What’s on the docket this week?

What’s on the docket this week?
What’s ahead this week in the General Assembly?
What’s on the docket this week?
Virginia Progressive Legislative Alert Newsletter

The General Assembly got under way last week, deciding on rules for how they would go about their business. Committee chairs, subchairs, and members have all been assigned. They got to work hearing bills, but this week that will kick into high gear.

Legislative Update

Rules for General Assembly conduct this session include no guns in Capitol
  • With Democrats promising to enact long-overdue commonsense gun safety measures, gun groups and supporters have become increasingly threatening in their language. It is expected that they will come to the Capitol from around the country for their usual lobby days as well as when gun bills are being voted on. To protect visitors to the Capitol, and the legislators and their staff, the House and Senate wrote rules banning weapons from the Capitol, the Pocahontas building, and all the committee meetings and legislative offices. That includes for legislators themselves.
  • For the first time in history–er, “herstory”–the rules of conduct for the General Assembly were written using only female pronouns. Thus, for example, “Rule 30. No member will absent herself from the service of the House unless she has leave granted by the Speaker or is sick or otherwise unable to attend.”
  • Added to the set of Rules the House operated by during the previous Republican-controlled session is that the House Rules Committee will establish a formal policy for training, reporting, investigating, and resolving issues of harassment by those engaged with or employed by the legislative branch. 
Senate Judiciary Committee to hear gun bills Monday morning
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator John Edwards, is scheduled to meet Monday morning at 9AM in Senate Room A in the Pocahontas Building.
  • The docket includes universal background checks (SB12-Saslaw, SB70-Lucas), one handgun a month purchase restriction (SB22-Saslaw, SB69-Locke), Red Flag Law (SB240-Barker), as well as numerous bills allowing localities to enact restrictions on possessing firearms at public events and in government buildings.
  • A number of other important bills are on the docket, although it’s not clear whether the committee will be able to get through the entire docket Monday.
    • Senator McClellan’s bill SB3 to eliminate school disruptions from misdemeanor disorderly conduct is an important step to ending the school to prison pipeline.
    • SB19 from Senator Ebbin and SB62 from Senator Suetterlein to end the mandatory disclosure of race on marriage forms.
    • Bills to allow deferred disposition (probation without misdemeanor conviction) for first-time petit larceny arrests, SB286-Deeds, SB309-Stanley.
    • SB149 from Senator Howell increases fees convicted defendants pay that fund courtroom security. (It’s a small amount of money, but these fees make re-entry harder for those who’ve been incarcerated.)

Other committees meeting
  • Senate Local Government: On the docket Monday morning at 9AM in Senate Room 3 in the Capitol, local options for banning and/or taxing styrofoam containers and/or single-use plastic bags (Favola SB193, Locke-SB198), abandoned shopping cart laws (Surovell SB631).
  • Senate Commerce and Labor: Meets Monday after the floor session in Senate Room A to consider numerous bills on the docket extending worker’s compensation law to include more diseases that are considered to be work-related, especially for firefighters and law enforcement. Energy Subcommittee meets shortly after the full committee adjourns, to take up bills to update the Virginia Energy Plan (Favola SB94, Lewis SB817, and Peterson SB504), for undergrounding pilot program (Saslaw SB782)
  • Senate Privileges and Elections: Meets Tuesday after floor session adjourns in Senate Room 3. Docket includes: no excuse absentee voting (SB45 Spruill, SB111 Howell, SB137 Stuart, SB696 Mason, SB879 Locke); National Popular Vote Compact (SB399 Ebbin); campaign finance contribution limits (SB25SB205SB488 Peterson, SB266 Bell, SB889 Ebbin); ban on personal use of campaign funds (SB166 Saslaw).
  • To keep track of upcoming meeting and dockets, use the LIS Combined Meetings calendar here, or the House Agenda Calendar here

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

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