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

Mar3

In 2012, I introduced a package of bills to address large numbers of public school suspensions and expulsions for minor behavioral offenses, without continuing education. Only one bill passed: HB 367 requiring the Board of Education to annually publish disciplinary offense and outcome data by race, ethnicity, gender, and disability. With the passage of that bill, we have been able to systematically track patterns in the use of suspension and expulsion in our public schools.

In 2016, the Legal Aid Justice Center released an analysis of public school exclusionary discipline data for the 2014-2015 academic year. The results, which I detailed in an op-ed last year, were stark. While these results spurred General Assembly action, we were unable to reach consensus on how to address the school discipline issue.

Feb25

Last year — 2017 — marked the beginning of a renewed cultural reckoning where the social and economic challenges that women and minorities face were thrust into the spotlight. The rise of the national #MeToo movement and the racially charged events of Charlottesville forced us to ask some very hard questions as citizens and confront long-standing challenges: What does it mean to be an American?

Feb17

We’ve now reached the midpoint of the 2018 General Assembly session. Perhaps the most contentious bill we dealt with in the first half of the session was the electric utility “rate freeze” repeal.

This bill would repeal the utility rate freeze bill of 2015, which was passed to address concerns about possible rate increases resulting from the Clean Power Plan. The bill froze Dominion’s and Appalachian Power’s rates at their 2015 levels for five and four years respectively.

Rate reviews would begin again in 2020 for Appalachian Power and 2022 for Dominion, but those reviews would not “look back” at earnings made before 2018 (Dominion) and 2017 (Appalachian Power) over the freeze period. Seventy percent of the over-earnings after those dates would be refunded to customers.

With the election of Donald Trump, the Clean Power Plan has been dismantled, and the utilities did not incur the costs they were expected to during the rate-freeze period. As a result, the State Corporation Commission estimates that the utilities have “over-earned” several hundred million dollars since 2015.

Several bills were introduced this session to repeal the rate freeze. Straight repeal bills were defeated as the fight focused on how much of the over-earnings should be returned to customers and how much should be reinvested in the clean energy and electric grid modernization that would benefit all Virginians.

Feb16

STUART — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam visited Stuart’s Pioneer Community Hospital on Friday to sign a bill that could pave the way for the hospital’s eventual re-opening.

Pioneer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2016 and closed its doors in September of last year.

On Friday, Northam signed Senate Bill 866 into law. The bill had passed the House and Senate unanimously in January. 

Authored by Sen. Bill Stanley, the bill keeps Pioneer’s certificate of public need and acute-care hospital license current and in effect. 

McClellan said that Patrick County residents might be surprised that a Senator from Richmond would come to Friday’s event, but she wanted to attend to show that the issue of healthcare is important to the entire state.

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The 2017 General Assembly Session adjourned sine die Saturday, February 25th after completing work on thousands of bills and resolutions and closing a $1.26 billion shortfall in the budget. The $107 million budget adopted by the General Assembly avoids cuts to K-12 education, restores pay raises to state employees, provides the state share of a raise to teachers, and invests in mental health reform, while creating a $35 million cash reserve to be used to close future shortfalls.
Three of my bills passed the General Assembly and now await action by the Governor.

We’re in the final days of the 2017 Session, and are scheduled to adjourn Saturday, if not sooner. A number of controversial bills have already been vetoed by the Governor this week.  First, HB 1582 (Campbell) would have expanded eligibility for concealed handgun permits for individuals 18 years or older an on active military duty or have been honorably discharged from service. The Governor vetoed this bill because weapons training provided as a component of an individual’s military basic training does not qualify that individual to carry weapons after service.  Under the bill, an individual who completed basic training but was subsequently disqualified from having access to weapons could apply for a concealed handgun permit.

We are now in the final week of the 2017 Session. We still have quite a bit of work to do, as a number of bills, including the budget, are in conference committees to work out differences between the House and Senate versions. Last week the Senate passed a number of controversial bills.