Exciting Week 3 at the General Assembly!

Exciting Week 3 at the General Assembly!
Excitement in Richmond during Week 3 of the General Assembly
Week 3 excitement in Richmond!
Virginia Progressive Legislative Alert Newsletter
January 24, 2020

The pace was frenetic this week, as bills moved through subcommittees and committees and on to floor votes. Committees meetings are scheduled before and after floor session every day. The first committees are sometimes as early as 7:00 am–and this week one meeting ended after 10pm. Now is a great time to send your Delegate or Senator a note or email thanking them for all their work. 🙂

Here are highlights of what happened this week:

Legislative Update

House Public Safety Committee reports out gun bills
Senate and House Committees vote to repeal TRAP laws
  • On Wednesday, the House Courts of Justice Committee heard discussion of bills to repeal Virginia’s TRAP laws that restrict access and provide obstacles to legal and safe abortions. HB980 (Herring-HD46), incorporating HB1060 (Adams-HD68) reported out on a 12-9 partisan vote. It would: 
    • Removes requirement that an ultrasound be obtained 24 hours prior to an abortion.
    • Expands who can legally perform a first-trimester abortion.
    • Removes requirement that the abortion-provider offer written information pertaining to the fetus such as probable anatomical characteristics of the fetus, or pictures or drawings of the fetus.
  • On Thursday, the Senate Education and Health Committee heard discussion of similar bills–SB733 (McClellan-SD9) with SB21 (Saslaw-SD35) and SB68 (Locke-SD2) incorporated, which reported out of the committee on a 9-6 partisan vote. 
  • Additionally, HB1552 (Watts-HD39), defining birth control and declaring it distinct from abortion reported out of Health, Welfare and Institutions.
  • Finally, while we may never be able to fully rid ourselves of the heinous and insulting Day of Tears (it’s named that by a resolution, and resolutions can’t be repealed), HR6 (Convirs-Fowler-HD21) to name January 22 (the anniversary of Roe v. Wade) the Day of Women, and to no longer refer to it as the Day of Tears, reported out of the House Rules Committee on Friday.

…and more progress…and stalls
  • Criminal justice reform progress: Senate Judiciary created a Criminal Subcommittee, which reported out a much-amended marijuana decriminalization bill SB2 (Ebbin-SD30) that still needs some work to address concerns. House Criminal Subcommittee reported out HB256 (Mullin-HD93), with HB8 (Bourne-HD71) rolled in, to prohibit disorderly conduct charges for school misbehavior. House passes HB35 (Lindsey-HD90) to make those convicted as juveniles eligible for parole after serving 25 years of sentence.
  • Criminal justice misses: House Criminal Subcommittee killed HB258 (Simon-HD53) to give someone convicted using junk science a retrial (passed in Senate last year with bipartisan support), as well as HB279 (Hope-HD47) that would give juries the same sentencing tools as judges have, including treatment in place of incarceration. Senate Criminal Subcommittee sends several expungement bills to Crime Commission rather than dealing with them, and Senate Judiciary kills SB108 (Surovell-SD36) to rename the Crime Commission to Justice Commission, and change its focus.
  • Campaign finance reform misses: House Privileges and Elections Subcommittee kills HB851 (Simon-HD53) to allow localities to create public finance systems for their local elections, and continues to next year HB848 (Simon-HD53) to ban the personal use of campaign contributions. Senate Privileges and Elections kills SB25 (Peterson-SD34) to prohibit campaign contributions from regulated public service monopolies (aka Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power) and SB488 (Peterson-SD34) with SB889 (Ebbin-SD30) incorporated, to ban large campaign contributions from individual donors.
  • Still waiting on: Only a small handful of environmental bills have moved through subcommittees so far. The big RPS and efficiency goal bills, and Solar Freedom are still to come. Additionally, bills to create driver’s privilege cards have not yet been heard. Finally, minimum wage and collective bargaining/right to work repeal bills have not yet been heard in committees.

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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