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What Sea Turtles and the Virginia General Assembly Have in Common

P. Evers | Published on 3/4/2023

Closing the Curtain on the 2023 General Assembly Short Session or What Sea Turtles and the Virginia General Assembly Have in Common

  


Hatchling-green-seaturtle-USFWS

(photo credit: Hatchling-green-seaturtle-USFWS)

Between the Senate and the House, legislators filed 3029 bills this session.

The Richmond Sunlight,
 a non-partisan website that aggregates information about the General Assembly, notes:

“Some of these bills will pass, becoming a part of Virginia law, but the overwhelming majority will not make it. It’s kind of like sea turtle hatchlings: out of dozens and dozens of eggs, only a few make it safely past the seagulls to the water, and of those just one is likely to grow to adulthood.'' Richmond Sunlight, 2023 Bills


The Virginia General Assembly has ended their “short session.” In even-numbered years, the session is held for 60 days. In odd-numbered years, the session is held for 30 days (although frequently extended to 45 days). The session was not extended this year, so our senators and delegates met from January 11 - February 25. 


You might ask what they can possibly get done in 30 days? Well, a lot CAN and DOES get done behind the scenes that we’re not aware of as constituents. Legislators and their staffs put in long hours in hearings, committee/subcommittee meetings and listening to constituents and lobbyists.


We voters are not always happy with the outcome of a bill that we supported, or opposed, but that’s even more reason to take an active role by calling, writing, or visiting your representatives-during the session and before the session starts when they have more time-to let them know your feelings. LWV of Williamsburg Area members met with our local state legislators, Sen. Mason, Delegates Batten and Mullin, and Sen. Norment’s Press Secretary while in Richmond for the Women’s Legislative RoundTable and League Day to share our positions and ask for their support. Thanks to all of you who also sent letters and emails and called.

 

LWV of Virginia had 10 legislative priorities this session that covered voting rights, campaign finance reform, environmental protection, reproductive rights, rank choice voting, support of public education and gun violence prevention. Historically, legislators often avoid divisive issues during election years and our local state Senators and Delegates are up for re-election in November 2023. Of the 52 bills filed related to LWV VA priorities, the following six passed both the senate and the house:
  1. Remove witness requirement for absentee ballot envelope - HB 1948 Permits Last 4 of SSN and DOB as absentee ballot identifier
  2. Push for campaign finance reform - SB1427 (increases required reports from political action committees to 5 (from 4)
  3. Protecting reproductive rights - HB1567 Convenes perinatal health work group to address maternal mortality.
  4. Protecting reproductive rights - SB1275 - Allows midwives to administer medications within the scope of their practice
  5. Support of public education and not diverting funds to private education - SB1215 Convenes work group to study fiscal impact of competitive teacher pay
  6. Gun Violence Prevention: regulation of ghost guns, safe gun storage - SB898 Requires firearms safety course for concealed handgun permit.

What You Can Do

The next general election in November 2023 will include candidates for state Senate and House of Delegates as well as many local governing boards and constitutional offices. Voting matters because WE have the opportunity to determine who goes to the General Assembly to draft the bills that, if passed or not passed, will impact our families, our communities, schools, our environment, our prosperity, etc. If you feel strongly about any of the League priorities, participation in our state issue groups is a great way to learn about voting rights, reproductive rights, affordable housing, environmental justice, gun safety, etc. Join a League Issue Group  

Status of 2023 League Legislative Priorities

  • LOT = Laid on Table.
    This motion is used to remove the bill from the committee’s consideration. It is a non-debatable motion and no more discussion can occur. A bill that has been laid on the table can be brought back for committee consideration if there is a vote to do so.
  • PBI = Passed by Indefinitely
    This motion is also used to remove the bill from the committee’s consideration. However, a bill that has been PBI’d may NOT be brought back before the committee.
  • P&E = Privileges and Elections (a Standing Committee. There is one for the House and one for the Senate)

Support right to vote amendment

  • SJ223. Restores voting rights to incarcerated felons upon release.
    Agreed to by Senate; LOT in House Rules
  • HJ520 Restores voting rights to incarcerated felons upon release.
    Left in House P&E
  • HJ555 Restores voting rights to incarcerated non-violent crime felons
    after completion of probation and payment of all fines and fees.
    Left in House P&E

Remove witness requirement for absentee ballot envelope

  • HB1948 Permits Last 4 of SSN and DOB as absentee ballot identifier
    Passed Senate and House

