News Articles

The Commonwealth Times  | March 16th, 2022

The Virginia House and Senate passed Senate Bill 474 and its identical companion House Bill 614, which will remove the requirement for indigent Virginians to pay appeal bonds in order to have their eviction cases heard. The bill is awaiting Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s signature. 

State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, introduced the bill and stated in an email she is pleased with the bi-partisan support for the legislation. 

“Every Virginian deserves equal access to our court system, regardless of their income,” McClellan stated. “But under current Virginia law, indigent people effectively cannot appeal their evictions due to the expensive appeal bond requirement. This bill will remove an obstacle to justice, and allow Virginians to stay in their homes during their eviction appeals.”

WTOP News | March 8th, 2022

The Virginia General Assembly gave final approval on Monday to a bill that would make African American cemeteries opened before 1948 eligible for restoration and preservation funding.

The bill now goes to Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Currently, only cemeteries founded before 1900 receive state funding under the Virginia Historical African American Cemeteries and Graves Fund.

State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, led the drive to open funding to 20th-century cemeteries like Woodland. Others include East End Cemetery and Evergreen Cemetery.

NBC 29 | March 11th, 2022

UVA law students are working in partnership with Virginia State Senator Jennifer McClellan.

Her bill, SB 485, passed the Senate unanimously and is now headed to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s desk for a signature. It’s designed to update the Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development Act.

The goal is to make it easier for local government to accept state money to help initiate afterschool, mentorship, and youth employment programs.

“This bill will help children across Virginia receive the preventative help they need,” Sen. McClellan said. “We need to give more Virginia localities flexibility for proven programs that help intervene before children run into trouble with the legal system. This is an opportunity to build our communities, make them safer, and support the children of Virginia.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch  | March 4th, 2022

A Senate committee on Friday rejected a bill that would require physicians to provide medical care to infants born alive as a result of botched abortions, likely closing the abortion issue for the legislative session that is scheduled to end March 12.

Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, said in a statement on Friday: “Over the past 2 years, Virginia has made huge strides to protect reproductive rights, and undo unnecessary barriers that stood between patients and their medical professionals.

“This session, the Senate sent a clear message: we will not turn back the clock on access to abortion and reproductive rights in Virginia.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch  | February 26th, 2022

Gathering in front of the charred husk of William Fox Elementary School in Richmond’s Fan District, a group stretching the length of a city block marched to Monroe Park to demand more equitable state funding for school construction.

The marchers held placards and chanted “When schools burn, kids can’t learn,” “Wythe can’t wait” and “What do we want? Safe schools! When do we want them? Now!” The subsequent rally at the park featured speakers calling for changes in school building funding that they say place urban and rural school districts at a disadvantage.

According to McClellan, more than half of the schools across Virginia are over 50 years old; many are over a century old. The total cost to replace those schools exceeds $20 billion. Traditionally, the House of Delegates has taken the position that school construction and maintenance is a local issue, but the legislature has given those localities few tools to raise money for those schools. On Friday, a subcommittee killed a bill that would have given all localities the same ability that nine jurisdictions currently possess to use up to a 1% sales tax to fund school construction.

Virginia Mercury  | February 25th, 2022

A Republican-led House panel voted Friday to kill legislation that would have allowed localities to raise local sales taxes in order to fund school construction costs.

The party-line vote came as a blow to many cities and counties across Virginia, as well as a growing — and bipartisan — contingent of legislators focused on school construction needs. While Virginia’s aging K-12 infrastructure has been a focus for nearly two decades, a recent report found that more than half of all school buildings are more than 50 years old. Replacing those buildings is estimated to cost roughly $25 billion.

Richmond Times-Dispatch | February 18th, 2022

Virginia has formally withdrawn from a federal lawsuit that seeks to certify the Equal Rights Amendment into the U.S. Constitution, a move driven by the state’s new attorney general, Republican Jason Miyares.

Miyares’ decision comes two years after Virginia, under Democratic control of both the House and Senate, became the 38th and final state needed to ratify the ERA.

Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, who helped lead efforts in the Virginia Senate to ratify the amendment, called the Friday filing an “unfortunate political decision” that “flies in the face of Virginia’s bipartisan vote in support of the Equal Rights Amendment.”

“The Attorney General’s decision today does not change the history that Virginia made in 2020, becoming the 38th state to ratify the ERA,” McClellan said.

ABC8 News  | February 8th, 2022

A bill working its way through the General Assembly could give state money to more historic African American cemeteries. The two lawmakers leading the charge on passing the bill are Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) and Del. Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond).

