Where’s the legislature?
The Governor has called the lawmakers back for Special Session I, beginning Monday April 4th, following the completion of the regular legislative session on March 12th. In addition to the Special Session, the lawmakers must come back April 27th to be ready to override vetoes of bills that passed during the regular session, if the opportunity presents itself. April 11th is the last day for Governor Youngkin to act on bills that passed both chambers before Sine Die.

What can be expected from Special Session I?
During this session, Virginia’s budget for the next two years will be determined and bills that are still in conference may also come forward for a vote. It is anticipated that compromises on tax cuts and the standard tax deduction will be central to the budget decisions. Additionally, the Governor has added another item to the legislative agenda, calling upon the legislature to suspend the gas tax for the next three months when they reconvene, as a way to provide Virginians financial relief as the state experiences skyrocketing gas prices. Following the Special Session, the General Assembly will need to reconvene once again after bills passed by both chambers have gone to the Governor and he has a chance to veto. 

Notable legislation that may resurface during the Special Session includes these will be discussed at greater length below in the “Bills in Conference” section:
– Stadium bills
– Election related absentee ballot bills
– Electoral Board bill
– Natural Gas bill
– Lab school bills
– Firearm related bills

Index of this Report
– Important Dates
– Bills Awaiting the Governor’s Action
– Bills in Conference
– Positive Policy Outcomes | Regular Legislative Session 2022
– Policy Disappointments | Regular Legislative Session 2022

IMPORTANT DATES

March 12, 2022 (Sine Die)
– Last Day of the 2022 regular legislative session
April 11, 2022
– Last Day for Governor to act on bills passed by Sine Die
April 27, 2022
– Legislature reconvenes in preparation to override any vetoes from Governor Youngkin (A bill must receive support from 2/3rds of the House and 2/3rds of the Senate in a veto override vote to be successful.)
April 4th, 2022
– Special Session, at the call of the Governor (Purpose is to finish the budget, and vote on dozens of bills that did not reach conclusion before the regular session ended.)
Date to be determined
– Reconvene after Special Session

BILLS AWAITING THE GOVERNOR’S ACTION

EDUCATION

SB 656: Sexually Explicit School Material Notification
This legislation requires that parents are notified when sexually explicit material will be included in instructional material in public K-12 schools. The bill also states that parents must be able to review such materials and provide an alternative for the instruction of their student. 

  • Bill status: Passed the House, passed the Senate, this bill will now go to the Governor’s desk for his approval or veto.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

ELECTIONS

HB 205 & SB 80: Election Financing
Both pieces of legislation would make it illegal for any elected state or local election official to accept money from any individual or entity except the government to fund an election in Virginia. This policy would be beneficial in preserving unbiased elections.

  • HB 205 status: Passed the House, passed the Senate, will now go to the Governor for his approval or veto. 
  • HB 205 bill text, history, and information: Click HERE
  • SB 80 status: Passed the Senate, passed the House, will now go to the Governor for his approval or veto. 
  • SB 80 bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 927 & SB 3: Absentee Ballot Counting
If this legislation was adopted, any ballot counted at a central absentee precinct would be required to be counted and sorted into categories based on the precinct where the ballot was cast. This bill also requires total vote result numbers to be reported by precinct.

  • HB 927 status: Passed the House, passed the Senate.
  • HB 927 bill text, history, and information: Click HERE
  • SB 3 status: Passed the Senate, passed the House, conference committee report accepted by both chambers. SB 3 will now go to the Governor for his approval or veto. 
  • SB 3 bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

EMINENT DOMAIN

SB 666: Citizen Protections Related to Eminent Domain
This bill revises the definitions of “lost access” and “lost profits,” related to eminent domain. This is a good policy that would increase protections to citizens who are affected by a public use project. 

  • Bill status: Passed the Senate, passed the House, will now go to the Governor for his approval or veto.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

SB 694: Update to Eminent Domain Code
This bill would create changes to substantially protect property owners who have land affected by eminent domain. It would require the government to inform the property owner if a project is over and the owner can get portions of their property back, requires interest to be paid on payments to landowners and prevents a development approval from being granted to allow eminent domain, among several other good reforms. 

  • Bill status: Passed the Senate, passed the House, conference committee report accepted by both chambers. SB 694 will now go to the Governor for his approval or veto.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

FIRST FREEDOMS

HB 1063: Protection for Religious Practices
This bill defines religious protections to apply to “any outward expression of religious faith, including adherence to religious dressing and grooming practices and the carrying or display of religious items or symbols.” The broad strengthening of rights to religious adherence and worship is good policy in a cultural climate where free exercise of personal religious beliefs is often under attack.

