Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we move into the final week of January, the General Assembly has less than a month remaining until the end of the 2019 session. Here are a few updates on what I’ve been working on during the third week of session:
➤ Last week, I met with a group of constituents and friends with the Arc of Northern Virginia, who spoke with me about the need to provide better education resources for Virginians with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
➤ On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I joined with Governor Ralph Northam, Attorney General Mark Herring, House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn and others at a solemn vigil to commemorate the victims of gun violence in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
➤ Later that morning, I had the opportunity to meet with a number of engaged, young activists with the Arlington Young Democrats, including Izzie Taveras (seated), who has joined Team Lopez as the manager for my 2019 re-election effort!
➤ That afternoon, I chaired a meeting of the Virginia Environment and Renewable Energy Caucus, which heard a presentation from Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler.
➤ On Tuesday, I was proud to speak at a rally in support of Green New Deal Virginia, a statewide campaign to push for 100% renewables in the Commonwealth.
➤ I testified before a House Courts of Justice subcommittee in favor HB 2488—Governor Northam’s bill to eliminate driver’s license suspensions due to the inability to pay court fees or fines. I was proud to patron this bill on behalf of the Governor, though it was unfortunately voted down along party lines. Nevertheless, I have been working on this issue for many years and am committed to continuing my work until Virginia ends this criminalization of the poor!
➤ Later that afternoon, I had a great meeting with represenatives and neighbors from the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and we spoke at length about a number of economic projects in the region, including the incoming Amazon HQ2 project in South Arlington.
➤ On Thursday, I was proud have the support of a great team of activists as we testified on behalf of my bill, HB 2397, to restore TANF-eligibility to former drug felons and their families. This bill was initially voted down in subcommittee—but due to the work of these great advocates, we were able to have the bill brought back up for consideration, where it was passed by the subcommittee and referred to Appropriations!
➤ Finally, this past Saturday I had the opportunity to join with a number of constituents and community advocates at my joint town hall meeting with Senator Adam Ebbin at Walter Reed Community Center. It was great to see so many engaged neighbors discuss the pressing needs of our community, including these great friends from Moms Demand Action!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
➤ Lopez budget proposal aims to support college-bound Latino students, InsideNOVA
“A proposed state-government budget amendment would provide funding to support efforts by local Latino students to apply for colleges and universities and to seek financial aid.
Del. Alfonso Lopez, D-49th District, is asking for a $168,500 appropriation for the coming fiscal year on behalf of the Shirlington Employment & Education Center, which would administer the program.
Lopez’s measure estimates the funding would support 1,000 Latino high-schoolers in the local area in applying to colleges and to seeking out financial-aid opportunities.
Legislators will consider the proposal later in the session, which runs through late February.”
➤ Lawmakers Revive Push to Raise Taxes for Metro Funding, A Key Priority for Arlington Officials, ARLnow
“A pair of state lawmakers are pushing to revive a proposal to raise some Northern Virginia tax rates to fund Metro, a key priority of Arlington and other localities around the region feeling a budget squeeze.
A bill now backed by Del. Vivian Watts (D-39th District) and Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th District) would bump up taxes slightly on real estate transactions and hotel stays in the jurisdictions that benefit from Metro service. The legislation is broadly similar to Gov. Ralph Northam’s push to raise those rates last year, as lawmakers squabbled over the best way to find a dedicated funding stream for the troubled transit service…”
➤ Arlington Lawmakers Hail Government Shutdown’s End, Slam Trump for Starting Border Wall Fight, ARLnow
“The longest federal government shutdown in the country’s history now seems to be over, at least temporarily, and Arlington’s congressional delegation is feeling cautiously optimistic.
President Trump announced today (Friday) that he would sign a bill to fund the vast majority of government agencies for the next three weeks, through Feb. 15, as Congress continues to negotiate on Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to construct a wall on the country’s southern border…”
Many of you may have begun to receive my 2019 Constituent Survey in the mail over the last few weeks. I send out this survey annually to get as wide a sample of opinions and perspectives as possible from folks all across my district on the issues that matter most to them. If you have not received a survey in the mail, or would prefer to submit your survey electronically, please visit the link here. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
As always, it is an honor to serve as your Delegate to the General Assembly. If there is any way that my office may be helpful to you, please feel free to contact us by email atDelALopez@house.virginia.gov or by phone at (571) 336-2147. Additionally, you can always visit my website at www.alfonsolopez.org.
Member, 49th District
House of Delegates