State Sen. Barbara Favola – and I've more often than not had professional and personal admiration for her – is not just heartbroken. And she is not just sick.
She is heartbroken AND sick.
I know this because I’m on her...
Even as they work to determine their candidates for 2022 elections, Arlington Republicans are looking ahead to state Senate races in 2023.
Matthew Hurtt, the local GOP’s communications chairman, recently sent out a missive reminding the rank-and-file that the Republican...
It took a long and somewhat winding road to get to his desk, but Gov. Youngkin has signed a measure related to licensure of teachers from outside the U.S., patroned by state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington-Fairfax-Loudoun).
The measure requires the...
Before leaving Richmond in mid-March, members of the state Senate paused to present an “attaboy” to Arlington’s longtime legislative liaison to the General Assembly.
Patricia Carroll represented the county government in Richmond from 2006 to 2021. “With her proactive and...
Legislation patroned by state Sen. Barbara Favola to require an annual report from the Commonwealth Council on Aging has landed on Gov. Youngkin’s desk.
The measure from Favola (D-Arlington-Fairfax-Loudoun) would require the council to submit an annual report by Oct....
After seeing its scope narrowed in the state Senate, a measure to allow residents of apartment buildings to operate child-care facilities gained back a little more flexibility in the House of Delegates.
House members voted unanimously on March 8 in...
A measure patroned by state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington-Fairfax-Loudoun) to set up an advisory panel on school-health matters has moved through the General Assembly and awaits action by the governor.
The proposal establishes what will be known as the School...
Half a loaf is better than no loaf when it comes to a legislator’s bills, and state Sen. Barbara Favola came away with a partial victory in patroning legislation to expand child-care facilities across the commonwealth.
Favola (D-Arlington-Fairfax-Loudoun) entered the...
Its fate remains uncertain, but legislation to give the Arlington County Board authority to employ an independent police auditor will get an airing on the floor of the House of Delegates.
The House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns on...
Legislation that would put an end to mandatory student masking at all Virginia public schools received a mixed response from the three members of the Arlington delegation to the state Senate.
Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax-Arlington) on Jan. 8 voted to support incorporating the concept into existing legislation, while Sens. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington-Fairfax-Loudoun) and Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria-Arlington-Fairfax) opposed it.
The wording, which passed the state Senate on a lopsided 29-9 vote Feb. 8, was patroned by Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax-Vienna), a vocal critic of mandatory masking policies.
The measure unmasked splits within the Senate Democratic caucus, with 10 supporting the bill, nine opposing it and two not voting. All 19 Republicans supported the measure.
A day later, the state Senate passed the broader bill, patroned by Republican Dr. Siobhan Dunnavant, which also included language mandating that public schools retain an in-person option even if COVID spikes again.
The full bill passed the Senate 21-17, with a few Democrats, including Petersen (but not Howell), joining with Republicans.
The bill moves on to the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, which seems destined to approve it. The bill, SB 739, has the support of the Youngkin administration.
Whether the measure would have any practical effect, or is merely political theater, is an open question. Backers have devised a plan that would, after expected passage by the House of Delegates, have Gov. Youngkin propose an amendment to treat the bill as an emergency measure. Unlike legislation that originates in the General Assembly, which requires a supermajority of both houses, an amendment from the governor would only require majority votes, Republicans say. That would allow the measure to go into effect immediately, if at least one of the Democrats in the Senate went along.
A coalition of Northern Virginia school districts has sued the Youngkin administration, arguing that the new governor’s executive order requiring a mask-optional policy for all Virginia school districts violates their rights. The measure, now working its way up the judicial system, likely will be decided by the Virginia Supreme Court – unless the school districts throw in the towel first.
Petersen is something of a renegade Democrat, and had promised at the start of the 2022 General Assembly session that if local school districts did not end their mask mandates – which he believes are ineffective and do more harm than good – he would force the issue. Which he then proceeded to do, but only after first ripping into outgoing Fairfax Superintendent Scott Brabrand in a letter castigating that district’s mandatory-masking policy.
The fact that more than half the Senate Democrats voting opted to support Petersen’s position suggests how quickly the political winds on masking appear to be changing across the nation. A number of Democratic-dominated states are beginning to eliminate their own mask mandates, an effort that seems likely to be driven as much by polling data as by major changes in public health.