2024 Legislative Wrap

The Virginia General Assembly is nominally controlled by the Democratic party with the slimmest of one vote margins in each chamber. The govenor’s mansion is occupied by Republican Glenn Youngkin who can’t move legislation without democratic approval but does have the power to veto bills with little fear of an override. In such a situation, and with the neccessity of producing a biannual budget, there are good reasons for both sides to cooperate. In the 2024 General Assembly session this happened now and then, but for the most part poth sides did as they pleased and, in the end, not much happened either good or bad. They’ll be another election in two years, and we will see what we will see. In the meantime APV continues to monitor events at the Capitol.

Things that didn’t happen:

* The Digital Sales Tax is out of the budget, but most budget priorities in the original budget are still there including the 3% pay raise for teachers. Also, there will be an increase in K-12 spending though not as much as we had hoped.

* At the beginning of his term Gov. Youngkin pulled Virginia out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, RGGI (APV has lobbied in favor of RGGI). There is still an argument about whether the governor had the authority to do this, but this will have to be sorted out in the courts or after the next election.

* Right now, it is still illegal for convenience stores and restaurants to have slot machines (so-called skill games) on their premises. The attempt to lift the ban in the GA this year failed and the legislation to tax machines died after the governor heavily amended the bills. This isn’t completely over yet. There are an estimated 90 million dollars in revenue at stake and powerful forces on both sides of the aisle have an interest in making something happen so stay tuned. APV opposes allowing more access to these so-called “one-eyed bandits”. Virginia’s new reliance on gambling as a source of state revenue disproportionately places the burden on communities and individuals at risk.

Gov. Youngkin vetoed a record 150+ bills this year, gutting legislation that would have furthered reasonable gun laws and protected women’s reproductive rights among other issues. The governor did sign several bills that APV supported.

Bills that passed:

*HB78/SB16 Watts, Favola: Search warrants, subpoenas, court orders, or other process; menstrual health data prohibited. Signed

*HB22 Jones: Auto sears and trigger activators; prohibition on manufacture, importation, sale, etc., penalty. Signed

HB994 Krys-Gamarra: Legal age for marriage. Establishes the legal age of marriage to be 18 years of age and eliminates the ability for a minor to be declared emancipated based on the intent to marry. Signed

HB48/SB46 Helmer, VanValkenburg: Prohibits any public institution of higher education from providing any manner of preferential treatment in the admissions decision to any student applicant based on such student’s legacy status, defined in the bill, or such student’s familial relationship to any donor to such institution. Signed

SB546 HB1242 Bagby/Whillett: Emergency custody and temporary detention orders; evaluations; presence of others. Requires (i) the evaluator conducting the evaluation of an individual to determine whether such individual meets the criteria for temporary detention or (ii) the hospital emergency department and treating physician or other health care provider designated by the physician, when providing services to an individual who is being evaluated to determine whether the individual meets the criteria for temporary detention, to allow the individual’s family member or legal guardian who is present and who may provide support and supportive decision making to be present with the individual unless the individual objects or the evaluator or treating physician determines that their presence would create a medical, clinical, or safety risk to the patient or health care provider or interferes with patient care. Signed

Governor Youngkin also signed *HB1491: O’Quinn, Phase I Utility; recovery of development costs associated with small modular nuclear facility, which APV opposed.

The session ended (for now), in a stalemate: In a special session in June, efforts to rework the funding and qualifications for education grants to wounded or deceased veterans and their families were tabled and another attempt to pass “skill” gaming legislation also failed. While the two issues are not related on a policy level, they are tied together as part of the brinksmanship at play at the General Assembly this year.

Coming Soon: 2024 Legislative Wrap Up

APV will be posting our Virginia General Assembly session wrap up of bills that passed and bills that didn’t.

Suffer the Children...

Suffer the Children…

Today APV President, Rhonda Hening lead a delegation of APV members and staff to the offices of both Virginia Senators Kaine and Warner to deliver a letter of protest and concern regarding the latest Trump scandal: the forced separation, caging and drugging of minors including infants seeking asylum with their families in the United States. We had spirited and frank discussions with staff and made clear our anger and indignation at this embarrassment of a man and the administration he runs.

Along with the APV Kaine Letter june 21 18 we made several specific asks of the Senators including paying a visit to now infamous detention center near Staunton where children were allegedly beaten and abused, and to Abby and her family who are now under sanctuary here in Richmond. Below are some of the points we stressed today.

  • This policy was an attempt at blackmail designed to get Trump his wall, We ask that you do NOT cooperate.
  • Oppose any strawman legislation that proports to end this practice, such legislation is unnecessary and only serves to confuse the public as to administration responsibility. As he proved on Wednesday this president always had the power to end this catastrophe with a pen stroke.
  • Attend, support or participate in hearings that bring the appropriate department heads before you under oath and invoke Congressional oversite to investigate the origins of this “policy”. Hold human rights violators who have participated in implementing this administration’s plans accountable before the law.
  • Join the call for the resignation of DHS Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen whose statements during this crisis indicate either incompetence, dishonesty or both.
  • Sponsor a motion of censure for the president and members of the Trump cabinet who have knowingly lied about this new program in public while committing a clear human rights violation by implementing this new policy.
  • Join our call for the break-up of ICE. The Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE is the product of the ill-advised conglomeration of various federal security agencies after 9-11. It has become a rogue, strongarm force for this administration and has lost the confidence of many Americans. It should be broken down to its constituent parts and demilitarized.
  • Declare a moratorium on filling any more judgeships under this criminal and illegitimate administration until after the November elections, at the least.

Thank You! to the APV members and staff who took time out of their day to come out and make your selves heard.

APV Stands with the Sanctuary Movement

APV Stands with the Sanctuary Movement

APV Policy Director Scott Price represented our organization today at a press conference to announce the first public act of sanctuary granted by a religious denomination in Virginia for a family fleeing persecution and facing arrest and deportation here. Many thanks to the large, ecumenical cross section of religious leaders and the other organizations in this coalition who stood together today. Special thanks to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond who are providing physical sanctuary going forward. And lastly, thank you Abby and your family for allowing us to be a part of your lives. We are humbled by your courage.

Each generation is called to judgement by history, so far ours hasn’t made much of an accounting of ourselves. We are faced with a cynical, corrupt and morally bankrupt administration that seems to have no floor to its behavior. We are asking our fellow citizens to stand up against this incompetent, childish tyrant. We know which side we’re on, do you? Join us… be counted.”Scott Price, speaking to reporters after the Wednesday Press Conference.




Virginia Passes Medicaid Expansion

Virginia Passes Medicaid Expansion

May 30, 2018

Virginia has become the 33rd State to expand Medicaid coverage. APV has lobbied for this year after year. We were told again and again that it couldn’t be done. Today, 23 senators, including 4 Republicans voted for a budget that does just that. We are so proud to be one of the many organizations that fought to include over 300,000 uninsured Virginians in this important and successfully program. Congratulations and thank you to all our members who worked to make this happen. You’re voices did this!

“We worked hard this session and the credit for this win goes to a lot of people, especially the grassroots folks who came out and made their voices heard.” Rhonda Hening, APV President.

“That great Progressive Freshman class in the House and a few principled conservatives in the Senate… It feels good to get something important done. We’ll be back.” Scott Price, APV Policy Director

APV Policy Director Scott Price with Del. Danica Roem (13th)