Local Majority provides research that is practical and accessible for state district campaigns. Acting as their personal research department, we distill national research studies and put together packets with specific and targeted information for candidates’ campaigns to support their efforts. Read here for some of our in-depth research reports supporting progressive campaigns.

VIRGINIA


2019


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VA-Healthcare

HB 2411: Republican Efforts to Undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

In 2017, the Trump Administration, along with Republicans in the U.S. Congress, pushed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the 2010 federal law that expanded access to affordable health insurance. Following repeated attempts to gut ACA protections, Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates introduced HB 2411, a bill that would have rolled back health insurance regulations to the pre-ACA status quo.

Read our paper for more detail

Guttng the Affordable Care Act  -  June 24, 2019


 
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VA-CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate Change and Green Jobs in Virginia

Dealing with climate change is difficult. But as a state particularly vulnerable to climate impacts, Virginia can lead the way. Solving climate change means creating clean energy jobs, investing in rural economies, and prioritizing people’s health, homes, and livelihoods. A multifaceted approach is needed to make the state more resilient. To show climate leadership, Virginia can promote innovation in five ways:

  • Increase targets for requiring renewable energy
  • Kickstart energy-efficiency investment
  • Invest in clean cars and transit systems
  • Control short-lived climate pollutants
  • Ensure that all people – from fishing economies to historically marginalized communities – have the tools to adapt to climate change.

Read our paper for more details:

Climate Change  -  Sep 21, 2019


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VA-ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Energy Efficiency in Virginia

Energy efficiency is the cheapest and most achievable way to meet Virginia’s energy needs and address the threat of climate change. Yet historically Virginia has lagged below the national average in energy efficiency spending and energy savings. That poor performance can be directly attributed to resistance from Virginia’s predominant utility, Dominion Energy.

Energy Efficiency -  Sep 21, 2019

Talking Points - Energy Efficiency -  Oct. 7, 2019


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VA-ECONOMY and JOBS

Retraining for Solar Jobs in Virginia

Virginia has lost many coal industry jobs due to the 45% decline in Appalachian production in recent years. There are larger labor needs in the solar industry than in coal’s current use of large scale automation and shrinking employment opportunities, i.e. solar requires more labor input, thus creating more jobs.

Solar Jobs -  Aug. 29, 2019


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VA-LGBTQ+

LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy Bans

Conversion therapy is a practice or treatment seeking to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including eliminating sexual attractions toward individuals of the same sex. The American Psychiatric Association in 1973 removed homosexuality from the second edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, declared that no reliable evidence exists that conversion therapy works and opposed conversion therapy as unethical. Yet the Republicans continue to push for this harmful therapy.

LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy-  Aug. 29, 2019


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VA-INFRASTRUCTURE

Rural Broadband

Much of VA is Underserved

The most recent data from Gov. Northam’s “Commonwealth Connect” report indicates 660,000 homes and businesses lack access to broadband, with the highest concentrations in Southern Virginia and the Appalachians. Read our report to understand what the Virginia Legislature is doing to bring high speed internet to rural communities.

Rural Broadband Talking Points -  Aug. 18, 2019 


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VA-Economy

Minimum Wage in Virginia

The minimum wage for most workers in Virginia is $7.25 per hour. This puts full-time minimum wage workers below the federal poverty level. When their paychecks fail to cover basic living expenses, workers must use public assistance. Thus, the public is subsidizing businesses that do not pay their employees a living wage. Virginia Democrats have been leading the fight for an increased minimum wage.


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VA-Economy

Wage Theft in Virginia

The Economic Policy Institute reports that wage theft, “the practice of employers failing to pay workers the full wages to which they are legally entitled, is a widespread and deep-rooted problem that directly harms millions of U.S. workers each year.”[1] Wage theft harms all Virginians. Read our report to learn what the Democrats in the state legislature are doing to solve the problem.


