In debate, Carroll Foy falsely claimed to be ‘one of the most effective legislators in Virginia history’
RICHMOND, Va. – In this evening’s Democratic Party of Virginia gubernatorial debate, candidate for governor Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) touted her record of passing “over 300 bills” with “more governing experience than any other candidate running for governor, all of them combined.”
Former Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, who served just three years before quitting office in 2020, claimed three times tonight that she was “one of the most effective legislators in Virginia history.”
That claim is false.
“I came to the General Assembly as a 32-year-old Black woman from the most Democratic district in the state, operating in a body that was mostly white Republican men over 50,” McClellan said during the debate. “And yet I’ve been able to pass over 300 bills.”
“Senator Jenn McClellan is the most effective legislator that I have ever served with,” Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) said. “No other legislator in this race comes close to her record of achievement. She has delivered generational progress time and time again, and when her constituents were struggling in the midst of a pandemic, she stayed in the General Assembly even while she was campaigning. That’s the leadership we need in our next governor.”
“Jenn McClellan is the most experienced and effective candidate for governor. Full stop,” Delegate Kathy Tran (D-Fairfax) said. “Jenn McClellan’s visionary leadership has transformed Virginia more in the last two years than many legislators are able to do over the course of their entire careers. As a Delegate, I’ve seen the difference between legislators who lead when the going gets tough, and those who don’t. Jenn McClellan is a leader who lifts up all Virginians.”
During her 15-year legislative career, McClellan passed 353 pieces of legislation, compared to Carroll Foy’s 38 pieces of legislation. During the three years in which they served concurrently, McClellan passed nearly 3 times as many laws as Foy: 107 to 38. McClellan has subsequently passed another 18 pieces of legislation after Foy quit the legislature in December.
The Virginia Public Access Project publishes legislators’ bill success rate at the end of every legislative session. In 2020, McClellan passed 70% of the 46 bills she introduced, carrying 32 of her bills to final passage and helping another 4 get enacted through the budget or another vehicle. That same year, Foy passed only 59% of her 29 introduced bills.
McClellan’s legislation includes transformative bills that make generational progress including:
The bill to make Virginia the first state in the South to allow abortion coverage on the exchange
The Reproductive Health Protection Act which made Virginia the first state in the South to proactively protect access to abortion care and reproductive health,
The Voting Rights Act of Virginia which makes Virginia the first state in the South to pass a Voting Rights Act.
And the Equal Rights Amendment, which made Virginia the 38th and final state to ratify the ERA
As the Associated Press wrote, McClellan “has carried some of the most consequential, complex legislation during the two legislative sessions with the new Democratic majority in charge.”
Jennifer McClellan has passed more than 350 pieces of legislation since taking office. Jennifer Carroll Foy passed 38 while she was in office.
Since joining the Virginia General Assembly in 2006, Jennifer McClellan has been the chief patron of 353 pieces of legislation that passed. Jennifer Carroll Foy chief patroned 38 pieces of legislation that passed into law.
Jennifer McClellan passed 15 pieces of legislation in 2006.
Jennifer McClellan passed 17 pieces of legislation in 2007.
Jennifer McClellan passed 9 pieces of legislation in 2008.
Jennifer McClellan passed 16 pieces of legislation in 2009.
Jennifer McClellan passed 24 pieces of legislation in 2010.
Jennifer McClellan passed 17 pieces of legislation in 2011.
Jennifer McClellan passed 21 pieces of legislation in 2012.
Jennifer McClellan passed 19 pieces of legislation in 2013.
Jennifer McClellan passed 30 pieces of legislation in 2014.
Jennifer McClellan passed 26 pieces of legislation in 2015.
Jennifer McClellan passed 22 pieces of legislation in 2016.
Jennifer McClellan passed 12 pieces of legislation in 2017.
Jennifer McClellan passed 18 pieces of legislation in 2021.
During the time that Jennifer Carroll Foy and Jennifer McClellan both served in office from 2018 to 2020, McClellan passed nearly three times as many bills, including the Virginia Clean Economy Act and the law that created the Virginia health exchange under the Affordable Care Act.
From 2018 to 2020, the three years that Jennifer Carroll Foy was in the House of Delegates, Jennifer McClellan chief patroned and passed 107 pieces of legislation. Carroll Foy passed 38.
Jennifer McClellan passed 25 pieces of legislation in 2018.
Jennifer McClellan passed 25 pieces of legislation in 2019.
Jennifer McClellan passed 57 pieces of legislation in 2020.
Carroll Foy passed 8 pieces of legislation in 2018.
Carroll Foy passed 7 pieces of legislation in 2019.
Carroll Foy passed 23 pieces of legislation in 2020.
