Tommy Wright: Remember this November
Published 12:00 pm Thursday, March 9, 2023
When Republicans were given the majority in 2021, Virginians did so with the expectation that we would keep our promises to make their neighborhoods safer, their schools better, and the economy more prosperous. We worked hard for the past two sessions to do just that.
Unfortunately, Senate Democrats disagree on virtually everything of substance we passed, and as such, they have yet to become law. As a prominent Democrat once said, “if we can’t change their minds, we’ll just have to change their seats.”
This session was frustrating. We in the House did exactly what we said we’d do, but the Senate Democrats blocked virtually everything we passed.
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For example, localities run by both Republicans and Democrats asked us to bring back some of the police powers that were taken away in 2020. We passed legislation to do that, so they could get more bad guys off the streets. Democrats in the Senate killed it.
About 5 people die from a fentanyl overdose in Virginia every day. We passed HB 1455 & HB 1642 that would have held dealers accountable for the lives they take. Democrats killed it.
Cities are crying out for help fighting gun violence. We passed legislation that would have locked up second time gun crime offenders for much longer. Senate Democrats killed it.
We passed HB 1556 to give schools the ability to have non-police dog teams search for guns to stop tragedy before it happens. Democrats killed it.
Of course, we stopped some bad legislation from them as well. We stopped a bill that would have ended “consecutive” sentencing, so that if someone gets two 10- year terms, they’d just serve 10 years instead of 20.
We stopped “second look” legislation that would have given virtually everyone in jail a chance to get out after 15 years.
Our other major focus was education, and Democrats blocked us there, too.
We passed HB 1461 that would have put teachers back in charge of their classrooms. They would have been able to remove a violent student, rather than “clear the classroom.” Senate Dems killed it.
House Republicans passed HB 2269 that would have made the schools spend their pandemic money on learning loss faster. They killed it.
We passed HB 1379 that would have let parents opt their kids out of checking out sexually graphic materials from school libraries. They killed it.
We blocked legislation that would have let kids get transgender treatments without alerting their parents.
Democrats killed HB 1387 to protect girls’ sports by setting it aside for biological females.
They killed bills that simply would have let parents see the curriculum their students are using.
They killed HB 1816 that would have required students to learn about the horrors of communism, and a bill that would have required high school students to pass the citizenship test before they graduate.
Probably the most frustrating thing about the session was the way Democrats walked away from our budget deal at the last minute.
We had a deal in principle that would have split the difference between tax cuts and more spending, but they balked. Too many of them are facing liberal primary opponents to vote for a tax cut.
So, we left $3 billion sitting in the bank, unspent. It’s not going to teacher raises. It’s not going to tax cuts. It’s not going anywhere.
Our budget keeps the promise we made to Virginians: building better schools, safer communities, and a more prosperous future for every Virginian!
House Republicans are committed to making life more affordable for every Virginian.
We’re hopeful they’ll come back to the table, but we don’t expect any movement before the Senate primaries are done in June.
DEL. TOMMY WRIGHT can be reached via email at DelTWright@House.Virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.