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VA-Economy

Workers' Compensation in Virginia

Workers’ compensation insurance provides monetary benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries and illnesses. This no-fault system, however, is in critical need of reform, as a considerable percentage of eligible workers are either denied the cash and medical payments they deserve or don’t apply for benefits at all.

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Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

VA-Economy

Employee Misclassification in Virginia

Worker misclassification is the practice of falsely labeling employees as independent contractors. It is a flagrant violation of workers’ rights and protections in Virginia and across the country and robs the state and federal government of much-needed revenue. In some industries, up to 40% of employers misclassify their employees. Read more about how this practice affects workers and Virginia.


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VA-Politics

The GOP Legislative Low-Lights of the 2018 and 2019 Sessions

With thousands of bills proposed every session, much of the legislating occurs behind closed doors, within committees. This is our topic-by-topic summary of almost every awful bill proposed and every great bill killed in the past legislative session.

New: Updated with 2019 session bills


VA-Economy

Labor Unions

Labor unions were formed to fight for workers’ rights to higher wages, safer working conditions, and health benefits, all of which still resonate with wage labor challenges in today’s gig economy. Yet listening to conservative spokespersons today, “right to work” proponents advocate anti-union policy under the guise of First Amendment free speech, when in fact their goal is to silence workers protected by those same unions. Read more about Democrats' efforts to protect workers' rights. more


VA-Economy

Rural Poverty

The state’s rural areas—Appalachia, Southside and the Eastern Shore—trail in measures of community and personal wellbeing. Published by the Virginia State Health Commissioner, the Virginia Plan for Well-Being (2016-2020) is a comprehensive five-year initiative that highlights strategies for improving health and well-being among urban and rural communities by 2020. In addition to the work conducted by public and private organizations, legislators can play a key role by paying closer attention to the unique needs of the rural population. more


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VA-Economy

Education-Business Partnerships

To participate in the competitive global economy, our educational institutions have to transition away from academic-only emphases to a model encompassing career and life readiness as well as traditional academics. The way forward must include and involve the industries and businesses that drive the new economy. more


VA-Education

Higher Education Funding

The cost of a college education over the last thirty years has increased in the staggering amounts. Average college costs grew eight times faster than average wages from 1989 to 2016. For the 2016-2017 academic year, overall state funding for two- and four-year public colleges was nearly $9 billion below the level in 2008, adjusted for inflation.. more


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VA-Education

K-12 Education Funding

Teacher pay in Virginia has been among the lowest in the nation. In 2018, when adjusted for inflation, Virginia’s teachers made on average 4.5 percent less than they did ten years prior. Read our new report on the efforts of Democrats to make progress  toward alleviating the teacher pay issue in Virginia. more


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VA-Marijuana

Marijuana Legalization Legislation

The war on drugs has cost an estimated one trillion dollars. For over four decades, states have enforced draconian drug policies, perpetuating vicious cycles of poverty, addiction, and mass incarceration, while producing little to no reduction in drug usage rates. In recent years, many states have begun to recognize that the most effective way to combat substance abuse is to frame the issue as a public health crisis, rather than one involving the criminal justice system. This realization has led state legislators to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. more


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VA-Economy

Affordable Housing

There is an urgent need in the U.S. today to resolve the glaring disparity between housing demand and housing supply. Democratic lawmakers in Virginia and around the country have been pushing for solutions to the affordable housing crisis. more


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VA-Healthcare

Prescription Drug Pricing

Prescription drug pricing is incredibly complicated and is made all the more so by the lobbying power of the multiple major players involved. The State of Virginia spent $707 million on prescription drugs in FY 2015. The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) identified options for states to help to lower or reduce healthcare costs. The long process to get things under control needs to begin by taking back Democratic control of the State House and State Senate so that regulatory bills can make it out of committee.

New: Prescription Drug Legislation July 26, 2019


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VA-Gun Violence

Gun Violence Prevention

Every 10 hours, a person is killed with a gun in Virginia in cases that involve suicide, domestic violence, accidental shootings, or interpersonal disputes. Virginia’s gun laws are among the weakest in the country. Read our report to understand what can be done to prevent gun violence. It starts with voting Democrat in 2019.