Jennifer McClellan, in 2020, was the chief patron of the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), a comprehensive energy bill that transitions Virginia to a 100% clean energy grid by 2045.
Jennifer McClellan, in 2020, passed SB 732, which created the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange under the Affordable Care Act to improve access, lower premiums and improve efficiency of health care for Virginians.
Jennifer McClellan passed 18 pieces of legislation since Jennifer Carroll Foy left office, including the Virginia Voting Rights Act and the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.
Jennifer McClellan, in 2021, passed the Virginia Voting Rights Act, which makes Virginia the first state in the South to pass a Voting Rights Act.
Jennifer McClellan, in 2021, passed SB 1310, which expanded workplace protections to domestic workers rights by ensuring they are covered by the Virginia Human Rights Act and workplace health and safety requirements.
30 KEY MCCLELLAN ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Sen. Jennifer McClellan has been one of the most significant driving forces behind generational changes in Virginia policies. She was the chief Senate author of nearly 50 bills passed over the past 16 months, including landmark bills such as: the Virginia Clean Economy Act moving Virginia to 100% clean energy, the Reproductive Health Protection Act ending mandatory ultrasounds, the creation of the Virginia state health exchange under the Affordable Care Act, the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, and bills to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.
Here are 30 of Sen. McClellan’s most significant legislative accomplishments — all bills that she chief-patroned and passed into law.
Virginia Health Care Exchange: McClellan was the chief patron of the law (SB 732), which created the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange under the Affordable Care Act to improve access, lower premiums and improve efficiency of health care for Virginians. McClellan had led efforts for a state-based exchange since the McDonnell administration.
Reproductive Health Protection Act: McClellan was the chief patron of the Reproductive Health Protection Act (SB 733), which removed medically unnecessary restrictions for patients seeking access to safe and legal abortion, including mandatory ultrasounds, 24-hour waiting periods, and targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws. This bill made Virginia the first state in the South to proactively protect a woman’s access to abortion care and reproductive health.
Repealing the Ban on Health Exchange Abortion Coverage: McClellan made Virginia the first state in the South to remove the ban on abortion coverage for health insurance plans offered through the health benefit exchange, as chief patron of SB 1276.
Virginia Clean Economy Act: McClellan was the chief patron of SB 851, the most significant clean energy law in Virginia’s history. The bill will transition Virginia to a 100% clean energy grid by 2045, while saving customers money, creating 13,000 jobs per year in the clean energy economy, and addressing the impacts of climate change. This bill made Virginia the first state in the South with a 100% Clean Energy Standard.
Solar Freedom Act: McClellan was the chief patron of the Solar Freedom Act (SB 710), which democratized solar energy, removing barriers on local governments, residents and businesses to install solar — including allowing Fairfax County to move forward on a 5 MW solar project on a closed landfill in Lorton.
Utility Rate Reform: McClellan was the chief patron of a law (SB 731) that ende the artificial inflation of utilities’ profits and returned Virginia to normal rate-making principles in which the State Corporation Commission considered earnings from other peer utilities to set the range — not the floor — for electric utility profit margins.
Electric Vehicle Infrastructure: McClellan was the chief patron of SB 908, a bill that expanded local authority to operate electric vehicle charging stations on local government-owned or -leased land.
Voting Rights Act: McClellan was the chief patron of the Voting Rights Act of Virginia (SB 1395), which protects voters in the Commonwealth from suppression, disrimination, and intimidation and makes Virginia the first state in the South to pass a Voting Rights Act. It will require changes to local voting laws and regulations be advertised in advance for public comment and evaluated for their impact on Black, Indigenous and communities of color.
Redistricting Criteria: McClellan was the chief patron of SB 717, which set redistricting criteria to prevent racial and political gerrymandering and produce fair legislative districts. The bill also ended prison gerrymandering.
Absentee Voting Expansion: McClellan was the chief patron of HB 1327, which ensured that voters who did not receive an absentee ballot would be able to vote through a provisional ballot at their polling place. The bill — the first that McClellan ever passed in 2006 — passed with an overwhelming majority through the Republican House and unanimously through a Republican Senate.
Criminal Justice Reform
Diminished Capacity Criminal Justice Reform: McClellan was the chief patron of SB 1315, which reforms the criminal justice system for individuals with mental illness, autism, or developmental/intellectual disabilities by requiring judges to consider such conditions in bail and sentencing determinations, allowing related evidence during trials, and requiring more training about these conditions for judges and court appointed attorneys.
Marijuana Legalization: McClellan created a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission study in 2020 that examined marijuana legalization with a focus on equity and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition. In 2021, McClellan introduced the amendment to the Senate marijuana bill to move the legalization of the possession of recreational marijuana up from 2024 to 2021.
