GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2020

Bill to hold localities responsible for protest damage stalls

BY: - October 1, 2020

By Ada Romano/ Capital News Service A General Assembly bill is likely dead for the session that would have held localities accountable for damages caused by protesters if an adequate police response was not provided. Del. Mark Cole, R-Fredericksburg, said he proposed House Bill 5026 to assure localities provide proper police protection during protests in […]

Debate around statewide definition of affordable housing belies larger crisis

BY: - September 28, 2020

Long before the COVID-19 recession put millions of Virginians on the precipice of losing their homes, the commonwealth already suffered from the country’s worst eviction epidemic. After five Virginia cities landed in the top 10 of Princeton University’s Eviction Lab rankings in 2016, the data served as a clarion call to action for policymakers and […]

Virginia lawmakers weigh a $500 bonus for cops, expanded eviction protections and a lifeline for struggling schools

BY: , and - September 26, 2020

House and Senate budget writers presented their proposed amendments to Gov. Ralph Northam’s retooled spending plan Friday. Here’s a first look at where the two chambers landed on funding for schools, criminal justice reform, evictions and past-due utility bills. The legislation is on its way to the floor of each chamber for an initial vote […]

Felonies for chokeholds? Civilian review everywhere? Virginia Democrats divided on details of police reform

BY: - September 25, 2020

Lawmakers in the Virginia General Assembly are on track to give citizen boards brand new authority to investigate and discipline local police officers accused of misconduct. But while Democratic majorities in the House and Senate agree the panels should have teeth, the two chambers are still at odds over key details, including whether to make […]

House Democrats kill Senate’s parole board transparency bills

BY: - September 22, 2020

Two bills aimed at bringing more transparency to the Virginia Parole Board won bi-partisan support in the Senate but died Tuesday at the hands of Democrats in the House of Delegates. The bills, proposed by GOP senators upset by the board’s recent parole decisions, would have required board members to begin voting publicly and begin […]

Northam requests another extension on Virginia’s utility shutoff ban

BY: - September 15, 2020

With no clear end in sight to the Virginia General Assembly’s ongoing special session, Gov. Ralph Northam is again asking the State Corporation Commission to extend an existing moratorium on utility disconnections. The current ban is set to expire on Wednesday. But in a letter sent earlier this week, Northam asked SCC commissioners to extend […]

Efforts falter to require schools to provide in-person options

BY: - September 15, 2020

By Sam Fowler/ Capital News Service An effort to require Virginia school districts provide in-person classes to students with poor internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic is most likely dead. House Bill 5009, introduced by Del. Mark Cole, R-Fredericksburg, would require public schools to offer in-person classes to elementary, middle and high school students who have […]

COMMENTARY

Virginia needs to stop treating its citizens like bad stepchildren

BY: - September 11, 2020

If open-government advocates have their way in Richmond, relatives of crime victims and the news media may finally learn more details about a host of violent incidents – many that are several years old and votes of the State Parole Board will be pulled into the light of day. It’s way overdue. When it comes […]

Qualified immunity reform once again voted down in Virginia legislature

BY: - September 10, 2020

For the third time in two weeks, lawmakers in the General Assembly voted down a measure aimed at rolling back qualified immunity for police officers. The bill, which died twice in the House only to twice be revived days later, hit what appears to be a more permanent dead end in the Senate, where lawmakers […]

Bill to strip qualified immunity from police clears Va. House on re-vote, heads to Senate

BY: - September 8, 2020

The Virginia House of Delegates narrowly passed legislation Tuesday rolling back qualified immunity as a defense against lawsuits alleging police misconduct, reviving the measure just four days after voting it down. The bill, which now heads to the Senate, has followed a rocky path through the General Assembly and it’s the second time lawmakers in […]

COMMENTARY

Virginia is for workers. … Almost. 

BY: - September 7, 2020

By Kim Bobo On Labor Day weekend as we honor America’s workers, we recognize Virginia’s complicated history with worker’s rights. Our legacy of slavery — the ultimate exploitation of workers — left us with many discriminatory and racist laws and few protections for workers.  But the last few years have seen significant strides in creating […]

Virginia House passes ban on police choke holds, votes down qualified immunity reform

BY: - September 4, 2020

The Virginia House of Delegates passed a wide-ranging package of police reform legislation Friday that would establish a blanket prohibition on choke holds and create criminal penalties for officers who fail to intervene in a colleague’s unlawful use of force. The bills, which drew strong opposition from Republican lawmakers and in some cases go further […]