General Assembly Update

(updated 1/11/19)

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.

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. In House Committee of Health, Welfare, & Institutions.

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. In House Committee on Education.

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. In House Committee on Education. 

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. In Senate Committee for Commerce & Labor.

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. In Committee on Rules.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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. In Senate Committee on Privileges & Elections: Passed to full Senate.