Email Updates

Facts from the Floor: Week Four

February 19, 2022

Dear Friends:


We have finally settled into our routine here in the General Assembly. We are about halfway finished with our regular session and have had our fair share of victories, compromises, and defeats. It’s definitely a different atmosphere with a Republican Governor, a Republican controlled House of Delegates, and an election year on the calendar in 2023 for the Virginia Senate. We are seeing less aggressive legislation come our way and the super partisan bills that we do see are not as threatening since we know they will die a quick death in the Republican House. Balanced government is a beautiful thing!

A big item of discussion this week was removing the mask mandates that have plagued our schools and our students. On his first day in office, Governor Youngkin issued an Executive Order giving parents the right to determine whether their child wears a mask in school. Some school boards adhered to the Governor’s order, changing their school systems’ mandatory masking policies to optional ones. Other school boards chose to take the Governor to court, claiming that Senate Bill 1303 (SB 1303) from the 2021 session made the masking of school children mandatory. The Virginia Supreme Court declared the law neither constituted a mask mandate nor required school boards to adopt one.

Three days after the Supreme Court of Virginia’s ruling, the Senate of Virginia passed Senate Bill 739. The bill allows PARENTS to make the decision of whether a child wears a mask in school – not the school board or school administration. Three Democrat Senators joined every Senate Republican in approving the legislation, and a few days later the bill passed out of the House with bipartisan support as well.

Unlike most of the bills passed by the General Assembly this session, this legislation will become effective almost immediately upon passage. Governor Youngkin amended SB 739 to make it “Emergency” legislation, making it effective upon his signature on the final version. He gave local school divisions until March 1st to come into compliance. We listened when parents spoke at the ballot box last November and will continue to fight for parents’ voices and parents’ rights to decide what is best for their children!

Here are some other interesting bills we voted on last week:

SB214: Allowed for public bodies to conduct all-virtual public meetings where all the members who participate do so remotely. The debate focused around the legislative work we conducted last year when the Senate met in person and the House met virtually. There were significant challenges conducting our legislative work entirely virtually last year and I voted NO to this bill. It FAILED on a bipartisan vote of 19Y-21N and will not move forward.

SB104: Eliminates ALL mandatory minimum sentences in the code of Virginia (except for aggravated murder of a law-enforcement officer). This bill was a continuation of the “weak on crime” bills passed last year and does not look out for the victim by ensuring minimum sentencing for certain crimes. I voted NO to this bill as did the majority of my colleagues. The bill FAILED on a bipartisan vote of 17Y-23N.

SB652: Requires an applicant for an absentee ballot to provide on the application the last four digits of his/her social security number. This was a step in the right direction for election integrity, especially concerning absentee ballots, and I voted YES to this bill. The bill PASSED on a bipartisan vote of 29Y-11N.

SB440: Provides immunity for arrest and prosecution for hazing and involuntary manslaughter if a person in good faith seeks or obtains emergency medical attention for a person who has received bodily injury by hazing or renders emergency care for a hazing victim. The intent of this bill was to assist in preventing serious injury or death from college hazing incidents. I voted YES to this bill and it passed 30Y-10N out of the Senate.

SB656: Requires the Dept. of Education to develop and adopt policies for ensuring parental notification of any instructional material that includes sexually explicit content and to provide alternative instructional material at the parents request. This bill stemmed from the issue of parents wanting more of a voice in their children’s education that we saw during the past election cycle. I voted YES and the bill passed on a bipartisan basis of 20Y-18N.

This past week also brought Defending Life Day, a day when pro-life activists from across Virginia come to the Capitol to meet their representatives. We saw many friendly faces from home who visited, including a group from Catholic High School in Virginia Beach. I am always so impressed when people from home make the trip to Richmond to advocate for issues important to them!

Stay tuned for more exciting news about crossover and the last half of session! I’ll be back next week with the latest updates from Richmond. 

Until then, have a great week!



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

1) The LT. Gov. Winsome Sears was able to break her first tie vote: SB137regarding discretionary sentencing guidelines. After a short recess, the Lt. Gov. voted NO with the Republican caucus but the vote was later recalled and split along partisan lines with the bill passing with unanimous Democrat support (21Y-19N).

2) One of the Senators brought a rescue beagle to a committee meeting where her animal rights bill was to be presented. Staff quickly told her no animals were allowed (despite the nature of the bill) and the dog (after a warm reception!) was whisked out of the room.

3) We caucus everyday with our own parties about 30 minutes before our floor session starts. Usually we discuss caucus news, announcements, and controversial bills coming before us for a vote that day. We have also started to invite candidates who want to run for office in the Virginia Senate in 2023 to introduce themselves. Campaign season will be here soon and we must take back the Virginia Senate!

4) Senate Republicans have tried to repeal laws passed during the two years of one-party Democratic rule including collective bargaining, increases in minimum wage, returning voter ID requirements, and easing of the parole process. Democrats have killed all of these GOP initiatives calling themselves the “Brick Wall Caucus” that prevents rolling back of some very progressive legislation passed in 2020 & 2021.

5) The ridiculous plexi-glass cages are still up and we are still boxed in and struggle to see and hear each other! Very frustrating!! Tear down these walls!!

School Nurse Legislation

Many of you may remember I patroned a bill last year to require every public school in Virginia to have at least one school nurse (currently this is not a Virginia public school requirement). My bill did not pass last year (despite COVID and our kids out of school!) but was turned into a study. My subsequent bill passed out of Senate Rules Committee requiring schools to report health data to the Board of Education as a vehicle to get more nurses into Virginia’s schools and provide more health services of all types to our children. 







Constituent Visits

It was great to welcome the students of Catholic High School to Richmond to advocate for life! I am proud that they took time to visit and share their opinions on such an important issue. So nice to have Bishop Knestout from the Catholic Diocese of Richmond here with them! 





Morning Prayer

It was an honor to have leaders from my home parish of Saint Gregory the Great Catholic Church (Virginia Beach, VA) visit the Senate and to say the opening prayer for session last week! We certainly need many prayers around here and I am so thankful for their support! 

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-



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

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!

Facts from the Floor: Week Two

February 19, 2022
Dear Friends:

With ceremony and speeches from Governors new and old behind us, the second full week of the 2022 General Assembly session was filled with the work of hearing and passing bills! For us, that means performing two different but related tasks: either you’re presenting your legislation to your colleagues or passing judgment on theirs.

We have over 2,400 bills and resolutions to be considered during this year’s 60-day session. The 40 members of the Senate of Virginia have filed nearly 800 bills. I have filed ten as the Chief Patron (you can see my proposed legislation here:  https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?221+mbr+S109C). With only a very few exceptions, the Senate must act on those bills by February 15, the date referred to as “Crossover”- that’s the day we send all of our Senate bills to the House to be heard and voted on.

