Search
Close this search box.
Share

Legislative Update: 11 February 2024

February 11, 2024

We are about half way through the 2024 General Assembly session, with crossover on Tuesday, February 13th. This means that bills are getting rapidly shepherded through committees lasting late into the afternoon and even into the night sometimes, trying to get each bill passed in the chamber it was introduced in before the crossover deadline. With the long hours spent considering new legislative proposals in mind, take a moment to thank a legislator today; as much as they are in the spotlight, it is typically to take hits of criticism and not to receive appreciation for their efforts to serve the Commonwealth. Regardless of similarities or differences, most people are serving in their role as best as they know how. 

Find Your Legislators

A notable announcement from the executive branch, there is a new cutting edge website tool to facilitate easier permit processing at the state level. It is called Virginia Permit Transparency and the establishment of this tool has been spearheaded by the Office of Regulatory Management. Although currently only permits from a few departments are available through the new website, more agencies will be beginning to utilize it soon.


2024 Session Overview Numbers

(Total # of bills and resolutions)

  • Introduced: 2735
  • Passed the House: 604
  • Passed the Senate: 511
  • Continued to next session: 322
  • Failed: 282
  • Vetoed: 0


Here’s a reminder of the key dates during the 2024 General Assembly session: 

  • First day: Wednesday, January 10th
  • Last day for a legislator to submit a bill: 3pm Friday, January 19th
  • Crossover deadline: Tuesday, February 13th
  • Last day of session (also known as Sine Die): Saturday, March 9th
  • Reconvene Session: Wednesday, April 17

The report below includes bills that fall into alignment with Virginia Institute’s policy recommendations, either for good policy or bad policy, and received a vote in a committee or on the House or Senate Floor last week. See the bottom of the page for a full list of bills we are following.

DONOR PRIVACY

SB 78: Donor Disclosure Privacy
Originally, this bill required nonprofit donors’ names to be displayed on public ads when they supported a referendum or made other contributions as specified. Online public documents already disclose these donors, but displaying their names on ads would make them exceptionally more vulnerable to targeting and doxing. An amendment to the bill removed the language that required donors’ names to be released when donating to support a referendum. The current amended version of the bill requires donor disclosures only when donating to a 501(C)(4) organization that runs ads about a specific candidate.

  • Status: On Tuesday, 2/7, this bill was passed with amendments in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee. The amendment to the bill removed the language that required donors’ names to be released when donating to support a referendum. The current amended version of the bill requires donor disclosures only when donating to a 501(C)(4) organization that runs ads about a specific candidate.
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

EDUCATION

HB 659: Open Enrollment
The original version of this bill would have established open enrollment for public schools in Virginia. After being amended, the bill directs the Department of Education to publish guidelines and best practices about open enrollment for the localities that choose to offer open enrollment within their district. It also makes a change regarding tuition in these circumstances. PASSED

  • Status: On Tuesday, 2/7, this bill was passed in the House K-12 Education Subcommittee with amendments. It will next be sent to the full House Education Committee for a vote, today, Wednesday, 2/7.
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

ELECTIONS

HB 565: Automatic DMV Updates
Although the intent of this bill is to provide the Department of Elections with current information for registered voters who visit the DMV by updating their information automatically, passing this bill would create errors in the registered voter information. Visitors to the DMV often register vehicles that are not housed at their primary residence, but at a secondary residence. There is already a known problem where voters accidentally become registered at the location where they house a vehicle (instead of their primary residence) after getting the vehicle registered at the DMV. This bill would exacerbate that problem. – KILLED

  • Status: On Friday, 2/9, this bill died for this year in the House Privileges and Elections Committee through the motion to continue the bill to 2025. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HB 280: Prevention of Public Office

This bill would prohibit persons who have been convicted of offenses related to rioting or unlawful assembly from obtaining elected office (or non elected “positions of public trust”). It establishes in Virginia law that there was an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and establishes that this new law (prohibiting public service) will apply to anyone who was convicted of an offense tied to the events at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021. – VOTE DELAYED

  • Status: On Friday, 2/9, this bill was on the agenda of the House Privileges and Elections Committee, but the vote was delayed through the motion to pass by the bill for the day because the sponsor of the bill was in another meeting.
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HB 363: Affidavit of Innocence

This bill sets forth that any person who has engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the U.S. or given aid to enemies of the U.S. is disqualified from serving in a government position. It also establishes a process whereby an individual serving in a public office can be removed if found disqualified in this manner. – KILLED

  • Status: On Friday, 2/9, this bill died for this year in the House Privileges and Elections Committee through the motion to continue the bill to 2025.
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HB 1529: General Registrar Term

This bill extends the term of General Registrars service from 4 years to 8 years; this would have an effective date in June 2029. It also specifies that the electoral board should presume that the incumbent general registrar wishes to stay in office unless they notify the electoral board otherwise. – KILLED

  • Status: On Friday, 2/9, this bill died in the House Privileges and Elections Committee through the motion to pass by indefinitely.
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HB 1530: Deputy Registrar Requirements

