If it's both crossover day and Valentine's Day in Richmond, you can turn your broken heart into a political statement.
That's what Virginia Organizing did Tuesday - the day both the House and Senate must have everything but budget and revenue bills passed and sent to the other chamber - to protest what the nonpartisan, nonprofit progressive political activist group says focused on issues like restricting women's reproductive rights, suppressing voter participation, loosening gun restriction and targeting immigrants rather than legislation that would create jobs, strengthen the economy and strengthen the state's public education system.
The Charlottesville-based group brought in more than a hundred activists from around the commonwealth to hand out heart-shaped Valentine's Day candy boxes to all 140 members of the General Assembly.
Rather than a tasty chocolate treat to celebrate the holiday, lawmakers found an empty box save a note that read, "Disappointed? So are we."
They then lined the lined the walk between the General Assembly Building and the Capitol holding broken hearts signs that listed what they wanted versus what they feel they got. The signs included one that read, "We wanted: jobs for people. We got: personhood," referring to Del. Bob Marshall's, R- Prince WIlliams, measure that defines life as starting at the moment of conception.
The group's treasurer Jay Johnson, of Newport News, said this year's General Assembly broke her heart with the voter ID measure, the bill requiring women to recieve an ultrasound before recieving an abortion and the repeal of the one-handgun-a-month purchasing limit.
"Why you need enough guns to have an arsenal, I don't know," Johnson said.
Reverend Jennifer Ryu, who leads the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalist congregation, said she's concerned that many of these issues aren't on the minds of Virginians.
"I know my congregants are concerned about these issues, we just don't seem to get a lot of attention," she said.
She said the voter ID bills have been the biggest heart break for her.
"On the front of it this seems like very rational legislation, but then if you start thinking about the history it all starts to become clear what the bigger impact is," Ryu said. "That's a lot of this legislation - you just have to think about the larger impact."