Virtually every meeting, hearing, or floor session conducted here in Capitol Square is livestreamed daily while we’re in session. If you’re not near a computer or mobile device, you can also watch the sessions later. To access video of our floor or committee sessions, either live or later, go to virginiageneralassembly.gov.

There’s been a large amount of media analysis about the Senate of Virginia this year. Our chamber still has a narrow, two-seat Democrat majority. That has led some observers and media speculators to assess the prospects for Governor Youngkin’s agenda by wondering how many – if any – Democrat Senators are willing to vote for some of the Governor’s initiatives.

It is far too early in the session to make a final determination on what the ultimate outcome will be on a wide variety of issues. Because Lt. Governor Winsome Sears now presides over the Senate, it only takes one Democrat to join with Republicans to pass legislation when it gets to the floor. Getting bills to the Senate floor for those votes is a lot more challenging.

As an example, the Privileges and Elections Committee considers legislation related to the conduct of elections. That committee would be assigned legislation requiring voters produce identification in order to cast their ballots. But although the Senate has 21 Democrats and 19 Republicans, a two-seat majority, the Privileges and Elections Committee has 9 Democrats and 6 Republicans, a three-seat majority. This committee has been able to kill a whole host of election reform bills that Republicans brought last week including trying to reinstate the voter ID requirement, getting rid of same day voter registration, and repealing the practice of ballot drop boxes.

Effectively, “the deck is stacked” on several key committees, not just Privileges and Elections. Senate Democrats have a nine-seat majority on the Commerce and Labor Committee, which considers just about everything related to the businesses and Virginia’s economy, and a six-seat majority on the Finance and Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for writing Virginia’s budget.

While these disparities do not necessarily doom Governor Youngkin’s agenda, they definitely make it a lot harder to get things passed for the Republicans in the Senate.

Two examples of this are two bills I brought before subcommittee (Health & Education: Public Education Subcommittee) this week:

SB 570: Governor Youngkin’s bill relating to a ban on “divisive concepts” in our public schools

SB 766: Ban of transgender men from participating in women’s sports

SB 570 would have required 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. This bill was a headline for Gov. Youngkin’s campaign to give parents more involvement in our education system. Unfortunately, based on a partisan vote of 2 Dem -1 Rep the bill was not recommended for reporting.

SB 766 would have required each elementary or secondary school or a private school that competes in sponsored athletic events against such public schools to designate athletic teams, whether a school athletic team or an intramural team sponsored by such school, based on biological sex as follows: (i) “males,” “men,” or “boys”; (ii) “females,” “women,” or “girls”; or (iii) “coed” or “mixed.” Under the bill, male students are not permitted to participate on any school athletic team or squad designated for “females,” “women,” or “girls”; however, this provision does not apply to physical education classes at schools. This bill was brought to me by a concerned constituent who wanted to ensure every female had a chance at fair competition in their sports. This bill was intended to protect female sports but again was shaped into a partisan debate. After the debate, it was not recommended to report by a vote of 2 Dem – 1 Rep.

In Case You Missed It: The Washington Post picked up the story about these bills: read it here

One example of a successful bill that I patroned and had passed out of committee this week was:

SB 572 which 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. I am thankful to Commerce and Trade Secretary Carin Merrick for her help speaking to my bill. It passed out of committee unanimously on a 15-0 vote and will head to the floor of the Senate this week!

Despite some chilly temperatures outside, we had some very friendly faces from home visit my office last week in Room 518 of the Pocahontas Building(see photos below!)….midwives, emergency physicians, optometrists, members of the Police Benevolent Association, and the Spirit of VMI PAC visited our office!

If you’re in Richmond over the next few weeks, please stop by and say “hi.” Or, you can always let us know your thoughts on an issue being considered by dropping us an email at District07@senate.virginia.gov.

Stay tuned and keep in touch! I’ll be back next week with more news from Richmond!

Until then, take care-



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

1) Democrats in the Senate stood and said they’d vote for bringing back the voter ID requirement when we would vote for mandatory vaccines (guess that’s not happening anytime soon…)!

2) The flowers, scaffolding, and decorations from Inauguration weekend have all now officially come down. Governor Youngkin and his staff are officially IN and the old administration is OUT!

3) We heard a bill in committee lessening the fees prisoners pay for things from jail.. Part of the debate reminded us that on July 1 of this year, 5,000 prisoners would be released to the streets due to recent Democratic laws that have made it easier to release people on parole.

4) One of the Senate Democrats dropped a new resolution to bring BACK the mandatory mask requirement in the Senate… As if our plexiglass cages weren’t enough!

5) Last Friday there were 4 Democrats out for COVID symptoms. Remember these are the people who wear at least 1 if not 2 masks on the floor daily. There were no Republicans out with COVID symptoms Friday.


Constituent Visits

One of the best things I do as a legislator is to welcome my constituents to their Capitol! I appreciate when people feel so strongly about an issue that they take time to visit me and tell me their opinions. Last week I met with local emergency room doctors, optometrists, police officers, & midwives among others! You are all welcome anytime!


Clean Energy Award

It was an honor to receive an award from Conservatives for Clean Energyrecognizing my work in the Virginia Senate to consider alternative energy sources while keeping costs down for consumers. Thank you for the recognition and congratulations to Virginia Delegate Tony Wilt on his award in the House! 

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-




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


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.

3/3/21 Facts from the Floor: End of Session

March 4, 2021
Dear Friend,

The Virginia Senate and House have adjourned “Sine Die” which means our work from both the regular and special sessions is now complete. It has been a long six weeks of heated floor debates, bad weather, and some of the most progressive legislation we have ever seen in Virginia. I feel like I have just returned from the frontlines of a political battlefield!  For the past six weeks in the Virginia Senate, a group of us fought everyday against the progressive agenda that the ruling liberal party brought to the table. Governing under a one-party Democratic majority continues to be dangerous for Virginia and dangerous for America. As one of my colleagues stated, “It was a political ‘jewelry store smash and grab’ for them.” They were able to get away with passing a great deal of the progressive legislation which now sits on the Democratic Governor’s desk…the majority of which is just bad for Virginia.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we must put an end to this one-party rule in Virginia. The majority Democratic party set their agenda last year and has been plugging away aggressively to get everything accomplished to change Virginia before the 2021 election cycle where we will elect a new Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and vote for all 100 seats in the House of Delegates.