VA-Healthcare

Abortion and Trigger Laws

Virginia is among the states with highly restrictive abortion laws. Abortion Trigger laws bypass potential legal conflict by not challenging Roe v. Wade, but by putting in place an immediate and automatic ban on abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned. It's critical that Democrats be elected in 2019 to safeguard a woman's right to body autonomy.


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VA-Human Rights

Equal Rights Amendment

During the three decades Republican Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights, HD66) has served in the Virginia House of Delegates (1989-present), he has done little, if anything, to support women’s rights, specifically withholding his support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). By not forcing a vote to the floor and upholding the negative vote by the Republican-run subcommittee that he selected to consider the resolution, Cox essentially kept Virginia—and the nation—from ratifying the ERA amendment.


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VA-POLITICS

The Dillon Rule

Under the Dillon Rule, authority flows from the state in allowing a local jurisdiction to make laws or regulations. There is no shortage of examples of the application of the Dillon Rule in Virginia that frustrate local jurisdictions.


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VA-Energy

Renewable Energy

Virginia lags behind its neighboring coastal states in both solar and wind energy production. Only 1% of Virginia’s total electricity output comes from solar energy and 0% from wind energy.Who stands in the way? Utility companies such as Dominion.

Renewable Energy Talking Points     May 17, 2019


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VA-inequality

The Racial Wealth Gap

The disparity in wealth in the U.S. is highand is growing. Since 1986, about half of all gains in wealth have gone to the top 0.1 percent of households. Racial minorities are especially affected by this, with typical black households possessing just 6 percent of the wealth of white households.


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VA-Environment

Virginia Under Water

Virginia is experiencing the highest rate of sea-level rise on the East Coast and one of the highest rates in the U.S. overall. Flooding from sea-level rise is projected to cause billions of dollars in damage and displace hundreds of thousands of people.


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VA-Opioids

The Growing Opioid Epidemic

In 2013, drug overdoses surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of unnatural deaths. Evidence of the growing crisis is the rise in emergency room visits for heroin overdoses, which rose 89 percent in the first nine months of 2016 compared to the same period in the previous year.


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VA-Politics

Gerrymandering: A Real Power Grab

There are more Democratic voters in Virginia than Republican, as shown in presidential, gubernatorial, and senatorial races in the commonwealth, yet Republicans hold a majority in both the state House and the state Senate. This is due to gerrymandering, when politicians choose their voters.


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VA-Politics

The Increased Youth Vote in Virginia

Virginia youth have turned out in increased proportions in the most recent midterm election in 2018. This follows and exceeds the national trend of increased youth voter turnout.


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VA-Politics

Virginia: Sold to the Highest Bidder

A collaboration of corporations, lobbyists, and legislators, ALEC works to block progressive legislation in every state, and Virginia is no exception.


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VA-Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Reform

Starting in the 1990s, Virginia has overemphasized the punitive aspects of justice without a concomitant effort towards rehabilitation. Republicans have shown little inclination to help former inmates who have served their sentences and completed post-release obligations take up productive lives. This is particularly true of the Republicans on the House of Delegates’ Courts of Justice Committee.


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VA-Education

How Republicans Block Educational Reforms

Since 2014, Rep. Steve Landes (R-HD25) has been the chair of the House Education Committee in the Virginia General Assembly. He has been unwilling to let progressive bills created by Democrats come to a vote, mirroring the approach of the Appropriations and Finance Committees. All three have reviewed bills that could have greatly improved the educational system of the Commonwealth–and then let them die.


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VA-LGBTQ+

LGBTQ+ Rights and Legislation

Protections on hold even as the culture changes. The Courts of Justice Committee in the House of Delegates (chaired by Rob Bell, R–HD58) killed every pro-LGBTQ+ bill in the 2018 session.


