The legislative agenda that Norfolk City Council will vote on at their January 9 meeting is a statement of values, as much as it is a set of hopes for what will happen at the upcoming legislative session — which begins the next day.
Some of the LA ends up being procedural. For example, the city has asked that a reference to Norfolk as an appointed school board to be removed in the Virginia Code.
There are other areas where Norfolk — the second largest city in the Commonwealth — takes a strong leadership voice, particularly in these legislative priorities:
Norfolk supports the creation — and funding of — a Secretariat for Coastal Protection position.
Given that Mother Nature recognizes no political boundaries, macro, systemic thinking about how our communities address sea level rise is needed.
Norfolk is asking that the Commonwealth Amend Virginia Code Section § 15.2-1812 to allow for the removal/relocation of monuments and memorials.
I see this as a good and a bad thing. It’s good that they have taken a clear position on this hot button issue. What concerns me is that they are recognizing that control over the monuments are out of the City’s hands. While this position has legal standing, I question if there wasn’t a stronger moral path to consider.
What’s more, will a Republican majority House even consider such a change? Where does the cause go from there?
Norfolk supports the decriminalization of simple possession of marijuana as well as the expansion of conditions that physicians licensed by the Virginia Board of Medicine can treat with cannabidiol or THC-A oil.
This is important. As the marijuana reform movement sits within striking distance of real change on these issues, a vote of confidence from a city as big and influential as Norfolk could hold water with legislators on the fence.
Some highlights from the City’s stated budget priorities:
Support new avenues for funding public school construction and renovation costs, including the creation of a two-year pilot program of competitive grants using funds from the Virginia Public Building Authority to offset new construction or renovation costs for publicly owned and operated K-12 schools.
Provide continued investment in the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF) for improvements and installation of effective stormwater management controls in urban lands as required in the Virginia Watershed Implementation Plan.
Support increased funding for statewide transit capital needs.
Support a dedicated regional funding source for public transit in Hampton Roads without a reduction in funding for other transportation needs.
This is long past due. Not all of HRT’s issues have been because of management issues; without consistent funding it becomes more difficult to plan long-term, a necessary mindset for an organization responsible for getting so many local citizens around.
Advance mental healthcare services by increasing ID/DD Waiver slots and supporting workforce development opportunities for behavioral health consumers.
This is excellent. Looking after those with mental health needs doesn’t stop at counseling and medication; it has to address the full life of the person, including work.
Support funding a flood mitigation revolving fund and add flood mitigation efforts to historic tax credits.
Revolve and revolve it would, as the Commonwealth’s dance with the sea is only just beginning.
None of this is binding — what matters most now is how the members of the General Assembly address these issues.
If you care about any of these causes, please let your elected officials know. Your voice matters. Here is how to find them.