Senate Committee Fails to Pass Favola's Police De-escalation Bill

Richmond, VA - On a tie vote, the Senate Courts of Justice Committee failed to pass a bill that would have made the training in de-escalation techniques a permanent part of the curriculum for the Department of Criminal Justice Services’ basic training of law-enforcement officers. The bill was patroned by Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington), and failed on a 7-7 vote.

Sen. Favola: “De-escalation tactics enhance officer safety and the safety of those coming into contact with police in situations that are very volatile. Police officers, like everyone else, harbor biases and perceptions about certain individuals, but these biases, even if they are held unconsciously, should not instigate aggressive behavior. Preventing the use of excessive force while enabling officers to create a more safe environment for both themselves and the communities they serve is a very worthwhile goal. I am disappointed that my colleagues didn’t recognize this.”

2017 Legislative Agenda

The 2017 General Assembly Session is about to begin and I am eager to continue advocating for the issues I am passionate about.  My legislative agenda focuses on protecting State funding for K-12 education, strengthening families, supporting vulnerable children and providing workforce-training opportunities. 


I will also introduce common-sense gun safety legislation and require that additional de-escalation techniques be incorporated into police training programs.  Public safety has always been a top priority for me. 


The 2017 General Assembly Session begins on January 11, 2017.  Specifics on key legislation are noted below.  If you scroll down, you will find information on upcoming town hall meetings.


Strengthening Families


Paid Family Leave:  Legislation directs the Commissioner of Labor and Industry to develop a framework with recommendations for implementing paid family leave.  The recommendations shall address which size employers shall be covered and under what conditions a payroll tax could fully fund an employee benefit package, that includes six weeks of paid leave at 80 percent of an employee’s salary.  Stakeholder groups would participate in developing this framework.


Kinship Assistance Program:  The Department of Social Services would be directed to participate in a federally funded program that enables extended family members to receive cash payments if they can provide a permanent home for a relative who would otherwise be in the foster care system.


Protecting our Youngest Children:  Child protective service workers would be required to investigate reports of neglect & abuse on children one year of age or younger.  This is intended to provide services to families who need assistance developing good parenting skills.


Health Family Visits:  Enable the Medicaid program to expand its “Healthy Families” program.  These community-based home visits are cost effective ways of ensuring children receive preventive care and families create safe environments for their children. 


Workforce Training:  Enable welfare moms to continue to receive support services for 24 months if they are participating in a certificate or degree program. The current limit on receiving services is 18 months. 


Public Safety


De-escalation Training Requirement Included in Law-enforcement Officer Training:  De-escalation tactics can enhance officer safety as long as officers are properly trained in what they need to do. A good de-escalation training program includes ways to improve communication skills, how to assess a subject's situation, how to know when you need backup, and proven safety techniques.  This training should help prevent the use of excessive force while enabling officers to create a more safe environment.


Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms:  Requiring a person who lawfully possesses a firearm to report the loss or theft of the firearm helps deter gun trafficking and discourage straw purchasing.  Such reporting would also facilitate the return of lost or stolen guns to their lawful owners.  Additionally, this requirement helps law enforcement disarm individuals who may be ineligible to posses firearms.


Firearm Registration:  Registration of firearms could speed the identification of firearms used in crimes. Registration would also aid police in identifying the types of firearms to which an individual may have access.  This bill directs the Virginia State Crime Commission to study the feasibility and costs of establishing a firearms registration program for firearms purchased in the Commonwealth, including what categories of firearms should be registered along with the potential efficacy of firearm registration in reducing firearm-related deaths and injuries.


Women’s Health


Strike the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider Laws in Virginia: The bill strikes a Virginia law in an effort to conform to a recent U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.  The SCOTUS ruled that abortion restrictions, known as TRAP laws in Virginia, that require clinics to have facilities comparable to an ambulatory surgical center can have a devastating impact on women and force clinics to close.  Thereby, making abortion access not just difficult, but impossible. The June 2016 decision determined that the Texas law was so restrictive that the undue burden on women seeking an abortion violated the Constitution.  Based on this decision, Virginia’s restrictive laws should be removed from the books.

Preventing Sexual Assaults


"Bar Bystander" Training:  Addresses the need for sexual violence prevention education in the community by requiring the Alcohol Beverage Commission to include "Bar Bystander" training in the curriculum for licensure.  The intent of this training is to make bartenders aware of potentially risky situations and to give them tools to prevent opportunities that may result in sexual assault.


There are several town hall meetings coming up.  I hope you will attend one and share your thoughts and ideas regarding the upcoming legislative session.  The meetings are open to all and I welcome your input.


Thursday, January 5th, Arlington County Legislative Hearing

6:30 pm, Arlington County Board Room – 3rd Floor
Courthouse Plaza
2100 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA


Saturday, January 7th, Fairfax Delegation Public Hearing

9:00 am, Fairfax County Government Center – Board Auditorium
12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA

Fairfax County residents or individuals speaking on behalf of a Fairfax County organization may sign up by noon Friday, January 6 for a 3 minute speaking slot at the link here.


Saturday, January 14th, McLean & North Arlington Delegation

1:30pm, McLean Community Center
1234 Ingleside Avenue, McLean, VA


You can also contact my office at 703-835-4845 or 804-698-7531 during session.  My district email account is also a good way to contact me at  Many of you also come to Richmond to advocate for your special cause and I hope you will stop by my General Assembly office, Room 316. 