  • Bill status: Passed the House, passed the Senate, this bill will now go to the Governor’s desk for his approval or veto.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 384: Public Employee Right to Free Speech
This bill protects public employees from punishment from their employer if they choose to share an opinion personally in a public hearing about a rule or regulation of the state or local government. 

  • Bill status: Passed the House, passed the Senate, this bill will now go to the Governor’s desk for his approval or veto.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HEALTHCARE

HB 81 & SB 436: State Telehealth Plan
These bills require the Board of Health to contract with a private Virginia telehealth organization for general consultation and assistance with tracking implementation of the State Plan. This contract would contribute to the success of the State Telehealth Plan going forward. 

  • HB 81 status: Passed the House, was conformed to SB 436 in Senate committee, passed the Senate, final version was accepted by the House. This bill will now go to the Governor’s desk for his approval or veto. 
  • HB 81 bill text, history, and information: Click HERE
  • SB 436 status: Passed the Senate, passed the House, this bill will now go to the Governor’s desk for his approval or veto. 
  • SB 436 bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 537: Exception for Telemedicine
This bill allows a licensed professional outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia to temporarily provide care to a patient located within the state through telemedicine under certain conditions. This is a good bill that increases access to medical care.

  • Bill status:  Passed the House, passed the Senate, this bill will now go to the Governor’s desk for his approval or veto.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

REGULATORY REFORM

HB 207: Committee Chairmen
This bill requires that when any legislation would increase or start occupational regulation through the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR)  that the chairman of the committee having jurisdiction over the bill send it to DPOR for evaluation.  

  • Bill status: Passed the House, passed the Senate, this bill will now go to the Governor’s desk for his approval or veto.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

BILLS IN CONFERENCE
These bills may progress and come to a vote during the upcoming Special Session

EDUCATION

HB 346 & SB 598: Creation of College Partnership Laboratory Schools
This legislation would allow public or private institutions of higher education to establish a K-12 school called a laboratory school. The institution of higher education would submit an application to the state Board of Education to start a laboratory school. There is also a provision that allows an already existing school to be converted into a lab school.

  • HB 346 & SB 598 status: Passed both chambers, conferees assigned by both chambers.
  • HB 346 text, history and information: Click HERE
  • SB 598 text, history and information: Click HERE

ELECTIONS

SB 273: Witness Signature on Absentee Ballot
This bill would allow for the required witness signature on an absentee ballot to be replaced with the last 4 digits of a voter’s social security number instead. Since there are cases where voters may not have another person in the vicinity to fulfill the role as a witness, this is a good policy change that accommodates more voters and also maintains the security of elections.  

  • Bill status: Passed the Senate, passed the House, conferees assigned by both chambers.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

SB 652: Clarification of Absentee Ballot Application Requirements
This legislation clarifies that the absence of the last four digits of a person’s social security number on an application for an absentee ballot is a material omission, and is grounds for rejecting the application. This requirement would not apply if a person is applying in person for an absentee ballot, because under those circumstances the last four digits of a social security number are not part of the application process. Until now, the law has been clear that this requirement already exists; but, due to the interpretation of one general registrar to the contrary, this legislation has been brought forward to reinforce the existing law. 

  • Bill status: Passed the Senate, passed the House, conferees assigned by both chambers.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 305 & SB 371: Board of Elections and Commissioner of Elections
This legislation would increase the number of members on the State Board of Elections (HB 305: 7 members with 4 from the party of the Governor, SB 371: 8 members with party parity). Also, the Commissioner of Elections is appointed by the Governor currently, but if this policy is adopted the Commissioner would now be appointed by a supermajority of the State Board of Elections instead.

  • HB 305 & SB 371 status: Passed both chambers, conferees assigned by both chambers.
  • HB 305 text, history and information: Click HERE
  • SB 371 text, history and information: Click HERE

ENERGY

HB 1257: Natural Gas Protection
This bill is intended to stop local governments like cities from shutting down their own natural gas utility operations and prohibit them from restricting new connections.  

  • Bill status: Passed the Senate, passed the House, conferees assigned by both chambers.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

FIREARMS

SB 487: Virginia Center for Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention
This bill would establish a new Virginia Center for Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention within the Department of Criminal Justice Services, and transfers an existing fund of the same purpose to the new center. 