Photo taken by Bob Brown RTD

Before we get to the bad bills, there were a few good things that came out of this session:

–     SB 1303: a bill focused on getting our kids back in school and passed out of the House & Senate. This bill, which I co-patroned, requires schools to offer an in-person learning option for students in addition to all-virtual learning. Although we pushed for an emergency enactment clause, we did not have the votes and the legislation would not go into effect until the fall, 2021.

–     SB 1445: a bill lifting barriers for providers to administer more vaccines to people in the Commonwealth. This bill, which I co-patroned, allows for healthcare professionals from all backgrounds, including medical and nursing students, to be able to administer the vaccine without requiring some of the tedious training sessions and unnecessary, burdensome orientations. It passed out of the House & Senate.

–     SB 1146: a bill to conform Virginia’s tax code that includes a deduction of up to $100,000 for Virginia businesses who took Federal assistance loans to keep their doors open (Republicans pushed for full exemption but it was voted down). This means that businesses will only pay state taxes on PPP loans from the federal government over $100,000. This bill passed out of the House & Senate.

–     SB 1403: a bill that establishes a tax exemption for Personal Protective Equipment (masks, gloves, face shields, etc). This bill passed out of the House & Senate.

Now for the bad legislation that passed during this session:

–     SB 1406: Marijuana bill: The legislation that would set Virginia on course to legalizing and taxing the sale of marijuana for recreational use. This was an extremely complicated and detailed bill that was hundreds of pages long. The underlying issue addressed by the bill was contentious on its own. Add in hundreds of pages of complicated policy encompassing issues related to law enforcement, government policy on intoxicants, along with taxation, and you get a recipe for a lot of discussion. The bill was too much pushed too fast to roll out a controversial legalization of marijuana.

–     SB 1381: A bill that prohibits possession of a gun on Capitol Square or in any building owned or leased by the state.

–  SB 1261: A bill to pack the court of appeals by increasing the number of judges from 11 to 17 (includes adding 50+ lawyers for staff as well)= expensive!

Bills that did not pass this year but I am sure will be back:

–     SB 1443: A bill to end mandatory minimums in criminal sentencing
 
–  SB 1370: A bill to bring back parole in Virginia

Additionally, every bill to reduce the executive authority of the Governor failed as well as my bill to get deceased names off the voter rolls more efficiently. They even fought to prevent a bill to improve how votes are reported to prevent late night “vote dump” numbers.

There is a lot headed to the Governor’s desk for his signature! Bills passed by the General Assembly are subject to action by the Governor who can sign, veto, or submit amendments. (The General Assembly will convene for its annual one-day “reconvene” session on April 7 to take up any actions by the Governor.) 

Out of the twelve bills I proposed this session, five are headed to the Governor’s office:

1-    SB 1147: A bill to expand eligibility for the Nurse Loan Repayment Program to include certified nurse aides who meet criteria determined by the State Board of Health.

2-   SB 1148: A bill to change the date of the primary election held in June from the second Tuesday in June to the third Tuesday in June. This is a school safety issue, and elections should be held after the school year ends.

3-   SB 1150: A bill to establish the position of Military Spouse Liaison in the Department of Veterans Services to conduct outreach and advocate on behalf of military spouses in the Commonwealth.

4-   SB 1190: A bill to direct the Board of Education to include advanced directive education in its curriculum framework for the Health Standards of Learning for high school students.

5-   SB 1356: A bill to require the Board of Health to include in regulations governing hospitals, nursing homes, certified nursing facilities, and hospices allowing clergy visitation.

With the Senate of Virginia closing up shop for now, we’ll be working back in the 7th District at our Virginia Beach office. You can contact our office by emailing us at district07@senate.virginia.gov or call the office at 757-990-3080 M-F between 9am-3pm.

I will continue to fight for our families and practice calm, common sense leadership that brings balance to the radical left in our Commonwealth and restores faith in our government. It is an honor to represent the people of the 7th District and to be your voice in state government.

Take care & keep in touch-




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

1. A bill died in the House and was brought back as an “Administration Bill” during the last three days of session in an attempt to get a bad bill through the backdoor. It died only because we ran out of session days! Very sneaky….!

2. Muhammed Ali’s wife was our guest in caucus this past week! She signed autographed pictures of she and the boxing great!

3. The “Night at the Museum” theme when we are still in the Science Museum after dark is not as fun as the movie! (All the exhibits shut down and the dinosaurs do not come to life…!) 

4. Hearing one of my democrat neighbor’s sitting near me state, “This is the dumbest bill” and then watching him vote for it anyway!

5. We lost the marijuana legalization bill by a vote of 20-19. (One vote short of killing it.) It was a party line vote with one democrat voting with us to defeat the bill.

Last Day of Session Photo

Honored to be a part of this amazing group of people…. the Virginia Republican Senate Caucus! They are some of the most well-spoken, smartest, & common sense people I have ever met and who work everyday to protect our Constitution and keep our Commonwealth great. This is our last day of session ‘class picture’ (& we took our masks off for a few seconds for the photo)!

Capitol Tour

I was able to actually go in the Virginia Capitol building for the first time this session! It was nice to sit on the Senate floor and dream of the good old days when we used to hold session in that awesome historic room. I sure hope we are back there next year for regular session, and I look forward to having people be able to visit us in person in Richmond too!

Executive Order Update…

News from Richmond….a small step in the right direction… (& yes- we have tried through several bills to curb the Governor’s executive power but all have been killed in committee!)!

“Governor Northam has amended Executive Order 72 to expand opportunities for outdoor activities in light of improving COVID-19 case statistics. While limits on indoor gatherings remain the same (including a limit of 10 people at indoor social gatherings), the limit on outdoor social gatherings and exercise groups will increase to 25 people and the limit on outdoor racetrack and amusement venues will increase to 1,000 people. The amended order removes the stay-at-home order from midnight to 5 a.m. and extends the cutoff time for alcohol sales in restaurant dining rooms from 10 p.m. to midnight. These amendments, which will be effective March 1, follow the recent amendment in effect as of February 22 to increase the capacity limit for outdoor recreational sporting events to 250 spectators. Summer camps will be able to open as of May 1, using strict mitigation protocols such as small cohorts of campers.”

Link to executive order: Executive Order 72

Vaccine Update
Virginia has a new online registration system to receive a COVID19 vaccine:
https://vax.preregister.virginia.gov

If you are in priority group 1b and are interested in getting the vaccine, please register online. (I get my second shot Saturday and will be administering the vaccine at the VB Convention Center as well!)
Here’s is more information:https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/

Additionally, CVS has started to offer the vaccine to Virginians who are 65+. Please follow this link to register: https://www.cvs.com/vaccine/intake/store/covid-screener/covid-qns

For updates from CVS regarding the vaccine, please visit: https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine

Keep In Touch!


