Be the Change that’s Needed!

Dear Friend,

Democracy only works when “we the people” make our voices heard and you can make your voice heard by registering to vote and going to the polls on November 6th - Election Day. Your family, friends and neighbors are depending on you.

Click here if you are unsure of your voter registration status. Click here if you need to register.  You can also register by texting REGISTER to 644-33.

Additional information on the voting process itself, such as where you should go to vote and what type of identification you will need to bring to the polls is located at these following links:

Click here for the Arlington County Registrar’s website.

Click here for the Fairfax County Registrar’s website.

Click here for the Loudoun County Registrar’s website.

You must register by: Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 to be able to vote on November 6th.

Please share these tips as widely as you can. Together, we will be the “change” that is so needed:))

 

Sincerely,

Senator Barbara Favola   

31st District - Representing Parts of Arlington, Fairfax & Loudoun

Trump Rolls Back Protections Against Campus Sexual Assault–Help!

Dear Friend,

Throughout my legislative career, I worked to empower survivors of campus sexual assaults and make perpetrators accountable for their actions.  In 2015, I crafted legislation that required campus officials to involve police in the investigation of founded allegations of sexual assaults and mandated that more services be available to survivors.

These bills passed in a bi-partisan fashion and they created a catalyst for change.  Campuses throughout the Commonwealth responded by implementing:  

  • Programs that emphasized “No Means No” as part of routine orientation programs; and
  • Zero tolerance policies for sexual harassment were becoming commonplace.

But now President Trump and his Dep’t of Education want to roll back this progress.  Please help me stop this rollback.  Join the fight.  Donate Now.

Our sons and daughters deserve a safe and healthy learning environment.  Yet, Trump is proposing to:

  • Narrow the definition of sexual harassment,
  • Require a campus response only if the alleged sexual assault takes place “on campus;” and,
  • Permit the accused and the survivor to cross examine each other.

We must not let Trump silence those who have suffered sexual harassment and sexual assaults.  If he wins, we are all silenced.  It is our time and our quest.  Be part of the change.  Donate whatever you can. 

Thank you, in advance, for your help.

Sincerely,

Senator Barbara Favola   

31st District - Representing Parts of Arlington, Fairfax & Loudoun

Veto Session Ends – Drama Continues

Dear Friend:

The Veto Session ended with some successes and some disappointments.  I highlight actions on issues that I feel are important to you and the Commonwealth in the paragraphs that follow.  It is important to note that the Governor’s veto is sustained unless 2/3 of each body vote to override the veto. If the Governor amends legislation, then a majority of members from each body is needed to pass the amendments.

Gratefully, the Governor signed all of my bills without any amendments and vetoed the "Country Club Bill," at my request and with the urging of others as well.  I am delighted to report that Arlington County and the two country clubs in Arlington have come up with a mutually acceptable framework for moving forward with the application of a real estate assessment.

In a surprise move, the Chair of the Committee on Local Government created a subcommittee on School Facilities and I was appointed to that subcommittee.  Stay tuned for updates on the work of that subcommittee.  I am also interested in any thoughts you might have on how the state can help localities pay for capital improvements to our schools.

As you may have read, the House of Delegates, once again, passed a budget that included Medicaid Expansion.  Language in the budget refers to a work requirement and opens the door for possible subsidies to moderate-income families seeing exorbitant increases in their health insurance premiums.  Of course, I explained to the body that states that participated in Expansion saw the slowest rate of increase in health insurance premiums.

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We are waiting for the Senate to act on a budget.

Help me continue to fight for our values in Richmond! I am raising funds to help the Democrats flip the Senate in 2019. Donate whatever you can.

Successes

Sanctuary Cities: The Democrats were able to sustain every veto that the Governor issued on a total of 10 bills.  These bills were damaging to labor, immigrant relations, or the economy. For example, a sanctuary city bill that would have required local governments to work more closely with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and violate important principles necessary to developing trust among the immigrant communities they serve, was vetoed by the Governor and sustained by the House of Delegates.

