepts, as that term is defined in the bill, regardless of whether such curriculum or instruction is provided by a school board employee or any other individual or entity.

SB 528: Veterans Tax Break Bill: This bill establishes an income tax subtraction for up to $20,000 of military benefits in taxable year 2021, up to $30,000 in taxable year 2022, and up to $40,000 in taxable year 2023 and each year thereafter. The bill defines military benefits to include military retirement income and benefits paid to the surviving spouse of a veteran.

SB 572: This bill came from the new Youngkin Administration and directs the Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs and the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, in conjunction with the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, to examine the waiving of fees associated with permits necessary to establish a small business for veteran-owned small businesses.

SB 211: Election Accuracy bill: clearing voter roll of deceased people: this bill is back after failing in House last year; had passed Senate 34-5 and I will be pushing for same results this year.

Lastly, I want to share with you all how amazing the Inauguration was this past weekend. It was the first time in eight years that Virginia had a Republican Governor back at the helm and it was it was a sight to behold. Bleacher’s seating hundreds adorned the capitol yard, and red, white, and blue could be seen everywhere you looked. All living governors (except for Gov. McAuliffe) were in attendance in addition to several members of the congressional delegation and all the General Assembly members and our families. Representatives from the Native American tribes of Virginia performed a ceremonial ground blessing in their native tongues. The parade after the ceremony showcased the cadets of Virginia Military Institute (our freshman son was able to march with his company!), the JMU Marching Band, and the Norfolk Academy basketball team to name a few. It was a glorious day filled with hope and happiness, patriotism, and prayer, and I am thankful for an administration that now shares my values and priorities.

In closing, know that the General Assembly is scheduled to be in session until March 12th this year for an 8 week session. And since we’re back at the Capitol and in the Pocahontas Building, we’re open to the public once again. If you are visiting the Capitol during this year’s session, please stop by our Richmond office in Room E518 of the Pocahontas Building. You can also let us know your views on any of the issues before the General Assembly by emailing District07@senate.virginia.gov or calling (804) 698-7507.

Thank you to everyone who has communicated with my office on upcoming legislation and who has reached out to let us know their opinion on upcoming votes. I try every day to be the best representative of the 7th Senate District that I can possibly be, but I need your help. Keep in touch and come visit if you have a chance to stop by Richmond before session ends!

It is an honor of a lifetime to serve you in the Virginia Senate.

Take care-


1) The Plexiglass boxes/cages on the Senate floor noticeably missing from the Republican controlled House chamber! They have got to go!

2) The Lt. Gov. takes off her heels and puts on sneakers for the session since she does so much standing during floor session. You can see her heels under her desk when you walk up to the dias!

3) We have soup everyday of session in addition to our lunch in the back of the chamber. The first day of EVERY session is always Red Pepper Crab bisque soup and it is delicious (and not low calorie)! 

4) Republicans and Democrats enter the chamber by climbing stairs from the first floor. We historically use two different stair cases. I have never used the Democratic staircase to enter or exit the chamber!

5) Former Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax presided over the Senate for three days last week; those were his last three days of work. Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears started the Monday after Inauguration and did a fabulous job. She is not allowed speaking privileges on the floor so is not able to comment on bills or offer personal privilege speeches but instead she presides over the flow of the Senate legislative process. I bet she will have much to say during our debates but she will not be able to speak to bills.

Inauguration Day
Inauguration was incredible!! The day was filled with happiness, hopefulness, and so much patriotism! I am thankful for the team that made this possible and for everyone who was with us all in spirit. I’m excited for the future of our Commonwealth and our country.… now it’s time to get to work!

Plexiglass Boxes…

Keep In Touch!

Call us!! You can call my office at (804) 698-7507 or send me an email to: district07@senate.virginia.gov.