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VA-PIPELINES

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Dominion Energy and three other major energy companies are pushing to continue building a project laying a major gas pipeline across the state of Virginia with the potential for severe environmental, renewable energy, and social impacts.


2017


VA-Climate Change

Virginia Under Water

A study by Old Dominion University predicts that vast areas of Virginia will be underwater due to climate change. Scientists are predicting a rise of up to 7½ feet by the year 2100. Many communities in Virginia will experience chronic flooding, which means 10% or more of its land area will be flooded by high tides an average of 26 times per year (every other week).  Read here to find out what needs to be done now.


Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Reform

Starting in the 1990s, Virginia has overemphasized the punitive aspects of justice without a concomitant effort towards rehabilitation. Here is a look at some of the issues that characterize criminal justice in the United States and in Virginia — with a focus on those that the Republican-led House of Delegates has done little to tackle.


Gun Safety

Gun Safety Regulations

Every 10 hours, a person is killed with a gun in Virginia in cases that involve suicide, domestic violence, accidental shootings or interpersonal disputes. Two-thirds of Virginians support a law to limit the purchase of guns to one/month according to a Quinnapac poll released in April 2017. It’s time to close the loopholes and keep firearms out of the hands of ineligible buyers.


Renewable Energy

Energy Efficiency

Virginia residents have the 10th highest electricity bills in the nation. Large additional rates are imposed for building new power plants that would be unneeded if Virginia implemented higher energy efficiency standards. But Virginia ranks 33rd out of 50 states on the effectiveness of their energy efficiency policies and programs. Virginia lags far behind the rest of the nation because the Republican-controlled state legislature has not imposed regulations forcing utilities to implement energy efficiency programs or meet energy savings targets.


Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

The Republican legislature has repeatedly voted against expanding solar energy credits and net-metering to residents and small businesses, favoring corporations and utilities, even extending tax credits to earth-killing coal companies. More than a dozen clean energy bills were introduced but were killed in committee in deference to the utility companies.


Racial Inequality

The Racial Wealth Gap

Since 1986, about half of all gains in wealth have gone to the top 0.1 percent of households. Racial minorities are especially affected by this with typical black households possessing just 6% of the wealth of white households and the typical Latino household having just 8% of the wealth that a white household has. Read our report to find out why racial disparity exists in America and Virginia.


Ethics

Campaign Finance Disparity

Big corporate donors in Virginia clearly favor Republicans at the district voting level. Do VA Democrats really want to live in a state paid for by corporations?


Healthcare

Medicaid Expansion

Republicans denied 400,000 Virginians access to healthcare, refused $2 billion in federal funds and 15,000 good jobs.


Healthcare

Opioid Crisis in Virginia

Opioid body count rises. Virginia Republicans deny 400,000 access to treatment. more information . . .


Voting Rights

Gerrymandering

Stop Republican manipulation of districts to stay in power and enact a right-wing agenda!


Education

Democrats work to Strengthen Schools

Elect Democrats to improve teacher pay, offer career and technical education options, and provide age-appropriate evidence-based classes in family life and consent.


Economy

Democrats Support Living Wages

Vote Democrat to get legislation to raise the minimum wage passed.


Economy

Inequity Waits in Virginia

In Virginia, $2.13/hour is the mandatory wage a restaurant must pay a waiter or waitress who gets tips. The VA taxpayer supplements nearly half of food-service workers with assistance. Vote Democrat to change this broken system.


Voting Rights

Help Safeguard Voting Rights

Vote Democratic to ensure every eligible voter gets to vote. more information . . .


Economy

Expand Rural Broadband

Access to high speed broadband is critical for economic progress in rural communities.


LGBTQ

LGBTQ Discrimination

Republicans pass legislation to allow discrimination against LGBTQ and single parents.


Pipelines

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline and The Mountain Valley Pipeline

Read Local Majority’s analysis of these complicated issues.


Economy

Proffer Bill: a Win for Developers

Should you pay higher taxes when a developer builds new homes?