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.

Our Newsletters

In addition to my legislative activities, being a member of the General Assembly has afforded me the opportunity to serve on, and now Chair the Virginia General Assembly’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission.  Created in 1992 to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. King, the Commission continues his work through educational, historical and cultural programs, public policy analysis, and public discourse on contemporary issues.  

Now that we have crossed the mid-point of the 2018 General Assembly Session, bills are quickly finding their way to the Governor's office.  On Friday, I was honored to join Senators Bill Stanley and Lynwood Lewis, and Delegate Charles Poindexter in Patrick County for Governor Northam's first bill signing. SB 866 (Stanley) and HB 175(Poindexter) extend the license for Pioneer Community Hospital in order to facilitate efforts to find an operator to reopen the hospital and offer local residents better access to critical health services. 

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.