Politics and Policy Along the Pike – Alfonso’s Notes from Richmond
Let me say at the outset what an honor it is to serve the people of the 49th House of Delegates District. I will never take for granted the trust you have placed in me and I hope to always make you proud.
It is my heartfelt goal to always be as responsive as possible to your requests, policy ideas, and constituent needs. With that in mind, please reach out to my office at any time in order to address any issues you may have at the State level. If I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to call upon me. You may reach me via my website atwww.AlfonsoLopez.org.
During session (January 11th – March 11th) I can be reached at the following address, emails, and numbers:
Richmond Office (During Session)
General Assembly Building
P.O. Box 406
Richmond, VA 23218
The rest of the year I can be reached in the District at the following:
P.O. Box 40366
Arlington, VA 22204
First few days of the 2012 Session
I am incredibly proud to have been sworn in as an official Member of the Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday, January 11th!
There are sixteen Members of the Freshman Class in the House of Delegates. I am 2nd in seniority in my class and 86th in overall seniority in the House. I have also been placed in Seat Number 1 on the House Floor.
The Speaker (the Honorable William Howell, R-Fredericksburg) chooses the Membership for both the Majority and Minority Parties for all of the Standing Committees in the House of Delegates. He has placed me on the House Science & Technology Committee and the House Militia, Police, and Public Safety.
I am proud to have been appointed the Democratic Whip on the House Science & Technology Committee by the Democratic Leader (the Honorable David Toscano, D-Charlottesville).
Despite the pomp and ceremony of the first few days – two pieces of important public business were addressed: the organization of the Virginia Senate and the Congressional Redistricting plans.
Virginia State Senate – The State Senate is tied with 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans. However, the Lt. Governor Bill Bolling (R) has ruled that he is able to break all ties on legislation in that chamber – except for the State Budget. The Senate Democrats will now have to hold together and use their ability to block the budget to secure various concessions on K-12 Education, Social Service Funding, Transportation, and other issues.
With this change – and the significant Republican majority in the House – I am concerned that we can expect to see a lot more social agenda legislation. For instance, several bills have already been introduced to further restrict a woman’s right to choose. Other bills would allow guns on college campuses and repeal Virginia’s “one gun a month” purchase limit. There are other bills to increase state law enforcement’s involvement in federal immigration enforcement and force school systems to create lists of all ESL and undocumented students. Several bills are also geared towards making it harder for individuals to exercise their right to vote.
Congressional Redistricting – Since this issue was not resolved during the special session last year, congressional redistricting was taken up last Friday in the House. Democrats had been working to create an additional minority represented congressional district. However, despite our efforts, the Republicans pushed through their plan.
I will be updating you shortly about the outlook for the 2012 General Assembly Session and the twelve bills and eight Budget Amendments I’ve introduced.
Once again, it is an extraordinary honor to serve you in the House of Delegates. Please do not hesitate to ever reach out to me with an issue, policy idea, or concern.