  • Bill status: Passed the Senate, passed the House, conferees assigned by both chambers.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 1306: Tampering with Firearm Serial Numbers
This bill would make possession or sale of any firearm with a serial number that has been altered or removed, a class one misdemeanor.

  • Bill status: Passed the Senate, passed the House, conferees assigned by both chambers.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

STADIUM PROJECT

HB 1353 & SB 727: Virginia Football Stadium
This legislation would provide for a Virginia Football Stadium Authority to be established as a political entity that would be responsible for financing the construction of the stadium. Further, SB 727 proposes to permit eminent domain for this development. The newly established authority would be permitted to issue bonds to finance the project.  

  • HB 1353 & SB 727 status: Passed both chambers, conferees assigned by both chambers.
  • HB 1353 text, history and information: Click HERE
  • SB 727 text, history and information: Click HERE

2022 POSITIVE POLICY OUTCOMES
(as of April 3, 2022)

EDUCATION

SB 739: Optional K-12 School Masking – Signed into LAW
This new law requires in person learning at public schools and ended the mask mandates in Virginia public schools as well. 

  • SB 739 bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

ELECTIONS

HB 55 & SB 211: Accurate Voter Rolls – Signed into LAW
This new law requires the Virginia Department of Vital Statistics to report state residents’ death to the Department of Elections on a weekly basis. This is a good policy decision for the Commonwealth that will increase the ongoing accuracy of the official voter roll lists. 

  • HB 55 bill text, history, and information: Click HERE
  • SB 211 bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

SB 318: Donor Disclosure Requirements – DEFEATED
This bill proposed a requirement that an organization that engages in an independent expenditure that included an advertisement for or against a candidate or for or against a referendum must disclose the organization’s top 3 donors on the ad. This requirement would have applied if the ad was run 1-2 months before an election. This policy would be a step in the wrong direction, as it would violate the privacy of individuals who contribute to causes that are personal and expose them to risk of being targeted. The ambiguity of the bill could also be interpreted to apply to issue related communications that don’t expressly support or oppose a candidate. 

  • Bill status: Passed the Senate, died in House Privileges and Elections Subcommittee #2. 
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

WEAPONS AND DEFENSE

SB 758: Switchblades – Signed into LAW
This new law legalizes the selling and possessing of switchblades in Virginia. 

  • SB 758 bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

2022 POLICY DISAPPOINTMENTS
(as of April 2, 2022)

HB 46: Voter Identification
This bill required a voter to present an ID with a photograph at the polls in order to cast a ballot. If the voter did not present a photo ID, they could receive and vote a provisional ballot. The legislation also removed the option for a voter to sign a statement confirming their own identity as an alternative to providing an ID. Further, it removes the option to provide a utility bill or other document without a photograph to provide proof of identity. Lastly, it repeals the permanent absentee voter list. These are good policy measures and would create robust safeguards for election integrity in Virginia. 

  • Bill status: Passed the House, then died in Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 71 & SB 45: Campaign Contributions by Public Utilities
Both pieces of legislation, if adopted, would have added protection from bias to elections and protection from corruption in the marketplace by prohibiting public utility entities from making financial contributions to candidates campaigning for political office.

  • HB 71 bill status: Failed in the House Privileges and Elections Subcommittee #2
  • HB 71 bill text, history, and info: Click HERE
  • SB 45 bill status: Failed in Senate Privileges and Elections Committee
  • SB 45 bill text, history, and info: Click HERE

HB 80: Healthcare Regulatory Sandbox
This legislation would have advanced innovation in Virginia by creating the Healthcare Regulatory Sandbox Program for five years. Participants that have been accepted into the program may temporarily test a healthcare product or service for 2-3 years without the normal licensure or authorization the state requires. An annual report including information about the participants and effectiveness of the program will be prepared and given to the health related committee chairmen in the House and Senate each year. 

  • Bill status: Passed the House, was voted down on the Senate floor (vote was 18-20), a reconsideration of the vote was called for and the bill was voted down a second time (vote 19-20). 
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 185: Limited Same Day Registration
Adoption of this legislation would have established a good policy to prohibit same day voter registration, with only three exceptions. The three specified exceptions were: service members of the United States on active duty, individuals temporarily living outside of the country, and a spouse or dependent of one of the first two categories.

