Hannah Eason, News Editor
Andrew Ringle, Managing Editor
Hate crime prosecution bill moves forward in Senate
A bill that would allow the Virginia Attorney General to prosecute hate crimes advanced out of committee on Monday. House Bill 787 would allow prosecution through Virginia’s multijurisdictional grand juries, an investigative body that analyzes and prosecutes crimes that cross county lines. HB 1288, which incorporated a bill that forbids people convicted of hate crimes from possessing a firearm, was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary last week.
Assault firearm ban fails in Senate
HB 961 would have banned the selling and transferring of assault firearms but failed in the Senate on Monday in a 10-5 vote of the Committee on the Judiciary. The measure will be continued to 2021, after barely passing in the House before the crossover deadline. Other bills, like HB 2 which would require background checks, remain in committee.
Statute of limitations for sexual abuse survivors could increase to 20 years
A Senate committee voted unanimously Monday in favor of a bill that would allow sexual abuse survivors to pursue legal action up to 20 years after an incident. Currently, the statute of limitations is 10 years, and 20 years for abuse that happens during infancy or toward an incapacitated person. Jeff Bourne, D-Richmond, patroned the bill.
Republican state senator to run for governor
Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, announced she will run for governor in 2021 during a press conference outside the state Capitol on Monday. The conservative state senator is the first major candidate to announce a gubernatorial campaign. Chase is known for her support of gun rights, and she used to openly wear a handgun on the Senate floor and during committee meetings.
State Senate approves conversion therapy ban
The Virginia Senate voted Monday to ban licensed therapists from subjecting minors to conversion therapy. House Bill 386, which defines conversion therapy as any practice aiming to to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, would become law with a signature from Gov. Ralph Northam.
Bill would ban holding a cellphone while driving
A bill that would prohibit holding a phone while driving passed the state Senate on Monday. Current law prohibits typing and reading messages while driving, as well as holding a phone while driving in a work zone. With a signature from the governor, HB 874 would go into effect at the beginning of 2021.