Bill would legalize online sports betting

Published 4:06 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2020

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The 2020 Session has completed its seventh week in Richmond, and I’d like to take a moment to update you on the latest from the General Assembly as we prepare to adjourn March 7.

This week the House voted on a number of Senate bills that have revived debate about some of the most controversial issues of this session. House Bill 980 and Senate Bill 733 have passed the House and Senate. These bills drastically scale back abortion regulations related to informed consent prior to a procedure, as well as ensuring that abortions are conducted by licensed physicians in facilities that meet adequate safety standards. Republicans urged Democrats to consider how these regulations help women make informed decisions and receive safe treatment, but we were soundly rejected. The bill passed on party lines.

Democrats also passed several gun bills this week. These bills include the so-called “Red Flag law” that would allow law enforcement to confiscate firearms from individuals reported to pose a substantial risk to themselves or others. Republicans raised several concerns over this law. In particular, we worry that the threat of having their guns confiscated may discourage people with mental health concerns from seeking the appropriate help, or that individuals may abuse this law to confiscate a person’s guns out of retribution.

In spite of this, we remain tentatively hopeful for a final display of bipartisanship before we close out this session. Republicans have urged House Democrats to vote on the proposed Constitutional amendment that would end partisan gerrymandering in Virginia. The Democratic leadership, who voted with overwhelming support for the amendment alongside Republicans last year, is now backing off their support, leading to a rift between House and Senate Democrats between those who support the amendment and those who do not.

On Friday, when the amendment was supposed to be brought up for a vote in the House Committee on Privileges and Elections, the Democrats stalled saying Governor Northam is promising to provide his own solution, further muddling any clear notion of the Democrats’ intentions.

I and my fellow Republicans remain committed to our pledge to pass nonpartisan redistricting and keeping our election process fair and impartial.

Hopefully, this final week of session, we will be able to end partisan gerrymandering in Virginia for good.

Several gambling related measures have passed the General Assembly. One bill will allow casinos in up to five localities, if approved through a local referendum, and will legalize sports betting at both a central location and online. Another bill will allow lottery tickets to be sold over the internet, passed the House. These gambling bills will bring increased crime, more addictions and the overall degradation of our communities and society.

We were excited to have our 61st District Page, Molly Jones’ family up to visit on Friday. Molly and her mom Jennifer Ledbetter live in Amelia. Robert and Connie Ledbetter, Molly’s grandparents also came to visit from Lunenburg County. A friend of Molly’s family, Allison Crews from Amelia County also stopped for a visit earlier in the week.

We appreciate all of you that are willing to take time out of your busy schedules to visit me in my Richmond office. If you happen to be in the Richmond area during this year’s General Assembly session, please stop in and say hello.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at or (804) 698-1061.