New laws took effect in Virginia on Friday, including high-profile legislation like the FY 2023-2024 budget, bills aimed at preventing animal cruelty, a bill requiring schools to notify parents about sexually explicit instructional material, and a bill requiring school principals to report misdemeanors to law enforcement.Read More
Governor Glenn Youngkin formally received the budget on Thursday, launching a seven-day timeline to review the budget and amend or veto parts of the bill, but the current budget ends at the end of June, creating a tight timeline.
The budget with his changes must be available for 48 hours before the General Assembly votes on it.Read More
The Virginia Senate defeated Governor Glenn Youngkin’s effort to require the entire Loudoun County School Board to run for re-election this year. Youngkin had amended Delegate David Reid’s (D-Loudoun) HB 1138, originally created to facilitate beginning a staggered election cycle for the various seats on the board. Earlier in April, Youngkin amended that bill, after broad Republican outrage over the district administration’s handling of sexual assaults and school equity initiatives.
In debate during Wednesday’s veto session, Reid warned about the precedent set by allowing the governor to shorten elected officials’ terms.Read More
Facing an April 11 deadline, Governor Glenn Youngkin signed over 100 bills last week, including Senator Siobhan Dunnavant’s (R-Henrico) SB 656, a bill requiring Virginia public schools to notify parents about sexually explicit instructional material, allow parental review, and provide non-explicit alternatives. The bill instructs the Department of Education to create model policies and requires school boards to pass similar policies.
“These kinds of materials that are being presented in school as an opportunity to develop that relationship between the parent and the child, talk about uncomfortable and challenging things,” Dunnavant said in the Senate Committee on Education and Health in February. “We heard in testimony from the subject matter experts that there was not a consistent policy across the school boards in Virginia, and that it was extremely variable. And as a result, having clear guidelines from the Department of Education would accomplish exactly what everybody thinks already exists, but it doesn’t.”Read More
Virginia’s parole board votes will be subject to Freedom of Information Act ( (FOIA) requests when State Senator David Suetterlein’s (R-Roanoke) SB 5 and Delegate Wren Williams’ (R-Patrick) HB 1303 take effect this summer.
“What it seeks to do is make parole board votes public. When someone in Virginia is charged with a crime, they know who accused them of committing that crime. When they’re arrested, they know who arrested them. When it goes to trial, they know who prosecutes them, and they know the judge that oversees that. If it stays on appeal and they’re unsuccessful, they know who was on the appellate court. Only when that person may be up for parole and that vote is not made public, that’s the first step in the entire process that lacks that sunshine,” Suetterlein told the Senate on February 14.Read More
As legislators work towards a budget compromise balancing increased spending with revenue losses from tax cuts, Governor Glenn Youngkin and legislators are continuing to argue for their positions.
“The idea that we have to choose between tax relief and our shared priorities is a false choice. It is critical that we do our part to reduce the tax burden on our citizens, particularly at a time when present receipts continue to be as robust as they are,” Youngkin wrote in a Wednesday Richmond Times-Dispatch column.Read More
Attorney General Jason Miyares fired University of Virginia counsel Tim Heaphy, who was on leave to work as chief investigative counsel for the congressional Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol.
Senator Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) told The New York Times, “This is purely payback for Jan. 6 — there is no other reason that makes any sense.”Read More
Governor Ralph Northam came under fire from Republicans, including Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares, for his lengthy COVID-19 mandates through emergency powers. Senator David Suetterlein (R-Roanoke) has prefiled a bill for the 2022 General Assembly session to limit emergency powers to a duration of 45 days. “The vast majority of…Read More
Senator David Suetterlein (R-Roanoke) has introduced a bill to make individual Virginia Parole Board members’ votes public records and open to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
“The parole board has significant authority over individual Virginians’ liberty and the Commonwealth’s public safety,” Suetterlein said. “And the public gets to know, when someone is charged with a crime, who the police officer is that arrested the person. Who the prosecutor who pursued the criminal charges was. Who the judge that oversaw the case was. Who the appellate court judges that upheld the cases were. And then the parole board has the power to reduce that sentence effectively and their action is done in private. Their votes are not recorded, which is most unusual. I was not able to find any other board in Virginia where their actions and their individual votes are not recorded.”Read More
Glenn Youngkin announced a 113-member list of legislators, law enforcement, business owners, and Republican Party of Virginia officials that will be part of his transition “landing teams” — separate from the transition steering committee he announced earlier in November. The teams will coordinate with Governor Ralph Northam’s cabinet.
“In order to change the trajectory of our great Commonwealth, our transition team is utilizing the vast experience of business owners, law enforcement officials, veterans, healthcare providers, industry experts, and—most importantly—parents to determine how government can begin to serve Virginians better and start delivering on our Day One promises of better schools, safer streets, a lower cost of living, and more jobs,” Youngkin said in a Wednesday press release.Read More
RICHMOND, Virginia – After hammering out a compromise between the House of Delegates and the Senate, the Virginia General Assembly voted to send its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) budget bill to Governor Ralph Northam. The bill passed the House 78-20 and passed the Senate 23-16.
Senate Finance Committee Chair Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) said that she and other senators fought for the Senate’s amendments in a conference committee with representatives from the House.
“As you look at the conference report you will see that on several items our position was affirmed, and on others we were able to compromise,” she reported to the Senate.Read More
The statue of former Governor and U.S. Senator Harry Byrd, Sr., was removed from Virginia’s Capitol Square on Wednesday. Byrd was a renowned Democratic politician who helped stimulate economic growth and a better road network. But he’s more well-known for orchestrating efforts to fight integrating Virginia’s schools despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision.Read More
Virginia now has consumer data protection laws after Governor Ralph Northam signed HB 2307. Out of 139 legislators in the General Assembly, only 15 voted against the Consumer Data Protection Act. According to legal site JDSupra, that makes Virginia the second state (after California) to pass such a law.
Key provisions of the bill allow consumers to opt out of data collection, require entities to post conspicuous notices when collecting data to be sold to third parties, and require them to post privacy notices describing how to opt out. However, the bill also allows those entities to deny the opt-out request under certain circumstances, authorizing the consumer to file a complaint through the attorney general.Read More
The Senate and the House of Delegates passed HB 2020, a bill that, after it goes into effect in 2024, could effectively ban completely in-person nominating conventions like the one the Republican Party of Virginia is planning to hold this year. On Tuesday, the Senate passed their version of the bill, and on Wednesday, the House approved the Senate’s changes. Sponsor Delegate Dan Helmer (D-Check) said the bill isn’t meant to target any specific process, but rather to ban processes that don’t allow legitimate voters to participate.Read More
Legislation prohibiting the possession and transportation of firearms and other weapons within Richmond’s Capitol Square as well as inside any buildings owned or leased by the state passed the Virginia Senate Tuesday afternoon.
The legislation, Senate Bill 1381, advanced out of the Senate by a 21-18 straight party-line vote with every Democrat in support and all Republicans opposing.Read More
The Virginia state Senate on Monday passed two bills relating to the Virginia Parole Board that aim to bring more transparency to individual votes and give warnings to victims of crimes or their families when a decision to release an offender has been made.
Senate Bill 1125, introduced by Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham), specifically requires the board to notify a victim of a crime through either written or electronic means that a decision has been made to grant parole to the inmate who committed the related offense.Read More
When the Virginia Senate convenes next month in Richmond for its 2021 regular session, Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) will continue to push legislation that brings greater transparency and accountability to the state parole board.
With 14 days left until the session starts on January 13, Obenshain has already pre-filed two bills this month relating to the parole board.Read More