SINE DIE: Legislature Passes 12 McClellan Bills
RICHMOND, VA – Today, the Virginia General Assembly adjourned the 2022 Session with plans to enter a special session to resolve the budget and pending bills in conference committees.
During the regular session, Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) passed 12 bills, all of which received bipartisan support in both the Senate and House. Her passed legislation includes measures to: expand access to the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange for lower health care costs; enable Virginians to stay in their homes during the eviction appeals process; preserve evidence from sexual assault for at least 10 years; strengthen prevention programs for at-risk youth; protect Virginians from unwanted digital flashing; and, preserve historic African-American cemeteries established between 1900 and 1948.
McClellan also has four bills in conference committees that were carried over to special session for consideration:
SB 471 to adopt changes to the state Literary Fund to make more money available to local school divisions through loans with lower interest rates than currently allowed by law.
SB 473 to create a School Construction Fund and Program to provide grants to school boards to finance school construction and modernization.
SB 487 to establish the Center for Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention at the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to work across public safety and public health sectors to collect data and publish reports on violence caused by firearms, including suicide.
SB 490 to set a new standard that increases the number of specialized student support positions – such as school social workers, school psychologists and school nurses – in schools across the Commonwealth.
McClellan’s 12 passed bills come on the heels of McClellan passing more than 130 bills in the Senate since 2017, including landmark legislation such as the Virginia Clean Economy Act, the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, and the Reproductive Health Protection Act. During this session, the legislature rejected attempts to roll back these and other key Virginia laws authored by McClellan. Collectively, McClellan has passed more than 360 bills during her time in the legislature.
“This session, Virginia’s legislature protected our generational progress and built on it with new bills to address the challenges Virginia families face today,” McClellan said. “Senate Democrats stood as a brick wall to protect the Virginia Clean Economy Act, Reproductive Health Protection Act, and the Voting Rights Act of Virginia.
“I’m honored to have passed 12 bills with bipartisan support that will expand access to affordable health care, prevent unnecessary evictions, preserve Black history, and protect Virginians from violence and harassment. We have made significant progress this session, and we have more to do to ensure funding of these priorities in the budget process. As a Richmond Public Schools parent, I will be working to ensure our budget funds our K-12 needs, investing in school construction and providing resources to schools to address the impacts of COVID and mental health.”
Here is a summary of the 12 bills patroned by McClellan that passed the Senate and the House:
Health Exchange Navigators (SB 469): McClellan’s bill increases access to the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange, enabling Virginians to save money on health care. The bill directs the state-based exchange to develop a budget and plan for enhanced marketing and navigator services. McClellan and Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax wrote legislation in 2020 that created the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange. This bill is a recommendation of the Joint Commission on Health Care as part of its study addressing health insurance marketplace affordability in the individual market. Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) carried companion legislation, HB 312, which passed both the House and Senate. PASSED SENATE UNANIMOUSLY, PASSED HOUSE 67-31.
Eviction Appeals (SB 474): Under current Virginia law, indigent people must post an appeal bond when appealing an eviction for nonpayment in circuit court. Often, they are effectively prevented from appealing their eviction due to insufficient funds. Sen. McClellan’s bill allows judges to waive the appeal bond for eviction appeals, and provide indigent people with full legal rights in effort to stay in their homes. Del. Jeffrey Bourne (D-Richmond) carried companion legislation in the House, HB 614, which also passed both chambers. PASSED SENATE 23-17, PASSED HOUSE 65-35.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM AND PUBLIC SAFETY
Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development (SB 485): Sen. McClellan’s bill strengthens the Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development Act (DPYDA). The DPYDA focuses exclusively on funding prevention services for at-risk youth before they enter the juvenile justice system. McClellan’s bill provides greater flexibility for localities, removing burdensome administrative responsibilities for localities to access DPYDA funding, and providing clearer guidelines for how localities could use the funding. PASSED SENATE AND HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY.
Unsolicited Intimate Photographs (SB 493): Sen. McClellan’s legislation helps protect Virginians from unsolicited intimate photographs sent digitally. The bill establishes a civil penalty for an adult who knowingly sends an intimate image digitally to another adult who has not consented to or has expressly forbidden receipt of such image. SB 493 only applies to senders, recipients, and images involving individuals above the age of 18, as minors are protected by other laws. Sen. McClellan worked on a bipartisan basis on this legislation with Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier), Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-Fairfax) and Dels. Kelly Convirs-Fowler (D-Virginia Beach) and Carrie Coyner (R-Chesterfield) carried House companion legislation. PASSED SENATE AND HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY.
Physical Evidence Recovery Kits (SB 658): McClellan’s bill requires that physical evidence recovery kits in Virginia be stored by law enforcement for 10 years, or, in the case of a minor victim, until 10 years after the victim turns 18. This bill ends an exemption, requiring storage of physical evidence recovery kits for incidents that are categorized as “no crime occurred.” House Democratic Leader Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) carried companion legislation, HB 719, which also passed both chambers. PASSED SENATE AND HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY
VIRGINIA HISTORY AND CULTURE
Historic African-American Cemeteries (SB 477): Under current law, historic African-American cemeteries established before 1900 are eligible for maintenance and preservation support through the Virginia Historical African American Cemeteries and Graves Fund. However, some historic cemeteries – such as Woodland Cemetery in Henrico County, which was founded in 1916 – are not eligible for the fund. Sen. McClellan’s bill changes the establishment date eligibility from 1900 to 1948, the year that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down racially segregated cemeteries. Del. Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond) carried the House companion. PASSED SENATE AND HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY.
Virginia African Diaspora Month (SJ 34): Sen. McClellan’s resolution establishes September as Virginia African Diaspora Month. Del. Michelle Maldonado (D-Manassas) carried the House companion. PASSED SENATE AND HOUSE WITHOUT OBJECTION.
Central Virginia Transportation Authority (SB 476): Sen. McClellan’s bill adds a representative of Richmond International Airport as a member of the Central Virginia Transportation Authority (CVTA). The CVTA currently includes ex-officio members from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Port Authority, the airport Greater Richmond Transit Company, and the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The bill will add Richmond International Airport to provide the CVTA a more complete picture of regional transportation needs and issues. Del. McQuinn carried the House companion bill, HB 138, which passed both the House and the Senate. PASSED SENATE AND HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY.
Capital Region Airport Commission Enabling Act (SB 478): Sen. McClellan’s bill will authorize the Capital Region Airport Commission – the entity that owns and operates Richmond International Airport – to make charitable donations and provide assistance to educational and charitable entities, organizations and programs. These endeavors will be designed to foster an appreciation by the public of the importance of aviation, assist the public in aviation travel, or help develop and educate the next generation of aviation professionals in the Commonwealth. Del. McQuinn carried the House companion. PASSED SENATE AND HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY.
Children’s Museum (SB 470): McClellan’s bill grants easements for the Children’s Museum of Virginia to access the new parking deck and greenspace that will be shared space between the Children’s Museum and the Science Museum of Virginia. PASSED SENATE AND HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY.
Code Commission Bills: McClellan introduced two bills recommended by the Virginia Code Commission to make technical amendments to sections of the Code of Virginia dealing with The Administrative Process Act (SB 480) and Health Services (SB 479). BOTH PASSED SENATE AND HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY.