We gaveled into session on January 8th, the 2020 General Assembly session is up and running in full gear. The first Democratic House of Delegates majority in over two decades began its work by considering measures that have broad public support but have been bottled up in committee for years. The first resolution considered in this “long” 60-day session was the Equal Rights Amendment--Virginia becoming the 38th state to ratify on a vote of 59-41.
Not surprisingly, the new majority caucus is the most diverse in Virginia history. Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn from West Springfield is the Commonwealth’s first female Speaker, and Charniele Herring from Alexandria is the first female Majority Leader. There are many, many other “firsts” as our new legislature more accurately represents the rich diversity of our Commonwealth--and we look a lot more like Northern Virginia too. In fact, 30 of our 55 person House majority reside in Northern Virginia.
Over the next five weeks, I will be busy both handling my committee assignments and my legislation. Last week, I chaired my first meeting of the Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee and the Health and Human Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. I am also the Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee and have moved upstairs to the 13th floor with Chairman Luke Torian (Prince William) and the Committee staff. Appropriations is the only committee that has its own staff. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to help Virginians in these roles and am looking forward to working with my colleagues over the course of the 2020 session to improve health policy for all Virginians. We will hear hundreds of bills and budget amendments before mid-February when everything we approve is passed on to the Senate.
Finally, I am carrying several bills for the Governor on health care, discrimination, insurance and other important topics, like voting rights and election administration. I will write about these bills as the weeks pass. On a light note, I was pleased that my resolution commending the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team on their fabulous 2019 World Cup victory passed both the House and Senate. As part of that historic team, one player, Ali Krieger from Prince William County, and Coach Jill Ellis, once of William & Mary, share ties to Virginia.
I appreciate you taking the time to follow along with my updates from Richmond. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future with any questions, comments or concerns: DelMSickles@house.virginia.gov.