You can call my district office at (757) 990-3080 or send me an email to: district07@senate.virginia.gov
Legislation Information
Click Here to View All 2021 Legislation
Click Here for Sen. Kiggans Legislation

DMV Issues??
Having trouble getting an appointment at the DMV, please call our office for assistance and we can help! 757-990-3080


car_keys_map.jpg

If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there!


My work in the Virginia Senate would not be possible without donations from supporters like you, and I will continue to work hard in Richmond to advance common sense, conservative, pro-growth policies for our Commonwealth. I hope that moving forward I can count on your continued assistance as we look to promote the values we share. Will you consider a donation of $25, $50 or $100 today to help my campaign?

Donate Here

2/17/21 Facts from the Floor: Week Five

March 4, 2021
Dear Friend,

Last week, the General Assembly adjourned its 2021 regular session on Monday and convened a special session, called by Governor Northam, on Wednesday. The purpose of the special session is to complete the unfinished work of the regular session. 

Why, you might ask, could the General Assembly not complete its work in the 30 days allotted by the Constitution of Virginia? The answer is that the majority party needed more time than 30 days to pass their progressive agenda and move Virginia further to the left . When there is one party rule from the top down including both chambers of the legislature, the ruling party has to act quickly to pass ALL the legislative priorities they have before the House elections (and Governor, Lt. Gov and Attorney General) this November.

This situation is emblematic of a larger point: Democrats like government, want to grow government, and look to government as a solution to most problems. They also don’t mind raising taxes to pay for their big government.  Judging from Virginia, however, Democrats don’t actually run government very well. The failure to complete our regular session work on time – even with what was by far the smallest workload in at least 27 years – is the latest example of this shortcoming.

Republicans continue to fight for the things that are important to Virginians during these trying times: opening our businesses and getting people back to work, opening our schools and getting our kids back in the classroom in person, and finding ways to get the COVID vaccine out to people and turn this health crisis around. We’ve also demanded explanations and accountability from the Northam Administration. But one of the consequences of the Democrats having total control over state government is they have the power to squelch these efforts at accountability. And Republicans just don’t have the votes to stop any of their legislation from passing.

Here’s a great example:

SB 1422: This is my “voting accuracy” bill. It requires the State Registrar of Vital Records to transmit to the Department of Elections a weekly list of deceased people from the previous week. Currently, this list is transmitted monthly but in actuality only gets there every 2-3 months per the registrar. The bill requires the registrars to use this information to conduct list maintenance and to promptly cancel the registration of a person on the list. With strong bipartisan support, the Senate passed that legislation to increase election integrity by a vote of 34 to 5.
Democrats on the House Privileges and Elections Committee turned around and “laid my bill on the table” (which is the House’s way of killing the bill) on the very first day of the special session, with only one Democrat joining Republicans on the Committee who voted in favor of the bill. The silver lining was that it exposed the Democrats unwillingness to pass bipartisan legislation that improves the accuracy of our election process. Noted. Please remember that in November as well!



My other remaining bills will crossover and be heard in House committees this week. If you would like to follow the six bills that were passed in the Senate and heading to the House, please visit here: https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?212+mbr+S109C

Next week, there will be more on which to report from Virginia’s capital city. Until then, have a great week and stay tuned!

Thank you to those of you who have reached out to express your opinions about upcoming legislation. It is appreciated. And thanks to all of you for your continued support. It is an honor to represent you in Richmond!   


Keep in touch and stay tuned!


Take care and stay well….


 


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

1) When presenting my bills in virtual House committees from the Science Museum, it can be difficult to find a quiet place. My favorite places to present in virtual committee are the wind speed exhibit and the origami paper folding area (very quiet there!)!

2) When the Lieutenant Governor is absent from the Senate, the President Pro Tempore becomes the presiding officer. Currently Sen. Louise Lucas (D- Portsmouth) holds that position and has had the opportunity to run the show a few times this session already. (Today was the Lt. Gov’s bday so he was late and she stepped in until he arrived!)

3) Every year, starting on February 1st, the Clerk of the Senate offers daily reminders at the end of our Senate day about how many “shopping days” are left leading up to Valentine’s Day. This is a helpful reminder for the Senators to not forget to get a gift for their significant other! (Madam Clerk loves Valentine’s Day!)

4) In the Science Museum, Senators are not seated in sections by party as they are in the chamber in the Capitol. This has actually been a good thing as we have been forced to talk to each other, make new “friends” and mingle with the opposite party throughout the floor session!

5) The House is meeting virtually, so it is not uncommon to see Delegates’ pets, family members, houses, kitchens, etc. in the background. In my opinion, this is probably not the best way to do government but it does make for some funny sightings!


2021 Virtual Women Veterans Health and Wellness Forum

Thankful to be a part of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services 2021 Virtual Women Veterans Health and Wellness Forum! Always great to be with other women veterans and hear about their service to country!






Valentines Day 2021

Valentine’s Day is usually a special holiday in the General Assembly. Normally we decorate our office doors, exchange a few valentines, & eat too much chocolate during session, but this year looks a little different here in the Science Museum. We did get heart cookies from the Executive Mansion though….. so there’s that!





Happy Anniversary!!

When you’re a Navy pilot and you marry a Navy pilot, you have a wedding full of awesome airplanes! Happy 22nd Anniversary to the cutest, sweetest, and most supportive husband a girl could ask for!! I love you!!





Vaccine Update

Virginia has a new online registration system to receive a COVID19 vaccine:
https://vax.preregister.virginia.gov

If you are in priority group 1b and are interested in getting the vaccine, please register online. (I get my second shot Saturday and will be administering the vaccine at the VB Convention Center as well!)
Here’s is more information:https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/

Additionally, CVS has started to offer the vaccine to Virginians who are 65+. Please follow this link to register: https://www.cvs.com/vaccine/intake/store/covid-screener/covid-qns

For updates from CVS regarding the vaccine, please visit: https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine




Keep In Touch!



Call us!! The Senate of Virginia is operating a toll-free constituent hotline for the 2021 General Assembly Session. You can call 1-833-617-1821 to express your opinion on legislation Mon-Thurs 8:30am-5pm and on Fridays 8:30am-2:00pm. The message will be sent directly to your legislator’s office. (& yes- I love the plug in handset I got for Christmas for my cell phone!) You can also call my district office at (757) 990-3080 or send me an email to: district07@senate.virginia.gov.

