From pressing for use of a barbaric form of execution, the electric chair, to codifying discrimination, to stripping localities of the major tool for ensuring infrastructure is in place for new development, to hiding more and more critical public information from the public, the Virginia General Assembly is poised to do harm to the Commonwealth. (We’ll look at good bills in a future editorial.)
Here are bills that have passed either the House or Senate by crossover, and important bills that were killed, in no particular order. This is by no means a complete list.
HB815, Electric Chair, passed the House 62-33, brings back the electric chair, providing that if lethal injection is not available as a method of execution, electrocution shall be used instead and vice versa.
SB552 creates secret police departments, and moves in exactly the wrong direction. Provides that the names and training records of law-enforcement officers and fire marshals shall be considered personnel records and excluded from mandatory disclosure under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. Passed 25-15.
SB549/HB770 on Proffers, uses a megaton bomb to tie localities’ use of proffers to help pay for infrastructure needs with new development when what was needed was a study of flyswatters to address specific limited abuses.
HB773/SB41 - Codifies discrimination, prevents the state government from taking any action against a person or organization that discriminates based on a sincerely held religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.
Sanctuary bills: SB705 Makes “sanctuary cities” liable for “full amount of any personal injury or property damage caused by an illegal alien within such locality.” SB270 The General Assembly shall reduce state funding to the extent permitted by state and federal law to any locality found to be a “sanctuary city.”
Senate killed several bills on title loan oversight, even after investigative reporting showed interest charges exceeding 200 percent, bait and switch tactics and many poor Virginians losing their cars.
HB 2 - No “right to breathe.” Requires the Department of Environmental Quality to receive approval from the General Assembly for a state implementation plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants prior to submitting the plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
HB 1090 - Defunds Planned Parenthood
HB 143 allows high proof grain alcohol sales.
HB 560 - Makes it more difficult to convict someone of brandishing a firearm by requiring proof that a person pointing, holding or brandishing a firearm or similar weapons had the intent to induce fear in the mind of another.
HB 766 - Allows any protective order to be used as a de facto concealed carry permit, without requiring the holder to receive any training in the safe handling of a firearm, or show any proficiency with a firearm. Advocates for victims of domestic violence say what is needed is to remove weapons from such situations.
Killed SB67, would have added discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity to the Virginia Fair Housing Law as an unlawful housing practice.
Killed SB12, would have prohibited discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Killed bills that would have required notification of oil spills.
Outlawed living wage requirements for contractors of local government.
HB 4 Anti-union, proposed constitutional amendment putting Right to Work in the constitution.
HB 3 - Charter Schools Constitutional Amendment - removes local control over local schools and spending, doesn’t belong in the constitution.
<1b>— Mary Kimm