Virginia State Senator Dave Marsden visited David Miller’s Geography 210 (Cultural Geography) class on March 16 at the Annandale Campus. Marsden talked about the life of a state senator and the importance of legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2016. He also mentioned that members of the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates would return to Richmond to deal with any bills that Governor Terry McAuliffe amends or vetoes.
One of Marsden’s bills, SB 49 (Senate Bill 49), makes it a felony for a person under a protective order for family abuse to possess a firearm. This bill passed Virginia Senate 40 to 0. Governor McAuliffe signed it into law February 26.
Marsden also discussed gerrymandering – the manipulation of voting districts to favor a political party. For example, the 3rd District was challenged in court as an “unconstitutional racial gerrymander,” the redrawn 3rd District is now a compact district centered on the urban areas of Hampton Roads. The 4th District was also affected by the boundary changes and now includes Richmond and Petersburg, with their large minority populations.
Finally, there was good news for education in the budget approved by Virginia’s General Assembly, with an additional $104 million going to higher education and $56 million more allocated for financial aid to college students.