General Assembly Update

(updated 3/15/19)

2019 General Assembly

This page is designed to inform you of legislation of concern to VAIB for the latest General Assembly session. This list is intended to highlight certain important issues but is by no means exhaustive of the hundreds of bills we follow. 

Bills are divided into two lists: those "We SUPPORT" and those "We OPPOSE." Each item is listed with a brief explanation. By clicking on the bill number, you can see more information on the bill and the progress of the bill. 

Need more information? Contact our office at 804-299-3986 or send an email to ealiff@vaib.org with your comments or questions. 

REMEMBER: You have a voice! You can contact your delegate or senator regarding your position on these items or any other issue. Be kind, be brief, and be thankful when you contact a legislator.

Explanations:

  • CO - legislation is "Carried Over" to the next session for consideration.
  • PBI- "Passed By Indefinitely" means the legislation has failed.
  • Tabled- means the legislation has failed.
  • Left in committee- means the legislation has failed.
  • Stricken-  means the patron has removed the bill from consideration.
  • Reported- means the bill is progressing.
  • Failed to report- means the bill was voted down or failed.

Click on the bill for more information.

Mandated Reporters bills: There are two bills which impact pastors but on which VAIB has NO POSITION, meaning we are neither opposing nor supporting. The passage of these bills will require pastors to be listed as mandated reporters of child abuse, both physical and sexual. 

HB1659 (Delaney) and SB1257 (Vogel) Child abuse and neglect; mandatory reporters. Adds to the list of persons who are required to report suspected child abuse or neglect ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, and duly accredited practitioners of any religious organization or denomination usually referred to as a church; however, the bill exempts such clergy members from the mandatory reporting requirement when the information supporting the suspicion of child abuse or neglect (i) is required by the doctrine of the religious organization or denomination to be kept confidential or (ii) would be subject to the exemptions set forth in § 8.01-400 or 19.2-271.3 if offered as evidence in court. The provisions of the bill are contingent on funding in a general appropriation act. PASSED: SIGNED BY GOVERNOR.

We SUPPORT the following legislation: 

HB1627 (Del. Bobby Orrock)  Department of Social Services; child welfare agencies; prioritization of inspections. Requires the Commissioner of Social Services to prioritize inspections of child welfare agencies in the following order: (i) inspections conducted in response to a complaint; (ii) inspections of licensed or registered child welfare agencies; (iii) inspections of license-exempt or unlicensed child welfare agencies that have entered into a contract with the Department of Social Services or a local department to provide child care services funded by the Child Care and Development Block Grant; and (iv) inspections of license-exempt and unlicensed child welfare agencies. PASSED: SIGNED BY GOVERNOR.

HB1656 (Del. Mark Cole) School security officers; employment by private or religious schools; carrying a firearm in performance of duties. Allows private or religious schools to employ a school security officer and to authorize a school security officer to carry a firearm in the performance of his duties, subject to the same criteria for carrying a firearm in the performance of his duties imposed on a school security officer employed by the local school board. The bill also updates the definition of school security officer in the assault and battery statute. PASSED: SIGNED BY GOVERNOR.

HB2567 (Del. Dave LaRock)  Public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth; free exercise of religion on campus. Provides that, except as otherwise permitted by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, no public institution of higher education shall prohibit the free exercise of religion by any individual, including enrolled students, faculty and other employees, and invited guests, on campus. FAILED- TABLED in House Committee on Education. 

HB2791 (Del. Barry Knight) Virginia Personnel Act; appointments, promotion, and tenure based upon merit and fitness. Clarifies that, except as otherwise provided by law, all appointments and promotions to and tenure in positions in the service of the Commonwealth shall be based solely upon merit and fitness. FAILED IN SENATE.

SB1024 (Sen. Richard Black) Carrying dangerous weapon to place of religious worship. Repeals the statutory prohibition on carrying a gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger, or other dangerous weapon, without good and sufficient reason, to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place. FAILED IN HOUSE.

SJ275 (Sen. Amanda Chase) Reaffirming equal protection under the law. Reaffirms that all persons residing in Virginia are afforded equal protection under the law. The resolution cites numerous guarantees of equality that currently exist in both federal and state law. FAILED IN HOUSE.

We OPPOSE the following legislation:

HB2067 (Del. John Bell) Nondiscrimination in public employment. Prohibits discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, as defined in the bill. The bill also codifies for state and local government employment the current prohibitions on discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, or status as a veteran. FAILED: Left in House Committee on Rules.

HB2079 (Heretick), HB2370 (Herring); HB2371 (Heretick); HB2373 (Carter) Various bills related to marijuana to weaken or remove penalties for possession.  All bills failed in the House Courts of Justice on a motion to PASS BY INDEFINITELY.  A similar Senate bill, SB997 (Ebbin), FAILED in Senate Committee for Courts of Justice on a 6 - 9 vote.

HB2421 (Del. Mark Levine) Prohibited discrimination; sexual orientation and gender identity. Prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodation, public contracting, apprenticeship programs, housing, banking, and insurance on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill codifies existing prohibited discrimination in public employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, or status as a veteran and adds discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity to the list of unlawful discriminatory housing practices. The bill contains technical amendments.  FAILED: Left in House General Laws Committee.