Raising Felony Threshold: McClellan was the chief patron of SB 788, which increased the grand larceny threshold from $500 to $1000. Virginia had one of the lowest felony grand larceny thresholds in the country, leading to more prison sentences for small thefts.
Fishback Parole Reform: McClellan was the chief patron of SB 793, which provided long-awaited parole eligibility to approximately 300 offenders stuck in a parole loophole. The bill makes eligible for parole defendants convicted between the abolition of parole in 1995 and the Supreme Court of Virginia’s Fishback decision in 2000 holding that jurors should have been told parole was abolished.
Stabilizing Childcare and Early Childhood Education During COVID: McClellan championed the passage of the Child Care Stabilization and Quality Care Act (SB 1316), which provided greater financial stability for child care and early childhood education providers by launching a new two-year pilot program creating flexibility in how federal subsidy dollars are used, and allowed for portable background checks to address workforce shortages. McClellan’s bill made Virginia “a leader in moving down the path of providing flexibility and stability to the child care sector,” according to Voices for Virginia Children.
Increasing School Support Staff: McClellan passed SB 1257, which invested $50 million in hiring more school support staff, such as social workers, nurses, and mental health professionals. The bill and a companion McClellan-sponsored budget amendment, ensures that each school has at least three of these specialized support positions per 1,000 students .
Ending the School to Prison Pipeline: McClellan was the chief patron of HB 367 in 2012, a bill to require the Board of Education to annually publish school disciplinary offense and outcome data by race, ethnicity, gender, and disability. The bill passed unanimously through the Republican-led legislature and was signed by Governor McDonnell. The data revealed Virginia’s poor record on school discipline and the school-to-prison pipeline. Sen. McClellan led the charge for years to pass legislation to dismantle the school prison pipeline – and succeeded with two bills (SB 3, SB 729) in 2020 to eliminate the “disorderly conduct” charge for school incidents and to return discretion to school administrators on reporting behavior that could constitute a misdemeanor.
Increasing Education Funding: McClellan was the chief patron of SB 888, which established a new School Construction and Modernization Commission to provide funding recommendations to fix Virginia’s crumbling schools. McClellan also introduced a 2020 amendment to increase education funding by $480 million to give teachers a 5% raise and a 2019 amendment to restore pre-recession school staffing levels.
Domestic Workers Bill of Rights: McClellan was the chief patron of the bill (SB 1310, SB 804) which ended Jim Crow-era workplace laws for domestic workers, ensuring they are covered by minimum wage laws, Virginia Human Rights Act, workplace health and safety requirements. This made Virginia the first state in the South to extend workplace protections to domestic service workers.
Benefit Corporations: McClellan wrote and passed bipartisan legislation (HB 2358) signed by Gov. McDonnell to create “benefit corporations” and make Virginia a hub of social entrepreneurship.
Craft Brewery Job Growth: McClellan wrote a 2012 bill signed by Gov. McDonnell (HB 359), which cut red tape for Virginia-based craft breweries and enabled them to sell their beer on site. This bill led to the explosion of the craft brewery industry and helped create more than 8,000 jobs.
Expanding Passenger Rail Service: McClellan wrote and passed legislation to examine the creation of Commonwealth Corridor passenger rail service to connect Hampton Roads, Richmond, and the New River Valley.
Banning Child Marriage: McClellan was the chief patron of a 2016 law (HB 703), which set the minimum marriage age at 18, or 16 for a child emancipated by court order. The bill, introduced with Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier), passed the Republican House and Senate in a “rare bipartisan effort.”
Protecting Virginians from Domestic Violence: McClellan was the chief patron of HB 2211 and a co-patron of HB 886, which both strengthened state laws against stalking. HB 2211 was signed into law by Gov. McDonnell.
Equal Rights Amendment: McClellan was the chief patron of SJ 1, which made Virginia the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Pregnant Worker Fairness Act: McClellan was the chief patron of SB 712, which made Va. the 28th state to strengthen protections for pregnant workers, by requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees and mothers of infants.
Ending LGBTQ+ Housing Discrimination: McClellan wrote legislation to guarantee LGBTQ+ Virginians protections from housing discrimination. Her law was incorporated into the Virginia Values Act, a comprehensive bill that made Virginia the first state in the South to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Tenants Bill of Rights: McClellan was the chief patron of SB 707, which required all landlords to provide new tenants with a written explanation of their right to request repairs, and empowered tenants to take action when property becomes unsafe.
The Preserving the American Dream Act: McClellan was the chief patron of SB 1327, which created additional protections from foreclosure to help Virginians stay in their homes, including changing the foreclosure notice period from 14 to 60 days and requiring the mortgage company to provide information about legal assistance and housing counselors.