Local Option - Living Wage: Another example of success was a sustained veto on a bill that would have prohibited local governments from requiring that a living wage be paid by contractors doing business with a local jurisdiction.  This living wage option is completely at the discretion of the local government. Moreover, if it is a requirement in an RFP, then all entities bidding on the contract have to incorporate the living wage cost into the bid. No potential bidder is disadvantaged and no contractor has to bid on a specific RFP.  The living wage option gives local leaders the opportunity to govern based on a set of mutually shared values.

Partial Successes

METRO Funding: We do have a bill that dedicates $154M, annually, to METRO. This is Virginia’s proportionate share; some of the dollars can be used for operating costs and others for capital costs.  Unfortunately, a large portion of this amount, $104M, will be diverted from revenues available to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA). The remaining money, $22M, would come from the gas tax floor and $30M from state funds.

The Governor amended the bill to bring in $30M in new dollars to reduce the diversion of road dollars from NVTA.  The $30M was achieved by applying a new 1% increase in the TOT or hotel tax and a 5-cent increase in the grantor's tax.  This tax is paid by folks selling their homes. It is important to note that these taxes would only be applied in northern Virginia.

The tax amendments were defeated on a party-line vote in the House of Delegates.  It was very perplexing that a northern Virginia lawmaker, Delegate Tim Hugo, made the tax amendments a Republican-Caucus issue.  All other NoVA lawmakers, many others from around the state, and business groups supported the taxes, especially after we explained that road projects throughout the state would suffer if NoVA started competing for statewide dollars.  (One of the primary criteria for the allocation of state road dollars is congestion mitigation.)

I am advising local leaders to identify projects that will be deferred or abandoned because new money will not be available, and to also identify projects that NoVA will be bringing forth for statewide money.  This information will help us win the fight in 2019. Lawmakers who attempt to govern with “No Tax” pledges must be held accountable for the impacts of their votes.

Disappointments

Medicaid Expansion: The Senate Republicans are still trying to find a pathway forward for embracing Medicaid Expansion.  I am confident that we will reach the finish line with a budget that provides up to 400,000 Virginians with access to healthcare, but I worry about how long it will take us to adopt a budget.  Localities usually offer teachers their contracts by mid-May and we need to be sensitive to this deadline.

The Governor is showing great leadership on this issue and is working with moderate Republicans to come up with options for their consideration.  Any reasonable objection to Medicaid will be treated with a thorough analysis and appropriate amendments to address the concern.

It is an honor and a pleasure to represent you in Richmond.  Rest assured, I will always fight for our Democratic values. :) Keep in touch by signing up for my newsletter!

Finally, I will be holding a tele town hall meeting (a town hall meeting that I will be holding over the phone that you can dial into) on the evening of May 1. Stay tuned for more details to come!

Sincerely,

Barbara Favola

Representing parts of Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun

MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Contact: Julia Chun

703-835-4845

julia.district31@gmail.com

 

Sen. Favola Announces her 2018 Legislative Agenda

ARLINGTON, VA – Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) released today highlights of her 2018 legislative agenda.  

She will continue her fight to expand Medicaid and to reform Virginia’s Hate Crime statute to include the LGBTQ community and any group in the Commonwealth who may be a target of hate.  Expanding access to healthcare and making Virginia a more welcoming state are values that cut across several subject areas.

Her other efforts focus on the following subject areas.

K-12 Education

Sen. Favola’s K-12 education priorities focus on teacher recruitment and retention.  She has submitted legislation to re-design teacher preparation programs in Virginia colleges and universities to enable education majors to be in the classroom after four years of study rather than five.  This would reduce the opportunity cost of selecting teaching as a profession and accelerate the pipeline for teachers.

“As chair of the subcommittee on School Leadership and Academic Outcomes, it is clear to me that Virginia must do a better job of supporting teachers and making teaching a desirable profession,” said Favola.

Favola will also seek funding to support teacher mentor programs and leadership training for principals.

Equal Taxing Authority for Counties

Sen. Favola will work to grant counties the same taxing authority as cities.  Specific revenue streams that may be enhanced include the cigarette tax and the application of a meals tax, without requiring a referendum.

“Counties are providing the same services as cities and the discrepancy in taxing authority is really unfair.  Moreover, diversified revenue streams would help counter swings in the real estate economy while still supporting vital programs such as public school funding, public safety and the arts,” said Favola.