  • Bill status: Passed the House, then died in Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE 

HB 208 & SB 712: Universal Sandbox Program
These bill would facilitate a stronger free market and accelerated innovation by establishing the Virginia Regulatory Sandbox Program. Individuals who would like to participate in the program would apply, and once accepted would be granted a waiver from one or more state laws to make a desired product, use a desired production method, or provide a service. 

  • HB 208 bill status: Tabled in the House Appropriations Committee
  • HB 208 bill text, history, and info: Click HERE
  • SB 712 bill status: Continued to 2023 in Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee
  • SB 712 bill text, history, and info: Click HERE

HB 244: Red Tape Reduction Act
This bill would have instituted a beneficial Regulatory Reduction Program, designed to inhibit the growth of executive agencies and create a system of target goals for them to reduce regulations and provide regular reports on their progress. 

  • Bill status: Passed the House, passed the General Laws and Technology Committee, was killed through the motion to pass by indefinitely in the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee. 
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE
  • Additional link: Video on the issue

HB 529: Misclassification of Workers
This bill proposed to provide an independent contractor with legal protection to explicitly self-identify as a contractor and prevent forced classification as an employee.

  • Bill status: Continued to 2023 in the House Commerce and Energy Subcommittee #1
  • Bill text, history, and info: Click HERE

HB 544: Optional Restrictive ID
This bill would have allowed a voter to inform the state that they were personally opting into a photo ID requirement which would be enforced at the polls for that voter. This would prevent a person from showing up to the polls and falsely claiming they were that voter and casting a ballot. Measures like this would be progress towards increased election security. 

  • Bill status: Passed the House, then died in Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 553: Opportunity Classroom
This bill would have opened the door for Virginia students to get a head start in a career by granting teachers the authority to enter into an agreement with a school board to teach a curriculum on required subjects through an industry specific lens in a designated school classroom. 

  • Bill status: Laid on the table in House Education Subcommittee on Early Childhood/Innovation
  • Bill text, history, and info: Click HERE

HB 827: Localities’ Authority to Restrict Carrying
This bill would have removed localities’ authority to prohibit guns in government buildings and public parks and buildings. Sixteen localities currently have such laws, which leaves individuals carrying a gun vulnerable to unintentionally violating the law as they travel across the Commonwealth. 

  • Bill status: Passed the House, was killed in the Senate Judiciary Committee through the motion to pass by indefinitely. 
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 906: Inmate Sentences
This bill proposed to make changes related to the sentences served by those convicted of crimes in the Commonwealth. The bill provides an opportunity for inmates who have served a certain amount of their sentence without incident to petition for a modification to the rest of their term in prison.

  • Bill status: Died because the bill did not receive a vote in the House Committee for Courts of Justice before the 2/16 crossover deadline
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 922: Financial Technology (FinTech) Sandbox Program
This legislation would have advanced innovation in Virginia by creating the FinTech Regulatory Sandbox Program. Participants that have been accepted into the program may conduct testing of a financial product or service for 2-3 years without the normal licensure or authorization the state requires. 

  • Bill status: Failed by being stricken from the committee docket
  • Bill text, history, and info: Click HERE

HB 1025: Educational Savings Account
This bill would have championed parental choice in education by giving parents 90% of the state funds allotted for a public school student if the parents would like to pursue different education options. The money would be offered to parents through an Educational Savings Account system and is required to be spent on education related expenses. 

  • Bill status: Died because the bill did not receive a vote in the House Committee on Education before the 2/16 crossover deadline
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

SB 75: Right to Firearm at Government Locations
This bill would be a repeal of the current prohibition to carry a firearm at or near the Virginia Capitol building and various other locations where government work takes place.  

  • Bill status: Failed in Senate Committee on Rules
  • Bill text, history, and info: Click HERE

SB 378: Victim Input in Criminal Resentencing
This bill proposed to make changes related to the sentences served by those convicted of crimes in the Commonwealth. The bill provides an opportunity for inmates who have served a certain amount of their sentence without incident to petition for a modification to the rest of their term in prison.

  • Bill status: Passed the Senate, House Committee for Courts of Justice Subcommittee #1 recommends laying the bill on the table. 
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

SB 390: Election Audit Process
This bill was intended to address the need to ensure that all voting machines in the state function correctly, by establishing an audit process that would check every machine once every 5 years.

  • Bill status: Failed in Senate Privileges and Elections Committee
  • Bill text, history, and info: Click HERE