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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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.