Legislation Information

Click Here to View All Legislation

Click Here for Sen. Kiggans Legislation

To watch the Senate of Virginia’s daily meetings and committees, follow this link: http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

DMV Issues??Having trouble getting an appointment at the DMV, please call our office for assistance and we can help! 757-990-3080
car_keys_map.jpg

If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there!

2/9/21 Facts from the Floor: Week Four

February 9, 2021
Dear Friend,

This past Friday was “Crossover” day in the Virginia Senate and House. For the Senate, this means that we finished voting on Senate bills and sent them to the House for debate and vote. In ONE DAY, here are a few things the Democratic majority passed:

· SB 1261:  Packed the court of appeals increasing the number of judges from 11 to 17 (includes adding 50+ lawyers for staff as well) – I voted no.

· SB 1443: Removed mandatory minimum sentencing for heinous crimes such as manslaughter, assault, and rape. – I voted no.

· SB 1406:  Legalized recreational marijuana with prioritization of the first licenses and loans to go to people with drug convictions – I voted no. 

· SB 1196: Required “cultural competency” training for teachers and principals and evaluation of their “cultural competency” in their regular assessments – I voted no. 

Some good news that came out of last week was my election accuracy bill. Election integrity is a long-standing priority for myself and for all Senate Republicans. Last year, in a study of 42 states, the Public Interest Legal Foundation found over 350,000 dead people on voter rolls. Maintaining accurate and up-to-date voter rolls is critical to ensuring the integrity of elections. My common-sense bill ensures deceased Virginians don’t remain on the voter rolls by requiring the State Registrar of Vital Records to provide a list of Virginians who have died to the Department of Elections on a weekly basis instead of a monthly basis. The bill passed out of the Senate by a vote of 34 to 5 and heads to the House next. Link to the bill: SB1422

The fight to open schools to ensure Virginia’s children can again learn in a classroom continued last week. I co-patroned a bill with my Republican colleagues that would require local public schools to make in-person instruction available to every student. The Senate approved this bill by a vote of 26 to 13, with eight Democrats voting in favor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published a study indicating in-person learning with proper safety measures has not “contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission” of COVID. With the science on the side of opening schools for in-person learning, it is difficult to justify keeping schools closed while our students fall further behind. Link to the bill: SB1303

Whenever there are changes to the federal tax code, Virginia makes adjustments to its taxation policies. When the federal government passed the CARES Act to respond to the pandemic, it included measures so businesses receiving the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan to keep their employees on the job wouldn’t have added taxes for utilizing the program. You might think it would be obvious that Virginia wouldn’t tax PPP funding either. But Democrats have a lot of spending priorities to fund. As a result, their bill conforming the state’s tax code to the federal government’s does not exempt PPP funds received. An amendment to the conformity legislation (that would have ensured these funds weren’t taxed) failed with every Democrat voting against this fairness measure. Then, as a compromise, Senate Democrats agreed to approve exemptions that would lower the potential tax burden on a portion of these funds up to $100,000. While not ideal, it does mean struggling small businesses won’t be taxed as much for keeping people employed by utilizing a federal program they were encouraged to use in the first place.

Also this week in case you missed it: Virginia abolished the death penalty (SB1165) and removed witness signatures from absentee ballots (SB1097). A lot of changes are taking place in our Commonwealth and we are well on our way to looking more and more like California, Oregon, and New York everyday!

If there’s an issue or bill about which you’d like to share your views, please call the Senate Message Center toll-free at (833) 617-1821. Or, you can send me an email at district07@senate.virginia.gov.

I’ll be back with an update next week, when we’ll be considering House bills and they’ll be considering ours. Until then, have a great week and keep in touch!



SENATOR KIGGANS’ TOP FIVE MOST SURPRISING THINGS SEEN IN THE VIRGINIA SENATE THIS PAST WEEK:
1. Quote heard from a Senator on the floor: “I wish the Governor would have spent as much time on COVID as he did on this marijuana legalization bill!”

2. Friday we worked from 7:30am until 11:30pm to have all the Senate heard bills before they crossed over. There is no limit to our work day in the Senate!

3. We now have a “post office” for outgoing mail set up for us by staff in the back of the Science Museum. We are definitely getting too cozy there!

4. Senator Dick Saslaw (D- Fairfax) turned “81” last Friday making him the oldest member of the Virginia Senate!  Senator Saslaw has been a sitting member of the Virginia Senate for 41 years and is the Senate majority leader (and no- there are no term limits in the Virginia General Assembly)!

5. Regular session has ended (on Friday, February 5th). It was 30 days in length. The Governor immediately called us into special session for two more weeks to get our work done and finish accomplishing his administration’s priorities! 

Wear Red Day
February 5th was “Wear Red Day” in the Virginia Senate to recognize the American Heart Association and to bring awareness of the issue of women and heart disease.


Exercise Is Key
No better way to prepare for a day in Richmond…..!


Black History Month

February begins Black History Month. The theme for 2021 is “The Black Family” and explores genealogy and the spread of Black families across the United States. Black History Month was started in 1976 by President Gerald Ford to honor the accomplishments of Black Americans throughout our history.

Virginia Beach Vaccine Update
On Monday, Jan. 25, the Virginia Beach Health District moved into Phase 1b of COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccines will be given at the VB Convention Center. There is no charge. Phase 1b includes frontline essential workers, anyone age 65 and older, and those individuals age 16-64 years with high-risk medical conditions. People who fall into Phase 1b must pre-register to receive the vaccine through a new online portal. To access the portal, visit vbgov.com/vaccinatevb and input your personal information. Registrants must have a working email address. (Chrome is the preferred browser for the portal.)

Keep In Touch!


Call us!! The Senate of Virginia is operating a toll-free constituent hotline for the 2021 General Assembly Session. You can call 1-833-617-1821 to express your opinion on legislation Mon-Thurs 8:30am-5pm and on Fridays 8:30am-2:00pm. The message will be sent directly to your legislator’s office. (& yes- I love the plug in handset I got for Christmas for my cell phone!) You can also call my district office at (757) 990-3080 or send me an email to: district07@senate.virginia.gov.

Legislation Information
Click Here to View All Legislation
Click Here for Sen. Kiggans Legislation
To watch the Senate of Virginia’s daily meetings and committees, follow this link: http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

All session and committees are recorded so you can go back and watch previous debates. This is a great tool the public can use to track what is happening with our state government in Richmond.

**Additionally, if there is a bill that is coming before a Senate committee that you feel passionately about, you can sign up to speak in favor of or in opposition to the legislation. This can be found at the top of the page following the link above.

DMV Issues??Having trouble getting an appointment at the DMV, please call our office for assistance and we can help! 757-990-3080
car_keys_map.jpg

If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there!