At the beginning of the legislative session in January, they filed House Bill 140 which would help Woodland Cemetery and other historic African American cemeteries founded after 1900, get state funds for preservation and restoration.

Politico  | February 4th, 2022

What would the ERA change?
By Katelyn Fossett 

The Equal Rights Amendment might finally become a part of the Constitution. But what exactly would that mean?

Last week, President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass a resolution recognizing the ERA, which would prohibit any state from discriminating against a person on the basis of sex. His speech reignited debate over the amendment, which has arguably been ratified by the required number of states but has been stuck in legal purgatory since the 1970s.

Richmond Times-Dispatch  | February 4th, 2022

Virginia Democrats are using their Senate majority to reject significant chunks of the GOP agenda and turn back attempts to undo legislation that became law under the previous two years of a majority Democratic legislature.

Despite last year’s Republican wins statewide and for control of the House of Delegates, Democrats are using their 21-19 edge in the Senate to stop GOP legislation on charter schools, the minimum wage, guns, social issues and some of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s tax proposals.

“We made generational progress over the last two years on a lot of issues, from access to health care, to education funding, to expanding voting, criminal justice reform, addressing climate change. And those are issues that are very important to us and are popular with Virginians,” said Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, the Senate Democratic caucus secretary.

Charlottesville Tomorrow | January 24th, 2022

This June, for the first time ever, the thousands of incarcerated people in Virginia who cannot legally vote will no longer be counted in their prison’s district as if they can.

In Virginia, incarcerated people lose their constitutional right to vote while they are serving their sentences. And yet, those people have previously been counted where they are incarcerated — skewing population data, which affects how voting districts are drawn. 

The idea of people being counted in places where they don’t usually reside and while they are unable to vote didn’t sit right with some state legislators who, in 2020, took action on the issue.

“It reminds me of the three-fifths compromise where ‘we’re going to count you kind of as a person, but not give you all the rights and privileges of a person,’” said Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D- Richmond, one of the legislators who carried a bill to end the practice. 

 After McClellan’s bill was voted into law in 2020, Virginia joined 10 other states in ending the practice of “prison gerrymandering.” The legislation was carried by McClellan and Del. Marcia Price, D- Newport News.

Abc8 News | January 21st, 2022

The bill from Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), who chairs the General Assembly’s Commission on School Construction and Modernization, gives every city and county the option of imposing an up to 1% sales tax increase dedicated towards school construction if it is approved in a local referendum. The state legislature has already authorized this for at least eight localities and, this session, at least two more are hoping to be added to that list. 

A survey conducted last year by the Virginia Department of Education found more than half of the state’s school buildings are more than 50 years old and the price tag of a total replacement would be nearly $25 billion. Capital improvement projects total over $9.8 billion with the most common projects identified as renovations, HVAC replacement and grounds maintenance, according to the report. 

McClellan said this bill is one of several proposals being considered this session to increase state funding and local tools. She said many localities rely on property taxes as their main source of revenue for school repairs. 

“For many localities, they have raised their property taxes as high as they can,” McClellan said. “This gives them another option so they can sort of spread that burden through different sources.” 

Virginia Mercury | January 20th, 2022

With Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin moving to withdraw Virginia from a regional carbon market and a new Republican majority in the House of Delegates pledging to amend a sweeping decarbonization law passed in 2020, Democrats are going on defense to protect what they see as their party’s signature environmental achievements of the past two years. 

“I don’t see any appetite for amendments” among Senate Democrats, said Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond and one of the patrons of the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act. On both that law and the Democrats’ carbon market legislation, “we will hold the line,” she said. 

In the House, Del. Rip Sullivan, D-Fairfax and the House patron of the VCEA, described his “top three priorities” for the session as simply “defense, defense and defense.”  

Richmond Times-Dispatch | January 19th, 2022

A proposal to allow all local governments to impose a sales tax to pay for school construction or renovation sped out of a key Senate committee on Wednesday, as a new General Assembly and governor prepare to grapple with an old problem of crumbling school buildings.

The Senate Finance & Appropriations Committee voted 14-2 to advance Senate Bill 472, proposed by Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, to give localities another way to pay for school construction or renovations they otherwise cannot afford.

The option of imposing a 1% sales tax, subject to voter approval, is one of more than a half-dozen recommendations from a commission that McClellan led to address the challenge of repairing or replacing old public school buildings, with more than half of them more than 50 years old.

