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

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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.


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.


Virginians with recent spinal cord injuries soon may receive more resources, if a bill sponsored by Sen. Jennifer McClellan passes in the House.

Senate Bill 287 would make information regarding spinal cord injuries in the Statewide Trauma Registry available to the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. The data would allow the department to develop and implement programs and services to those suffering from spinal cord injuries.


"Erin’s Law" addresses the need for schools to included family-life education related to personal body safety. It would require that Virginia’s Standards of Learning for public schools (K-12) include age-appropriate instruction on prevention, recognition, and awareness of child abuse, abduction, and sexual abuse. In other words, this legislation requires schools to teach kids about the law — the simple fact that laws exist to protect children from predators.

Erin's Law has already passed in 31 states. Del. Debra Rodman’s HB 1223 failed on Feb. 2. Sen. Jennifer Wexton proposed a similar bill that was incorporated into Sen. Jennifer McClellan’s SB 101, but was amended to be optional. SB 101 was approved 37-2 and awaits consideration in the House after crossover. 

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We have reached the halfway point of the 2018 General Assembly Session, known as “Crossover.”  Tuesday was the last day for the House and Senate to complete work on their own bills. On Wednesday, they began hearing bills that passed the other body.  We have just over three weeks left to address nearly 2,000 pending bills. 

This week I’d like to highlight SB 181 (Stanley), which I co-sponsored, to repeal Virginia’s law mandating automatic suspension of driver’s licenses for failure to pay fines and court costs, which passed the Senate last week 33-6. 

Today is "Crossover," the midway point of the Session where the House and Senate must complete work on their bills.  You can follow my bills and their progress through the General Assembly on the LIS website, and you can read a summary of all of my 2018 legislation and view committee hearings for each on my website

I am eager to hear from you on issues you care about. To share your views on legislation, contact my office at (804) 698-7509 or You can also stop by my office in the Pocahontas Building at 900 East Main Street. My offices are located in E512.

Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry.  Yet many communities in the commonwealth do not have enough places to purchase healthy, affordable food as a wide variety of factors have led supermarkets to disinvest from lower-income areas across the commonwealth, creating a public health crisis.