The Virginia General Assembly convened on January 8 and meets for only 60 days, but in a very short time the legislature has advanced an impressive agenda of progressive bills. By the “crossover” date, a record number of bills had been sent from each house to the other body—828 House bills and 663 Senate bills. These are just some of the highlights.
(** = You can find a similar bill in PLI’s library of model legislation.)
Voting & Elections
** HB 201 would implement Election Day registration. This has passed the House and is in a Senate committee.
** HB 177 would adopt the National Popular Vote. It passed the House but a Senate committee delayed consideration until the 2021 session.
SB 203 would put a Virginia Redistricting Commission on the ballot. This has passed both houses but with different texts.
** HB 395 & SB 7 would raise the minimum wage to $10/hr on July 1, 2020 and gradually raise it to $15/hr by 2025. HB 395 passed both houses but with different texts while SB 7 is in a House committee.
** HB 10 & SB 77, the Borrowers Bill of Rights, would protect student loan debt from predatory lenders. HB 10 passed the House while SB 77 passed both houses with the House agreeing to Senate amendments.
HB 582 would repeal a 2013 law that prohibits state and local employees from unionizing This passed the House and is in a Senate committee.
Gun Violence Prevention
HB 421 would allow localities to enact certain gun laws. This passed both houses but with different versions.
HB 9 would require gun owners to report lost or stolen guns. This passed both houses but with different versions.
HB 961 would ban the sale of assault weapons. This passed the House but was delayed to 2021 by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
HB 1083, the child accident prevention bill. This passed both houses but with different versions.
Criminal Justice Reform
SB 1 would end the suspension of driver’s licenses for non-payment of court fines or costs. This passed both houses with different versions.
SB 2 would decriminalize marijuana possession. This passed the Senate and is on the House floor.
** HB 1211 & SB 34 would remove the legal resident requirement from drivers licenses (“drivers licenses for all”). SB 34 passed both houses with different versions while HB 1211 is on the Senate floor.
** HB 262 would prohibit law enforcement from inquiring about immigration status with victims or witnesses of crime. This passed both houses.
Health Care Access
SB 95 would strengthen the minimum requirements for insurance, including coverage for preventative care. This passed the Senate and was approved by House committee.
** HB 980 & SB 733 would enact the Reproductive Health Protection Act, allowing Advanced Practice Clinicians to perform first-trimester abortions and removing restrictions on abortion access. Both bills passed the Senate, SB 733 is in the House.
HJ 1, making Virginia the 38th state to ratify the ERA, was enacted.
** HB 1663 & SB 868, The Virginia Values Act, will prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public accommodations. HB 1663 passed the House while SB 868 passed both houses and was sent to the Governor.
** HB 1526 & SB 851, the Virginia Clean Economy Act, would mandate renewable energy for electric utilities and their suppliers to generate 100% from renewable sources by 2050. Each passed its own house and is in the other house with amendments.
HB 572 would promote renewable energy. This passed the House and was approved by a Senate committee.
HB 714, the Virginia Energy Plan, would achieve a net-zero carbon energy economy. This passed the House and was approved by a Senate committee.
** HB 981 would authorize Virginia to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This passed the House and is on the Senate floor.
** HB 1132, the Fair Energy Bills Act. This passed the House and in a Senate committee.
HB 1664 would advance offshore wind development. This passed the House and approved by a Senate committee.
SB 632 would increase energy storage in Virginia. This passed the Senate and is in a House committee.