Richmond Times-Dispatch | January 18th, 2022

A group of Chesapeake parents filed a lawsuit against Gov. Glenn Youngkin Tuesday, arguing that an executive order that scrapped the statewide school mask mandate, and gave parents an opt-out from local mandates, thwarts state law.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that students and staff wear masks at school, and a 2021 state law requires schools to adhere to the agency’s COVID-19 guidelines “to the maximum extent practicable.” The Chesapeake parents say Youngkin’s order is in direct conflict with that law, and are asking the Supreme Court of Virginia to declare the governor’s executive order void.

Youngkin’s order, slated to take effect Monday, has rankled Democrats in the General Assembly, who say the new governor is overstepping his power and threatening the ability of schools to protect students and staff. Comments from Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears to Fox News on Monday fanned the flames: The Republican said Youngkin could withhold funding from districts that don’t comply.

The Progress-Index | January 13th, 2022

RICHMOND — Backers of a bill that would create civil penalties for sending lewd photos unsolicited said Thursday they feel good about its advancement this session after it died in a state Senate committee last year.
The bill being offered this year differs from its 2021 version in that instead of creating a criminal statute, it would make the act punishable by a first-time civil fine of $250 and subsequent violations $500. Last year’s bill sailed through the House of Delegates but died in the Senate Judiciary Committee because members were a little wary about creating a new criminal law without a great deal of study, said state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, one of the three chief backers of the legislation.

CBS 6 Richmond | January 13th, 2022

Virginia lawmakers propose new bill to prevent unwanted sexting
By Jake Burns

RICHMOND, Va. — The first week of the General Assembly gives lawmakers a chance for items they consider of high importance.
Two Virginia lawmakers, Senator Jennifer McClellan, a Democrat, and Delegate Carrie Coyner, a Republican, have signed onto a bill that would punish people who send unsolicited lewd images to another person.
Backers of the bill say that right now under Virginia law, minors are protected but adults are not. They want to give victims of digital sexual harassment a way to fight back.

Virginia Mercury | January 13th, 2022

A bipartisan group of women legislators are again pushing for a state law against unwanted nude images sent by text and over computer screens.

In a Thursday news conference, Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler, D-Virginia Beach, announced she was bringing back a bill that would penalize sexually explicit pictures sent to anyone without their request or consent. Like last session, she said the legislation was inspired by a growing problem in the world of real estate — agents, whose cell phone numbers are typically publicized, randomly receiving “indecent” photos on the job. 

“This should be a bipartisan effort,” she said. But while the legislation unanimously passed the House of Delegates, it died abruptly last year in a Senate committee, where some male legislators raised concerns about First Amendment limitations or potential unintended consequences.

Courthouse News | January 13th, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. (CN) — A bipartisan group of female Virginia legislators introduced a bill Thursday morning that would ban unsolicited lewd photos.
The legislation would make sending sexually explicit photos without permission a civil infraction with penalties of up to $500. 
“No one should be subjected to this kind of harassment,” said Democratic Delegate Kelly K. Convirs-Fowler, a Hampton Roads-area real estate agent and sponsor of the bill who said the public presence of her and other real estate agents’ phone numbers make them particularly vulnerable. 

The Washington Post | December 14th, 2021

By Jennifer L. McClellan and Mia McLeod 

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the first direct challenge to legal abortion in decades. As state legislators from Virginia and South Carolina who support abortion rights, we’ve both been asked more than a few times, “What happens to abortion access in our state if Roe v. Wade is overturned?” The short answer is that the battle for access to abortion falls back to the states.

We believe legal abortion must be protected. But the fact is, just keeping abortion legal has never been enough. Even with Roe in place, people face barriers to access — violence, stigma and judgment — and state politicians who put obstacles in their way instead of supporting their decisions, and these burdens fall disproportionately upon low-income and individuals of color. In the first six months of 2021 alone, states have passed an unprecedented amount of legislation that has pushed abortion out of reach and created a patchwork of laws that treat people differently across the country. Take our two states. We are both Black women, mothers and legislators who believe firmly in people’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies. Yet, the ability to make those decisions looks very different in Virginia than it does in South Carolina. | December 8th, 2021

“The stress of COVID and the stress of returning back to school…What they really need are mental health professionals and counselors and social workers to help with those needs,” McClellan added.

She says year after year, the General Assembly shoots down measures to step up mental and behavioral health resources in schools across the Commonwealth.

