Senator Obenshain Releases Statement on Public Safety Bills

February 2, 2023

RICHMOND, VA- Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement today in response to the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee’s action on key public safety bills.

“Yesterday, on a party line vote, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee voted to kill two bills that I patroned to protect our families across the Commonwealth. The first would have  established a criminal penalty for any individuals who intend to intimidate a judge by picketing or parading near the home of that judge.

Threats against judges are up 400% since 2016, many of which were motivated by political extremism. In 2022, an armed man attempted to kidnap or murder Brett Kavanaugh and his family. In 2020, a federal judge’s son was killed and her husband was seriously wounded after a man targeted them in their own home.

Our justices are a critical part of our democracy and we depend on them to administer justice by applying the law, not out of fear or intimidation. Moreover, there is just no excuse for targeting justices with the deliberate efforts of political extremists whether from the right or the left to intimidate the families of the public servants.

Another bill killed, on a party line by Senate Democrats was one that would have established judicial presumption that those arrested for rape, robbery, or murder – would not be released on bail. As a part of the Democrats’ so called social-justice reforms the past few years, progressives in the Virginia House and Senate removed all presumptions against bail that existed in our code, even for the worst of the worst -those accused of rape, robbery, or murder.

This reckless “reform” has put dangerous offenders back on the street where they are free to reoffend while awaiting trial, such was the case in the tragic murder of Karla Dominguez whose boyfriend, released on bail, proceeded to rape and murder her.

Look, I get it. It’s an election year and Senate Democrats are looking to solidify support from their ultra-liberal base voters who often push policies that overlook the safety of families across the Commonwealth for the sake of so-called social justice. What they fail to recognize is that “Social-Justice” needs to be applied in a way that does not ignore victims and that many of these victims are persons of color.

But I stand for the safety of our justices and Commonwealth families, election year or not.”

Senator Obenshain represents the twenty-sixth district in the Senate of Virginia. The district includes the city of Harrisonburg and the counties of Warren, Shenandoah, Page Rappahannock and Rockingham (part).  He is a member of the Senate Judiciary; Commerce & Labor; Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources; and Transportation Committees.