Push for campaign finance reform

  • SB1427 (increases required reports from PACs to 4 from 5
    Passed Senate and House
  • SB907 (protection of election officials)
    Passed Senate; LOT in House P&E
  • SB1180 (acceptance of certain services by election officials)
    Passed Senate; LOT in House P&E
  • SB854 (Requires disclosure of top 3 donors to ad’s sponsor)
    Passed Senate; PBI in House P&E
  • SB803 (Caps campaign contributions at $20K)
    PBI in Senate P&E
  • SB804 (Prohibits campaign contributions from utilities)
    PBI in Senate P&E
  • HB1826 (Prohibits personal use of campaign funds)
    LOT in House P&E
  • HB1552 (Prohibits personal use of campaign funds)
    LOT in House P&E
  • HB1551 (broadens scope of disclaimer for campaign ads)
    LOT in House P&E
  • HB1648 (Prohibits contributions from foreign influenced corporations)
    PBI in House P&E

Protecting RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative)

  • SB1001 (Removes VA from RGGI).
    PBI In Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources

Support right to marry amendment

  • SB1096 (Clarifies that a marriage between 2 parties is lawful regardless of sex).
    Passed Senate; No Action Taken/Failed House

Repeal/Amend Prohibition on Gifts of Funds or Services to Elections

  • SB1180 LOT in House P&E

Support RCV (ranked choice voting) SB1380 (Presidential Primaries)

  • SB1380 (Presidential Primaries)
    PBI in Senate P&E
  • HB2301 (Presidential Primaries)
    Left in House P&E
  • HB1751 (Local governing bodies, school board elections and primaries for any office)
    LOT in House P&E
  • HB2118 (Local elected offices or Constitutional offices)
    LOT in House P&E
  • HB2436 (Federal, state, and General Assembly and primaries and elections for
    Local or Constitutional offices). PBI in House P&E

Protecting reproductive rights

  • HB1395. Right to life at conception
    Left in House Rules
  • HB1488 Prohibits use of public funds for abortion
    Left in House Courts of Justice
  • HB1567 Convenes perinatal health work group to address maternal mortality
    Passed House and Senate
  • HB2089 Requires insurance to cover contraceptives
    LOT in House
  • HJ519 Constitutional Amendment for right to reproductive freedom
    PBI in House
  • SB1284 Life begins at conception
    PBI in Senate Education and Health
  • SB1385 Prohibits abortion after 15 weeks
    PBI in Senate Education and Health
  • SB1483 Prohibits abortion during 3rd trimester
    PBI in Senate Education and Health
  • SB1440 Requires implicit bias training by obstetrics providers
    PBI in Senate Education and Health
  • SB1112 Requires insurance to cover prescription contraceptives
    Passed Senate; LOT in House
  • SB1275 Allows midwives to administers meds within the scope of their practice
    Passed Senate and House
  • SR87 Right to life begins at conception
    PBI Senate Rules
  • SJ255 Constitutional Amendment for reproductive freedom
    Passed Senate; PBI in House

Support of public education and not diverting funds to private education

  • HB1566 Requires teachers be compensated at or above national average
    Left in House Appropriations
  • HB1508 Establishes Education Success Accounts Program
    Left in House Education
  • HB1821 Expands Education Scholarship Tax Credit Program
    Passed House; PBI in Senate Appropriations
  • HB1497 Requires teachers be compensated at or above national average
    LOT in House
  • SB1215 Convenes work group to study fiscal impact of competitive teacher pay
    Passed Senate and House
  • SB1290 Establishes School Choice Education Saving Account Program
    PBI in Senate Education and Health
  • SB1191 Establishes Education Savings Account Program
    PBI in Senate Education and Health
  • SB823 Establishes Parental Choice Education Savings Account Program
    PBI in Senate Education and Health

Gun Violence Prevention: regulation of ghost guns, safe gun storage

  • SB1067 Identifies substantial risk factors for possessing firearms
    Passed Senate; PBI in House
  • SB1167 Sets standards of conduct for firearms industry
    Passed Senate; LOT in House
  • SB1181 Prohibits sale/transfer of unfinished/unserialized firearms (ghost guns)
    Passed Senate; LOT in House
  • SB1139 Requires firearm storage where minors are present
    Passed Senate; LOT in House
  • SB1382 Prohibits sale/possession of assault weapons ammunition devices
    Passed Senate; LOT in House
  • SB909 Prohibits firearms transfers to prohibited person
    Passed Senate; LOT in House
  • SB1192 Prohibits carrying firearms in certain public areas
    Passed Senate; LOT in House
  • SB898 Requires firearms safety course for concealed handgun permit
    Passed Senate and House
  • SB1103 Workplace violence as Class 3 felony
    PBI in Senate Judiciary
  • SB1236 Remove a locality’s authority to prohibit possession of firearms
    PBI in Senate Judiciary
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