Meet Senator Jennifer McClellan
Jennifer McClellan's legislation is signed into law
Jennifer McClellan at the General Assembly
Senator McClellan Meets with constituents
Jennifer McClellan accepting the VEA Legislative Champion Award

Latest News

Jan19

The Henrico Citizen invited each delegate and state senator whose district encompasses a portion of Henrico to provide their thoughts about the 2018 session. 

Jan18

One state senator’s impassioned speech in which she identified as a survivor of incest didn’t stop a Senate committee on Thursday from killing a handful of bills that proponents said would have increased access to abortions.

Votes fell along party lines on the bills, which covered topics including changing regulations applying to clinics that perform abortions and preventing women from having to report cases of rape or incest to law enforcement if they are receiving an abortion funded by the state.

Jan18
Caitlin Blunnie was in college when she was sexually assaulted by someone who she thought was a friend. She never spoke about it publicly other than a few of her close friends. In fact, Thursday morning in front of the Virginia Senate committee on Education and Health was the first time her story was told openly.

Blunnie told her story to show her support for Senate Bill 292, which was introduced by Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond. The bill would have repealed a current law that requires women who have become pregnant by rape or incest to report the assault to law enforcement before qualifying for state medical assistance for an abortion.

Jan18

In December 2016, then-Delegate McClellan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers, an  organization with the largest African American video oral history collection in the nation. Last week, they they returned to Richmond for a follow-up interview about Senator McClellan's transition from the Virginia House of Delegates to the Virginia Senate, the changing political landscape in Virginia, her legislative work, and the Virginia's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission and its African American Legislators and King in Virginia projects. 

Our Newsletters

 
Finally! 
 
After five years of trying, the General Assembly passed a budget last week that includes Medicaid Expansion. 

Once the Federal government approves Virginia's pan, 18-64 years olds who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for Medicaid. This will close the coverage gap for nearly 300,000 Virginians who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid now, but not enough to qualify for subsidies on the federal health insurance marketplace. The plan includes a work requirement in which able-bodied adults under 65 are required to work, seek employment, or participate in job training, education, or community/engagement programs that improve work readiness. Exemptions are provided for children, pregnant women, the aged, disabled, and seriously mentally ill, caregivers of disabled dependents, and individuals working in the TANF VIEW program or SNAP. These requirements are waived in parts of the state with high unemployment.

The budget we adopted invests significant funding in behavioral health and developmental services, education and workforce training, and raises for state employees and teachers. For more details, you can read this summary prepared by the House Appropriations Committee Staff here.
 
Here are a few highlights about the budget: 
  • Adds $189 million in new general fund resources for behavioral health and developmental services, including $84.1 million for community mental health services and $67 million to expand services for people with developmental disabilities.
  • Includes more than $530 million in general funds for K-12 education, and $131 million for a three percent pay raise for state-supported teachers and support staff, effective July 1, 2019.Adds $1.5 million in support for teacher residency partnerships between schools and universities.
  • Includes $87 million for a two percent pay raise for state and state-supported local employees, and another $38 million for a two percent merit raise for state workers with at least three years of service. The budget also provides $49 million for targeted pay raises for direct care staff at our state behavioral health facilities; corrections officers at our Department of Corrections and Juvenile Justice facilities; and marine police and deputy sheriffs.

You can find the "Caboose Budget" Bill (HB 5001) amending the current budget here.

You can find the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Budget Bill (HB 5002) here.

 
Governor Northam Signs School Discipline Bills   

n 2016, the Legal Aid Justice Center released an analysis of public school exclusionary discipline data for the 2014-2015 academic year. The results were stark, demonstrating that students of color and students with disabilities were disproportionately suspended and expelled. The data spurred the General Assembly into action, with bills sponsored by Senator Bill Stanley and Delegate Dickie Bell that I was proud to co-sponsor and highlight in an RTD op-ed. But we were unable to reach consensus on how to address the school discipline issue.

 
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Awards Senator McClellan With the 2018 Aggie Wolf Defender of Choice Award. 
At its annual Power of Choice Gala last month, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia awarded me the 2019 Aggie Wolf Defender of Choice Award. The award recognizes a policy maker or legislator who has dedicated their time to defending reproductive freedom.
 
Unfortunately, because the Senate was in session, I was unable to accept the award in person. However, I was able to FaceTime with the crowd to give my thanks!  
 
The Virginia Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Senator McClellan with a Free Enterprise Award for Education and Workforce. 
Last month, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce recognized the recipients of its Free Enterprise Award for their support of the principles and initiatives outlined in the Chamber's long-term economic development plan, Blueprint Virginia 2025.
I was one of several legislators recognized with the Education and Workforce Award for our work on SB 349and HB 1125 making several changes to the Virginia's teacher licensure requirements.  For a complete list of Free Enterprise Award recipients, click here.
We are now over a month into Special Session and have yet to complete work on the budget for the 2018-2020, which starts 

On Saturday, March 10th, the 2018 General Assembly Session adjourned sine die after passing over 800 bills. You can read a summary of some of the major legislation considered here.