Hello wonderful VA NOW advocates and allies,
You may be wondering, what happened to the pieces of legislation we were tracking?? Well, some have died, others are currently waiting in a conference committee for the House and Senate to strike an agreement on amendments, and some have passed both the House and Senate and are on their way to the Governor’s Desk.
I’d like to offer the opportunity for you all to gain some experience advocating for legislation to Governor McAuliffe if you are interested in doing so! The Governor has to sign, amend, or veto legislation prior to April, but we’d like to get a head start now.
What does this mean??
Essentially, this email should be very similar to the emails you have been sending out to the committees you’ve been following. Remember–a good email has a mixture of personal opinion, facts and statistics, and why this is worth the cost (if applicable). I have attached both our final billsheets and our fact sheets from the beginning of session for your convenience. Click the links for more issue info: other resources for domestic violence legislation; other resources for anti-bullying legislation
In the billsheet posted at our website, the bills that are starred are still in a committee conference; all other pieces of legislation are ready for the Governor’s signature!
What do we recommend taking action on?
Domestic Violence and Stalking: SUPPORT
HB 567 Sexual battery; touching a person’s intimate parts, etc., penalty. Introduced by: Vivian E. Watts
Sexual battery by touching a person’s intimate parts; penalty. Provides that a person is guilty of sexual battery (punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor) if, within a two-year period, such person sexually abuses against the will of the victim more than one victim or sexually abuses one victim on more than one occasion.
HB 708 Assault and battery; family or household member. Introduced by: C. Todd Gilbert
Assault and battery against a family or household member. Adds unlawful wounding in violation of § 18.2-51 and strangulation in violation of § 18.2-51.6 to the list of offenses that, if a person has been previously convicted of two such offenses within a 20-year period and such offenses occurred on different dates, enhance the penalty of assault and battery against a family or household member from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony.
HB 1233 Address Confidentiality Program; victims of stalking eligible for Program. Introduced by: David J. Toscano
Address Confidentiality Program; victims of stalking. Makes victims of stalking eligible for the Address Confidentiality Program. Under current law, only victims of domestic violence are eligible for participation. The bill also allows the Office of the Attorney General to cancel a program participant’s certification if the participant obtains a name change through an order of the court and does not provide notice and a copy of the order to the Office of the Attorney General within seven days after entry of the order.
Voting Rights: SUPPORT
HB 669 Absentee ballots; date requirement. Introduced by: Charniele L. Herring
Elections; absentee ballots; date requirement. Provides that a voter’s failure to provide the date, or any part of the date, on which he signed the statement on the back of the return envelope shall not render that ballot void or provide officers of election with a basis for rejection.
HB 670 Absentee ballots; name and signature requirements. Introduced by: Charniele L. Herring
Elections; absentee ballots; name and signature requirements. Provides that a voter’s failure to provide his full middle name or his middle initial in the statement on the back of the return envelope shall not render that absentee ballot void or provide officers of election with a basis for rejection, unless the voter also failed to provide his full first name. The bill also provides that a signature that is reasonably similar to the voter’s legal name is sufficient for purposes of casting an absentee ballot.
HB 838 Absentee ballot; procedures for return of envelope. Introduced by: Mark L. Keam
Elections; absentee ballot procedures. Provides that an absentee ballot will not be voided solely because the envelope containing the ballot was imperfectly sealed so long as the outside envelope containing the ballot and its envelope has been sealed and there is evidence that a good faith effort has been made to seal the ballot envelope.
HB 1187 School Safety, Virginia Center for; bullying. Introduced by: Jennifer L. McClellan
Virginia Center for School Safety; bullying. Requires the Virginia Center for School Safety to use the definition of bullying found in § 22.1-276.01 of the Code of Virginia for purposes of training on evidence-based antibullying tactics and providing information to school divisions regarding school safety concerns.
SB 236 Student religious viewpoint expression; school division policy. Introduced by: L. Scott Lingamfelter
Limited public forums for student religious viewpoint expression; school division policy. Requires each school division to adopt a policy to permit a student speaker to express a religious viewpoint at all school events at which a student is permitted to publicly speak. The policy shall declare each such school event to be a limited public forum, provide a neutral method for the selection of student speakers, and require each school principal to provide a disclaimer in advance of each such school event that the school division does not endorse any religious viewpoint that may be expressed by student speakers.
And always remember: if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to talk about any piece of legislation we are monitoring, do not hesitate to contact me directly! Please have a wonderful week and talk with you soon!!