GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2020

Empowering civilian oversight of police. Creating statewide standards for law enforcement. Requiring officers to intervene when a colleague is using unlawful force.Democrats, who have full control over the legislative process in Virginia for the first time in decades, are in broad agreement on a range of criminal justice reforms...
Two recent findings on the attitudes of Black Americans toward police — taken amid the national uproar following the slaying of George Floyd in Minneapolis — may sound diametrically opposed.They’re not. The surveys do, however, provide insights into the way Black motorists and pedestrians, usually with dread, approach encounters...
Senate Democrats unveiled police reform legislation Thursday they hope to adopt during a special session of the General Assembly later this month.Endorsed by the caucus’ 21-member majority, the 33-page bill proposes a range of new policies from the creation of statewide standards for police officers to a ban on...
House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, oversaw the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the state Capitol overnight Thursday along with busts and artifacts representing eight men who served in the Confederacy.“Virginia has a story to tell that extends far beyond glorifying the Confederacy and...
A Virginia judge has ruled that most of the state’s new law requiring background checks on all gun sales does not violate constitutional rights, except for a wrinkle that effectively bans people between the ages of 18 and 21 from buying handguns.Rejecting the bulk of a challenge brought by...
It was Frederick Vars’s own experience with bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts that first got him interested in the idea of letting people ban themselves from buying guns.To him, the idea of a voluntary do-not-sell list as a preemptive option for people worried about what they might do in...
The Democratic Party of Virginia is officially urging voters to oppose a proposed constitutional amendment to create a bipartisan redistricting commission that, if approved in November, would redraw the state’s political maps starting in 2021.The proposal —  the compromise product of years’ worth of anti-gerrymandering advocacy — caused a...
A top Virginia Democrat is promising quick action on police reform when the General Assembly reconvenes this summer for a special legislative session.“We have seen and we have heard aggressive change is needed now, and we see this all over the commonwealth and the country,” House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn,...
Reinstating parole. Expanding expungement. Boosting public defender pay. Ending police searches based on smell.Newly elected Democratic majorities entered the 60-day legislative session in January with a wide range of criminal justice reform proposals — policies aimed at addressing racial disparities that have risen to the forefront following the death...
Alongside an interminable back and forth concerning elephant rides at a roadside zoo, it was one of the stranger subplots of this year’s legislative session: A freshman Republican lawmaker proposed a bill to remove a statue of Harry Byrd Sr. from Capitol Square.He said he only did it because...