GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2021

Legislation aims to reduce barriers for energy storage projects

BY: - January 20, 2021

In 2020, lawmakers seeking to speed the development of renewables and wean Virginia off fossil fuels made a host of changes to state law that aimed to smooth local approvals of large-scale solar farms. This year, they’re wielding the same tools to encourage the growth of energy storage.  “This is really a logical next step,” […]

Va. lawmakers begin taking up dozens of election bills amid swirl of conspiracies

BY: - January 20, 2021

A 7 a.m. subcommittee discussion on the finer points of election administration isn’t normally the type of Virginia General Assembly meeting that leads to anger and hurt feelings.  But with the nation still reeling over departing President Donald Trump’s myriad falsehoods about the 2020 election and the Capitol mob that believed them, these are not […]

Senate lawmakers strip Chase of her last committee assignment, advance censure resolution

BY: and - January 19, 2021

Lawmakers in the Virginia Senate stripped Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, of her last committee assignment Tuesday as Democrats advanced a resolution censuring her for praising rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol. The committee post — a seat on the chamber’s typically sleepy panel on local government — is hardly sought after. But the decision to […]

Bill to add ‘cultural competency’ training for Virginia teachers moves forward

BY: - January 18, 2021

A House committee voted Monday to approve a bill requiring new cultural competency training for Virginia educators — part of a sweeping effort to reform the commonwealth’s what critics says is outdated curriculum on African American history. The legislation, sponsored by Del. Clint Jenkins, D-Suffolk, would help codify recommendations from the Virginia Commission on African […]

Correctional officers stand at the entrance to the Greensville Correctional Center on Nov. 10, 2009, near Jarratt, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Legislation to abolish death penalty advances in Virginia Senate

BY: - January 18, 2021

Legislation to abolish the death penalty in Virginia cleared its first legislative hurdle Monday, passing out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on 10-4 vote, with nine Democrats and one Republican supporting the measure. Supporters of the bill, which include Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration and an array of faith leaders, argued the death penalty has been […]

Dominion Energy's downtown Richmond building. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Bipartisan coalition looks to reform Virginia’s system of electric utility regulation

BY: - January 18, 2021

As the 2021 General Assembly session begins, lawmakers are set to consider a slate of bills that aim to reform Virginia’s system of electric utility regulation with the goal of bringing down customer bills.  “This work is an extension of the work we did last session to commit Virginia to massive clean energy investments,” said […]

Proposal to end for-profit prison management fails in Virginia Senate

BY: - January 15, 2021

A proposal to bring Virginia’s only privately operated prison under state management failed in the General Assembly on Friday when it was voted down by members of the Senate’s Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee. The decision means GEO Group, a publicly traded corporation based in Florida, will likely continue to oversee the Lawrenceville Correctional Center […]

Democrats eye vehicles as the next target for cutting carbon emissions

BY: - January 14, 2021

While Virginia Democrats’ big environmental push of 2020 was the Virginia Clean Economy Act, a sweeping omnibus measure designed to eliminate carbon emissions from the state’s power grid by 2050, during the 2021 session they’re setting their sights on a tougher and more diffuse source of carbon: transportation.  According to 2017 figures from the U.S. […]

COMMENTARY

Republicans have no business talking about the integrity of elections

BY: - January 14, 2021

Claims by Republican legislators in Virginia about “voter integrity” can sound so, so seductive — until you peel back the layers of their arguments.  Electoral policies often are near the surface when the General Assembly convenes, as it did Wednesday. Among the areas of debate this time: Democrats, including Gov. Ralph Northam, want to amend […]

GOP delegates stripped of committee assignments over letter casting doubt on election

BY: - January 13, 2021

Democratic leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates have stripped three Republicans of some committee assignments after they signed a letter casting doubt on the results of the presidential election and urging Vice President Mike Pence to block the lopsided Democratic victory in Virginia. House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, stripped Dels. Dave LaRock, R-Loudoun, Ronnie […]

Northam unveils proposal to begin legal marijuana sales in 2023

BY: - January 13, 2021

Retail sales of recreational marijuana would begin in Virginia on Jan. 1, 2023, under legislation authored by Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration, which in addition to ending the state’s prohibition on the drug would expunge many past criminal convictions and create a state fund to help people arrested for marijuana crimes start legal businesses. Northam came […]

Virginia Democrats continue push for criminal justice reform as General Assembly convenes

BY: - January 13, 2021

As the General Assembly reconvenes this week, Virginia Democrats are continuing a push to reform the state’s criminal justice system that began last year amid widespread social unrest. The effort during a special legislative session culminated in November with the passage of a slate of laws that empowered civilian oversight of police, banned no-knock search […]