Hannah Eason, News Editor
Andrew Ringle, Managing Editor
Legislators in the Virginia General Assembly reached the midway point of their 2020 session on Tuesday, casting their final votes during what is known as Crossover Day. Going forward, the House of Delegates and the state Senate can no longer vote on their own bills. Before a proposal can become law, it must be approved in the House and the Senate with a signature from the governor.
In-state tuition for undocumented students passes House
The House approved a bill that would exempt undocumented students from having to pay out-of-state tuition at public colleges and universities. In order to be eligible for the exemption, students must have attended high school in Virginia for at least two years.
House passes $15 minimum wage, moves forward to Senate
HB 395 passed in the House on Tuesday, which would gradually increase the minimum wage in the commonwealth to $15 per hour. The first raise, from $7.25 to $9, would happen July 1. The minimum wage would continue to increase an additional $2 each year until 2023. The measure, sponsored by Jeion Ward, D-Hampton, passed in a 55-45 vote and will continue to the Senate. A similar bill out of the Senate was adapted to raise wages in only Northern Virginia.
Bill for Va. Lottery to regulate casino gambling, provisions for native tribes pass in House
In a 61-33 vote, the House passed HB 4, which would allow the Virginia Lottery Board to regulate casino gaming in the state. If the bill passes the Senate and governor’s approval, each city would hold a referendum on whether to allow casino gambling in the city. The bill includes provisions for Native American tribes by establishing the Virginia Indigenous People’s Trust Fund and requiring annual reports on the status of Virginia tribes.
Local governments may gain authority over monument removal
Virginia localities may soon be able to remove statues and war memorials, including those honoring the Confederacy, as both the House and the Senate voted to approve bills that would allow such an action. The Senate’s version of the proposal, SB 183, passed by a vote of 21-19, while HB 1537 passed 53-46. Current law prohibits interfering or disturbing monuments and war memorials.
Senate proposal would close gun show loophole
The state Senate voted to approve SB 543, a bill that would require state police to perform a criminal background check on anyone purchasing or transferring a firearm at a gun show. SB 67, a bill that would require reporting lost or stolen firearms, failed to advance out of the body.