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

Feb25

Virginia legislators have rejected three bills crafted to limit school policing statewide. A pair of other related measures are still winding their way through the legislative process. 

Feb20

Sen. Jill Vogel and I have introduced legislation this year to address the very serious but overlooked issue of child marriage. With some exceptions, you must be 18 to marry in Virginia. When both parties are adults, they can better navigate the serious — and ideally lifelong — commitment that marriage entails. They also have equal access to a number of rights, privileges, and protections when things go wrong. If the marriage turns abusive, an adult victim can leave home, go to a shelter, get a protective order, or file for divorce. But what happens when children are allowed to marry? In Virginia, 16- and 17-year-olds can marry with parental consent. Children under 16 can marry with parental consent and evidence of pregnancy.

Feb20

Child marriage was not an issue of note for Jill Vogel, a state senator in Virginia, until she heard the stories circulating in her district about a man in his early 50s marrying a girl in her midteens, warding off a police investigation of his relationship with her. Now Ms. Vogel is the lead sponsor of a bill advancing in Virginia’s legislature that would sharply curtail child marriage. 

The measure has now moved to Virginia’s House of Delegates. The lead sponsor in that chamber, Jennifer McClellan, said her grandmother had gotten married at age 14 in rural Mississippi. “People didn’t understand back then that children aren’t ready to have children,” Ms. McClellan said. “Now we understand all the negative consequences.” She said she had heard no objections to the bill from prominent immigrants hailing from countries where child marriage is a centuries-old tradition. 

Feb19

Child marriage wasn’t an issue of note for Virginia state Sen. Jill Vogel until she heard the stories circulating in her district about a man in his early 50s marrying a girl in her mid-teens, warding off a police investigation of his relationship with her. Now Vogel is lead sponsor of a bill advancing in Virginia’s legislature that would sharply curtail child marriage. 

The measure has now moved the Virginia’s House of Delegates. The lead sponsor in that chamber, Jennifer McClellan, said her grandmother got married at age 14 in rural Mississippi. “People didn’t understand back then that children aren’t ready to have children,” McClellan said. “Now we understand all the negative consequences.” She’s heard no objections to the bill from prominent immigrants hailing from countries where child marriage is a centuries-old tradition. 

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We are now over a month into Special Session and have yet to complete work on the budget for the 2018-2020, which starts July 1st.

Last month, Governor Northam introduced the same budget that Governor McAuliffe proposed in December, with once exception: Governor Northam included more money in the cash reserves portion of the budget. Governor Northam's budget includes language that would expand Medicaid coverage to nearly 400,000 Virginians and an assessment on state hospitals to cover the Commonwealth's share of the costs. With the savings realized from Medicaid expansion, the budget makes significant investments in core economic priorities like education, workforce development, mental health services, opioid addiction prevention, and pay raises for state employees, teachers and law enforcement professionals.

On Saturday, March 10th, the 2018 General Assembly Session adjourned sine die after passing over 800 bills. You can read a summary of some of the major legislation considered here. 

This is the final week of the 2018 General Assembly Session.  As of Tuesday evening, we have passed about 750 bills, with another 175 pending.  The Budget conferees have not yet reached an agreement to bridge the approximately $600 million gap between the House and Senate Budgets, primarily due to their disagreement over Medicaid Expansion. Seven of my bills have passed both the Senate and the House and now await action by the Governor.