Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
New bills: Senate primary, anti-discrimination, funeral protests, I95 tolls
New bills are flooding into the General Assembly and onto the state legislative website. Here are just a few interesting ones that have come up in the past day or two:
HB 692: From Del. Ken Plum, this bill prohibits discrimination in public employment based on the employee’s sexual orientation (and a number of other reasons). Plum also has HB 694, which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the Virginia Human Rights Act, which also protects against discrimination. Similar bills have failed in the past couple of sessions.
HB 707: From Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, the bill makes it illegal to disrupt a funeral or memorial service, starting an hour prior to the service beginning and lasting until it’s over.
HB 778: Del. Rosalyn Tyler — prohibits putting tolls on I-95 without General Assembly permission. Currently Gov. Bob McDonnell is working on plans to put at least one and probably two toll plazas on 95 — one might go near Massaponax — but doing so doesn’t require legislative approval.
HB 736: Del. Chris Jones — would move the currently scheduled June 12 primary election to August 21. That primary will determine candidates in the U.S. Senate race and congressional races. It appears to be motivated by the fact that the General Assembly still hasn’t redrawn the state’s congressional districts (although a new bill to do so is moving through the House of Delegates at the moment). At least one Senate candidate (Republican Jamie Radtke) has questioned how redistricting will affect the signatures that candidates must gather from each congressional district.
HB 688: From Del. Israel O’Quinn, the bill would require people convicted on methamphetamine charges (manufacture, possession, use, etc) to have that fact marked on their driver’s licenses for 18 months.
HB 896: From Del. Dave Albo, removes the restrictions for state liquor stores to open on Sunday.
HB 650: From Del. Kaye Kory, this would require city or county animal pounds to keep a registry of non-kill shelters that would be willing to accept animals otherwise scheduled for euthanization. The local pound would also have to give all those no-kill shelters 24 hours to take an animal before it could be put down. Kory also has another bill for special license plates for supporters of animal rescue.
HB 652: Also from Kory, would make texting or emailing while driving a primary offense, instead of the secondary offense it currently is.
HB 664: From Del. Scott Surovell, would require the state to post the names of all taxpayers who take a state tax credit worth more than $1,000
HB 831: From Del. Betsey Carr, the bill establishes a non-partisan redistricting commission for the 2021 redistricting.
HB 921: Del. Scott Lingamfelter, allows Sunday hunting.