GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2020

Virginia lawmakers finalized a sprawling package of criminal justice reform bills this week as they gaveled out of a special legislative session that stretched nearly 12 weeks.Prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the widespread outrage that followed, the hundreds of pages of legislation they adopted...
State prison officials estimate that more than 14,000 inmates in Virginia could see their release dates moved up under legislation awaiting Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature.The bill, backed by General Assembly Democrats and unanimously opposed by GOP lawmakers, would let inmates cut their sentences by a third as long as...
2020 was supposed to be the year to make the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality great again. After years of budget cuts to the agency charged with maintaining the health of the commonwealth’s air, water and lands, a surplus of funds in state coffers promised to put millions of dollars...
Police in Virginia almost never release case files and body camera footage, even long after their investigations have concluded.A bill aimed at changing that failed during the special legislative session, which concluded last week. But lawmakers are already working to revise the legislation in response to concerns raised by...
A special legislative session largely devoted to police reform in Virginia ended Friday with law enforcement groups sounding more comfortable with the package of bills that passed than activists who had been pushing for sweeping change following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.“At the end of the day,...
By Sam Fowler/ Capital News Service Juneteenth has officially become a state holiday after lawmakers unanimously approved legislation during the Virginia General Assembly's special session. Juneteenth marks the day news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas, which was the last state to abolish slavery. The companion bills were introduced by Sen. Mamie...
Virginia lawmakers passed a closely watched bill Friday aimed at ensuring people can exercise their right to a jury trial without risking much steeper punishments.Criminal justice reform advocates frequently called the legislation one of the most important changes the General Assembly could adopt during a special legislative session that...
Last week, Virginia Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, stood to try to extract a promise from Democratic leaders.Since the Senate was solidly behind the bipartisan redistricting commission voters will weigh in on next month, Norment asked, would Senate Democrats be willing to fight for it in budget...
Too many times, over too many years, Black and brown motorists are pulled over by police for the flimsiest of purported reasons. Officers say it could be for a busted taillight, not using a turn signal, or other minor violations.These can be highly charged, anxious encounters — for law-enforcement...
The General Assembly sent a bill establishing rules for how police officers use chokeholds to Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk Wednesday after the Senate rejected a blanket ban on the maneuver and felony penalties proposed by lawmakers in the House of Delegates.The legislation, introduced in response to the death of...