Memorial Day is Monday. Please join with me and remember that it is a day set aside to reflect on the sacrifices made by our fallen service members and their families. While we can never repay the great price paid by these individuals, we can definitely honor them and be thankful and grateful to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
VOTING RIGHTS: Several significant things have occurred in state government since my last newsletter. By now you all know that the day after reconvened session, Governor Terry McAuliffe restored voting rights to 206,000 felons in the Commonwealth. As quoted in the Richmond Times Dispatch, Governor McAuliffe says the day he acted to restore voting and other civil rights to more than 206,000 felons "was my greatest day as governor."
This means that rapists, murderers, child molesters, and sex offenders will now be able to vote, serve on a jury, or run for public office in our communities. The full repercussions of his action are just now beginning to emerge.
To combat this Washington-style executive overreach, House and Senate Republicans have retained attorney Charles J. Cooper to examine the legal options to remedy this situation. Mr. Cooper is a founding partner and chairman of Cooper & Kirk PLLC, a nationally recognized litigator and appellate attorney who worked under President Reagan and has argued cases before the Supreme Court. We are confident we will prevail in court.
TECHNICAL EDUCATION COURSES: A bill has been signed into law that calls for the Board of Education to provide three-year licenses for industry professionals to teach high school career and technical education courses. This is designed to help get students training from people working in specific fields.
It is envisioned students will take core classes their first two years of high school. Those who want to go to college would then take courses that would best prepare them for post-secondary education, while those who want to enter the workforce after high school would have the flexibility to earn credits toward their diplomas for internships, apprenticeships and industry certification.
In both cases students would be exposed to training, community college, guidance and courses designed to ensure they are prepared to tackle whichever track they follow after high school. After so many years of expressing that all students need a four-year college degree, I am pleased to see that finally technical skills are being given the attention our workforce desperately need.
VOTER ID LAW: A bill passed by the General Assembly that requires a voter to show ID with one of the following: a Virginia driver's license; a U.S. passport or any other photo ID issued by the U.S., Virginia or one of its political subdivisions; a student ID issued by any institution of higher learning in Virginia; an employee identification card; or another form of photo ID., in order to vote has been upheld by a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson wrote in his decision, "While the merits of this voter identification law, and indeed all aspects of Virginia's voting regime, can be reasonably debated, it remains true that Virginia has created a scheme of laws to accommodate all people in their right to vote. From in-person voting, to an absentee option, to provisional ballots with the ability to cure, and the provision of free voter IDs, Virginia has provided all of its citizens with an equal opportunity to participate in the electoral process." Democrats have announced they will appeal.
Quote of the Day:
"Above all, we must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." Ronald Reagan