Children's Health and Public Health

Sen. Favola’s children’s health and public health efforts focus on the need to provide children with "trauma informed" care.  Based on recommendations from the Commission on Youth for which Favola is the Chairperson, her legislative efforts include advocating for an inter-agency task force in the Governor's Office to help ensure that trauma-informed care is integrated into the programs and policies that are administered at the local level.  

Sen. Favola is also submitting legislation to enable relatives of children in foster care to access financial support if they can provide a permanent home for the child.

“I would like to continue my work to care for the ‘whole child’ and provide every opportunity for our children to grow up healthy and ready to succeed.  It is particularly important to me to help our children who are struggling in the foster care system.  To that end, I am continuing my efforts to provide relatives financial support for providing a permanent home to kin who are currently in the foster care system.” said Favola.

Paid Family Leave

Sen. Favola’s paid family leave agenda has two parts:  One part focuses on requiring employers who already offer sick leave to allow employees to use sick leave to care for a family member.  A second part and more comprehensive proposal, requires employers to provide paid family leave to employees in organizations with 50 or more workers.  This expense would be covered in part by the employer and in part through a payroll tax on the employee.  Favola notes that specifics of the bill are still being negotiated.

“Families should not have to choose between putting food on the table and taking care of a loved one.  Paid family leave is one of the most important benefits to workers and their families.  It is time that Virginia made some progress in this area.” said Favola.

Gun Safety

Sen. Favola’s gun safety legislation is robust and includes several pieces of legislation that attempt to reach a better balance between 2nd amendment arguments and public safety.  Sen. Favola submitted a bill that enables local governments to prohibit the "open carry" of firearms in protests or demonstrations.  

Another bill requires that lost or stolen firearms be reported within 24 hours.  

In light of the Las Vegas killings, Sen. Favola also submitted a bill to prohibit mechanisms that enable a semi-automatic weapon to fire faster.

Domestic Violence Prevention

In the area of domestic violence prevention, Sen. Favola has resubmitted her 2015 bill that would take firearms away, for a designated period of time, from domestic abusers with two or more misdemeanors.

Women’s Health

In the area of women’s health, Sen. Favola’s legislation removes the unconstitutional statute on Virginia's books, frequently referred to as the TRAP law, that requires women's health centers that provide five or more abortions a month to meet certain physical standards of a hospital.  A recent Supreme Court decision, Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt, ruled that these requirements are medically unnecessary and create an undue burden in accessing abortion services.  In Virginia, five women’s health centers have closed since 2011 because the cost of renovations were so expensive and burdensome.

“It is time to make access to basic primary and preventative care easier for women and families.  The clinics impacted by the TRAP law are frequently the only source of healthcare in underserved areas in the Commonwealth,” said Favola.

Details of these bills are available to the public at lis.virginia.gov.

Senator Barbara A. Favola represents Virginia’s 31st Senate district, which includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties, and a portion of Loudoun County.  Senator Favola currently serves on the Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Transportation Committees.

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Highlights of my Legislative Agenda

Dear Friend,

I hope you have been enjoying the holiday season.  I have been working with various stakeholders, advocacy groups, and constituents on my legislative agenda for the 2018 General Assembly session that kicks off on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

Here are the highlights of my legislative agenda for 2018.  We have worked together on many of these ideas, and I hope we will make significant progress on improving the lives of Virginia's children and families in the 2018 session.  I am introducing other bills as well, but these are the major subject areas where I will be spending most of my time and energy.  

K-12 Education

My legislative efforts will focus on teacher recruitment and retention.  As chair of the subcommittee on School Leadership and Academic Outcomes, it is clear to me that Virginia must do a better job of supporting teachers and making teaching a desirable profession.  To that end, I have submitted a bill that will redesign teacher preparation programs in our colleges and universities to enable education majors to be in the classroom after 4 years of study rather than five.  This will reduce the opportunity cost of selecting teaching as a profession and accelerate the pipeline for teachers.  Additionally, I will be asking for funding to support teacher mentor programs and principal leadership training.  

