House Republicans are pushing through a bunch of backwards-progress bills to weaken voting rights, destroy our public schools, and restrict access to safe and legal abortion–and Senate Democrats show every indication of being willing and able to block it all.
But here are a handful of GOOD bills that are still making their way through:
Bills to help low-income families:
Tax breaks NOT for the wealthy
SB515 (McPike-SD29), SB343 (Barker-SD39) makes tax credit for low-income families refundable. In Finance committee.
SB266 (Hashmi-SD10), and SB632 (Locke-SD2) provide a non-refundable tax credit to family caregivers for expenditures up to $1000. HB291 (Rasoul-HD11) was initially the identical bill, but was amended in committee to a deduction, rather than a credit. These are in Finance/Appropriations committees.
School Repairs and Maintenance:
SB472 (McClellan-SD9) would allow localities to hold referendum over temporarily increasing local taxes to fund school repairs. Passed Senate.
SB471 (McClellan-SD9) and HB253 (Simonds-HD94) would increase the Literary Fund loan amount, minimize interest rates on such loans, with subsidized closing costs. Both are in Finance/Appropriations.
Other bills to help:
HB583 (Roem-HD13) keeps schools from preventing kids from participating in extracurricular activities based on school lunch debt. Passed House.
SB342 (Barker-SD39) and HB142 (McQuinn-HD70) requires at least 25% of Transit Ridership Incentive Program funds be used for grants for reduced-fare or zero-fare projects. Senate bill passed in Senate and House bill in House.
Still fighting for equity and justice:
SB270 (Hashmi-SD10) creates an interagency workgroup to further language access and equity in state government agencies. Senate floor vote upcoming.
SJ1 (Locke-SD2) affirming the right to vote, and SJ5 (Ebbin-SD30) affirming the right to marry; and their House counterparts HJ9 (Cherry-HD66), HJ28 (Herring-HD46), and HJ57 (Sickles-HD43). The Senate resolutions are in Finance committee after reporting from Privileges and Elections. The House ones haven’t been heard at all.
SB378 (Petersen-SD34) and HB906 (Coyner-HD62) the “Second Look” legislation, sets up a process for certain people who are incarcerated to petition the court that sentenced them for a re-sentencing hearing. Senate version reported from Crim Sub, House version hasn’t been heard.
SB108 (Morrissey-SD16) to ban the extended use of solitary confinement in prisons passed the Senate floor this week. A similar House bill HB1291 (Hayes-HD77) died in committee, but members said they were looking forward to seeing the Senate version.
SJ27 (Boysko-SD33) requires JLARC to study and make recommendations on how to make the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission–that is supposed to provide oversight of judges–more effective, after numerous stories the last couple years of inappropriate, insensitive, and even vindictive conduct by judges. Passed Senate.
A few other random good bills:
HB492 (Bulova-HD37) requires campaigns to keep receipts for donations and expenditures, and for random campaign finance audits by the Department of Elections. Passed House.
HB508 (Mullin-HD93) directs Department of historic resources to educate the public about places in Virginia that were listed in the Green Book, a Jim Crow-era annual guide to places that served Black patrons. Not yet heard in House.
HB850 (Reid-HD32) informs the public about the avoidance, symptoms and treatment of Lyme disease–with signage in parks and information distributed to schools and libraries. In Appropriations.
HB719 (Filler-Corn-HD41) regulates storage for ten years (or ten years past the victim reaching maturity) of physical evidence recovery kits, and provision of tracking information to victim.
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