by Cindy, cross-posted from VAPLAN
We’re keeping an eye on interesting bills and hot topics; keeping an eye on the freshmen delegates and senators as they pass their first bills; and keeping a particular eye on what might land on the Governor’s desk, and thinking about how he might be expected to act.
An eye on these bills:
- In the Senate a bill (SB675, Marsden) to allow a referendum to voters on whether to put a casino in Tyson’s Corner was reported out of the General Laws committee and sent on to Appropriations.
- Bills (HB1, Ward; SB1, Lucas)to re-enact the minimum wage legislation from 2020 that would increase it to $15 by January 1, 2026 are moving through the committees on party-line votes.
- Meanwhile, the House (HB1514, Torian) and Senate (SB718, Surovell) bills to create a Sports and Entertainment Authority for the purposes of building a space to house the Washington Wizards and the Capitals are referred to both bodies Appropriations committees but have not yet been heard.
- In the House, a bill (HB644, Sullivan) to allow localities to enact ordinances regulating use of gas-powered leaf blowers reported out of committee and will be voted on the floor next week.
- The Senate bill (SB448, Rouse) creating retail markets for marijuana moved through Rehab and Social Services committee this week. It allows localities to opt-out by referendum, gives small businesses and those from historically-disadvantaged communities a head start on licensing, and allows some vertical integration. Critics wanted to see those directly impacted by prior marijuana laws given license priority. The House version (HB698, Krizek) has not yet been heard.
An eye on the freshmen:
- Stella Pekarsky: SB392, any hospital with an ER must have a doctor physically present at all times, not just on call.
- Laura Jane Cohen: HB498, requires school boards to create policies to notify parents annually about safe firearms storage in the house when minors are present.
- Adele McClure: HB157, eliminate minimum wage exemption for farm workers.
- Saddam Azlan Salim: SB21, specifies what documentation on disabilities universities must accept to qualify for disability services, including high school IEP .
- Katrina Callsen: HB452, removes restriction on entering First-Time Drug Offender program for those with previous simple marijuana possession convictions.
- Rae Cousins: HB827, establishing the Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program to address student food insecurity at public institutions of higher education
- Michael Feggans: HB181, to decrease the school counselor: pupil ratio.
- Rozia Henson: HB224, requires school health education to include information on suicide awareness and prevention.
- Marty Martinez: HB371, requires doctors notify patient in advance and obtain consent before allowing students observers.
An eye on the Governor:
- Recent Wason Center polling suggests that 68% of Virginians support raising the minimum wage, even though so far every vote on it has been party-line.
- 57% support retail sales of marijuana, which Youngkin has already said he will not sign.
- 87% support laws like HB183 (Simon) and SB368 (Boysko), requiring gun owners to lock up firearms in homes where children are present. The House bill reported from Public Safety committee this week on a party-line vote.
- 56% support banning assault style weapons. HB2 (Helmer) and SB2 (Deeds) are moving quickly through committee on party-line votes.
- Also on the veto watchlist: last year Youngkin pressured GOP delegates to kill a bill to prohibit warrants to access menstrual health data stored on a computer or device. That bill is back this year (SB16, Favola, and HB78, Watts) without a GOP majority in either body for him to lean on.