Virginia set to make history!!

The Virginia General Assembly is set to pass legislation in several areas that will make Virginia the first Southern state to enact these measures.

The Virginia General Assembly convened in early January 2021.  February 5, 2021, was “Crossover Day” — that is, the day when bills that passed one house (Senate, or, House of Delegates) went to the other house to be considered.  If companion bills have passed each house — that is, if similar bills have passed both House and Senate — it’s an almost certain bet that the measure will become law.  If a bill has passed only one house, then, there is a slightly lower chance of the measure becoming law.

Check out the bills that passed the House, the Senate, or both:

Pairs of bills passing BOTH House & Senate

  • Death penalty: SB1165 (Surovell-SD36) passed the Senate, and HB2263 (Mullin-HD93) passed the House, to abolish the death penalty.
  • COVID-19 vaccine: HB2333 (Bagby-HD74) and SB1445 (Dunnavant-SD12) to facilitate faster deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine has both passed both House and Senate and are on the way to the Governor’s desk.
  • Marijuana legalization: HB2312 (Herring-HD46) passed the House and SB1406 (Ebbin-SD30 and Lucas-SD18) passed the Senate. The main details are largely the same in both House and Senate versions, but a few details need reconciling.
  • Virginia Voting Rights Act: SB1395 (McClellan-SD9) and HB1890 (Price-HD95) preventing discrimination in elections laws and procedures and providing a means for challenging discriminatory practices crossed over.
  • Marriage equality: Both House (HJ582, Sickles-HD43) and Senate (SJ270, Ebbin-SD30) passed resolution for a Constitutional Amendment to repeal the Marshall-Newman Amendment and to declare that all marriages are equal under law.
  • Mandatory minimums: The House passed HB2331 (Mullin-HD93) which eliminated mandatory minimum sentences on non-violent, non-sexual, non-DUI crimes; while the Senate passed SB1443 (Edwards-SD21) eliminating virtually all mandatory minimums. The two bodies will have to reconcile these differences.
  • Felon re-enfranchisement: The House passed HJ555 (Herring-HD46) proposing a Constitutional Amendment to automatically restore voting rights following the completion of sentence for a felony conviction; Under the initial version of SJ272 (Locke-SD2), citizens would never have their rights taken away at all, but it was amended to match the House version.

Bills that have passed only one house

Bills that have passed the House of Delegates
  • HB1822 (Askew-HD85) capping insurance co-payments on asthma inhalers at $50/month
  • Several bills giving the SCC greater tools to regulate the public utility companies and to limit over-earnings and excess returns, including HB2200 (Jones-HD89), HB1914 (Helmer-HD40) and HB2160 (Tran-HD42)
  • HB1951 (Simon-HD53), repealing common-law crime of suicide
  • Paid sick leave for essential workers (HB2137, Guzman-HD31)
  • HB2132 (Roem-HD13), prohibiting use of LGBTQ+ “panic defense” as an affirmative defense in violent crimes
  • HB1912 (Hope-HD47) eliminating requirement Dept of Juvenile Justice collect child support payments from parents of incarcerated youths
  • HB1965 (Bagby-HD74) directing the Air Pollution Board to implement low-emission and zero-emission standards for cars
  • HB1952 (Simon-HD53) preventing the personal use of campaign contributions
  • HB1820 (Helmer-HD40), adding postsecondary education attendance in list of work activities for purpose of qualifying for SNAP benefits
  • Eliminating the minimum wage exemption for farm workers (HB1786, Ward-HD92)
  • Requiring transparency in the Redistricting Commission meetings and deliberations, including those of the Virginia Supreme Court, if the redistricting is done by them (HB2082, Levine-HD45
  • HB1992 (Murphy-HD34) preventing those with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions from obtaining a firearm passed the House; but similar SB1382 (Favola-SD31), died on the Senate floor.
Bills that have passed the Senate
  • Banning use of solitary confinement (SB1301, Morrissey-SD16)
  • SB1105 (Stanley-SD20) allowing a person to petition the court to have conviction vacated if it was based solely on disproven junk science
  • SB1157 (Spruill-SD5) moving municipal elections from May to November to line up with general elections
  • SB1442 (Morrissey-SD16) creating a new public defender’s office for Chesterfield County
  • Consumer Data Protection Act addressing the storing and processing of personal data (SB1392, Marsden-SD37)
  • SB1401 (Pillion-SD40) reducing the number of SOL tests students are required to take to the federal minimum
  • Resolution amending the Constitution to make odd-year legislative sessions 46 days rather than 30 (SJ310, Saslaw-SD35)
  • Mandatory provision of in-person and virtual schooling for all school districts (SB1303, Dunnavant-SD12)
  • SB1178 (Ebbin-SD30) repealing the conscience clause that allows genetic counselors to refuse to participate in counseling that conflicts with their personal beliefs
  • SB1266 (Deeds-SD25) provides that the default presumption is to release defendants on bail unless there is cause not to
  • Defelonizing assault on law enforcement officer without bodily injury (SB1306, Morrissey-SD16)
  • SB1180 (Surovell-SD36) opening Virginia up to allow class action lawsuits