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Jennifer McClellan at the General Assembly
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Jennifer McClellan accepting the VEA Legislative Champion Award

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A sweeping bipartisan ethics reform agreement wrought by leaders in the House of Delegates offers a framework, but also illustrates the intricacies involved in such a task. The overhaul attempt comes amid an ongoing gifts investigation into outgoing Gov. Bob McDonnell. Delegate McClellan, who was a member of the bipartisan working group, said the work group sought to address issues recently highlighted “but also not make being a public servant so complicated or fill the law with so many pitfalls that people would find that they need to have a lawyer or a compliance officer just to run for office.”


A bipartisan group of Virginia House members unveiled an ethics reform proposal Tuesday morning that would significantly change the state’s lax ethics laws.

Major reforms include a $250 cap on tangible gifts to officials and their immediate family members from lobbyists or people with business before the state; a ban on solicitation of those gifts; the requirement that family members’ finances and gifts be disclosed; and the creation of an ethics commission that would provide guidance on issues that may pose a conflict of interest. ...

The requirement to report investments only above $10,000 would be unchanged, although reports would be required twice a year rather than once. Del. Jennifer L. McClellan (D-Richmond) said the change was meant in part to deal with situations in which officials or their family members buy stock and divest before the end of the year, as first lady Maureen McDonnell did in 2011 and 2012.


Virginia law requires notification only by first-class U.S. mail for cancellation of long-term care insurance. Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) said she plans to introduce a bill that would require third-party designees for such insurance to be notified by certified mail return receipt, which requires the recipient to sign for the letter, before the policy could be canceled. 


Delegates Jennifer McClellan and Chris Peace appear on This Week in Richmond with host David Bailey. They provide a preview of the 2014 General Assembly Session.


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The 2017 General Assembly Session is now halfway over as the House and Senate considered hundreds of bills on Monday and Tuesday covering a wide variety of topics such as immigration, voting rights, school discipline, student loans, Airbnb, the regulation of property carriers, charter and virtual schools, and public procurement. 

Next Wednesday marks the halfway point in the 2017 General Assembly Session. Over the past week, the Senate passed several bills to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and communities, align Virginia with the rest of the nation in punishment for theft, assist former felons who reintegrate into society after completing their sentences, expand Virginia’s anti-discrimination laws, and curb predatory lending.

We're nearly one-third of the way through the 2017 Session.  This week is the last week Senate and House committees will act on bills before crossover, so we are in for long days.  
On Monday, the Senate considered SB 1055 increasing the penalties for failure to leave the place of any riot or unlawful assembly after being lawfully warned to disperse. I highlighted my opposition to this bill  in last week's newsletteron the radio, in my most recent Richmond Free Press update, and spoke against the bill on the Senate floor.  I'm pleased to report the bill was defeated  14-26.  You can watch my floor remarks opposing the bill  here.

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