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Best and Worst Bills Introduced So Far for the 2018 Virginia General Assembly Session

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So far, the number of bills filed for the 2018 Virginia General Assembly session has been a relative trickle, but I expect the deluge will arrive any day now. Before that happens, let’s review what we’ve got so far, with highlights of the best and worst bills introduced so far. This list is not meant to be comprehensive, as I’m sure I missed some good and bad stuff. Please let me know in the comments section if you’ve got suggestions for additional bills I should include here. With that, let’s start with the best bills first…

Del. Marcus Simon (D): HB5 (“Campaign finance; prohibited personal use; penalty.”); HB75 (“Repeals the statutory prohibitions on same-sex marriages and civil unions..”); HB99 (“Enters Virginia into an interstate compact known as the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote”); HD100 (“Eliminates the provision making the identities of [lethal injection drug pharmacies/outsourcing facilities] not subject to discovery or introduction as evidence in any civil proceeding unless good cause is shown.”)

Del. Rip Sullivan (D): HJ5 (“The amendment prohibits electoral districts being drawn for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring any political party, incumbent legislator or member of Congress, or other individual or entity.”); HJ21 (” Establishes the seven-member Virginia Redistricting Commission (the Commission) to redraw congressional and General Assembly district boundaries after each decennial census.”); HB32 (“Includes within the definition of “hate crime” a criminal act committed against a person because of sexual orientation or gender identification and requires the reporting of the commission of such crime to the State Police.”); HB74 (“Allows any registered voter to vote early in any election in which he is qualified to vote without providing a reason or making prior application for an absentee ballot.”); HB54 (“Establishes, beginning in taxable year 2018, a tax credit for renewable energy property placed in service.”); HB191 (“Adds to the list of acceptable forms of voter identification a valid student photo identification card issued by any institution of higher education located in any other state or territory of the United States”); HB198 (“Creates a procedure by which an attorney for the Commonwealth or law-enforcement officer may apply to a circuit court judge for a warrant to remove firearms from a person who poses a substantial risk of injury to himself or others. “)

Del. Paul Krizek (D): HD8 (“Public procurement; agreements with labor organizations.”); HB47 (“Payday Lending Prohibition Act”)

Del. Mark Levine (D): HB39 (“Establishes a procedure by which a local alternative minimum wage may be imposed in any locality.”); HB41 (“Mechanical devices designed to increase the rate of fire of firearms; penalty.”); HB137 (“Possession or distribution of marijuana for medical purposes; affirmative defense for treatment of cancer.”)

Sen. Janet Howell (D): SB65 (“Presidential candidates; federal tax returns and state income tax returns required for ballot access.”); SB136 (“Absentee voting; no-excuse in-person available 21 days prior to election.”)

Del. Jeffrey Bourne (D): HB43 (“Reporting lost or stolen firearms; civil penalty.”)

Del. Charniele Herring (D): HB57 (“Absentee voting; no excuse.”)

Sen. Scott Surovell (D): SB21 (“Increases from $200 to $500 the threshold amount of money taken or value of goods or chattel taken at which the crime rises from petit larceny to grand larceny.”); SB74 (“Expands the prohibition on using a handheld personal communications device while operating a motor vehicle to all communications unless the device is specifically designed to allow voice and hands-free operation and the device is being used in that manner.”); SB87 (“Careless driving; cause of injury to vulnerable road user.”); SB88 (“Prohibits the driver of a motor vehicle from using a bicycle lane to pass or attempt to pass another vehicle.”); SJ4 (“Ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution that was proposed by Congress in 1972.”)

Del. Delores McQuinn (D): HB67 (“Provides that no employer may discharge any employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, including lactation.”); HJ15 (“Requests the Secretary of Health and Human Resources to study use of community gardens as a method of eliminating food deserts in the Commonwealth.”)

Del. John Bell (D): HB58 (“Requires any state agency that installs, replaces, or maintains an outdoor lighting fixture to use LEDs instead of traditional incandescent light bulbs when installing new outdoor lighting fixtures or replacing nonfunctioning bulbs on existing outdoor lighting fixtures…”); HB91 (“Removes the option for concealed handgun permit applicants to demonstrate competence with a handgun by completing an electronic, video, or online course conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor.”)

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D): SB1 (“Mechanical devices designed to increase the rate of fire of firearms; penalty.”); SB2 (“Provides that it is a Class 1 misdemeanor for a person under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs to carry a loaded firearm on or about his person in a public place and that a person found guilty of such act is ineligible to apply for a concealed handgun permit for a period of five years.”); SB3 (“Repeals the statutory prohibitions on same-sex marriages and civil unions…”); SB4 (“Entitles a person who will be age 65 or older on the day of an election to vote by absentee ballot in that election.”); SB5 (“Requires a background check for any firearm transfer and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers.”); SB111 (“Decriminalizes simple marijuana possession”); SJ8 (“Permits a Governor elected in 2021 and thereafter to succeed himself in office.”)

