General Assembly Session Week 8
The House of Delegates continues to pass groundbreaking legislation!
As we continue into the final week of the 2020 General Assembly session, many bills have now passed the House and Senate and await action by the Governor.
Below are just a few that have been conveyed to the Governor where they will be signed into law, amended or vetoed.
Making the Commonwealth Safer for All
The House has made historic progress this session toward making Virginia safer for families and individuals. This week, the House and Senate agreed on a number of gun violence prevention measures–a top priority of this legislative session. These bills now sit on the Governor’s desk waiting to be signed into law.
- HB 9 – Requires lost or stolen firearms be reported within 48 hours;
- HB 264 – Removes the option for concealed handgun permit applicants to demonstrate competence online;
- HB 421 – Allows localities to enact gun safety measures that work for their community;
- HB 674 – Removes firearms from persons posing a substantial risk;
- HB 1004 – Prevents those with a permanent protective order against them from owning a gun;
- HB 1080 – Keeps guns out of schools;
- HB 1083 – Increases the penalty for recklessly leaving a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a way that endangers children;
Fighting for Equality & Ensuring Anti-Discrimination Protections
- HB 145 – Tasks the Department of Education with developing evidence-based model policies that establish a safe, welcoming learning environment for transgender students;
- HB 180 – Eliminates the requirement that the race of married parties be included in marriage records;
- HB 276 – Includes criminal acts committed against a person on the basis of disability, sexual orientation and gender or gender identification in the definition of hate crimes;
- HB 386 – Bans conversion therapy;
- HB 696 – Gives localities additional authority in prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, credit and education on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity;
- SB 868 – Grants non-discrimination protections under the Virginia Human Rights Act to Virginians on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity;
- SB 874 – Repeals laws that implemented segregated accommodations on steamboats;
- SB 896 – Repeals laws that implemented segregation on rail cars, streetcars and buses;
- HB 973 – Repeals laws relating to racial segregation of students in elementary and secondary schools, as well as institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth;
- HB 995 – Increases the felony threshold for grand larceny from $500 to $1,000;
- HB 1490 – Repeals the statutory prohibitions on same-sex marriages and civil unions, bringing the Virginia Code in alignment with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges;
- HB 1514 – Provides protection from discrimination on the basis of traits historically associated with race, such as hair;
Supporting Working Individuals and Families
- HB 336 – Improves accountability in cases of potential wage theft;
- HB 783 – Adds colon, brain and testicular cancers to the list of cancers that are presumed to be an occupational disease covered by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act for firefighters;
- HB 833 – Requires workers be properly compensated at the prevailing wage when performing services in connection with public works contracts;
In addition to sending these vital pieces of legislation to improve conditions for working Virginians, I have appointed the House’s conferees to work with the Senate and build consensus on raising the minimum wage to $15/hour across the Commonwealth (HB 395).
The House has also passed SB 939, which, once agreed to in current form by the Senate, will permit counties, cities and towns to adopt local ordinances allowing their public employees to form a union and enter into collective bargaining contracts.
Improvements to Virginian’s Every Day Lives
- HB 113 – Creates a Shield Law in Virginia to prevent reporters from being jailed for protecting the identity of a confidential source;
- HB 366 – Establishes a public defender office in Prince William County as well as the Cities of Manassas & Manassas Park;
Protecting & Expanding Access to Voting
- HB 108 – Designates Election Day as a state holiday in place of Lee-Jackson Day;
- HB 238 – Provides that absentee ballots received before noon on the third day after an election shall be counted, so long as the ballot is postmarked on or before election day;
Women’s Reproductive Freedom
- HB 980 – Repeals medically unnecessary Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws that restrict access to reproductive healthcare;
Protecting Virginia’s Natural Assets
- HB 706 – Prohibits offshore oil and gas drilling in the coastal waters of the Commonwealth;
- HB 1042 – Establishes the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice to advise the Governor and provide recommendations intended to protect vulnerable communities from the impacts of environmental pollution;
- HB 1448 – Delivers management of the Atlantic menhaden fishery to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to protect the delicate balance of our Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem;
The new House majority is also continuing to fight for progress and action to: promote the establishment of distributed renewable solar and other renewable energy by removing the 1% cap on net metering (HB 572); and make progress on climate justice for historically disadvantaged communities, environmental protections, the transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, capping monthly utilities for low-income rate payers and a plan to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) (HB 1526).
Commending the Virginia State Police, Richmond PD and the Capitol Police
This week, the House also passed my resolutions HJ 231, HJ 232 and HJ 254 commending the Virginia State Police, the Richmond Police Department and the Division of Capitol Police. These departments are made up of thousands of devoted public servants who put their lives on the line every single day to keep our Commonwealth, the City of Richmond and our Capitol safe. Colonel Settle, Chief Smith, Colonel Pike and their officers truly are heroes.
During the 2020 General Assembly session and everyday, these officers demonstrate an incredibly high degree of vigilance, dedication to duty, and professionalism in the face of extraordinary crowds and new security measures – all under immense pressure.
We were proud to welcome these incredible Virginians to the floor of the House this week, and thank them for their incredible work on behalf of all the Commonwealth.
To read the full text of the resolutions, you may click below:
- HJ 231 – Commending the Virginia Department of State Police
- HJ 232 – Commending the Richmond Police Department
- HJ 254 – Commending the Division of Capitol Police
It is my privilege to serve in the House of Delegates on your behalf and address the issues that face the 41st District and the Commonwealth as a whole. I look forward to hearing from you or seeing you in Richmond or out-and-about in the 41st District. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any assistance from my office.
Speaker of the House
Delegate, 41st District
Virginia House of Delegates