Facts from the Floor: Week Three

February 19, 2022
Dear Friends:

One of the many privileges of being in the Virginia General Assembly is that we sometimes enjoy a front row seat to history in the making. This session, we’ve enjoyed a few historical moments including the election of the Commonwealth’s first woman to serve as lieutenant governor, first woman of color and first Jamaican-born American citizen elected to statewide office, Winsome Sears. Winsome is doing a great job and catches on quick! Although she has not had the opportunity to break any tie votes, we are still not even halfway through session so she still has a chance…!

We are still in the ridiculous cages on the floor of the Senate. Although there is much debate as to the science (or lack thereof) behind having them in place, the majority Democratic party makes the rules and is insistent on keeping up the plexiglass (which has terrible glare and makes speech hard to hear). They are a stark reminder that COVID has become way too political and partisan.

Although more legislation made its way to the Senate floor this week, most of the bills still remain in committees. With Crossover just one week away, that is about to change. Committees must finish considering the bills assigned to them to allow legislation they approve to be considered by the entire Senate by February 15.

This time crunch makes for longer committee meetings, which will soon give way to longer sessions on the Senate floor as those bills are considered and voted on by all 40 senators.
It’s important to remember that the committees in the Senate are all run by a Democratic majority. In order to pass a Republican bill out of a Senate committee, you must have bipartisan support.

This session I carried ten bills (link here: https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?221+mbr+S109C). I am happy to report that I have had 5 pass on the floor of the Senate and have 3 still pending in committee.

I feel like the Democrats have toned down their agenda slightly but are still pushing for many partisan issues. In my first two sessions we saw so many bills that challenged our constitutional rights, increased the tax and regulatory burden on our businesses, and negatively impacted everything from life to our law enforcement officers.

This year is no different. Last week we debated the following bills on the floor of the Senate:

SB272: A bill to study providing a performance bonus for contractors to utilize lower carbon producing concrete (passed 22Y- 18N; I voted no)

SB492: A bill prohibiting the use of snare traps to hunt or kill game animals in any area of the Commonwealth east of I-95 during deer hunting season (passed 23Y-16N; I voted no)

SB572: (My bill!) Examined the waiving of fees associated with permits necessary to establish a small business for veteran-owned small businesses (passed 40Y-0N; I voted yes)

SB614: A bill requiring a notice to the attorney for the Commonwealth when a prisoner is released on bail enabling families of the victim to be more easily informed. (passed 39Y-0N; I voted yes)

SB108: A bill prohibiting the use of solitary confinement in prisons. (passed 21Y-18N; I voted no)

If there is ever an issue you read about in the news, please feel free to reach out and contact my office if you have an opinion on how I should vote. My wonderful staff reports to me daily about the emails, phone calls, and visitors who express their opinions on legislation. We are happy to answer questions about the status of bills going through the legislative process as well.

Friendly faces from home are always welcome, so please make it a point to stop by if you’re in Richmond between now and March 12. In the meantime, stay safe, warm, and dry in the week ahead. Please know that it is the honor of a lifetime to serve as your state senator in the Virginia Senate. Thank you for allowing me to represent the wonderful people of Virginia Beach and Norfolk in Richmond! I’ll be back next week with more news from Virginia’s Capitol!

Until then, take care-


1) Free COVID test kits were passed out to each of our desks in the Senate this week- & we didn’t even ask for them!

2) As the only nurse practitioner in the Senate, I do NOT sit on the Education and Health committee (that would make too much sense…!). Although I asked Senator Louise Lucas when I was first elected to be a part of this committee, I was denied that request and instead sit on Local Government, Rehab & Social Services, and General Laws committees.

3) A fire alarm went off in the chamber for the first time since I’ve been there. Lights flashed, a loud alarm blared for a long time, and everyone ushered out of the building. Thank goodness it was a false alarm but good practice!

4) Our Senate page program is back this year after having no pages participate last year due to COVID. One page is chosen to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance that we say every morning at the start of the session.

5) If we leave the chamber for a few minutes, our seatmates are allowed to vote by proxy for us but we have to remain inside the Capitol grounds. If we leave the Capitol, no one can vote for us by proxy.

Aerospace Day 2022

Last week was Aerospace Day 2022 in the General Assembly! As two former Navy pilots, Steve and I had an awesome time at the Aviation Industry event! It was great to welcome representatives from so many aviation businesses to Richmond! 

Constituent Visits

It’s always nice to see some friendly familiar faces from Virginia Beach in Richmond! Thank you for coming to visit and for bringing your kids!!

A Little Senate Fun

Every once and awhile we have a little fun in the Virginia Senate….! Last week someone “stole” the Lt. Governor’s gavel and replaced it with a little pink hammer. Wouldn’t you know our most junior senator found it in his seat & returned it!