Virginia Democrats Legislative Wins

Housing

Eviction protections – including

  • 14-day notice and payment plan offers
  • Consent to enter (landlords must give 72 hours’ notice)
  • Right of redemption (48 hours to clear accounts and pay all monies)

EDUCATION

  • All public schools must offer in-person instruction in Virginia
  • Teachers pay (5%) increase;
  • Increased the number of school counselors
  • Cultural competence tests required for teachers/counselors etc.
  • Schools can no longer file lawsuit against students or parents for
  • Virginia school divisions can begin school as early as two weeks before Labor Day

COURTS/CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

  • 6 NEW judges will be appointed in VA
  • Those convicted of a felony are now eligible for a ‘simple appeal’
  • No facial recognition technology (adversely affects persons of color)
  • Law enforcement agencies will be required to wear body cameras (funds will be provided with Senate bill 1119
  • Search warrants can only be done between 8a-5 unless a judge authorizes it at another time FOR GOOD Cause.
  • Abolished the death penalty
  • Courts will no longer suspend drivers’ licenses for unpaid fines.
  • Faking a crime is now a misdemeanor.
  • Established an Office Of Civil Rights office (to focus on unnecessary and unconstitutional policing; combats housing discriminations, combatting LBGTQ & gender based discriminations, combats pregnancy discriminations)

GUN SAFETY/ GUN REFORM

  • 5 days for background check
  • Persons with a history of violence cannot own a firearm
  • No guns on state property (schools, capital buildings)
  • No guns within 40 feet of any polling location
  • Anyone applying for a ‘concealed carry’ permit, must take an in-person training class. (used to be virtual class)
  • One handgun a month law
  • Gun owners MUST report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement or incur a civil penalty
  • Stricter laws for leaving a loaded, unsecure weapon around children.
  • More leeway by local government to ban guns in public spaces, like parks, rec centers, etc

CHILDREN

  • Must be 21 to purchase tobacco and nicotine products.
  • Ministers, priests, etc. now have an obligation to report suspected child abuse, except where the religious doctrine to remain secret.
  • Elementary and middle school children can no longer be charged with ‘disorderly conduct’
  • Parents/custodians must now be notified before questioning any child 16 years or younger.
  • You can no longer strip search children under 18 in any facility.
  • Social Services must now check if a child who is the subject of abuse or neglect lived in another state and if the child was in the child abuse registry there.
  • Step siblings, and step parents and other adult relatives are added to the list of people who can apply to adopt a child.

HEALTH

  • Prescription Insulin will no longer cost more than $50.00 for a 30/day supply.
  • Regional jail, & school nurses can now carry and administer the opioid overdose reversal drug.
  • Increased the penalty for cruelty to animals to 100,000.
  • Balanced medical billing – all service providers will be treated as ‘in network’ for health insurance provided in VA.
  • Conversion therapy (anti-gay therapy) is prohibited. (The religious exemption still applies)
  • Assed the Reproductive Health Protection Act, eliminating restrictions on abortions.
  • Decriminalized marijuana and working towards full retail legalization in 2023.
  • Driving with a cell phone must now be hands-free
  • Increased access to birth control and contraception for Medicaid and FAMIS recipients.

INCOME/SUPPORT

  • The minimum wage will increase, incrementally to 15.00/hour
  • Fair Labor Standards Act – employers must pay overtime for over 40 hours (stricter exemptions)
  • Virginia Human Rights act provides worker protections for Home health workers, and first responders which include fair pay laws, and worker’ compensation (including PTSD for officers)
  • Simple drug felons (marijuana) can still be eligible for food stamps based solely on that conviction.

AND THERE'S MORE!

  • Ratified the ERA
  • Lee Jackson day has been replaced with Election Day.
  • It will be easier to change a person’s name and gender on birth certificates
  • You will no longer need a voter id to vote.
  • You will no longer need an excuse to vote absentee-in person
  • Students entering college in Virginia will be entitled to in state tuition as long as you can prove Virginia residency (specifically assists undocumented persons).
  • Home Health employers must now provide paid sick leave to their employees.