Protesters at HQ: NRA Turns 'What Should be a Fist-Fight Into a Murder'


PJ Media


FAIRFAX, Va. – A Code Pink-led group of activists gathered out front of the National Rifle Association headquarters to call for an assault weapons ban in the aftermath of the mass shooting at an Orlando LGBT club...

State Delegate Barbara Favola (D-Va.) joined the group and thanked them for advocating in favor of stronger gun control laws.

“The Republicans who are defeating the reasonable amendments that were put forward are acting in a shameless way. I think they’re turning this into an election issue,” she said. “They’re trying to say, ‘well, if you accept any reasonable measure you are anti-Second Amendment,’ which is absolutely false and it’s very discouraging.”


Read more here.



Virginia Lawmakers Call on FERC to Study Cumulative Enviro Impacts of Planned NatGas Pipes

Jeremiah Shelor June 22, 2016



A handful of Virginia’s Democratic legislators have added their names to the list of those calling for FERC to cumulatively review the various natural gas pipeline projects planned to cross parts of Virginia and West Virginia.

The letters, using nearly identical language, were signed by Virginia Sens. Adam Ebbin and Barbara Favola, along with Dels. Kaye Kory, Alfonso Lopez, Marcus Simon, Sam Rasoul and Rip Sullivan. The letters were submitted to FERC’s dockets for ACP and MVP by the Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter.


Echoing familiar environmental arguments against new pipeline infrastructure, the legislators cited climate change, impacts to protected species and habitats, impacts to air quality, the encouragement of new unconventional drilling, water quality impacts and “changes in the rural character” of the region as among the reasons to prepare a programmatic EIS.


Read more here.

Governor McAuliffe Announces 348 New Jobs In Arlington County

June 17, 2016

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Grant Thornton LLP, a leading U.S. professional-services firm, will invest $15.75 million to consolidate offices and grow its presence across the Northern Virginia region. Virginia successfully competed against Washington, D.C. for the project, which will retain 994 jobs and create 348 new jobs.

"Grant Thornton has made a wise choice selecting Arlington County as the place to expand its Atlantic coast operations,”said Senator Barbara Favola. “Arlington County and the entire Northern Virginia region offer a highly educated and technologically savvy workforce, coupled with first-class school systems and research institutions. Clearly, Virginia's investments in human capital are yielding positive results every day. We welcome Grant Thornton to the region."


Read more here.

Advisory Firm Agrees to Invest $15.7 Million, Add 348 Jobs in Arlington

by Tim Regan — June 16, 2016 at 3:40 pm


A large advisory firm will invest millions of dollars and create hundreds of new jobs by moving to a new home in Rosslyn.


The county and the state competed against the District of Columbia for Grant Thornton’s new office. More from the press release...


“Grant Thornton has made a wise choice selecting Arlington County as the place to expand its Atlantic coast operations,” said Senator Barbara Favola. “Arlington County and the entire Northern Virginia region offer a highly educated and technologically savvy workforce, coupled with first-class school systems and research institutions. Clearly, Virginia’s investments in human capital are yielding positive results every day. We welcome Grant Thornton to the region.”


Read more here

Hillary Clinton Opens Up Offices in Arlington, Alexandria

By Dan Taylor (Patch Staff) - June 15, 2016 2:41 pm ET 


With the presidential campaign heating up heading into the final stretch, Hillary Clinton is putting more boots on the ground here in Arlington and Alexandria.


Virginia Delegate Charniele Herring was on hand for the opening of the office in Alexandria -- called the Fairfax office -- at 6:30 p.m. June 14. Virginia Sen. Barbara Favola will host the opening of the Arlington office at 6 p.m. June 15. 


Read more here.

Gulf Branch Nature Center celebrates 50 years, looks ahead

Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 12:00 pm | Updated: 10:38 am, Wed Jun 15, 2016.

A half-century to the day after it opened to the public, supporters of Gulf Branch Nature Center celebrated the past with an eye to the future.


The park, located off Military road, is “more than just a nature center,” said Duke Banks, vice president of Friends of Gulf Branch Nature Center. It is, he said, “a magnet for community engagement.”


The remarks came during a ceremony held June 12 to honor the same day in 1966 the facility debuted.




In 2009, some county officials proposed ending government funding for the nature center, but a public rebellion ensured that did not happen.

The community “stood up and banded together,” said state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31st), who was serving on the County Board at the time. A public-private partnership ensued, and “we are all grateful that we have this wonderful open-air space,” Favola said.


Read more here.

B.F. Saul kicks off Homewood Suites project at Rosslyn's Colony House corner

Jun 1, 2016, 2:35pm EDT

Michael Neibauer

Washington Business Journal


Rosslyn bid farewell to Colony House Furniture in 2011. Now, finally, the vacant 30,000-square-foot building at 1700 Lee Highway is coming down, soon to be replaced with a 10-story Homewood Suites by Hilton Hotel.

B.F. Saul Co. Hospitality Group, with representatives of Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HLT), Donohoe Construction, Torti Gallas and Partners and Arlington County, broke ground Wednesday on the 168-key, all-suite hotel located at the corner of Lee Highway and North Quinn Street. The first step is to demolish the circa-1957 Colony House building. The furniture store sign was removed only last week.


Arlington generates roughly $2.7 billion in tourism revenue for the commonwealth, or 13 percent of all Virginia tourism dollars, said state Sen. Barbara Favola, a former Arlington County board member. B.F. Saul's confidence in this site, located several blocks outside of the Rosslyn core, is an indication of its confidence in that market.

Read more here.