From the Virginia NAACP:
Virginia NAACP Releases Its 2024 Legislative Agenda
RICHMOND, VA – Today, the Virginia State Conference NAACP (Virginia NAACP) released its 2024 Legislative Agenda for the Virginia General Assembly 2024 regular session.
Virginia NAACP President Rev. Cozy Bailey shared the following statement about the legislative agenda:
“The VSC NAACP has been actively involved in the political process of the Commonwealth of Virginia since our establishment in 1935. To achieve our vision of an inclusive community rooted in liberation where all persons can exercise their civil and human rights without discrimination, we continue the legacy of collaboration with our elected officials. We are specifically committed to creating and maintaining a society where Black people can enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities. We believe that our 2024 legislative agenda, which suggests enhancements to some laws and statutes and maintenance of others, is a significant step forward to achieving our vision if the general assembly agrees with us.”
During today’s virtual press conference, Rev. Bailey was joined by Virginia NAACP Region 1 Vice President and Political Action Chair Gaylene Kanoyton, Environmental Climate Justice Chair Karen Campblin, Housing Chair Tracey Hardney-Scott, and Tyee Mallory, Legislative Coordinator, to discuss legislation the Virginia NAACP would support and oppose in the state legislature.
The Virginia NAACP will make the constitutional amendment for the automatic Restoration of Rights and safeguarding of maternal health a priority. The Virginia NAACP will be closely watching legislation that increases mental health access for youth and young adults, public school funding, gun safety legislation, and the priority areas below. We will continue to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives will not be diluted in Virginia.
The Virginia NAACP legislative priorities can be found here.
The press can download a copy of the press conference here.
Education Defend the teaching of America’s history–which includes Black history–and support accurate interpretations of U.S. policies, social mores, and laws; Advocate for developing and augmenting policies that ensure accountability of school employees whose actions and inaction contributes to racist school cultures; Work with school administrators to determine why disproportionate numbers of Black students are more punitively disciplined than their White counterparts; Advocate for increased counseling/mental health resources for students; Advocate for clarifying the roles of School Resource Officers so that their training dealing with criminal behaviors is not misplaced and/or used unnecessarily; Increase understanding of literacy as a civil rights issue and advocate for laws that will ensure equity in this area; Support the success of students with health and behavioral issues by not requiring that they fail courses for illness and/or suspension; Support school libraries that do not censure American history and culture; Support the well-being of LGBTQ+ students; Advocate for hiring and retention of anti-racist educators and administrators; Prioritize funding to Virginia’s HBCUs.
Environmental and Climate Justice Advocate for and provide research tools, educational materials, and strategies in adherence to the program directives of the NAACP Center for Environmental Climate Justice to support policies and programs in the Commonwealth that will lead to clean car standards and zero emissions, the elimination of climate racism, ensure corporate responsibility and accountability, and a just transition to a clean energy economy for black and all communities and workers.
Healthcare Advocate for legislation that will result in the elimination of the racial and ethnic inequities that exist within our healthcare system that undermine communities of color, their life opportunities and their ability to contribute fully to the common good. Expand funding to increase the professional capacity for the treatment of and access to mental and emotional health services.
Housing Advocate for legislation that promotes housing stability and affordability, such as eviction protections and prevention efforts; foreclosure protections; historic investments in housing trust fund; local option for rent stabilization; Virginia eviction reduction fund; Virginia Housing Stability Fund; “Pay or Quit” time period extension; pilot program for first-time low-income homebuyers; local authority to protect residents. And directing the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to conduct statewide housing needs assessment.
Race and Justice Advocate for smarter, results-based criminal justice policies to keep our communities safe; Advocate for drug addiction disorder to be treated as an illness and not a criminal offense; judicial discretion in sentencing; and an end to racial disparities at all levels of the system. Furthermore, we support common sense gun legislation that will have a significant impact on reducing gun violence and saving lives; this includes comprehensive background checks on the sale of firearms, limitations on purchasing firearms, and prohibition of selling and transporting assault weapons – this is necessary legislation to keep Virginians safe. Last, defend and expand the elimination of pre-textual policing/racial profiling in law enforcement traffic stops (i.e. driving while black).
Workforce, Labor and Economic Empowerment Advocate for policies and legislation that enhance the capacity of Black Virginians and other underserved groups through financial and economic education; individual and community asset building initiatives; providing safe and affordable housing; job training and a “livable wage”; diversity and inclusion in business hiring and inclusive procurement; and monitoring financial banking practices.
Voting Rights and Political Representation Advocate for enhancements that will increase voter access in Virginia: Begin pre-registration at age 16, which will increase voter registration of 18-29 year olds; Localities must hold mandatory Sunday voting during the early vote period and; Automatic restoration of voting rights to the formerly incarcerated.
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ABOUT THE VIRGINIA NAACP
Founded in 1935, the Virginia State Conference of NAACP Branches (Virginia NAACP) is the oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization in the Commonwealth, overseeing over 100 NAACP branches, youth councils, and college chapters. The Virginia NAACP is focused on being the preeminent voice of Black Virginians and advocating for policies and programs to benefit Blacks and people of color. You can read more about the Virginia NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACPVA.org.