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.

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The General Assembly will reconvene of Wednesday,  April 15th  for Veto Session, at which time we will address the Governor's amendments to and vetoes of legislation. 

The 2015 General Assembly Session adjourned  Sine Die  on Friday, February 27th , one day early.  We were able to accomplish a number of things, including the budget, ethics reform, education reform bills (summarized in my most recent Op-Ed in the  Richmond Times-Dispatch ), and bills addressing sexual assault on college campuses, which I highlighted in my Op-Ed two weeks ago. 

Last week, the General Assembly reached "Crossover," the mid-point of Session when the House and Senate must complete work on their own bills. The House and Senate also debated and passed their amendments to the budget introduced by Governor McAuliffe.  In this update I provide a summary of major legislation passed last week and the House budget.