Hair discrimination, gun control & Election Day: What you missed this week in the General Assembly

Andrew Ringle, Managing Editor

Virginia could be fourth state to ban hair discrimination

The House of Delegates and the state Senate have each approved a bill that would ban discrimination based on “traits historically associated with race,” including hairstyles such as braids, dreadlocks and twists. Virginia would join California, New York and New Jersey in banning hair discrimination. Similar proposals are being considered this month in state legislatures of Colorado, Washington and Minnesota.

Senate committee passes 7 gun-control bills

A Senate committee voted Monday to approve seven gun-control bills out of a package of eight that Gov. Ralph Northam proposed last year. The proposals included limiting handgun purchases to one a month, establishing universal background checks and allowing localities to ban firearms within their borders.

Ban on electronic skills games scores GA support

A proposal to classify electronic skills games as “illegal gambling devices” now needs a signature from the governor to become law. Senate Bill 971, which the House approved Monday, defines the games as those that require the insertion of a coin or a ticket for the reward of a cash prize. It exempts machines at “family entertainment centers” including claw games with non-cash prizes.

School discipline bill passes under Republican scrutiny

A bill passed by the General Assembly would eliminate the requirement for school principals to report certain low-level incidents and misdemeanors to local law enforcement. Supporters of the bill say the measure would reduce the number of students reported to police. Some Republicans are critical of the bill because it would not require principals to report crimes like sexual battery and stalking.

Senate approves eliminating photo ID voting requirement

House Bill 19, which would permit voters without required forms of identification to cast ballots in Virginia elections, has been approved by both chambers of the General Assembly. Voters without photo identification would have to sign a statement confirming they are who they claim to be, and making false statements would be punishable as a Class 5 felony.

Lawmakers pass bill ending Lee-Jackson Day

The House of Delegates voted Monday to approve a bill ending the state celebration of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. The measure would establish Election Day as a legal holiday on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November. The bill now needs a signature from Northam, who has expressed support for the proposal.

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