2/2/21 Facts from the Floor: Week Three

February 2, 2021
Dear Friend,

Last Monday, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Dr. Daniel Carey, and Richmond and Henrico Health Department Director, Dr. Danny Avula, who the Governor tapped to be “field general” for vaccine distribution, provided an update to our Republican caucus on the vaccine rollout. The two doctors explained some of the problems the state had experienced and provided details of plans to improve the Commonwealth’s desultory performance.

The briefing was productive as it marked the first time any Northam Administration official acknowledged there was a problem with the vaccine acquisition and distribution. That alone was a significant shift for this administration. We are staying on top of Virginia’s vaccine roll out and watching the process closely. 

We recently passed legislation out of the Senate that will significantly improve the state’s ability to distribute the vaccine quickly and lifts some of the barriers currently in place to allow healthcare volunteers to give the vaccine easier. Our Senate Bill (SB1445) also allows more locations to distribute the vaccine and makes more healthcare professionals (such a nursing and medical students) eligible to administer it.

Every Republican Senator signed on to co-sponsor the bill, as did every Democrat Senator. Introduced on a Tuesday, the Senate unanimously approved the bill three days later. In legislative time, that is as fast as it gets. In these hyper-partisan times, the bill’s quick passage demonstrated lawmakers from opposing parties can work together to support solutions, at least in the Senate of Virginia.

In other news….

February marks the 12th month that most Virginia students have not been able to attend school in person. I am a co-patron of SB1303 which requires each local school division to make in-person and virtual learning available to all students by choice of the student’s parent or guardian. It narrowly passed the Senate Education and Health Committee on a bipartisan 8-7 vote with Democrats Senator Chap Petersen from Fairfax City and Senator Lynwood Lewis from the Eastern Shore joining my Republican colleagues. SB1303 heads to the Senate floor this week where we are hoping additional Democratic Senators join the effort and we can give parents the option of sending their kids back to in-person learning before the school year ends.

The Senate General Laws committee heard SB1131 which would limit the governor’s emergency executive authority by requiring legislative approval after 45 days from when the order was given and prevent him/her from reissuing a similar order if not approved by the legislature. In my opinion, governors need to be able to issue emergency orders but they shouldn’t be unilateral decisions of unlimited duration. This bill died in committee along a party line vote with democrats voting against the idea and the bill. (This bill was patroned by a republican – my seatmate- and I was happy to co-patron.) We will continue to push to restore proper checks and balances in the Commonwealth! 

We often speak about the nursing shortage in our country but we don’t often take action to improve that shortage. I’m proud of my SB 1147 expanding an existing Dept of Health scholarship to extend eligibility to Certified Nurse Assistants (in addition to RNs and LPNs) – it passed out of the Senate unanimously last week and heads to the House of Delegates this week. Hopefully more people are able to attend school to become nurses because of this bill!

Thank you to everyone who has already shared your views and thoughts on important issues with me. If you have not, I hope you will take 2-5 minutes and reach out to me by emailing me at district07@senate.virginia.gov or calling my office at (757) 990-3080
Thank you so much for all of your continued support! It is an honor to represent you in the Virginia Senate!


Take care and stay well….

 

FUN FACT: With the deadline for filing bills having passed, we now know how many pieces of legislation we’ll be considering this session. Senators submitted 379 bills by the deadline, while Delegates submitted 604, for a total of 983. That is the fewest number of bills – by far – in any regular session this century. For comparison, legislators submitted 2,000 bills in 2019, the most recent “short” session.

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

1. There are no “snow days” in the Virginia General Assembly! Session continues even if it snows (although the virtual option does provide a possible other “venue” although not as desired)!

2. When we speak to a bill, we always address the Lt Gov first (who is the President of the Senate) and we must stand before we begin speak to him. For example, we stand and begin to speak when called on and then state “Mr. President,……..”

3. The Bon Secours Physical Therapy Center is available for private meetings between legislators and constituents or lobbyists. I have only had one lobbyist request a personal meeting in this venue since we began session.

4. If we feel like we have voted wrong on a bill, we can change our vote if a senator who voted on the “prevailing side” wants to recall the vote and we all vote again. We can also change our vote on paper with the clerk’s staff in the front of the room but votes must be changed before session ends for that day.

5. We have several lawyers who attend all of our committee meetings. They usually sit in the front of the room and are there to answer questions about technical language in the bills. Oftentimes they have worked on the actual drafting of the bills being heard in that committee and probably know more of the nuances than we do about the legislation! We couldn’t do our job without the legislative services legal staff!


Virginia Beach Vaccine Update
On Monday, Jan. 25, the Virginia Beach Health District moved into Phase 1b of COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccines will be given at the VB Convention Center. There is no charge. Phase 1b includes frontline essential workers, anyone age 65 and older, and those individuals age 16-64 years with high-risk medical conditions. People who fall into Phase 1b must pre-register to receive the vaccine through a new online portal that is now available. To access the portal, visit vbgov.com/vaccinatevb and input your personal information. Registrants must have a working email address. (Chrome is the preferred browser for the portal.)
Weekend Vaccination Event


It was awesome to be a part of administering the COVID19 vaccine this weekend with the Virginia Beach Medical Reserve Corps! We also welcomed the Virginia Secretary of Health & Human Resources (Dr. Dan Carey), Virginia Beach Health Director (Dr. Demetria Lindsey), & Mayor Bobby Dyer for a tour of the event! Big thank you to our amazing local volunteers and EMS team for conducting a mass vaccination event for 3000 people! Administering the COVID vaccine quickly and efficiently around the Commonwealth continues to be a challenge and is a work in progress. We are all working together to get it to those who are willing and able!

*For more info about local vaccine events or to sign up for a vaccine if you are in priority group 1A or 1B, please visit:https://emergency.vbgov.com/coronavirus

Touring the Science Museum of Virginia
One of the best parts about having session in the Science Museum of Virginia is walking under the SR-71 “Blackbird” aircraft every time I go to a committee meeting! Only 32 of these now-retired reconnaissance aircraft were built by Lockheed with 12 lost in accidents (none lost to enemy action).




Keep In Touch!

Call us!! The Senate of Virginia is operating a toll-free constituent hotline for the 2021 General Assembly Session. You can call 1-833-617-1821 to express your opinion on legislation Mon-Thurs 8:30am-5pm and on Fridays 8:30am-2:00pm. The message will be sent directly to your legislator’s office. (& yes- I love the plug in handset I got for Christmas for my cell phone!) You can also call my district office at (757) 990-3080 or send me an email to: district07@senate.virginia.gov.
Legislation Information
Click Here to View All Legislation
Click Here for Sen. Kiggans Legislation
To watch the Senate of Virginia’s daily meetings and committees, follow this link: http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

All session and committees are recorded so you can go back and watch previous debates. This is a great tool the public can use to track what is happening with our state government in Richmond.

