Alexandria delegation works with the governor to legalize marijuana on July 1.
Alexandria is about to become the capital of marijuana in Virginia. The city's legislative delegation is at the center of an effort poised to legalize weed this summer, years ahead of an agreement that was struck behind closed doors at the end of the General Assembly session in February.
Compromise on expungement: automatic for some misdemeanors, petition for some felonies.
Marijuana convictions will be automatically expunged under a bill now under consideration by Gov. Ralph Northam, although convictions for crack cocaine will require missing a day of work and probably hiring a lawyer to go to court and seal the record. The legislation is a compromise crafted late in the General Assembly session by House Majority Leader Charniele Herring of Alexandria and state Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36), who clashed repeatedly over the last year about how the process should work.
Cosmetics testing, research dogs/cats, dangerous dogs, pet store employees come under scrutiny
The 2021 Virginia General Assembly had only six companion animal-related bills before it this session; a small number compared to the roughly two dozen during the 2020 session, and a dozen in 2019.
House and Senate Democrats disagree on how old convictions should be expunged.
For people haunted by a conviction for felony drug possession or misdemeanor disorderly conduct, a debate now happening in the Virginia General Assembly is one that could have dramatic consequences for finding a place to live or landing a job. Lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow those people to seal their criminal record, expunging old convictions and helping them wipe the slate clean. But Democrats are bitterly divided over how to accomplish that goal.
Alexandria senator leads effort to legalize marijuana in Virginia.
The so-called "war on drugs" was a failure, locking up generations of Black men and tearing Black families apart. Now lawmakers in Richmond are finally coming around to realizing the damage that the prohibition against marijuana caused in minority communities. Last year members of the General Assembly approved legislation decriminalizing marijuana. This year, they may be on the verge of legalizing recreational use of marijuana — ending the failed war on drugs and adopting new equity measures to address some of the damage it caused.
Del. Patrick Hope (D-47), who chairs the House Public Safety Committee, said after gun safety bills passed subcommittee today, that on Friday the full committee will be taking up legislation to continue to prevent gun violence.
Lawmakers consider bill to abolish capital punishment in Virginia
Virginia has executed people longer than any other state, a tradition that stretches back into colonial days when Captain George Kendall was executed for treason. Over the years, the commonwealth has executed more than 1,300 people. Now, Virginia may be about to join 22 other states that have abolished the death penalty.
Alexandria senator leads fight against profiting from prisoners
Housing inmates in Virginia prisons costs the state about $70 a day for each inmate. But the private sector can do it a lot cheaper, about $50 a day. Lawmakers are about to debate whether that's a savings they can afford.
The House legislative agenda will focus on three key areas for the upcoming legislative session: Protecting Families; Keeping Virginia Healthy; Rebuilding Our Economy Stronger
Advocates for paid sick days try to build support among Virginia Senate Democrats
Before the pandemic hit, Senate Democrats stopped a proposal requiring businesses to offer paid sick days. During the pandemic, they rejected it again during a special session. Now as lawmakers prepare for the upcoming General Assembly session, advocates are hoping they've finally got a strategy to persuade reluctant Senate Democrats to approve a new law increasing the number of workers in Virginia who have access to paid sick days.
Lawmakers to consider expanding appeals court, providing new oversight to judges.
Virginia is the only state in the country that does not guarantee a right to appeal, allowing circuit court judges to make decisions with little oversight or scrutiny. Critics have been calling for reform ever since the Court of Appeals was first created in 1985. The Supreme Court of Virginia recommended an appeal of right as a "long term goal" in 2018. Now, Gov. Ralph Northam says he wants lawmakers to add four judges and support staff "to ensure the court can hear more appeals cases in a timely manner under an increasing workload."
Lawmakers to reconsider mandatory minimum for assaulting law enforcement
Earlier this year, lawmakers rejected a bill that would have ditched the mandatory minimum sentence for assaulting a law-enforcement officer. Now the General Assembly is about to consider the issue again.
Newly created redistricting commission zooms toward new maps in 2021
Now that voters have approved a constitutional amendment creating a new redistricting commission, the pieces have already started falling into place for how the commission will work and who will serve on it.
In February, the 2020 General Assembly unanimously designated December as Virginia’s Puppy Mill Awareness Month.
What should “back to school” look like during a pandemic?
Sept. 8, early October, November and now 2021.