Virginia Democrats look to prioritize voting rights
In addition to no excuse absentee voting, which was filed first thing (HB1, HB25, HB207, HB209, SB45, SB111, SB137), legislators have filed bills for automatic voter registration (HB235 from Cole-HD28, and HB219 from Lopez-HD49), same day voter registration (HB187 from Simon-HD53 and , and universal voting rights.
HB177 (Levine-HD45) and HB199 (Price-HD95) would enter Virginia into the National Popular Vote Compact, which would give all electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote, once enough states have joined to reach 270 electors.
Democrats haven’t forgotten the two heartbreaking close losses in 2017, and introduce a bill–HB198 (Price-HD95) and HB178 (Levine-HD45) to resolve elections ending in a tie after recount by a special election; and a bill, HB191 (Cole-HD28) to ensure military absentee ballots arriving after polls close but that were postmarked before Election Day are counted.
Criminal justice reform coming to Virginia
Renaming and refocusing the Virginia Crime Commission to the Virginia State Justice Commission (HB92 from Hope-HD47 and SB108 from Surovell-SD36). Adds director of Indigent Defense Commission to members.
HB256 (Mullin-HD94) to prevent children from being charged with disorderly conduct for behavior on school grounds or the bus.
End suspension of driver’s licenses for nonpayment of fines and fees, HB261 (Lopez-HD49).
Increase grand larceny threshold to $2000, HB263 (Lopez-HD49).
Decriminalization of simple marijuana possession (HB265 from Heretick-HD79, SB2 from Ebbin-SD30); and marijuana legalization, with regulation and taxation (HB269 from Heretick-HD79, and HB87 from Carter-HD50)
HB74 (Cole-HD28) to increase the minimum age at which a child can be tried as an adult for a felony to 16 from 14.
HB279 (Hope-HD47) to give juries the ability to recommend reduced sentences, concurrent sentences, mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment instead of part of sentence.