Crossover was Friday; anything that made it out of the House goes on to the Senate, and vice versa. Session technically ends Thursday, but Governor Northam has called an immediate special session to finish up the work. Virginia is poised to be the first in the South on a number of progressive reforms!
Check out the bills that passed the House, the Senate, or both:
Pairs of bills passing in House & Senate
Death penalty:SB1165 (Surovell-SD36) passed the Senate, and HB2263 (Mullin-HD93) passed the House, to abolish the death penalty.
COVID-19 vaccine: HB2333 (Bagby-HD74) and SB1445 (Dunnavant-SD12) to facilitate faster deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine has both passed both House and Senate and are on the way to the Governor’s desk.
Marijuana legalization:HB2312 (Herring-HD46) passed the House and SB1406 (Ebbin-SD30 and Lucas-SD18) passed the Senate. The main details are largely the same in both House and Senate versions, but a few details need reconciling.
Virginia Voting Rights Act:SB1395 (McClellan-SD9) and HB1890 (Price-HD95) preventing discrimination in elections laws and procedures and providing a means for challenging discriminatory practices crossed over.
Marriage equality: Both House (HJ582, Sickles-HD43) and Senate (SJ270, Ebbin-SD30) passed resolution for a Constitutional Amendment to repeal the Marshall-Newman Amendment and to declare that all marriages are equal under law.
Mandatory minimums: The House passed HB2331 (Mullin-HD93) which eliminated mandatory minimum sentences on non-violent, non-sexual, non-DUI crimes; while the Senate passed SB1443 (Edwards-SD21) eliminating virtually all mandatory minimums. The two bodies will have to reconcile these differences.
Felon re-enfranchisement: The House passed HJ555 (Herring-HD46) proposing a Constitutional Amendment to automatically restore voting rights following the completion of sentence for a felony conviction; Under the initial version of SJ272 (Locke-SD2), citizens would never have their rights taken away at all, but it was amended to match the House version.
Bills unique to House or Senate
Passed the House
HB1822 (Askew-HD85) capping insurance co-payments on asthma inhalers at $50/month
Several bills giving the SCC greater tools to regulate the public utility companies and to limit over-earnings and excess returns, including HB2200 (Jones-HD89), HB1914 (Helmer-HD40) and HB2160 (Tran-HD42)
HB1951 (Simon-HD53), repealing common-law crime of suicide
Paid sick leave for essential workers (HB2137, Guzman-HD31)
HB2132 (Roem-HD13), prohibiting use of LGBTQ+ “panic defense” as an affirmative defense in violent crimes
HB1912 (Hope-HD47) eliminating requirement Dept of Juvenile Justice collect child support payments from parents of incarcerated youths
HB1965 (Bagby-HD74) directing the Air Pollution Board to implement low-emission and zero-emission standards for cars
HB1952 (Simon-HD53) preventing the personal use of campaign contributions
HB1820 (Helmer-HD40), adding postsecondary education attendance in list of work activities for purpose of qualifying for SNAP benefits
Eliminating the minimum wage exemption for farm workers (HB1786, Ward-HD92)
Requiring transparency in the Redistricting Commission meetings and deliberations, including those of the Virginia Supreme Court, if the redistricting is done by them (HB2082, Levine-HD45
HB1992 (Murphy-HD34) preventing those with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions from obtaining a firearm passed the House; but similar SB1382 (Favola-SD31), died on the Senate floor.
Passed the Senate
Banning use of solitary confinement (SB1301, Morrissey-SD16)
SB1105 (Stanley-SD20) allowing a person to petition the court to have conviction vacated if it was based solely on disproven junk science
SB1157 (Spruill-SD5) moving municipal elections from May to November to line up with general elections
SB1442 (Morrissey-SD16) creating a new public defender’s office for Chesterfield County
Consumer Data Protection Act addressing the storing and processing of personal data (SB1392, Marsden-SD37)
SB1401 (Pillion-SD40) reducing the number of SOL tests students are required to take to the federal minimum
Resolution amending the Constitution to make odd-year legislative sessions 46 days rather than 30 (SJ310, Saslaw-SD35)
Mandatory provision of in-person and virtual schooling for all school districts (SB1303, Dunnavant-SD12)
SB1178 (Ebbin-SD30) repealing the conscience clause that allows genetic counselors to refuse to participate in counseling that conflicts with their personal beliefs
SB1266 (Deeds-SD25) provides that the default presumption is to release defendants on bail unless there is cause not to
Defelonizing assault on law enforcement officer without bodily injury (SB1306, Morrissey-SD16)
SB1180 (Surovell-SD36) opening Virginia up to allow class action lawsuits
Ones that got away…
Virginia Equal Pay Act: SB1228 (Boysko-SD33), ensuring women’s wage equality and prohibiting workplace practices that lead to wage discrimination, died in Senate Commerce and Labor again this year.
Drug defelonization:HB2303 (Hudson-HD57) reducing the penalty for possession of controlled substances to misdemeanors died in House Courts
Right to Work: After HB1755 was never docketed in House Labor and Commerce, its patron, Carter-HD50, tried to discharge it from the committee to have it heard on the House floor, but the discharge motion was voted down.
DOC Ombudsman:HB2325 (Hope-HD47) to create an ombudsman to oversee the prison system, make inspections, and give those incarcerated a safe grievance mechanism died in House Appropriations subcommittee
If any of the above bills are important to you, now is the time to contact your legislators and tell them how this bill affects you and your family. Contact information for Delegates and Senators can be found HERE; if you aren’t sure who represents you, put your address in HERE to find out.
Virginia Progressive Legislative Alert Network
PO Box 2612, Merrifield Virginia 22116-2612 United States