**Additionally, if there is a bill that is coming before a Senate committee that you feel passionately about, you can sign up to speak in favor of or in opposition to the legislation. This can be found at the top of the page following the link above.
DMV Issues??Having trouble getting an appointment at the DMV, please call our office for assistance and we can help! 757-990-3080
car_keys_map.jpg
If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there!

1/18/20 Facts from the Floor: Week One

January 18, 2021
Dear Friend,

We are back! 

The Virginia General Assembly opened its 2021 regular session last Wednesday, but not in the Capitol.  The Senate convened in a very spacious conference room at the Virginia Science Museum.  The House of Delegates convened via Zoom.

Our new Senate chamber is really a cavernous ballroom that allows everyone to be socially distanced – and then some.  Senators wear masks, our temperatures get checked daily, and our desks have our own bottle of hand sanitizer.  I really miss the historic Senate chamber we sat in last year with the wooden desks, comfortable chairs, and so much history. I’m proud that we are continuing to meet in-person because there’s nothing like an in-person floor debate plus it’s important that we can talk to each other and ask questions of each other during breaks. With 40 total senators, we are able to get to know everyone very well which helps us to maintain civility in heated debates and be more effective legislators overall.

The Constitution of Virginia sets the length of sessions held in odd-numbered years at 30 days which we agreed to last Wednesday.  Democrats wanted a 45 day session, but the Constitution requires a super-majority (2/3rds vote) to extend session beyond the 30 days.  Republicans committed to adhering to the Constitutional session length back in November, a week after the 84-day special session ended. Since we are not able to meet with constituents in person and people who speak before us are all virtual, it is not the best way to conduct a government by the people for the people. Next year (when all is hopefully back to normal), I look forward to being back in our historic Capitol for a 60 day 2022 session!

A shorter session with fewer bills this year will encourage legislators to focus on issues requiring the most immediate attention. My priorities remain efficient administration of the COVID vaccine, getting public schools open and children safely back in the classroom, and reviving our economy. Although we have not taken any votes on the floor yet, I have had four bills pass out of committee so far. I will continue to focus on healthcare legislation, especially regarding improved nursing home staffing recruitment and retention, and family and veteran’s issues. My bill creating a position for a Military Spouse Liaison in the Virginia Department of Veteran Services passed out of committee. In addition, my school nurse bill, a nursing scholarship bill for Certified Nursing Assistants, and a bill requiring education on advanced directives for high school students all passed out of the Education and Health committee. Senators are allowed to patron twelve bills total this session. I will co-patron several others with my colleagues and will keep you posted on their passage!

Speaking of priorities, I worry those of the current administration are not aligned with what Virginians need most right now. During this session, we will see bills for legalization of recreational marijuana, Medicaid funded abortions, and removing the Right to Work law in Virginia (which keeps union membership optional and not mandatory). I will continue to be an advocate for what is important to the people in my district who sent me here to represent them. I value all of your input and ask that you please keep in touch and let me know what is important to you!

Until next week, take care and stay well!

~Jen

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


1. If a Senator passes away while in session, their desk is draped with a black cloth for two weeks during a mourning period. Senator Ben Chafin’s desk had red roses from each of us for one week as well. (He passed away on January 1).

2. We are not inviting clergy into our “chamber” this session in the Science Museum and instead the senators are taking turns saying the daily prayer before session. There are no special guests allowed in this year which makes for a very lonely session.

3. Everyday we are waiving the “rules” of the Senate to allow Senators who are sick or quarantining to log on virtually and vote virtually. Although we try to meet in person, we are doing our best to keep everyone safe. The absent senator’s Zoom face shows up in the top right corner of our voting board now when it’s time to vote.

4. The Virginia Science Museum is actually open while we’re in session in their conference center. We caucus and hold committee in different side exhibit rooms in the museum. Expect to run into us if you visit the museum in the next month!

5. We have food (& a lot of coffee and tea!) available to us throughout the day in a back hall attached to our conference room. We have to-go meals, soups, drinks, salads, fruit, desserts, candy, cookies (& one day we had cannolis!). I think they keep us well fed to help keep tensions down!

Keep In Touch!
Call us!! The Senate of Virginia is operating a toll-free constituent hotline for the 2021 General Assembly Session. You can call 1-833-617-1821 to express your opinion on legislation Mon-Thurs 8:30am-5pm and on Fridays 8:30am-2:00pm. The message will be sent directly to your legislator’s office. (& yes- I love the plug in handset I got for Christmas for my cell phone!) You can also call my district office at (757) 990-3080 or send me an email to: district07@senate.virginia.gov.

Legislation Information

Click Here to View All Legislation

Click Here for Sen. Kiggans Legislation

To watch the Senate of Virginia’s daily meetings and committees, follow this link: http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

All session and committees are recorded so you can go back and watch previous debates. This is a great tool the public can use to track what is happening with our state government in Richmond. 

**Additionally, if there is a bill that is coming before a Senate committee that you feel passionately about, you can sign up to speak in favor of or in opposition to the legislation. This can be found at the top of the page following the link above.

Healthcare Selfie



Picture from the Richmond Times Dispatch celebrating week #1 complete in Richmond! (Fun fact- the three of us are the healthcare providers in the Virginia Senate: Sen. Dunnevant is an OB/GYN MD, Sen. Pillion is a Dentist, and I’m a Nurse Practitioner).

Minority Business Commission Update


I was honored to be nominated as the Vice Chair of the Virginia Minority Business Commission! Supporting all businesses and ensuring all Virginians have jobs they can be proud of is so important to me. I am excited to work with Chairman Torian and this bipartisan group of legislators and members of the community to support minority businesses! 


DMV Issues??Having trouble getting an appointment at the DMV, please call our office for assistance and we can help! 757-990-3080
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If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there!

Happenings on the Homefront: The Post-Election Voting Concerns Debrief

December 2, 2020


Dear Friend,


With special session coming to a close a few weeks ago, the Virginia Senate has had a period of down time with not much to report legislatively. We are beginning the process of working with staff lawyers to draft bills to be presented during our next regular session which will start January 13, 2021, and last 30 days this year. Since we are considered “part time legislators” in the state of Virginia, our regular session work is limited by our state constitution and defined in length as lasting 30 days for non-budget years (60 days every other year for budget). In 2021, Senators will be limited to introducing 12 bills each while delegates in the House will be limited to introducing 7 bills each (These limits were set by the members of the Rules Committee from both chambers, the 2020 session had no bill limit). Stay tuned for a pre-session update in the weeks to come outlining my priorities going into the next session (Spoiler Alert: nursing home staffing, veterans advocacy, and yes- the balloon bill will be back!). 

