Virginia House of Delegates Passes Seven Elections Reform Bills

The House of Delegates passed seven election reforms bills on Thursday, including a bill to require photo identification to vote, a bill shortening early voting from 45 days to 14 days, and a bill requiring voters to submit absentee ballot requests for each election.

Delegate Phillip Scott (R-Spotsylvania) introduced HB 39 to shorten early voting. He said on the House floor on Wednesday, “There’s been a lot of information out there about those who participate in early voting, there’s a lot of information about the strain that puts on the localities having to staff these locations, find places to host the early voting.”

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House of Delegates Passes ‘Operation Ceasefire’ Bill

The House of Delegates passed a bill to fund a group violence intervention program based on the “Operation Ceasefire” projects implemented in Boston. That’s been a goal of now-Speaker Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) since 2019, and Governor Glenn Youngkin promised it during his campaign. Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham) introduced HB 833; the version that passed out of the House on Monday would create a grant fund managed by the attorney general to fund violent crime reduction strategies, training and equipment for law enforcement, grants to law enforcement and other organizations engaged in group violence intervention.

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Virginia House of Delegates Passes Locality Gun Control Repeal

The House of Delegates passed a bill to repeal the 2020 law authorizing localities to ban firearms on locality property. Delegates debated the bill on Wednesday before the vote Thursday.

“House Bill 827 returns our code back to its prior position,” Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham) said on Wednesday. “Other portions of the bill: it eliminates the requirement to destroy firearms that are confiscated and rather allows them to be offered for sale through a licensed dealer. And it also limits the ability of localities to sue firearm manufacturers.”

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Northam Acts on 552 General Assembly Bills from 2021 Sessions

Governor Ralph Northam announced the signing of 14 bills on Wednesday, March 31, which was a deadline for the Governor to take action on legislation passed in the 2021 General Assembly sessions. According to his announcement, took action on 552 bills with no vetoes, although he sent some back to the General Assembly with amendments.

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Virginia General Assembly Approves Moving Local Elections from May to November

The General Assembly has passed legislation to move local elections for city, town council, and school board from May to November, starting in 2022. Proponents say the bill will boost voter turnout, especially among working-class voters, while many city officials say the bill is state interference that will lead to greater partisanship in local elections.

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Virginia General Assembly Considering Protections for Domestic Workers

The Virginia General Assembly is considering three bills that would add legal protections for domestic workers in jobs like cleaning, landscaping, and childcare. The bills are focused on banning discriminatory practices, implementing safety standards, and requiring worker’s compensation insurance. Advocates say the current exemption for domestic workers dates back to racist Jim Crow legislation and should be removed, but opponents say the bills put more burdens on domestic workers and the people who hire them.

HB 2032, introduced by Delegate Wendy Gooditis (D-Clarke) adds “Domestic Service” as a category that would be included under current workplace safety and workers’ compensation law. Gooditis said that the bill makes domestic service subject to workplace safety standards, and that inspectors can require access.

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Democrats Introduce Two House Bills Expanding Abortion Coverage

Virginia House Democrats have introduced two bills expanding healthcare coverage of abortions. HB 1922, introduced by Delegate Cia Price (D-Newport News) would expand Medicaid abortion coverage and require private employers who offer health coverage to cover abortions. HB 1896, introduced by Delegate Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville), removes a Virginia prohibition of abortion coverage under Obamacare.

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Democrats Considering Bill Forcing Taxpayer-Funded Abortions for 2021 Session

Virginia delegates are evaluating a potential bill for the 2021 regular session that would increase funding for abortions under Medicaid and require individual businesses to include abortions in their insurance plans. A House subcommittee met on Tuesday to discuss House Bill (HB) 1445 and hear public comment on the bill. Planned Parenthood and NARAL representatives offered comment, as well as the Virginia Society for Human Life President Olivia Turner.

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