Roundup: Senate Democrats at Crossover
February 6, 2021
RICHMOND, Va.: As all Senate legislation heads to the House of Delegates, Senate Democrats reflect on their accomplishments so far in the 2021 General Assembly Session.
Majority Leader Dick Saslaw said: “Our caucus has had incredible success in promoting our priorities laid out at the beginning of this session. We have passed bills to recuperate and invigorate Virginia’s economy through jobs initiatives, assistance programs, and education opportunities that will bring the Commonwealth through this pandemic and increase prosperity beyond our current crises.”
Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said: “Senate Democrats have been hard at work for Virginia, addressing new problems and historic injustices. We are building on the progress we made last year in addressing economic, health, and societal disparities and securing a stronger future for ALL Virginians.”
Senate Democrats are DYNAMIC:
- In changing economic conditions
- SB 1405, Saslaw, creates the “Get Skilled, Get A Job, Give Back” (G3) Program, which will provide financial assistance to low- and middle-income students in associates’ degree programs in a high-demand field.
- SB 1279, Bell, helps those who have served in the military find civilian work.
- SB 1310, McClellan, includes domestic workers in employee protection laws.
- SB 1188, Hashmi, creates the Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance Program and Fund to help food producers sell or donate products to charitable distribution organizations.
- SB 1197, Locke, creates the Virginia Housing Opportunity Tax Credit to help low-income Virginians afford a home.
- SB 1215, Ebbin, creates the Residential Landlord & Tenant Act, which helps tenants hold landlords accountable for unsafe housing situations.
- SB 1225, Boysko, allows school jurisdictions to appropriate funds for broadband expansion.
- SB 1334, Edwards, expands an existing pilot program providing broadband service to underserved areas via municipalities and other government-owned authorities.
- In challenging health crises
- SB 1379, Saslaw, adds COVID-19 to workers’ compensation benefits.
- SB 1362, Lewis, requires employers to report an outbreak of COVID-19.
- SB 1302, McPike, establishes a hotline for those in a mental health crisis.
- SB 1469, Barker, creates the Opioid Abatement Authority, which would distribute funds resulting from settlements, etc. to localities in order to aid in the prevention and treatment of opioid addiction.
- In new opportunities
- SJR 288, Lucas, replaces the statue representing Virginia in the U.S. Capitol of Robert E. Lee with one of Barbara Johns.
- SB 1256, Marsden, requires law-enforcement training on social justice.
- SB 1196, Locke, requires educators to receive training on cultural competency.
- SB 1318, Hashmi, creates an interagency workgroup that will identify and address the consequences and impacts of Virginia’s regulations and actions on certain communities.
- SB 1406, Ebbin and Lucas, legalizes adult-use cannabis.
Senate Democrats are DIVERSE:
- But we welcome everyone
- But we recognize each other’s challenges
- SJR 270, Ebbin, removes the prohibition on marriage other than opposite-gender marriage from the Virginia Constitution.
- SB 1219, Favola, orders a study to explore ways to institute universal paid family and medical leave in Virginia.
- SB 1227, Boysko, allows prescribers to supply 12 months of hormonal birth control at one time.
- SB 1276, McClellan, allows insurance companies providing plans on the marketplace to cover abortion.
- SB 1300, Favola, orders a report of services in correctional facilities for women in pregnancy, during pregnancy termination, labor and delivery, and postpartum recovery.
- But we treat one another with respect
Senate Democrats are DETERMINED:
- To achieve true justice
- SB 1165, Surovell, abolishes the death penalty.
- SB 1443, Edwards, eliminates most mandatory minimum sentences.
- SB 1306, Morrissey, repeals the mandatory minimum sentence for assault and battery of law enforcement, judges, and other persons.
- SB 1266, Deeds, returns magistrate discretion when awarding bail.
- SB 1456, Marsden, removes mandatory commitment for younger children and opts instead for community-based alternatives.
- SB 1261, Edwards, will help ensure Virginians have the legal recourse they deserve by ensuring an automatic right of review, and increasing the number of judges on the Court of Appeals.
- SB 1301, Morrissey, prohibits isolated confinement.
- SB 1315, McClellan, allows consideration of a mental or intellectual condition in criminal proceedings.
- SB 1339, Surovell, establishes a pathway to expunge certain crimes.
- SB 1213, Edwards, allows those who have been convicted of minor drug offenses to obtain a restricted driver’s license.
- To make voting easier and encourage civic engagement
- SJR 272, Locke, restores the right to vote to ALL citizens of the Commonwealth.
- SB 1097, Favola, removes the witness signature requirement for mail-in ballots.
- SB 1245, Deeds, requires ballot drop-boxes at voter registrars’ offices and satellite voting offices.
- SB 1111, Spruill, will help maintain safety at voting locations.
- SB 1239, Bell, allows localities to use a third-party company to print and distribute mail-in ballots, making production quicker and more efficient.
- SB 1395, McClellan, prohibits discrimination in voting or election administration.
- SB 1439, McClellan, allows students one excused absence per year for students to participate in political or civic engagement.
- To protect our environment
- SB 1247, Deeds, requires carbon-emitting generators to release plans for closure.
- SB 1393, Marsden, allows localities to require developers to conserve and plant trees on real estate projects.
- SB 1252, McPike, ends new coal tax credits by 2022.
- SB 1282, Morrissey, directs the creation of a report of inventory and projections of greenhouse gas emissions.
- SB 1284, Favola, creates the Commonwealth Clean Energy Policy, which outlines the urgent need to recognize climate change and take bold steps to address its impact while promoting environmental justice in Virginia.
- SB 1350, Lewis, requires government agencies to consider resiliency when creating future transportation plans and design standards, helping address climate change and sea level rise in the Commonwealth.
- SB 1380, Lucas, allows electric utilities and school jurisdictions to partner in the creation and implementation of electric school buses.