Press Release: Sen. Favola Supports Governor On Ethics Amendments

For Immediate Release: Friday April 16th 2015




Richmond, VA – Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) enthusiastically supported Governor McAuliffe’s amendments to the omnibus ethics bill passed by the legislature in March. The legislation requires that all gifts $50 and above must be reported. The amendments seek to restrict gift limits to an accumulative $100 per donor per year. In contrast, the bill as it passed the legislature allowed for successive gifts of up to $100 without the total limit at $100 per year. Due to a technical error that made the $100 read like a lifetime cap on donating, the House and Senate clarified that the $100 limit applies per annum, then voted to uphold the Governor’s amendments. 


Senator Favola: “These amendments serve to strengthen our current system against potential corruption and help ensure that public servants are truly accountable to all the residents of Virginia. The bill is not perfect -additional steps need to be taken to strengthen the Ethics Council- but it is a good first step. This legislation will evolve over time as lawmakers and good government groups observe the implementation of this bill.”


The Senate passed the amendments to the ethics legislation unanimously, 37-0. The House companion bill HB 2070 also passed. The amendments will not take affect until January 2016.




Senator Barbara A. Favola represents Virginia’s 31st district, which includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties, and a portion of Loudoun County. For the 2015 session, Senator Favola served on the Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Transportation Committees. 

Barbara Favola on Protecting Local Government


Floor Speech in support of Governor McAuliffe's veto of HB 1608, a bill that would would inhibit a highly qualified workforce and make it harder for workers to live in the jurisdictions where they work.


Richmond, VA – Governor McAuliffe amended HB 2286, a bill that allows felons whose right to carry has been restored by another state to carry in Virginia. The Governor’s amendment is based on the language of legislation originally proposed by Sen. Favola (D-Arlington), Del. Simon (D-Fairfax) and Del. Murphy (D-McLean). If approved by the General Assembly, the amendment will prohibit individuals convicted of certain misdemeanors from possessing or carrying a firearm for a certain time period following their convictions. The misdemeanors all pertain to violence against a household or family member and include stalking, sexual assault, and assault and battery. 


Sen. Favola praised the Governor’s actions: “I strongly approve of Governor McAuliffe’s common sense amendment to protect women and domestic violence survivors while restricting firearm access for violent offenders. Studies show that violent behavior always escalates. The Governor’s amendment reflects this evidence-based approach to protecting domestic violence survivors.”


“I was thrilled to see the Governor has proposed responsible amendments to Delegate Webert's bill to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers," said Del. Simon.  "My very first bill as a member of the House of Delegates was an attempt to do the same thing, but I could never get it out of committee.  Thanks to the Governor's leadership, we have another opportunity to make this happen.” 


“"I am grateful to the Governor for including this amendment.” Del. Murphy said. “This is a common sense measure to keep guns out of the hands of convicted repeat domestic abusers. It is something we can all agree will help keep abused women safer. There is no excuse to oppose this.”


At least two people die every day from firearm-related injuries in Virginia.  Domestic violence disproportionately affects women, who represent 85% of all domestic violence victims. The Virginia Sheriff’s Association, Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police supported legislation similar to the Governor’s amendment in the 2015 General Assembly session. ­



Senator Barbara Favola represents the 31st Senatorial District in Virginia, encompassing parts of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties. Delegate Marcus Simon represents the 53rd House District of Virginia, encompassing parts of Fairfax County and the City of Falls Church. Delegate Kathleen Murphy represents the 34th House District in Virginia, encompassing parts of Loudoun and Fairfax Counties.

End of Session Letter

Dear Friends, 

The 2015 General Assembly Session ended without the bi-partisan rancor that has marked other sessions.  Your support and involvement enabled me to successfully pass legislation that will improve the quality of life for those in the 31st District and throughout the Commonwealth.

I am proud to say that my legislative successes protected K-12 education funding; made day care homes safer for children; implemented consumer protection measures in the delivery of health care; and addressed sexual assaults on college campuses. 

Governor McAuliffe’s Mental Health Initiative for Children enjoyed support from both sides of the isle.  Unfortunately, no progress was made on Medicaid Expansion and sensible gun control measures because of election year scares from the tea party.

