Tammy Mulchi: Things are moving fast in Richmond

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, February 1, 2024

The General Assembly is now in high gear. Committees are meeting and hundreds of bills are being considered. Full sessions of the Senate are getting longer as more legislation comes to the floor for consideration. The halls are filled with constituents and advocates seeking meetings to share their views and concerns. In short, things are moving fast, and I am moving fast too.

My Republican colleagues and I were both dismayed and puzzled by Democrats killing a bill to protect children from sex offenders.

One of my senate colleagues offered what seemed to me a commonsense idea. Keep convicted child sex offenders at least 100 feet away from state parks where children congregate. Children and their families deserve to be able to enjoy Virginia’s parks without worrying that a known sex offender might be lurking in the park or just outside it.

Democrats decided to focus on the concerns of the sex offenders rather than the safety of children. They claimed the bill was overly broad. One supporter of the Democrats’ position even testified that it was “pointlessly cruel” to bar sex offenders from public parks — as if that outweighed the cruelty they caused to the children they assaulted. Republicans sought to return the focus to where it belonged — the safety of children to play without fear.

TIME TO CUT RED TAPE 

Once again, we are having to fight to keep Virginia a top place for business. The General Assembly needs to pass laws that lower costs for families, reduce red tape, and encourage entrepreneurs and economic growth. Senate Democrats seem committed to doing the opposite.

One example? The minimum wage. In their first bill of the session — SB 1 — they proposed a 25% increase in the minimum wage over just two years. If this becomes law, many struggling small businesses or companies will be forced to come up with money they do not have by raising prices. While I want everyone to earn a good living, a business forced to close cannot pay anyone any wage. Being a small business owner, I know these challenges firsthand and we all know that higher prices are another way of saying “inflation.” Raising costs results in higher prices for everyone. 

As Governor Glenn Youngkin noted, the market is taking care of this. Wages are rising on their own due to more competition for workers. The government does not need to pile on when the market is already doing the job. I will continue to update you on this as the legislation moves through the General Assembly.

Last week, I was able to get my legislation passed in the Committee on Privileges and Elections that would allow the cancellation of a primary election if a candidate withdraws from the race, leaving only one candidate on the ballot. In 2023, this situation occurred where a primary candidate withdrew, leaving only one candidate in the primary running uncontested; however, by law, the election still had to take place. This cost those localities over $50,000 in taxpayer money. 

BE SURE TO WATCH 

As always, I encourage you to watch the General Assembly session. You are welcome to visit in person in Richmond and view the proceedings from the gallery. You can also stream each day’s session here: http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3. Session typically begins at noon each weekday except Friday, which generally starts at 10:00 or 11:00 AM. Always check these times, as they can change when needed. You may also be interested to know that committee meetings are also streamed. A list of upcoming meetings with links to streaming are here: https://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3.

Tammy Mulchi serves as the District 9 state senator. She can be reached at senatormulchi@senate.virginia.gov or by calling 804-698-7509.