Legislation includes COVID-19 relief, police and criminal justice reform
RICHMOND, VA—Today, six additional bills introduced by House Democrats were approved by the House of Delegates and will be conveyed to the governor. In total, 19 House Democratic Caucus bills have been passed by both the House and Senate during the 2020 Special Session.
House Democrats’ approved measures will provide COVID-19 relief, make improvements in policing and criminal justice, and build equity throughout the Commonwealth — as outlined in the House Democratic Caucus’ priorities at the start of the Special Session.
House Democratic Leadership released the following statements:
“Today we are one step closer to completing our Special Session and delivering on our pledge to provide a strong response to COVID-19, as well as address police and criminal justice reform,” said Virginia Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn. “I am proud of what the General Assembly has accomplished thus far — we will finish our work and fulfill our promise to Virginians.”
“This legislation is the result of hard work and collaboration among Democrats in both chambers; we share the goal of helping Virginians suffering from COVID-19, financial distress due to the pandemic, and racial inequalities and injustices,” said House Democratic Majority Leader Charniele Herring. “House Democrats seized the opportunity during Special Session to tackle both long-overdue problems and catastrophic new ones, to make Virginia a better place to live, work, and raise a family. We will continue to work together to address the suffering radiating throughout the Commonwealth, during the remainder of the Special Session and in 2021.”
“The House Democratic Caucus listened to our constituents before the Special Session, and we acted. At a time when Virginians are facing crises related to health, the economy, and racial justice, we came together to hear input from experts, advocates, and citizens to legislate carefully and effectively,” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Rip Sullivan. “These are uncertain and unprecedented times, but Virginians can rely on House Democrats to work hard for all Virginians with every bill we pass and every dollar in our balanced budget.”
Here is a summary of the House Democrats’ legislation passed by the General Assembly during Special Session:
- HB 5046 (Adams) Advancing innovations in telehealth.
- HB 5047 (Murphy) Prohibits manufacturers or distributors from selling necessary goods or services at an unconscionable price during a declared state of emergency.
- HB 5048 (Sickles) Mandating transparency requirements for congregate-care facilities during a public health emergency.
- HB 5059 (Willett) Providing certain liability protection for assisted living facilities in relation to COVID-19.
- HB 5087 (Tran) Removing the sunset clause on Virginia’s short-term compensation program (work-sharing) to facilitate eligibility for CARES Act funds.
- HB 5093 (Watts) Granting flexibility in enforcing executive orders through civil penalty. Under current law, the only penalty for such a violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- HB 5113 (Roem) Ensuring local school board participation in the federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) no-cost breakfast and lunch program.
- HB 5115 (Price) Protecting housing security for individuals and families negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Policing and Criminal Justice Reform
- HB 5029 (McQuinn) Mandating the duty of one officer to intervene to stop use of excessive force by another officer.
- HB 5045 (Delaney) Banning sexual relations between officers and arrestees.
- HB 5051 (Simon) Requiring decertification of a law enforcement officer who is terminated or resigns for violation of law, serious misconduct in violation of statewide standards of conduct, or during an internal investigation.
- HB 5058 (Hope) Eliminates certain vehicle equipment offenses or the odor of marijuana as pretexts for a stop or search by law enforcement.
- HB 5062 (Mullin) Codifying prosecutorial ability to dismiss charges.
- HB 5069 (Carroll Foy) Banning the use of neck restraints by law enforcement except if immediately necessary to protect the officer or another person.
- HB 5072 (Lopez) Empowering the Attorney General to conduct “pattern or practice” investigations of police forces that appear to be violating constitutional rights, including unlawful discrimination.
- HB 5098 (Askew) Expanding the definition of hate crimes to include false 911 calls or reports to law enforcement against another person made on the basis of race, religious conviction, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, or national origin.
- HB 5108 (Guzman) Diversifying the Department of Criminal Justice Services’ Committee on Training.
- HB 5109 (Hope) Standardizing and enhancing training by criminal justice academies and establishing required in-service training standards for law enforcement officers.
Making Virginia a more Equitable Place
- HB 5052 (Bagby) Codifying Juneteenth as an official holiday in the Commonwealth of Virginia.