Equal Taxing Authority for Counties

Many NoVA school activists and School Boards are asking the General Assembly to allow counties to enjoy the same taxing authorities as cities.  Counties are providing the same services as cities and the discrepancy in taxing authority is really unfair.  Moreover, diversified revenue streams would help counties counter swings in the real estate economy while still supporting vital programs such as public school funding, public safety and the arts.  Specific revenue streams that could be enhanced include the cigarette tax and the application of a meals tax.

Hate Crimes

In Virginia in 2015, there were 155 hate crime offenses reported, including 71 assaults and 49 acts of vandalism or damage to property.  This represents a 21% increase over the prior year and an increase in hate crimes was recorded in nearly reported category.  Although the statistics may be alarming, shining the light on these crimes enables the state to identify trends and to better target educational and law-enforcement strategies. In addition to better enforcement of current laws, I will be introducing legislation that covers gender, gender identification, sexual orientation, and disability in the definition of a "hate crime."

Children's Health and Public Health

I will continue my emphasis on caring for the "whole child."  My legislative proposals focus on  the need to provide children with "trauma informed" care.  Based on recommendations from the Commission on Youth, I will also be advocating for an inter-agency task force in the Governor's Office to help ensure that trauma-informed care is integrated into the programs and policies that are administered at the local level.   Once again, I will be fighting to provide relatives financial support for providing a permanent home to kin who are currently in the foster care system.

Paid Family Leave

I will submit legislation that would require employers who offer sick leave to allow employees to use sick leave to care for a family member.  Moreover, I also want to move the conversation about comprehensive paid family leave forward.  To that end, I will be submitting a bill that covers paid family leave for employees in organizations with 50 or more employees.  This expense would be covered in part by the employer and in part through a payroll tax on the employee.  Specifics of the bill are still being negotiated.

Gun Safety

I will introduce a bill that would enable local governments to prohibit the "open carry" of firearms in protests or demonstrations.  Once again, I will submit a bill to require that lost or stolen firearms be reported within 24 hours.   I also have a proposal to prohibit mechanisms that enable a semi-automatic weapon to fire faster.

Domestic Violence Prevention & Women's Health

I will resubmit my bill from a few years ago to take firearms away from domestic abusers with two misdemeanors or more for a designated period of time. Once again, I will attempt to remove the unconstitutional statute on Virginia's books that require women's health centers that provide 5 or more abortions a month to meet certain physical standards of a hospital.  These requirements are medically unnecessary and are referred to as the TRAP law.

You can follow the status of my bills by clicking here.  If you have any questions or comments about these bills, please don't hesitate to email me or my staff at district31@senate.virginia.gov.  

Sincerely,

Barbara Favola

Representing Parts of Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun

Embarrassed about Trump-Like Politics? Send a Message – VOTE TOMORROW!

Dear Friend,

Polls are open Tuesday, Nov. 7, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the stakes could not be higher.  Ralph Northam and the Democratic ticket offer a vision that will move Virginia forward.  They will invest in our children and in our economy.  With Ralph Northam as Governor, Virginia will be a welcoming state, a state where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

On the other hand, Ed Gillespie has been endorsed by Steve Bannon.  Need I say more?

In a November 5 article by Paul Schwartzman with the Washington Post, Bannon said:

“Corey Stewart is the reason Gillespie is going to win,” Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and Trump’s campaign czar, said in an interview.  “It was the Trump-Stewart talking points that got Gillespie close and even maybe to victory.  It was embracing Trump’s agenda as personified by Corey’s platform.  This was not a competitive race four weeks ago. You could have stuck a fork in Gillespie.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/as-gillespie-adopts-trumpian-tactics-in-virginia-bannon-credits-corey-stewart/2017/11/05/cb32b5ac-bf5b-11e7-97d9-bdab5a0ab381_story.html?utm_term=.90e82721ad6d

Folks, this race has tightened.  If you want to tell Gillespie that the Trump tactics of fear mongering and divisive politics have no place in Virginia, you must vote.

If you are unsure about your polling place, click here.

Thanks for caring.

Sincerely,

Barbara Favola

31st District - Representing Parts of Arlington, Fairfax & Loudoun