Right now, there’s even a cap on how much the state pays localities for these resources, and McClellan wants it gone.

“One counselor for every 250 students…At least four specialized personnel, so nurses, psychologists, social workers, behavioral health per 1,000 students,” she said, explaining suggested guidelines.

Richmond Times-Dispatch | December 1st, 2021

Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, who chairs the commission, hopes Northam will include money in his parting budget for school modernization, but she said, “We are looking for any and all sources of funding, and are open to everything.”

McClellan said the state must play a role in helping to pay for new schools and renovations, even though some lawmakers have suggested the responsibility is local.

“We can’t live up to our responsibility as a state to give every child a quality education if there are children in buildings that are falling down,” she said in an interview after the meeting on Wednesday.

Radio IQ | October 22nd, 2021

Last year, Virginia ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. Now, a state Senator is taking the fight to Congress.

Testifying before a House panel Thursday, State Senator Jennifer McClellan told members of Congress that the time has come to add a new amendment to the Constitution, one that says equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

“It is time for me to stop fighting the same fights that my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother had to fight,” McClellan said. “It is time for me tell my children, Jackson and Samantha, that the United States Constitution guarantees them both equality under the law.”

The Richmond Times-Dispatch | October 2nd, 2021

Hundreds of women, men and children took advantage of mild October weather to take part in an abortion rights march in Richmond that echoed similar events in cities across the U.S. on Saturday.

One of the first speakers addressing the crowd was state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, who got right to the point: “We got a little election coming up.”

McClellan, who unsuccessfully opposed Terry McAuliffe for her party’s nomination for governor, said she was a year old in 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. She urged the crowd to vote on Nov. 2.

We could be Texas … we could be Mississippi, we could be Florida. This is what is at stake in this election,” she said.

The Washington Post | September 22nd, 2021

The man stands 12 feet tall, eyes closed in what might be pain or transcendence, chains falling off his outstretched arms, scars striped across his muscled back. Opposite him, a woman on a pedestal cradles an infant and thrusts a document into the air, her face calm and resolute.

With those figures in the forefront, Richmond unveiled a new Emancipation and Freedom Monument on Wednesday — commemorating a far different set of rebels than the Confederate statues that have been coming down for the past year.

“Emancipation was not a moment. It was a movement,” McClellan told the crowd Wednesday. That movement took centuries, from enslaved people’s acts of “rebellion, resistance and self-liberation,” she said, through the long battles against Jim Crow, Lost Cause mythology and the inequities that persist today.

The Virginia Mercury | September 22nd, 2021

Just weeks after the last Confederate statue on Richmond’s Monument Avenue was removed, a long-anticipated monument to emancipation was unveiled Wednesday on Brown’s Island.

“Resilience in the face of horror and pain is what this day is all about, which is why a little rain and a train are not gonna stop us,” State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, chair of the legislature’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission, which commissioned the Emancipation and Freedom Monument, told a crowd shielded from the rain by umbrellas, ponchos and tents.

The monument project began nearly a decade ago as an initiative to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and abolition.  The pair of 12-foot bronze statues, representing a man, a woman and an infant freed from slavery, was designed by artist Thomas Jay Warren of Oregon. It honors 10 African American Virginians, five from 1866 to 1970 and five from the period before emancipation.

NPR | September 22nd, 2021

Two weeks after the 6o-foot-tall statue of Robert E. Lee was removed in Richmond, Va., the former Confederate capital city has become home to a new statue, this one commemorating the abolition of slavery.

The Emancipation and Freedom Monument — designed by Thomas Jay Warren, a sculptor based in Oregon — was unveiled Wednesday on Brown’s Island on the James River in downtown Richmond, about 2 miles from where the Lee statue once stood.

“It really captured what we were trying to do in that the figures capture the emotion of emancipation, but the people on the base capture who else was involved of the process of fighting against slavery, leading to emancipation, and fighting for freedom and equality going forward,” state Sen. Jennifer McClellan told NPR.

Courthouse News Service | September 13th, 2021

While many Republican-led states have passed new restrictions on voting this year, Virginia’s Democratic governor ceremoniously signed legislation Monday which aims to further protect the right to vote in a state with a history of disenfranchising minorities. 

“Voting is the backbone of our democracy,” Governor Ralph Northam said at a ceremony in Norfolk for the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, a first of its kind effort in the South.

Flanked by the Black, female elected officials who were the architects of the legislation, he said the law is an important part of righting the state’s racist past.

