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
Concerned about incidents of vandalism directed at political signs of both parties, the leaders of the Northumberland County Republicans and Democrats issued a joint letter that was published in local newspapers on October 21, 2020.
October 21, 2020
Opinion: Letters to the Editor
Both Left and Right Denounce Vandalism
The chairpersons of both the Northumberland Democrats and Republicans are as one in denouncing the recent vandalism of our respective parties’ campaign signs.
Our democracy is built on many individual freedoms, first and foremost is freedom of speech. The destruction of campaign material, including signs, is not only against the law, it is a violation of all citizens’ right to freedom of speech as guaranteed to us in the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The polarization of our political life has reached a point where civil discourse, dialog, and respect for others’ views are practically non-existent.
We should take a lesson from British Parliamentary procedures and always refer to the opposition as “the loyal opposition.” We should never forget we are all Americans.
As the heads of the Northumberland Republicans and Northumberland Democrats, we call for an end to criminal vandalism and a return to civil discourse.
- Marion Cockrell, Chairperson, Northumberland Republican Party
- Dr. Frank Kober, Chairperson, Northumberland Democratic Party
You can download a copy of the letter here: NOCO Dems and Repub ltr.
The Rashid campaign released a 32-second television ad titled “It’s Time.” The ad is biographical, highlighting Mr. Rashid’s career as a human rights lawyer and upbringing as an immigrant to the United States.
Qasim Rashid is a human rights lawyer who has dedicated his life to supporting women who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and to serving children from vulnerable communities. Qasim is running to transform his advocacy into results for the working families of Virginia’s 1st District. He believes in service, leadership, and compassion through action. To learn more, please visit RashidForVA.com.
The Northumberland Democrats need your help. President Trump made it clear in the first Presidential Debates he is willing to do just about anything to disrupt the vote on November 3rd. We have to make sure that does not happen.
We have always had volunteers at all our precincts in Northumberland County. Often, they have been subjected to verbal slurs and other forms of intimidation). Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric means we can, at minimum, expect more verbal harassment.
This year as never before, we need volunteers at the polls—two volunteers at each poll throughout the day during each two-hour shift. We should not be confrontational, but we do need witnesses to what is going on in each precinct. Each volunteer should have a cell phone and be prepared to take the license plate number of anyone engaging in voter intimidation or harassment.
All volunteers will have the phone number of an election official. If there are any problems, election officials will be there as quickly as possible with a deputy sheriff if the situation calls for law enforcement. Throughout election day, election officials will be visiting each voting precinct on a rotating basis.
Please volunteer by calling Jim Long at 724-3240.
Our next membership meeting will be held outdoors:
- Thursday, September 17, 2020
- 6 PM
- The Kober residence, backyard at 1701 Browns Store Road.
- Attendance is limited to 60 individuals or couples.
Qasim Rashid, Democratic Congressional Candidate for CD 1, will speak.
Stan Scott, former Democratic Nominee for State Senate, will also speak.
We are working with the Virginia Democratic Committee to obtain another speaker. Among those invited are Senators Warner and Kaine, Attorney General Mark Herring, Congressmen Donald McEachin and Bobby Scott.
We will let everyone know of any additional speakers.
The backyard meeting location is marked in sections, a minimum of six feet apart. We ask that you bring a chair, a refreshment for yourself and a mask. MASKS ARE REQUIRED.
Follow the Northumberland County Democratic Committee on Facebook.
- Thursday, August 20, 2020
- 6 PM
- 1701 Browns Store Road, Heathsville, VA 22473.
Please note the time change from our normally scheduled meeting time due to the meeting being outside.
We ask the following things for your safety while attending this meeting:
- Must Wear A Mask,
- bring your own chair,
- confine yourself to your socially distanced designated area,
- bring your own refreshments.
- Bathroom will be open to all who attend.
- Northumberland County Democrat’s election activity,
- Qasim Rashad Democratic nominee for Congress will speak,
- Mark Warner has been invited, and may attend depending if the U. S. Senate is not in session.
One of the greatest, bravest and kindest men to ever live passed away today: John Robert Lewis, the son of sharecroppers who survived a brutal beating by police during a landmark 1965 march in Selma, Alabama, to become a towering figure of the civil rights movement and a longtime US congressman, has died after a six-month battle with cancer. He was 80.
Mr. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, announced his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer on Dec. 29 and said he planned to continue working amid treatment. “I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,” he said in a statement. “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.”
The best thing any of us can do to honor Lewis is to VOTE !!!!
The history of the right to vote in America is a history of conflict, of struggling for the right to vote. Many people died trying to protect that right. I was beaten, and jailed because I stood up for it. For millions like me, the struggle for the right to vote is not mere history; it is experience. We should not take a step backward with new poll taxes and voter ID laws and barriers to voting. We must ensure every vote and every voter counts.
The vote is the most powerful, non-violent tool we have in a democratic society. We must not allow the power of the vote to be neutralized. We must never go back.
— John Lewis
Several folks in our area use a post office box to receive their mail, some do not even have a mailbox at their home.
This has led to some confusion with census documents because the Census Bureau DOES NOT send mail to PO boxes.
If you are concerned about not receiving mail about voting, you can modify your voter registration information to include a PO box as your mailing address. The voter registration application REQUIRES you to enter a residence address, however, there also is a place down in the center of the form where you enter a PO box as you MAILING address.
Attached is a copy of the current Virginia voter registration form. In the upper area where you enter name and address, this MUST be your residence address, NOT a PO box. However, look down the form to Section 4 — check the second box and enter your PO box as your preferred mailing address. Read the form carefully — it’s really quite simple.
You can also update your registration information on line at the State Board of Elections website: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/
If you have any questions, contact your county General Registrar.
- Northumberland County: (804) 580-4655
- Lancaster County: (804) 462-5277
- Richmond County: (804) 333-4772