HB2472 (Del. Kenneth Plum) Hate crimes; gender, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation; penalty. Adds gender, disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation to the categories of victims whose intentional selection for a hate crime involving assault, assault and battery, or trespass for the purpose of damaging another's property results in a higher criminal penalty for the offense. The bill also adds gender, disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation to the categories of hate crimes that are to be reported to the central repository of information regarding hate crimes maintained by the Virginia State Police and provides that a person who is subjected to acts of intimidation or harassment, violence directed against his person, or vandalism to his real or personal property, where such acts are motivated by gender, disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation, may bring a civil action to recover his damages. The bill also provides that no provider or user of an interactive computer service on the Internet shall be liable for any action voluntarily taken by it in good faith to restrict access to material that the provider or user considers to be intended to incite hatred on the basis of gender, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. FAILED- Passed By Indefinitely in House Courts Committee.

HB2491 (Del. Kathy Tran) Abortion; eliminate certain requirements. Eliminates the requirement that an abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy and prior to the third trimester be performed in a hospital. The bill eliminates all the procedures and processes, including the performance of an ultrasound, required to effect a woman's informed written consent to the performance of an abortion; however, the bill does not change the requirement that a woman's informed written consent be first obtained. The bill eliminates the requirement that two other physicians certify that a third trimester abortion is necessary to prevent the woman's death or impairment of her mental or physical health, as well as the need to find that any such impairment to the woman's health would be substantial and irremediable. The bill also removes language classifying facilities that perform five or more first-trimester abortions per month as hospitals for the purpose of complying with regulations establishing minimum standards for hospitals. FAILED- Tabled in House Courts Committee.

HB2496 (Del. Kathy Tran) Virginia Human Rights Act; creation of cause of action for discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, or age. Creates a cause of action against any employer employing more than five but fewer than 15 persons who engages in an unlawful discriminatory act against any employee on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, including lactation. The bill also creates a cause of action against any employer employing more than five but fewer than 20 persons who engages in an unlawful discriminatory act against an employee on the basis of age if the employee is 40 years of age or older. Under current law, an employee who has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, including lactation, or age may only file an action against his employer if the employee is discharged by the employer on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, including lactation, or age. The bill permits a court, in cases where the employee prevails, to award compensatory or punitive damages in an amount of up to $25,000 and attorney fees not to exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded. The bill provides that the provisions creating a cause of action against an employer who engages in unlawful discriminatory practices against an employee shall apply only to unlawful discriminatory practices that occur or are alleged to occur on or after July 1, 2019. FAILED to report in House Courts Committee.

SB998 (Ebbin) Nondiscrimination in public employment. Prohibits discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, as defined in the bill. The bill also codifies for state and local government employment the current prohibitions on discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, or status as a veteran. FAILED- LEFT IN HOUSE GENERAL LAWS.

SB1007 (Ebbin) & SB1306 (Edwards) Same-sex marriages; civil unions. Repeals the statutory prohibitions on same-sex marriages and civil unions or other arrangements between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges and obligations of marriage. These prohibitions are no longer valid due to the United States Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (June 26, 2015). The bill incorporates SB 1306. Bills FAILED to report in Senate Courts Committee.

SB1054 (Locke); SB1451 (McClellan) Eliminate certain requirements for abortions.  Bills FAILED in Senate Education and Health Committee on a motion to PASS BY INDEFINITELY.

SB1109 (McClellan) Virginia Fair Housing Law; unlawful discriminatory housing practices; sexual orientation and gender identity. Adds discrimination on the basis of an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity as an unlawful housing practice. The bill defines sexual orientation and gender identity. FAILED- LEFT IN HOUSE GENERAL LAWS.

SB1637 (Boysko) Virginia Human Rights Act; establishment of right to reproductive choice. FAILED- Passed By Indefinitely in Senate Education & Health Committee. 

HJ577 (Del.Sam Rasoul); HJ579 (Del. Jennifer Foy); HJ583 (Del. Jeion Ward) Constitution of the United States; Equal Rights Amendment. Ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that was proposed by Congress in 1972. The joint resolution advocates the position that the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment remains viable and may be ratified notwithstanding the expiration of the 10-year ratification period set out in the resolving clause, as amended, in the proposal adopted by Congress. All three bills FAILED in House Committee on Privileges and Elections (subcommittee) on a motion to PASS BY INDEFINITELY.

SJ251 (Sen. Adam Ebbin): SJ279 (Sen. John Edwards) Constitutional amendment (first resolution); marriage. Proposes the repeal of the constitutional amendment dealing with marriage that was approved by referendum at the November 2006 election. That amendment to the Bill of Rights (i) defines marriage as "only a union between one man and one woman"; (ii) prohibits the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions from creating or recognizing "a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage"; and (iii) prohibits the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions from creating or recognizing "another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage." The provisions of this section of the Constitution of Virginia are no longer valid as a result of the United States Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (June 26, 2015). In Senate Committee on Privileges & Elections: FAILED to report.

SJ270 (Sen. Richard Saslaw); SJ284 (Sen. Glen Sturtevant) Constitution of the United States; Equal Rights Amendment. Ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that was proposed by Congress in 1972. The joint resolution advocates the position that the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment remains viable and may be ratified notwithstanding the expiration of the 10-year ratification period set out in the resolving clause, as amended, in the proposal adopted by Congress. These bills FAILED in House Committee on Privileges and Elections (subcommittee) on a motion to PASS BY INDEFINITELY.