GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2021

Lawmaker takes another shot at lifting Sunday hunting restrictions

BY: - January 13, 2021

With plans for the House of Delegates to meet virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic and still-fresh Democratic majorities, little about the 2021 General Assembly session may look familiar. Even the normal bickering over menhaden has been silenced after last year’s legislature brought the long-running fishery fight to a close.  But never fear: Lawmakers still have […]

Virginia gun group pressing on with Jan. 18 event, despite violence in D.C.

BY: and - January 12, 2021

The leader of the pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League said the group isn’t changing its plans for a Jan. 18 rally in Richmond after right-wing rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol to protest the presidential election. A year ago, more than 20,000 gun enthusiasts packed the streets around the Virginia Capitol for VCDL’s annual Lobby Day […]

Virginia Democrats push to end constitutional rule stripping felons of voting rights

BY: - January 11, 2021

The last three Virginia governors — a Republican and two Democrats — have made it much easier for people convicted of felonies to have their voting rights restored by the governor’s office. If some lawmakers get their way, felons rejoining society will no longer have to rely on the benevolence of future governors to be […]

Virginia Crime Commission recommends eliminating all mandatory minimum sentences

BY: - January 5, 2021

Members of the Virginia Crime Commission voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to endorse legislation stripping all mandatory minimum sentences from state code. The sweeping proposal, which lawmakers plan to introduce when the General Assembly convenes later this month, would eliminate mandatory jail and prison terms attached to 224 offenses that range from drunken driving to child rape. […]

Virginia’s naturopathic doctors are continuing a 15-year fight for licensure

BY: - January 5, 2021

For the past 15 years, Virginia’s naturopathic doctors have been on a quest for licensure by the state’s Department of Health Professions — a step that’s been taken by 23 other states and would allow them to diagnose and treat patients like many other medical providers. That goal has brought the debate around the field […]

Northam’s budget would guarantee transgender health services for Medicaid enrollees   

BY: - January 4, 2021

Tucked away in the 750-page revised budget Gov. Ralph Northam presented last month is a single line that his administration says would guarantee that transgender enrollees in Virginia’s expanded Medicaid program have access to gender-affirming care. “This is an important equity issue and a critical part of making our commonwealth welcoming and inclusive of all,” […]

Virginia state senator dies of COVID-19 complications

BY: - January 1, 2021

Virginia State Sen. A. Benton “Ben” Chafin Jr., R-Russell, has died of COVID-19, the Senate Republican leadership announced Friday evening. “Tonight, as the Senate of Virginia comes to grips with this tremendous and untimely loss caused by COVID-19, our sympathy and prayers are with Ben’s wife, Lora Lee, their children and grandchildren, and Ben’s mother […]

Lawmakers propose fixes for Virginia’s beleaguered unemployment insurance program

BY: - December 24, 2020

Lawmakers say they plan to propose legislative fixes next month to speed unemployment claims in Virginia, which ranks last in the country for quickly processing applications that require staff review. The legislature’s Commission on Unemployment discussed the proposals in a Wednesday meeting, outlining bills that, among other things, would reduce the program’s reliance on paper […]

Northam’s sunny budget rewrite roils Republicans with his proposed Court of Appeals expansion

BY: - December 17, 2020

In his optimistic midcourse revisions to Virginia’s two-year, $135 billion spending blueprint, Gov. Ralph Northam proposed hundreds of millions in new spending for vaccine deployment and pandemic response, including half a billion dollars for public schools upended by COVID-19. It includes millions more to help hold off an oncoming wave of evictions resulting from job […]