Harrisonburg Citizen | August 16th, 2021

A historical marker honoring renowned Harrisonburg educator Lucy Simms was unveiled to the public on Friday, Aug. 13, near the building which bears her name. 

More than 100 people attended the ceremony, including Harrisonburg City Council members and state delegates Tony Wilt (R-Broadway) and Chris Runion (R-Bridgewater). Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), a gubernatorial candidate in this year’s Democratic primary, also attended and spoke at the event.  

“To have the marker here at this school, in the neighborhood where Lucy Simms lived – it makes that history and that story so much more alive than if you just read about her in a book. And that is why it’s so important that we intentionally take the time to tell a complete story of our Commonwealth, and the people who made us who we are today,” McClellan said.

Virginia Mercury | July 2nd, 2021

in September of 2016, the state’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial commission announced the construction of the “Emancipation Proclamation and Freedom Monument” on Brown’s Island in Richmond dedicated to the emancipation of enslaved Africans. The commission projected that the 12 foot tall monument — which features a male slave with a deeply scarred back and loose shackles, a female slave holding a child, and the names of 10 historical Black Virginians — would be fully completed by the fall of 2019.

Nearly three years later, the statue remains a work in progress.

Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, who chairs the commission, said she now expects the statue to be completed by the end of the year, and potentially as early as September.

The Washington Post | June 30th, 2021

By James Hohmann, Columnist 
As Virginia state Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan (D-Richmond) thumbed through her deceased father’s Bible earlier this year, a receipt slipped out, in the amount of $2.12. That was how much her father had to pay to be allowed to vote in 1948.

It took another 16 years, and a constitutional amendment, to end the Jim Crow tactic of poll taxes. This year, amid a lot of talk about whether new voting restrictions amount to Jim Crow 2.0, Virginia — one of the final five states to impose a poll tax — has taken a different turn.

Pushed by McClellan and other Black lawmakers, the commonwealth has transformed itself from one of the hardest places to cast a ballot in America to one of the easiest. On Thursday, most elements of a first-of-its-kind, state-level Voting Rights Act will go into effect.

ESSENCE | May 14th, 2021

Like many Black women across the South, I come from a family of care workers. Nearly every woman on my mothers side of the family— my mother, aunts, grandmother, and great grandmother— cared for white families in the segregated Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Their stories are the story of the American economy: built on the backs of Black women who were undervalued, underprotected, and, for centuries, underpaid. For generations, the economy has left behind the care workforce and families who need care but can’t afford it. And children whose education depends on the zip code they were born in.

Over the past two years, we’ve made generational progress in Virginia to root out systemic inequities and exclusions that were baked into our systems. I’ve brought my personal experience to drive that generational progress. In honor of the domestic workers in my family and with the help of advocates from Care In Action, I fought to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights to make Virginia the first state in the South to extend to them worker protections by ending Jim Crow-era exclusions to the minimum wage, anti-discrimination laws, workplace health and safety laws, and wage theft protections.

The Black Wall Street Times | April 28th, 2021

In the former capital of the Confederacy, two Black women in the state legislature just passed one of the most progressive voting rights acts ever written in the South, determined to protect the right to vote.

State Delegate Marcia Price of Newport News and state Senator Jennifer McClellan of Richmond worked together to pass the state’s voting rights act to restore the protections to Virginians that were lost when the federal act was gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013.  Governor Ralph Northam signed the bill into law earlier this month.

ABC News | March 30th, 2021

Middle and high school students across Virginia will soon be excused from school to participate in a protest or civic event thanks to a bipartisan group of students from Virginia Young Democrats and Virginia Teenage Republicans who joined forces to successfully lobby for the new law, which started as a school board policy in Fairfax County.

McClellan said she chose to sponsor the legislation to stoke the students’ interests.

“There is no substitute for live action, and by participating in civic events, they come alive in a way they just can’t in a book or in a lecture in the classroom, so it will spark a passion in them that hopefully will keep them engaged,” McClellan said.

RVA MAG | March 29th, 2021

McClellan, D-Richmond, has helped shape Virginia’s changing political landscape for 15 years as a state legislator. She just completed her fifth year serving as a senator. She won the position in a 2017 special election, departing her 11-year post as a delegate representing Charles City County and parts of Richmond City and Henrico and Hanover counties. McClellan now looks to the executive mansion.

