Week one of the 2022 session is over. The Senate is moving along quickly, blocking attempts to roll back our progress and moving forward on some good bills. The House is…um…not quite ready for business under its new GOP leadership.
Check out the bills moving forward and those hitting a brick wall:
Senate Democrats protect our progress
Senate Privileges and Elections committee BLOCKED:
Bills to return to requiring a photo ID to vote (SB118, Chase-SD11; SB127, Obenshain-SD26; SB168, Peake-SD22).
Repeal of (not yet effective) same-day voter registration, SB167, Peake-SD22.
Senate Judiciary BLOCKED:
Bill to return to mandatory jury sentencing (juries are less qualified than judges, and have limited perspective), SB123, Obenshain-SD26.
Senate Education and Health BLOCKED:
SB73, Chase-SD11, to permit prescribing hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin for COVID, despite the National Institute of Health recommending against its use. Disorderly testifiers had to be escorted out of the meeting room, one shouting to the Chair, “you’ll pay for this!”
SB582 and SB601 preventing, respectively, mask requirements and vaccine requirements for admission into any places open to the public. (Including public schools, where the Governor is attempting to ban mask mandates.)
Education subcommittee recommended passing by indefinitely book-censuring bill SB275 (DeSteph-SD8).
Senate Commerce and Labor BLOCKED:
SB173, Peake-SD22, to freeze the minimum wage at $11/hour, while it is currently scheduled to increase annually to $15 and then be adjusted to inflation thereafter.
Bills still to be killed:
Bills that would weaken the public education system:
HB9, Ware-HD65 extends probationary period before a teacher can receive a contract, diminishes due process.
HB344, Davis-HD84, and HB356, Tata-HD82, to let VA Dept of Elections enter into charter school agreements when the local school board will not, usurping local control.
HB977, McGuire-HD56, prevents schools from teaching about systemic racism or privilege.
Going back to requiring an excuse to vote absentee (HB35, Campbell-HD24).
Shortening the 45 day window for absentee voting to only 14 days (HB39, Scott-HD88; HB178, Bloxom-HD100) or to only 10 days (HB945, LaRock-HD33).
Bills that roll back our progress on criminal justice:
SB563, McDougle-SD4 and HB1198, Bell-HD58 would allow the AG to usurp the power of local Commonwealth’s Attorneys at the request of law enforcement.
SB543, DeSteph-SD8, to repeal the expungement and record-sealing reforms made last year.
HB79, Campbell-HD24 to repeal the law that eliminated many pretext stops by preventing stop for minor traffic infractions and “smell of marijuana”.
Bringing back the death penalty for murder of law enforcement officer (HB661, Wampler-HD4; SB379, DeSteph-SD8).
…and more bills to watch
School Construction and Modernization Commission bills: HB563, O’Quinn-HD05; HB608, Bourne-HD71 to increase options to finance and fund school infrastructure improvements.
Landmark anti-hazing bill:SB439, Boysko-SD33 and HB993, Murphy-HD34
End solitary confinement:SB108, Morrissey-SD16 restricts the use of solitary confinement to when it is found medically necessary by a medical practitioner or to prevent harm.
Constitutional Amendments: On the Senate side, SJ1, Locke-SD2 (the right to vote); and SJ5, Ebbin-SD30 (the right to marry) have both reported out of committee. In the House, right to vote amendment resolutions HJ9, Cherry-HD66 and HJ28, Herring-HD46 and right to marry resolution HJ57, Sickles-HD43 have not even been referred to a committee at all by the obstructionist majority.
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