Democrats in the state Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee on Thursday advanced numerous House bills relating to policing and justice reform and COVID-19.
All together the Committee considered 20 bills during the meeting and hastily reported 19 to be considered on the Senate Floor on Friday or sometime next week. Read More
Democratic and Republican legislators on the House Courts of Justice Committee killed legislation on Tuesday that would have eliminated the six month mandatory minimum sentence for assaulting a law enforcement officer.
Senate Bill 5032, sponsored by Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax County) was passed by indefinitely by a vote of 18-Y 1-N 1-A, ending any chance of being signed into law during the 2020 special session. Read More
The Virginia state Senate Committee on Local Government passed by for the day a House bill that would authorize localities to remove, relocate or alter memorials for war veterans, including the Civil War.
Through a voice vote, House Bill (HB) 5030 was passed by for the day with the understanding that the committee chair will write a letter to the Department of Historic Resources and the Attorney General’s office for a better understanding on the memorials and of any potential legal ramifications from the bill. Read More
The House Committee on Public Safety conformed multiple bills from the Senate relating to police reform on Monday as the 2020 special session enters its fifth week.
Legislation is conformed when there are two similar bills that have both come out of the House and Senate, and are being considered by committees of the other legislative body. Read More
The Virginia House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions tabled a Senate bill on Thursday, which called for the limitation of public health emergency orders by the Virginia Health Commissioner.
Sponsored by Sen. Steve Newman (R-Bedford), Senate Bill 5025 was tabled by a vote of 13-Y 9-N along party lines. Read More
The Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor killed a bill on Wednesday that would have required employers to provide paid quarantine leave during the COVID-19 pandemic.
House Bill 5116, sponsored by Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William), was passed by indefinitely by a vote of 14-Y 1-N. Read More
The Senate passed a bill Wednesday to establish a mental health awareness response and community understanding services alert system in areas throughout Virginia.
The legislation was passed by the Democratic-controlled body by a vote (21-Y 15-N) along party lines with four Republican senators not at session. Read More
The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that allows localities to establish law enforcement civilian review boards with outlined oversight duties.
Sponsored by Sen. Ghazala Hashmi (D-Chesterfield County), the bill passed by a vote of 20-Y 15-N along party lines of the present senators. Read More
The House on Thursday passed legislation that would allow the public to view past police investigative records.
The bill, sponsored by Del. Chris Hurst (D-Montgomery County), passed the Democratic-majority body by a vote of 59-Y 37-N, and three not voting, mostly along party lines except for five Republican delegates voting on the prevailing side. Read More
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to pass by indefinitely and create a joint House-Senate sub-Committee to further discuss a bill to end the qualified immunity defense for law enforcement.
The motion to pass by indefinitely was agreed to by a vote of 12-Y 3-N with six Democratic Senators voting alongside their Republican peers on the prevailing side. Read More
The Senate passed its omnibus policing reform bill on Thursday, which encompasses other already introduced legislation and covers many hotbed issues relating to law enforcement.
After over an hour of debate and Republicans voicing concerns, the Democratic majority passed the bill by a vote of 21-Y 19-N, right along party lines. Read More
The Senate on Wednesday passed two bills relating to the parole board and continued to advance more policing legislation.
The first bill on the Virginia Parole Board, introduced by Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham County), aims to provide the public with more transparency on the decisions made by requiring monthly reports on the inmates released and providing the felonies the prisoner was serving time for, among others. Read More
The General Assembly has been in Special Session since August 18. Governor Ralph Northam’s announcement said the session was meant to pass a new budget in light of of COVID-19 and consider criminal and social reform laws. In the past three weeks, the Assembly has considered bills ending qualified immunity, eliminating minimum sentences for assaults on police officers, and allowing early release of violent offenders. Read More
The House on Tuesday reconsidered and passed House Bill 5013, a controversial measure that allows law enforcement officers to be held liable in court for actions taken while on duty without qualified immunity as a defense.
The bill was originally defeated by the House on Friday (47-Y 48-N 3-A) with several Democrats opposing their party to vote in opposition. The bill was also defeated last Monday in the Appropriations Committee before being reconsidered and advanced. Read More
House Democrats passed eight different policing reform bills during its Friday session, leaving Republicans lawmakers feeling ignored and unheard by the majority.
The policing bills spanned from banning no-knock search warrants and the use of neck restraints by law enforcement to requiring that officers report any wrongdoings by their colleagues or be subject to discipline. Read More
The House Committee on Courts of Justice advanced a bill Wednesday that would allow for the early release of violent offenders by implementing a new earned sentence credit program.
The bill bars prisoners convicted of capital murder and most acts of violence involving minors from earning credits, but, conversely, includes first-time offenders convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping, carjacking, rape and child pornography, among others. Read More
RICHMOND, Virginia – In the first fully in-person session of the week, the Senate advanced a bill that would establish a civil rights and policing commission on Wednesday.
The commission’s purpose is to review civil liberties, civil justice and policing in Virginia, and to make policy recommendations to the General Assembly. Read More
Before a bill to end qualified immunity was advanced out of the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday, Delegate Jeffrey Bourne (D-Richmond City) called the language used by Republican opposition to the legislation examples of systemic and institutionalized racism.
“I hope everyone on this committee has listened to the type of language that has been used, the types of language that has been used to talk about why we should oppose this bill is exactly the types of systemic and institutionalized racism we are trying to dismantle,” Bourne said during the committee meeting. Read More
As the Senate wraps up its second week of the 2020 special session and continues to pass new legislation, the timing of crossover with the House of Delegates, a requirement for a bill to become law, remains unknown.
Since the Senate began considering bills in Committee and advancing legislation during sessions almost a week before the House, the two bodies are currently not in sync with their lawmaking procedures. Read More
The Senate advanced House Bill (HB) 5120, sponsored by Sen. Howell (D-Fairfax County), to its third and final reading after spending more than half of the three hour session debating Thursday morning.
The topic which garnered the most discussion during the session was not the bill itself, however, rather one of the multiple amendments within Howell’s legislation. Read More
The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would eliminate the mandatory minimum sentence of six months jail time for assaulting a law enforcement officer or other public servants.
The bill passed by a vote of 21-Y 15-N after over an hour of back and forth between Senators. Read More
While the House continued its quick, procedural sessions, the Senate and the Senate Judiciary Committee continued to advance bills centered around criminal justice reform and policing.
Before the Senate convened in-person in its new home for the 2020 special session at the Science Museum of Virginia, the Judiciary Committee held a meeting where it reported and referred more bills. Read More
It was relatively quiet during day two of the Virginia General Assembly special session as the House adjourned after less than an hour of meeting, while the Senate was more lively during member’s points of personal privilege.
Wednesday marked the first day the House held session electronically, with Speaker Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax County) and the House Clerk in the actual chamber of the Capitol building. The Senate, just like on Tuesday, held its session at the Science Museum of Virginia. Read More