On July 1, legislation passed during the 2020 General Assembly session will become law, with some exceptions. This session was the first with Democrats newly in charge and they used their new legislative majority to pass sweeping changes in Virginia, often on party-line votes. Below is a snapshot of some of the legislation that will be going into effect.
House Bill 19 will eliminate the photo-ID requirement for voting, therefore, rolling back Virginia's voter ID laws. Rather than show a photo ID, this bill allows people to vote, by simply signing a sworn statement that says they are who they say they are.
House Bill 201 will implement same-day voter registration, allowing voters to register and vote on Election Day. This bill has a delayed enactment date, so it does not go into effect until October 1, 2022.
Jobs and the Economy:
Virginia was named CNBC’s 2019 Best State for Business, but we didn’t get there by accident. House Republicans helped keep taxes low, reduced regulations, promoted a stronger workforce, and protected Virginia’s business climate from Democrat policies that would have killed jobs. With the new majority, we will now see many bad business policies be enacted.
On taxes, Democrats quickly implemented new or additional taxes on Virginians. Republicans have worked to cut taxes as much as possible. The new taxes and fees being levied by House Democrats will undoubtedly be felt by our constituents soon. The new and increased taxes passed this session total almost $2 billion.
Democrats also created a dozen new causes of action for workers to sue their employers.
These include; lawsuits for ‘misclassification,’ that will allow contract workers who think they should be treated as actual employees, lawsuits for any violation of the Virginia Human Rights Act, including new provisions barring discrimination on the basis of LGBT status, gender identity, and more, and a cause of action for low-wage employees to sue if they are required to sign a non-compete covenant as a term of employment.
The General Assembly passed 7 out of 8-gun control bills endorsed by Governor Northam.
Democrats have abandoned all pretense of moderation in their pursuit of gun control. Where they were once content to nibble around the edges of the Second Amendment, now that they are in control they’ve adopted laws criminalizing law-abiding citizens, banning the most common firearms and magazines, and demanding citizens turn over their lawfully purchased property as their central policies. Republicans are committed to stopping gun violence, but we’re committed to doing it in a way that respects the Second Amendment -- and a way that works.
The 2020 General Assembly has seen Democrats move forward in their quest to abandon “safe, legal, and rare abortions” and implement policies that will roll back longstanding law designed to protect women and ensure an informed decision is being made about an abortion. Additionally, under these new policies, those who may perform an abortion has been drastically expanded.
Public Safety is one of the first and highest duties of the General Assembly. Republicans have worked every year to hold accountable those who would harm our fellow Virginians and ensure that our laws keep up with the changing times and changing threats.
For more than two decades, those tried and convicted in Virginia have known they will serve the sentence given to them by a judge or jury. Governor Allen's abolition of parole made our streets safer and led to the current low crime and low recidivism rate we see today.
House Democrats passed legislation that will make eligible for parole an estimated 280 violent offenders in Virginia. Those who will now have the ability to come before the Virginia Parole Board include rapists and murderers.
Democrats also rejected common-sense legislation that would increase the penalties for those who commit violent crimes with firearms. In addition, they also passed legislation that would end mandatory reporting to law enforcement for serious crimes committed in our schools such as sexual battery and stalking.
House Democrats claim they want to keep neighborhoods and communities safe, but their legislation will make it harder to hold accountable those who commit crimes
Republicans have consistently supported policies that ensure our constituents and businesses have reliable and affordable energy. Because of our leadership, Virginia residents and businesses have some of the lowest electricity rates in the nation.
As public opinion has shifted to emphasizing having more renewable sources in Virginia’s energy portfolio, Republicans have embraced realistic, market-based approaches to diversifying Virginia’s energy production.
Republicans’ approach to energy has been an ‘all-of-the-above’ position that incorporates renewables with our existing fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas. This approach allows Virginians to have reliable, affordable energy and take into account the communities that rely on energy production, while promoting a cleaner environment.
Unfortunately, House Democrats have made it quite clear that they want to end fossil fuel energy sources as quickly as possible, regardless of the short- and long-term consequences of such policies. While Republicans have managed a gradual incorporation of renewables, and prevented catastrophic energy policies from being enacted, the 2020 General Assembly Session is different.
House Democrats are only listening to one constituency when it comes to energy policy and are passing some of the most aggressive changes to energy policy in the country, moving to a completely renewable portfolio of sources by 2045. This legislation will increase electric bills by 23.9 percent, according to House Democrats.
If you would like more information about any of the legislation mentioned in this newsletter or if I can be of assistance in any way, please feel free to contact my office. You can reach us at 434.696.3061 or DelTWright@house.virginia.gov