Thanks as always to the Virginia Progressive Legislation Action Network (VAPLAN) for keeping us all up to date and informed about the status of legislation in the General Assembly. VAPLAN’s latest update, yesterday, was *very* upbeat, about all the progressive legislation moving right along…and with the key “Crossover” day – when bills from each chamber move to the other chamber – coming on Tuesday. A few of the highlights – plus some other bills, per Del. Rip Sullivan, and also some which I find interesting – include the following. Which other bills are you interested in? Seems like no matter what the topic, House and Senate Democrats are making progress.
- HB1211 (Tran-HD42) “to remove the citizenship requirement for the issuance of a driver’s license” – reported Friday from the House Appropriations Committee on a 13-7 vote.
- SB34 (Surovell-SD36) – “a driver’s privilege card, which is a more temporary form of identification for driving, requires proof of Virginia income taxes paid, and which is differentiable from a license” – passed the State Senate yesterday on a 21-18 vote.
- On public worker collective bargaining, “HB582 (Guzman-HD31 with Levine-HD45 rolled in)…passed the House floor on a party-line vote,” while in the Senate, “a similar bill SB939 (Saslaw-SD35 with Boysko-SD33 rolled in) has advanced to the floor.”
- Virginia Values Act: “This long overdue legislation (HB1663 Sickles-HD43, incorporating elements from a number of other Delegates; and SB868 Ebbin-SD30 incorporating elements from other Senators) provides legal protections in employment, credit, housing, and public accommodations for people who might otherwise be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” HB1663 passed the House on a 59-35 vote, while SB868 passed the Senate on a 30-9 vote.
- Assault Weapons Ban: On Friday morning, “the House Public Safety Committee reported out HB961 (Levine-HD45) prohibiting the sale and restricting the transfer of assault weapons, and restricting trigger activators, silencers, and high-capacity magazines. The testimony was very heated and emotional, and after the vote, the room had to be cleared by the Capitol Police for everyone’s safety.”
- Conversion Therapy Prohibited: Del. Patrick Hope (D-HD47)’s HD386 passed the House 66-27.
- Virginia Fair Housing Law: Del. Jeff Bourne (D-HD71)’s HB7 and Del. Mark Sickles’ (D-HD43)’s HB1663 ban discriminatory housing, credit, public accommodation and employment practices based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Lee-Jackson Day: “HB108 (Lindsey-HD90) to eliminate Lee-Jackson Day and add an Election Day public holiday in its place passed the House with just a handful of Republican votes in favor. SB801 (Lucas-SD18) passed the Senate on a party-line vote.”
- Voter Photo ID: “SB65 (Locke-SD2) to repeal Virginia’s law requiring voters present a photo ID to vote, passed the Senate on a party-line vote, following a nasty exchange between the patron and Senator Obenshain, who wanted to interrupt her to whitesplain to her why it wasn’t a racist law. HB19 (Lindsey-HB90) has passed out of committee and will be heard on the floor.”
- Clean Energy Legislation: HD77 the Virginia Green New Deal (Rasoul-HD11) was not “docketed” in the House Appropriations, but the Virginia Clean Economy Act (HB1526 Sullivan-HD48; and SB851 McClellan-SD9) appears to be moving ahead, with HB1526 reported out of the House Labor & Commerce Committee Thursday on a 13-9 vote, and with SB851 “expected to be taken up in full committee on a Sunday afternoon special extra meeting.” Other clean energy bills moving ahead include “Solar Freedom” (HB572 Keam-HD35, with Simon-HD53 rolled in; and SB710 McClellan-SD9), with HB572 passing the House yesterday on a 67-31 vote. Also, Del. Terry Kilgore (R-HD1)’s energy efficiency bill (HB1576) reported from House Labor & Commerce on a 22-0 vote; and Kilgore’s Virginia Brownfield and Coal Mine Renewable Energy Grant Fund and Program (HB754) reported from House Labor & Commerce on a 21-1 vote. Del. Suhas Subramanyam (D-HD87)’s HB528 – “Coal fired or natural gas fired electric generation facilities; retirement of facilities” – was reported from House Labor & Commerce on a 13-9 vote. And Del. David Reid (D-HD32)’s HB714 (“Virginia Energy Plan; climate change pressing challenge”) reported from House Labor & Commerce on a 13-9 vote. The House Labor & Commerce Committee also reported out Del. Rip Sullivan (D-HD48)’s HB1451 (mandatory Renewable Portfolio Standard) on a 13-9 vote, as well as his HB1450 (energy efficiency standard) on a 17-4 vote. Oh, and the House passed Del. Mark Keam (D-HD35)’s HB706, to ban future offshore drilling off the coast of Virginia, on a 64-34 vote.
- “Right-to-Work”: Del. Lee Carter (D-HD50)’s HB153 repeal of “provisions of the Code of Virginia that, among other things, prohibit any agreement or combination between an employer and a labor union or labor organization” reported from the House Labor & Commerce Committee Thursday on a 12-9 vote, but the bill doesn’t appear to have been put on the “docket” for the final House Appropriations Committee meeting before “Crossover.” There’s also Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-SD35)’s “Fair Share fees” SB426 bill, which is on the “docket” for tomorrow’s Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. [UPDATE: VAPLAN tweets, “As far as I know, House Appropriations had its last meeting before crossover, and did not take up HB153. So it’s effectively dead for the year. BUT, lots of other massively important bills for workers and unions are still moving along, so we can come back to that next year.”]
- Racist Laws Removed: Del. Josh Cole (D-HD28)’s HB857, Del. Jay Jones (D-HD89)’s HB914, Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-HD72)’s HB973, Del. Lamont Bagby (D-HD74)’s HB1325, Del. Delores McQuinn (D-HD70)’s HB1521, and Del. Alex Askew (D-HD85)’s HB1638 – removing Jim Crow-era, racist laws from Virginia’s code – all passed the House overwhelmingly.
So that’s just a few of the many pieces of progressive legislation that moved forward in the Democratic-majority Virginia General Assembly last week. This is why elections matter, as does your activism and engagement!