I wanted to take a few minutes to address the concerns of so many of you who have reached out to me about the integrity of our elections held on November 3rd, 2020. First, please know that I hear each and every one of you who has called my office & spoken to one of my staff, who has emailed my district office, or who has commented on a social media post. I agree with you 100% that it is right to question the electoral process and to hold those accountable who are responsible for ensuring our elections are conducted fairly with the utmost integrity. The night of my own election last November, 2019, I personally saw and experienced precinct reporting that I questioned and still doubt. I paid for and worked with lawyers for days after my own election to ensure the absentee and provisional ballots were properly counted. I watched Delegate Chris Stolle lose his seat in the 83rd precinct by 27 votes and did not feel confident that I trusted those results. 

Since my election, I have made it very clear to the Virginia Beach Department of Elections staff that I want to be involved in the local electoral process and that I have been and will be watching closely how we conduct each and every election going forward. I was on the phone consulting with Donna Patterson, Virginia Beach Director of Elections/ General Registrar, the day of the 2020 June Republican Primary when the voting machines experienced a malfunction which many of you may remember. I wrote a letter from my office addressing my concerns in writing after that day, including the fact that my husband and I had to cast a provisional ballot in that election due to a machine malfunction. 

In preparation for this November’s election, I scheduled an appointment to meet with Ms. Patterson and her staff in person in October and went to the Department of Elections’ office at the Virginia Beach Courthouse complex for a tour. I saw the room where the absentee ballots are processed and spoke with Ms. Patterson about the extreme changes in election law that had been passed during our 2020 regular session. The day of the election, I worked at seven different polls throughout the day. I watched the election results play out the night of the election, including the after midnight reporting of all the early and absentee ballots in one large grouping, and saw the leads flip for many contentious races in the blink of an eye. I scheduled another phone conference with Ms. Patterson the following week and relayed many personal concerns and constituents’ concerns to her one at a time. These included people receiving absentee ballots who did not request them, college students never receiving their absentee ballots, people’s voting record being improperly listed on the Dept of Elections website, and numerous other concerns that had been relayed to my office. I am in the process of relaying these concerns in writing to Mr. Christopher Piper, the Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner. 

Above all else, the most important action I have taken to prevent voter fraud and to maintain the integrity for ALL of our elections was to vote NO to each and every suspicious election reform bill that came before me on the floor of the Senate this past year. This included voting NO to the bill ending the requirement to show voter ID, NO to the bill to end no excuse absentee voting, and NO to the special session bill one month prior to our November election allowing for ballot drop boxes and opening the door to ballot harvesting (and included a $2 million price tag). 

The majority of these 2020 election reform bills passed along party lines votes with the Democratic legislators having a majority of votes in both chambers therefore having the ability to pass any and all election reform legislation they could imagine. I have said time and time again and will say once more….. it is dangerous to have one party that controls all parts of government in our Commonwealth including the Governor, Lt Governor, Attorney General, Senate, and House of Delegates. Elections have consequences, and I knew this before I got on a ballot and worked hard to win my seat. I encourage each and every one of my colleagues in the Senate and House to be as involved and proactive as I have been and will continue to be to stay on top of our electoral process in Virginia Beach and Norfolk and to continue to be vigilant, to fight for free and fair elections, and to ensure every legal vote is counted. I encourage all candidates who lost races to work with their legal teams to exhaust their ability to recount, audit, and investigate their resultsto the full extent of their ability as I did in my race in 2019. It is a team effort and we all must continue to do our part until we can reform our electoral process and restore voter confidence in our elections. You can be assured, I will continue to watch closely for each and every election and to do my part for as long as I hold elected office in the state of Virginia. 

Very Respectfully,

Jen


Click Here to Visit the Virginia Department of Elections Voter Complaint Site

*Virginia Beach Electoral Board holds periodic meetings open to the public. Their next meeting will be on December 17th at 1 p.m.at Building 14 of the Virginia Beach Courthouse Complex. You are encouraged to attend to have your questions and concerns heard.


*Additionally, the City of Virginia Beach is always looking for election officials to work polls on election day. See here for more information and to apply: https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/voter-registrar/Pages/election-official-information.aspx



Virginia Peninsula Foodbank Volunteer Event


This week, I joined other community leaders in volunteering at the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank in Hampton to raise awareness of the role our foodbanks play in addressing food insecurity in our area. In addition to providing meals to families and school children in need, they also offer a culinary training program to adults to teach skills needed to work in the food service industry. Thank you for all you do!



Local Mental Health Resource Visits

Recently, I had a tour of the Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center to understand how they are serving the mental health needs of our community during COVID. After that, I visited Hampton Roads Hyperbaric Therapy to learn how hyperbaric oxygen therapy is helping our veterans with PTSD & brain injuries. In my primary care job I see an increased need for available and accessible mental health services now more than ever. We must continue to work to expand these local resources for Virginia Beach and Norfolk.



Girl Scout Zoom Meeting

I was honored to talk to Girl Scout Troop #552 (via Zoom) about Navy helicopters, nursing, & the Senate of Virginia! They were great listeners and asked lots of great questions! (& I hope we inspired a few future girl pilots and girl politicians out there….!) Thank you for inviting me!



Tree Planting Event


It was a great day to turn off the TV, go outside, & plant some trees! Thank you to Lynnhaven River Now for organizing the opportunity to plant almost 400 trees in common areas in the Ocean Lakes neighborhood and distribute 100 trees to residents. Ocean Lakes is in the Back Bay watershed and, like many low-lying neighborhoods, is vulnerable to flooding. Planting these trees will help reduce local flooding! #GoOutside #PlantTrees#EnjoyTheSun (Special thank you to my daughter for coming with and helping me!! )



Sen. Kiggans Honors Family Military History on Veterans Day

“A veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check payable to America for the amount up to and including their life.” 

A special shout out to my Grandfather, Dad, Husband, & Son for their service!



DMV Issues??

DMV now offers most current credential holders who are required to renew in person the option to use online service and obtain a new two-year driver’s license or ID card. This will suspend the requirement for those customers to visit a DMV customer service center until it is time for their next renewal. If you would like to renew your license for its full five or eight years (length of license validity varies by customer), or if you need a REAL ID compliant driver’s license, you must still make an appointment.

Having trouble getting an appointment at the DMV, please call our office for assistance and we can help! 757-990-3080

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If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there!