New Lawmakers Face Obstacles In General Assembly Session

Feb 12, 2018

Del. Lee Carter, D-Prince William recites the pledge of allegiance during opening ceremonies of the 2018 session of the Virginia House of Delegates. Carter may end the session with all of his legislative proposals killed.
Credit (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The halls of power in Richmond are loaded with new members after the wave election in November. But  that doesn’t mean their proposals are seeing much success.

Being a freshman House member in the minority isn’t easy. You just got here and you’re not sure how it all works. And you have Republicans eager to kill your bills just because you’re new.

Democratic Delegate Lee Carter of Manassas will end the session this year with zero of his bills making it out of the General Assembly.  “I thought that making cars stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk was not going to be particularly controversial," Carter said. "Apparently I was mistaken. That is a partisan issue.”

Delegate Elizabeth Guzman of Woodbridge says she hopes Republicans aren’t killing her bills just because she gave the Spanish language response to President Trump’s State of the Union address.  “If it’s about a message against me because I retaliated against Trump, I will do it again,” Guzman warned.

When a freshman member finally gets a bill to the floor, House members haze them by asking silly questions. A handful of lawmakers are on the road to ending the session without being hazed.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.