“We need a governor who can rebuild our economy, our healthcare, our economic safety net, and help us move forward post-COVID in a way that addresses inequity and brings people that are impacted by these crises together to be a part of that solution,” McClellan said. “I’ve got the experience and perspective to do that.” 

NBC News | March 5th, 2021

Virginia state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, a Democrat, who introduced the bill with fellow Democrat and state Sen. Mamie Locke, said HIV criminalization laws are an ineffective public health tool that disproportionately affect the LGBTQ community and people of color.

“They target and stigmatize people who are HIV positive, even though being HIV positive is itself not a threat to public safety.” McClellan told NBC News. “It makes people less likely to disclose or get tested.”

NPR | February 26th, 2021

Virginia had some of the tightest Jim Crow-era voting restrictions in the U.S. State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate who also sponsored the Virginia Voting Rights Act, said the effort reflected broader shifts in what has become a reliably blue state.

“It’s poetic justice that we’d be the first state in the South to pass a bill,” McClellan said.

The Appeal | February 24th, 2021

On Friday, Lavern testified before a House of Delegates subcommittee in support of Senate Bill 1315. The bill, introduced by Senator Jennifer McClellan, permits people accused of crimes to submit evidence at trial of a mental illness, autism spectrum disorder, or intellectual or developmental disability to show their mental state at the time of a crime. 

People accused of crimes in Virginia are prohibited from submitting this type of evidence during trial because of a 1985 Virginia Supreme Court decision that ruled a person’s mental state was irrelevant unless a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity is entered. 

“If you’ve got somebody that has an underlying condition that means they could not have possibly had the intent they would need to commit a crime, a jury and a judge should know that,” McClellan, who is also running for governor this year, told The Appeal.

The Daily Progress | January 21st, 2021

For the last decade, Virginia has banned private plans on the state’s health insurance exchange from covering abortions in all but narrow circumstances.
But in an almost entirely party-line vote on Friday, the state Senate passed a bill from Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, that would remove that prohibition in state code.

It’s one of the lingering barriers to abortion access in Virginia, which McClellan and other legislators have been on a push to roll back for years — with much more success since Democrats took control of both General Assembly chambers in 2019.

“This is an issue that I’ve been fighting on for a really long time,” McClellan said in a phone interview on Friday. “And this is just the next step in protecting access to reproductive health here in Virginia.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch | January 15th, 2021

McClellan’s plan for universal child care and preschool in Virginia would guarantee free services for every low-income family. No family would pay more than 7% of their income in child care costs.

“The coronavirus crisis has worsened Virginia’s child care and early learning crisis, and dramatically impacted lives for so many families,” said McClellan, who has two young children. “This is a necessary investment into the children, families, workforce and economy of Virginia.”

Virginia Mercury | August 27th, 2020

August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Virginia, in accordance with the United States Breastfeeding Committee’s declaration of August as National Breastfeeding Month. Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D- Richmond, has a track record of sponsoring bills dealing with maternal-infant health, and has in recent years lobbied for increased breastfeeding awareness and access. McClellan sponsored the state’s Breastfeeding Awareness Month resolution in 2019, and made history in 2011 when she became the first breastfeeding member of the House of Delegates. The Pregnant Worker Fairness Act, introduced by McClellan in the Senate this year, became law in July.  Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Prince William, carried the House version. 

“Essentially, this requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant and nursing mothers in Virginia,” McClellan explains. These types of employer accommodations include, for example, providing a private space to pump breastmilk or nurse – that is not a bathroom.7

The Washington Post | April 13th, 2020

Over the weekend, Northam authorized the omnibus Virginia Clean Economy Act, which mandates that the state’s biggest utility, Dominion Energy, switch to renewable energy by 2045. Appalachian Power, which serves far southwest Virginia, must go carbon-free by 2050.

Almost all the state’s coal plants will have to shut down by the end of 2024 under the new law. Virginia is the first state in the old Confederacy to embrace such clean-energy targets.

The actions “will create thousands of clean energy jobs, make major progress on fighting climate change, and break Virginia’s reliance on fossil fuels,” state Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan (D-Richmond), a sponsor of the omnibus bill, said in an emailed statement.

Rewire News Group| February 4th, 2020

The Virginia legislature, under Democratic control for the first time since the early 1990s, rolled back years of anti-choice legislation last week when an omnibus pro-choice bill passed both the house and state senate.

The legislation eliminated a forced 24-hour waiting period and ultrasound requirement; ended inaccurate counseling for abortion care patients; and removed targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws, making more clinics eligible to provide abortion care