I vow to keep fighting to take guns away from convicted stalkers and sexual abusers and to put additional teeth into protective orders.  Protecting our families and communities will always be a top priority for me.

It is an honor to represent you in the State Senate and I look forward to connecting with you in the district.  Please see the contact section of this newsletter for specifics.


Barbara Favola

Floor Speech in Opposition to HJ 577, A Constitutional Amendment Taking Control of Public Charter Schools Away from Localities


On Monday, I spoke on the Senate floor against HJ 577, a constitutional amendment that transfers authority to create a public charter school from localities to the state Board of Education. I object to HJ 577 because I support keeping K-12 educational decisions at the local level. This amendment would have allowed the state to take local funds for state-sanctioned charter schools.


Local communities already have the authority to set up charter schools on their own – if they decide it’s necessary. The decision to create a charter school needs to be made locally with the involvement of teachers, parents, and local school boards. Amending the Virginia constitution to transfer the authority to establish charter schools to the Board of Education represents an unwarranted and unnecessary intrusion into local control of education.


The amendment was narrowly defeated on a 20-20 vote; 21 votes were needed for passage.

Sen. Favola's Bills Sailing Through House Committees



Richmond, VA- Today, the House Education Committee voted overwhelmingly to report SB 782, a bill that requires the Board of Education to issue regulations on the use of seclusion and restraint in public schools. The bill’s patron, Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington), is vice-chair of the Virginia Commission on Youth, a group that recommended this legislation. Although guidelines for seclusion and restraint in Virginia have existed since 2004, only eighty schools have used them to adopt a policy. Thirty-two states have statutes addressing seclusion, restraint, or both. 



After the full committee adjourned, the House Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee met and voted unanimously to report SB 1236, a bill also introduced by Senator Favola. SB 1236 eliminates the term “special diplomas” for students with IEPs and other challenges, and replaces it with “Applied Studies diplomas.” Students would have to complete an individualized education program to receive an Applied Studies diploma. Some find the term “special diploma” offensive, and advocates and educators have responded positively to changing the term.


Sen. Favola: “I am excited that these bills are one step closer to becoming law- SB 1236 helps special needs students be treated with the respect they deserve, and SB 782 protects children from unjust and unwarranted treatment in public schools. Both these bills protect vulnerable populations, and both these bills should land on the Governor’s desk.”


Last week SB 1236 passed the Senate unanimously. On January 27th SB 782 passed the Senate 35-4. The seclusion and restraint bill will now go to the House floor, and the “applied diploma” legislation will be heard in the full House Education Committee. 




Senator Barbara A. Favola represents Virginia’s 31st district, which includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax Counties, and a portion of Loudoun County. For the 2015 session, Senator Favola sits on the Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Transportation Committees. 



Senator Favola Works with Colleagues to Pass Sexual Assault Bill Out of Senate


Richmond, VA- Today, the Senate voted unanimously to pass SB 1329, patroned by Senator Tom Garrett (R-Buckingham), Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) Senator Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax) and Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria). SB 1329 seeks to address the prevalence of sexual assaults on college campuses by requiring universities to create memorandums of understanding with local sexual assault crisis centers and to provide survivors with access to other community resources.


Senator Favola stated: “This legislation represents a positive step in protecting our young people and making college campuses safer. SB 1329 strengthens support systems for sexual assault survivors and empowers these survivors to pursue charges against their assailants.”


Under SB 1329, the universities must provide the sexual assault survivor with an explanation of options for counseling and different disciplinary and law-enforcement investigations that the survivor may initiate. The bill also requires that universities adopt policies addressing nonretaliation for survivors who fear that their conduct related to the incident may also be questioned or who are concerned that an official report might jeopardize their academic status.


Two Senate companion bills, SB 712 and SB 1193, also passed the Senate unanimously.






Senator Barbara A. Favola represents Virginia’s 31st district, which includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax Counties, and a portion of Loudoun County. For the 2015 session, Senator Favola sits on the Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Transportation Committees.