Home Virginia Politics Virginia House Majority Caucus Chair Rip Sullivan’s Legislative Update for 2/28/20

Virginia House Majority Caucus Chair Rip Sullivan’s Legislative Update for 2/28/20

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From Virginia House Majority (Democratic) Caucus Leader Rip Sullivan:

It’s been yet another very busy week as “sine die” — when the General Assembly adjourns its session — fast approaches. Each day was action-packed. On Wednesday, for instance, we gavelled in at noon and did not leave the floor until 1:32 am.

(Photo courtesy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch)

A significant number of my bills have already passed both the House and Senate, including:

  • HB213: to allow students to use their out-of-state school photo ID to vote.
  • HB214: to make it easier to collect petitions on a political campaign.
  • HB275: to add an additional judge to help with the overwhelming workload in the Fairfax General District Court, so that people can have their cases heard faster.
  • HB276: to enhance reporting to State Police of hate crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.
  • HB379*: to preserve historic African-American cemeteries in Arlington.
  • HB460: to compensate Mr. Winston Scott for his wrongful incarceration.
  • HB674: to create a substantial risk order to remove firearms from someone deemed by a Court to be a threat to himself or others (ERPO).
  • HB832: to provide protection for college student athletes with regard to hiring an agent.
  • HB834: to make available online notices of orders of publication.
  • HB835: to better facilitate the transfer and sale of municipal water systems.
  • HB1425*: to eliminate the reporting of race in divorce and annulment reports.
  • HB1580: to replace the term “husband and wife” with “spouses” for purposes of the recordation tax exemption for certain deeds.
  • HB1615: to clarify recordation taxes for multi-jurisdictional credit facilities.

​* indicates incorporation and engrossment into a similar bill that passed the House.

I am particularly pleased to report — finally — that my “Red Flag” bill (ERPO) has now passed both chambers. This bill to create substantial risk orders in Virginia is the product of years of hard work with stakeholders and fellow lawmakers, and its historic passage will help to save lives from gun violence.

This is not just a bill that will help stop mass shooters — it is also a suicide prevention bill. Nearly two-thirds of gun deaths in Virginia are suicides, and suicide by firearm is the deadliest method. According to researchers who have studied similar laws in Connecticut and Indiana, for every ten to twenty gun-removals from a person deemed to be a risk to him- or herself, ERPO laws have saved at least one life.

I look forward to the Governor signing this landmark gun safety bill into law.

The following Senate bills are a sample of what passed the House this week with my support:

  • SB65: to return us to the practice of allowing voters to sign an affidavit if he or she forgets a photo ID when voting.
  • SB177: to continue operation of the Autism Advisory Council.
  • SB271: to encourage K-12 schools, colleges, and universities to provide hands-on training for students in wind and solar energy installation.
  • SB555: to repeal a number of “Jim Crow laws,” including a state poll tax and the separation of voting records based on race.
  • SB666: to require registrars to notify within 5 days if a voter registration application has been denied.
  • SB718: to prohibit health insurers from requiring prior authorization for the inter-hospital transfer of a newborn infant experiencing a life-threatening emergency condition or the hospitalized mother of the newborn infant to accompany the newborn.
  • SB795: to prohibit the granting of new licenses for drilling off of the coast of Virginia.
  • SB818: to create Behavioral Health Dockets within Virginia’s court system.
  • SB1071: to expand the number of labs that provide post-conviction testing of DNA evidence.
  • SB1089: to prohibit strip and cavity searches of minors at state correctional facilities.

(With Majority Leader Herring to present a commendation to the Capitol Police, State Police, and Richmond Police for their diligence and hard work keeping us safe.)

Next week I will be a member of several bill “conferences.” Conferences occur when different iterations of a bill pass the House and Senate. The bill’s patrons and a few members of each chamber come together to try to reach a single, agreed-upon version, which then must be voted on by the House and Senate. 

I will be a conferee on the following bills:

  • HB888: a bill to establish a sales tax exemption for certain gun safes.
  • HB1414 SB890: omnibus transportation bills.
  • HB1526 SB851: the Virginia Clean Economy Act.

Stay tuned for more updates next week.

Best,

Rip Sullivan
Delegate, 48th District