Thursday, January 3, 2013
Legislators discussed priorities for Virginia's 2013 General Assembly in Wednesday town hall in McLean.
On Wednesday evening, when Virginia Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd District) announced her plans to introduce legislation that would fix a loophole allowing Virginia residents to purchase firearms from some dealers at gun shows without undergoing background checks, more than 200 McLean residents showed their support with a round of applause. Similar legislation has been introduced during past legislative sessions, but has not passed, Howell said. "I’m hopeful that this year we’ve had tragedies of such magnitude that reason will prevail," she said. But reforming the Commonwealth's gun control laws is only one of many legislative priorities lawmakers representing McLean voiced Wednesday during a town hall meeting at the McLean Community Center. …
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Northern Virginia lawmakers will likely introduce or reintroduce gun bills at 2013 legislative session. Is this the year some of them will pass?
In the wake of Friday's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Virginia Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) says she will reintroduce a bill that would close the commonwealth's gun show loophole, which allows people to buy firearms at gun shows without a background check. "It's tragic," Howell says about the shooting that killed 20 schoolchildren and six adults. "I don't know whether I'm more angry or sad over it. I have introduced this bill in the past, and so have other people, but I'm hopeful there will be a better chance of passage this year." Closing the gun show loophole is among several gun bills in Virginia that repeatedly have been introduced and died in committee or are otherwise defeated. There are already …
Monday, April 16, 2012
Where is the money for Silver Line Phase 2?
Monday, April 16, 2012
Since I last wrote about the budget several days ago, we have reached agreement with the House over the General Fund part of the budget. As a Senate negotiator, I am proud of the many improvements we made over the introduced budget. After years of cutbacks, we will have more funding for Northern Virginia's public schools and Virginia's colleges and universities. Mental health services for adolescents are being increased. Medicaid services our elderly, sick, and disabled neighbors will be improved. For the first time in five years, our state employees will have a pay raise. See here for a summary of the proposed budget. So why am I voting against the budget I worked so hard to improve? Because no funding is included for Phase 2 of Rail to …
Monday, March 26, 2012
Howell: Negotiators improve funding for rail to Dulles, education, but there is still work to do.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Sometimes persistence pays off! The budgets proposed by the House and Senate Republicans were unfair to my constituents and region, so I voted against them. Those initial budgets did not include funding for Phase 2 of Rail to Dulles, shortchanged Northern Virginia schools, and cut funding for programs that assist low income working families with childcare and eldercare. After we Senate Democrats voted against both the House and Senate versions, the General Assembly left Richmond without a budget. However, as one of a handful of budget negotiators, I never really "left." Instead, we seven Senate budget negotiators met for several days to see if we could improve on the previous version of the Senate budget. Fortunately, Sen. Walter …
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Virginia Senate Finance Committee approved Howell-sponsored amendment that will boost money for Metrorail Phase 2.
The Virginia Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved on Thursday a Senate budget that contains a budget amendment offered by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax & Arlington) and Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun & Fairfax). The amendment will provide $300 million in additional state funds to Phase 2 of the Metrorail to Dulles Project. The amount is in addition to $150 million the state has previously committed, bringing the total state contribution for the project to $450 million. Phase 2 had been an ongoing point of contention between Dulles Toll Road users who fear rising tolls to pay for the project, MWAA officials who compromised on the location of an above-ground station at Dulles International Airport, and other parties. Howell says the …
Monday, March 5, 2012
Tell us: Were riot police, SWAT teams necessary for safety around Richmond or was it an overreaction?
At Monday's Virginia Senate session, Sens. Janet Howell (D-32nd) and Chap Petersen (D-34th) denounced the use of riot police, SWAT teams carrying automatic weapons, police dogs and helicopters in response to what they called peaceful protests in Capitol Square. Protest groups have gathered several times at the square this session in the wake of legislation aimed at limiting abortion rights. On Saturday, 31 protesters were arrested — mostly for trespassing or unlawful assembly — on the state capitol steps following a women's rights rally. Prior to some of the arrests, protesters were monitored by a fully armored police SWAT team carrying automatic weapons, riot police, and police dogs, the senators said. "They were chanting, 'Tell me what …
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Sen. Chap Petersen votes against bill, says current law already has "multiple exceptions for gun-owning Virginians"
A bill passed by the Virginia Senate on Monday will end a 19-year-old limit on handgun purchases, a move praised by gun rights activists but criticized by others that say it has helped curb gun trafficking across the state. SB 323, which passed 21-19, eliminates the state law that prohibits residents from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-day period. The House has already passed a version of the bill; Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has indicated he'll sign it into law, the Washington Post reported. Those who voted for the bill say the law, passed in 1993, was outdated. Background checks and other security measures have also been introduced to effectively curb gun trafficking since then, some senators told the Washington Post. Opponents have…
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Legislation mandates that women seeking abortion must have procedure. Meanwhile, see Sen. Janet Howell's (D-Reston) impassioned speech about gender equity.
The Republican-led Virginia Senate passed a bill Wednesday by a vote of 21-18 that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion. The Senate, which for years had killed similar measures, voted largely along party lines. The House of Delegates, also heavily Republican, has passed the bill in previous sessions and is expected to do so again. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has said he would sign the measure. To read more details and analysis on the decision, read this story from The Washington Post. Senate Democrats said this is another measure aimed at chipping away at a woman's right to choose in Virginia. Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) earlier this week attached an amendment that would require men to have a rectal exam and…
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Sunday hunting bill makes its way through the state Senate
Five bill proposals from the state senators representing Vienna passed through their own chamber last week and await consideration from the House of Delegates. The General Assembly began its fourth week of the 60-day legislative session on Monday. Sen. Chap Petersen The Senate approved a bill that would allow hunting Sundays on private property (SB 464) with a 29-11 vote. The legislation, which had Sen. Chap Petersen's bill (SB 173) on the issue rolled into it, was introduced by Sen. Ralph Northam (D-6th District). Petersen (D-34th District) had another victory on the Senate floor when his proposal that would require state buildings to follow Virginia Energy Conservation and Environmental Standards (SB 160) passed on a 26-14 vote. Petersen…
Monday, January 30, 2012
To protest sonogram mandate, state senator adds amendment that requires men to have additional tests for ED exam.
To protest a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) on Monday attached an amendment that would require men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication. "We need some gender equity here," she told HuffPost. "The Virginia senate is about to pass a bill that will require a woman to have totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience. If we're going to do that to women, why not do that to men?" The Senate will formally vote on the mandatory ultrasound bill on Tuesday. The Republican-controlled senate rejected the amendment Monday by a vote of 21 to 19, but passed …