Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I’m very excited to be back in Richmond for the 2015 Virginia General Assembly Session! This year I am happy to report that I have been assigned to the Militia, Police & Public Safety Committee, Agriculture, Chesapeake & Natural Resources and the Science and Technology Committee.
I am also very proud to announce that I have become a Member of the House Leadership Team as Campaign Chair and Political Chair for the Democratic Caucus.
Although we only have six short weeks, I am ready to fight for our values here in Richmond.
This session I will continue to champion common sense measures that will make our communities safer and a better place to live and raise a family. I will fight to provide more affordable housing opportunities, create a more level playing field for small businesses, enact sensible gun violence prevention measures, push for stronger environmental safeguards and increased renewable energy resources in the Commonwealth, and ensure that we remain a welcoming place for immigrants and New Americans.
In addition, I will stand with Governor McAuliffe and my colleagues in support of Medicaid expansion, non-partisan redistricting, ethics reform, increased investment in transit/transportation, and ensuring that all of Virginia's children have access to the highest quality education resources possible.
For a more detailed look at my 2015 Legislative Agenda, please visit my website at: http://www.AlfonsoLopez.org/2015-Legislative-Agenda
Also, please take a moment to fill out my constituent survey (at this link -http://www.AlfonsoLopez.org/2015-constituent-survey), to let me know your position on the most pressing issues affecting Virginia today.
Alfonso H. Lopez
Member, 49th District
Virginia House of Delegates
Gun Violence Prevention
A few Key Takeaways:
1) You do not need a one hundred-round or 33-round high capacity ammunition magazine to kill a deer. High capacity magazines have one purpose - and one purpose only - to kill people.
2) If it's illegal in Virginia to hand a gun to a person with the mental capabilities of a four year old, why would you hand a gun to an actual four year old?
3) By the standards of some folks today, President Ronald Reagan was a traitor to the 2nd Amendment. Why? Because Reagan supported common sense gun violence restrictions. We have gone too far to the right on guns if even President Reagan is not conservative enough for the NRA.
Last week, Governor McAuliffe in his State of the Commonwealth speech outlined his legislative priorities for the coming year. I am proud that he re-emphasized his support for the DREAM Act to make certain that children approved for participation in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security remain eligible for the in-state tuition they deserve.
Friday, I met with a group of activists and Dreamers, from all over the Commonwealth, to discuss the legislation effort and organize our efforts to "Defend the Dream" this year.
Virginia is the most expensive state to rent in the Southeast. In order to rent a 2-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent, a renter must earn $20.93 an hour. Last Tuesday, I held a press conference with members of the Virginia Housing Coalition in support of a piece of legislation that I am carrying to provide a dedicated source of revenue for the Housing Trust Fund.
The Trust Fund, which my legislation created in 2012, relies on annual appropriations. Virginia must not remain the only state in the Southeast without a dedicated source of revenue for our Housing Trust Fund.
The ever increasing cost of housing is having a serious impact on the daily budgets of people all across the Commonwealth. Indeed, over the past five years, increases in rental costs throughout Virginia have significantly outpaced the growth in Virginia's median family income. That means less food on the table, less fuel in the gas tank, fewer bus and metro tickets, waiting longer to visit the doctor to receive vital health care, and smaller savings for college tuition and retirement.
By devoting a one penny per $100, per year of the recordation tax in years where Virginia has a surplus of at least $200 million, we can ensure that the Trust Fund is funded properly and remains an effective tool to address affordable housing and homelessness effectively.
Lastly, Senator Adam Ebbin and I are holding a town hall this coming Saturday, January 24, to discuss the important issues before us during the 2015 Session. We will be at the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S Dinwiddie St.), Room 413, from 2:00-3:30pm.
I look forward to seeing you there!