Del. Kaye Kory (D): HB83 (“Provides that feminine hygiene products shall be provided to female prisoners and inmates at no cost.”); HB14 (“Requires a public animal shelter to wait three days before euthanizing a dog or cat when a person has notified the shelter of his intent to adopt or take custody of the particular animal.”); HJ2 (“Ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution that was proposed by Congress in 1972.”); HB33 (“Allows the State Corporation Commission, in its consideration of an application for approval of an electrical generating facility, to consider environmental effects not expressly governed by a permit or expressly considered by a permitting authority, including carbon emissions and the overall impacts of new and existing facilities on the health and welfare of the residents of the Commonwealth.”); HB21 (“Requires health benefit plans to cover the costs of specified health care services, drugs, devices, products, and procedures related to reproductive health”)

Del. Patrick Hope (D): HB17 (“Increases from $200 to $500 the threshold amount of money taken or value of goods or chattel taken at which the crime rises from petit larceny to grand larceny”)

Sen. William Stanley (R): SB28 (“Medical research on dogs and cats; prohibition on use of state funds; civil penalty.”); SB32 (“Requires the Superintendent of State Police to establish and maintain by 2020 an Animal Cruelty Conviction List that shall be available to the public on the website of the Department of State Police.”)

Del. Tony Wilt (R): HB93 (” Authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue temporary driver’s licenses, permits, and special identification cards to aliens who present documentary evidence of a pending or approved application to be paroled into the United States.”)

Sen. Louise Lucas (D): SJ5 (“Authorizes the General Assembly to provide by law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies who have completed service of their sentences…”)

Sen. Barbara Favola (D): SB113 (“Mechanical devices designed to increase the rate of fire of firearms; penalty.”); SB40 (“Raises the threshold amount of marijuana subject to the offense of distribution or possession with intent to distribute from one-half ounce to one ounce.”); SB43 (“Expands the definition of “abused or neglected child” to include any child whose parent or caregiver, by other than accidental means, exposes the child to a traumatic event that results in harm to the child’s psychological or emotional health or development.”); SB41 (“Requires employers with a sick leave program to allow an employee to use his sick leave for the care of an immediate family member.”)

Sen. John Edwards (D): SB50 (“Repeals the statutory prohibitions on same-sex marriages and civil unions or other arrangements between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges and obligations of marriage”); SB58 (“Increases the minimum wage from its current federally mandated level of $7.25 per hour to $8.00 per hour effective July 1, 2018, to $9.00 per hour effective July 1, 2019, and to $10.10 per hour effective July 1, 2020”)

Del. Sam Rasoul (D): HB96 (“Provides that the transitional rate period for Virginia Electric and Power Company (Dominion) will conclude on December 31, 2018, and its next biennial review will be conducted in 2019.”)

Del.-elect Jennifer Carroll Foy: HB113 (“Increases from $200 to $1,000 the threshold amount of money taken or value of goods or chattel taken at which the crime rises from petit larceny to grand larceny.”); HB182 (“Directs the Department of Environmental Quality to require the closure by July 1, 2022, of any coal combustion residuals (CCR) surface impoundment located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”)

Sen. Mamie Locke (D): SB133 (“Provides that a woman seeking an abortion may waive in writing any requirement establishing a mandatory time period or mandating that a physician provide to or review with the woman specific information or materials before an abortion may be performed.”); SJ9 (“Establishes that the sole qualifications to vote in the Commonwealth are United States citizenship, being at least 18 years of age, residency in the Commonwealth, and registration to vote in accordance with requirements set out in the Constitution of Virginia…The bill removes from current constitutional qualifications to vote not having been convicted of a felony and not having been adjudicated to be mentally incompetent.”)

Now the worst bills…and by the way it’s great to see that there are a lot more “best bills” than “worst bills” so far this year!

Sen. Amanda Chase (R): SJ2 (“Increases from five to eight the number of years a person must have been a resident of and registered voter in the Commonwealth in order to be eligible to the office of the Governor and, by reference, the Lieutenant Governor.”)

Sen. Dick Black (R): SB48 (“Allows any person who is otherwise eligible to obtain a concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun without a permit anywhere he may lawfully carry a handgun openly within the Commonwealth.”); possibly SB47, which knowing Dick Black, is probably a backhanded way to criminalize gender reassignment surgery…

Sen. Lionell Spruill (D): SB26 (“Provides that incumbent constitutional officers shall have the right to determine the method of making party nominations for that constitutional office.”)

Del. Michael Webert (R): HB23 (“Creates the Red Tape Reduction Commission…The bill prohibits the Commission from approving a new regulation unless it replaces or repeals at least two existing regulations, until the total baseline has been reduced by 35 percent. “)

Sen. John Cosgrove (R): SJ11 (“Makes application to the United States Congress to call a constitutional convention for the purpose of proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that pertains to the subject of balancing the federal budget.”)