This bill requires each locality to have one designated chief deputy registrar. The bill requires chief deputy registrars serving on a full-time basis to be paid at least 60 percent of the salary of the general registrar. It also requires that chief deputy registrars serve on a full-time basis for localities whose population is greater than 10,000. – KILLED

  • Status: On Friday, 2/9, this bill died in the House Privileges and Elections Committee through the motion to pass by indefinitely.
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HB 742: Election Commissioner Appointment

This bill changes the process by which the state Commissioner of Elections is appointed. Currently, the Governor appoints the Commissioner; if this bill passes, the State Board of Elections (SBE) would be authorized to appoint the Commissioner instead of the Governor. The SBE would also be authorized to remove the Commissioner from their position. The General Assembly would still need to confirm the appointment for Commissioner. Originally, the bill also included expanding more positions on the State Board of Elections, but that part of the bill has been removed. – BILL REVIVED/RECONSIDERED

  • Status: On Friday, 2/2, this bill died in the House Privileges and Elections Committee through the motion to continue the bill to 2025. On Friday, 2/9, the bill was reconsidered and brought before the committee again for a vote. The bill was amended and was passed in the House Privileges and Elections Committee. Next, the bill will be sent to the House floor for a vote. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HB 375: Enter Virginia into the National Popular Vote Compact

This bill would require Virginia to give their electoral votes for U.S. President to the candidate who wins the majority of the popular vote in all 50 states and D.C. If passed, this change would not go into effect immediately; it would go into effect once enough states join the compact to equal a majority of the electoral votes nationwide. – KILLED

  • Status: On Monday, 2/5, this bill was killed in the House Election Administration Subcommittee through the motion to continue the bill to 2025. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HB 694: Counting Absentee Ballots Before Close of Polls

This bill would make changes regarding the timing of counting of absentee ballots, including some counting to begin at noon on election day before close of polls. We are concerned these changes could make vulnerable the integrity of elections and potentially influence the outcome of elections as well. – KILLED

  • Status: On Monday, 2/5, this bill was killed in the House Election Administration Subcommittee through the motion to continue the bill to 2025. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HB 1189: Hand Count Audits

This bill would establish random hand count audits of elections at the local level. KILLED

  • On Monday, 2/5, this bill was killed in the House Election Administration Subcommittee through the motion to lay the bill on the table. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

SB 364: Protection of Election Officials

This bill proposes to create higher criminal penalties for intimidation, harassment, and other offenses against election officials and election office staff, continuing a debunked narrative that election officials frequently experience harassment and threats. Recently, some election officials have stated that they feel harassed or intimidated by polite citizens who simply asked questions or who exercised their right to participate in an election as a poll observer. To protect citizens from inaccurate or subjective allegations, we oppose this bill.  – PASSED

  • Status: Monday, 2/5, this bill was passed with amendments, in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. The amendments clarify what actions would be considered a crime against an election official, and the amendments improve the bill. Even with some improvements to the bill as a result of the amendments, we oppose the bill. This bill has been sent to the Senate Finance Committee, where it will be voted on next. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE
  • Radio interview discussing this bill 

HB 796: Electronic Ballot Return
This bill allows ballots to be returned electronically, in cases where the voter is overseas, military, or has a physical impairment. Electronic ballot return raises security concerns. Additionally, once started it could open the floodgate for expanding electronic ballot voting for all voters. – KILLED

  • Status: On Friday, 2/2, this bill died in the House Privileges and Elections Committee through the motion to table the bill.
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HB 1177: Voter Registration and Data Sharing

This bill would require Virginia to re-join the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). Although ERIC claims to be a service to help states keep accurate voter rolls, Virginia left ERIC last year after serious concerns over data privacy breaches and partisan related influence within the organization. – PASSED

  • Status: On Friday, 2/2, this bill was passed in the House Privileges and Elections Committee. It has been sent to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Capital Outlay. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HB 502: Nonbinary Registration

This bill allows individuals to register to vote with their gender listed as nonbinary, along with various other law changes that allow a person to change their legally recognized gender to nonbinary. – PASSED

  • Status: On Tuesday, 2/7, this bill was passed in the House General Laws Committee. HB 502 was then sent to the House Appropriations Committee for its next vote. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

SB 364: Protection of Election Officials

This bill proposes to create higher criminal penalties for intimidation, harassment, and other offenses against election officials and election office staff, continuing a debunked narrative that election officials frequently experience harassment and threats. Recently, some election officials have stated that they feel harassed or intimidated by polite citizens who simply asked questions or were exercising their right to participate in an election as a poll observer. To protect citizens from inaccurate or subjective allegations, we oppose this bill. – VOTE DELAYED

  • Status: Monday, 1/29, this bill was scheduled for a vote in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. The committee voted to pass by the bill for the day, delaying the vote until the next time this committee meets. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE
  • Radio interview discussing this bill

HB 1171: Absentee Voting

This bill would require more timely processing of returned mail absentee ballots than the law currently requires. This protects voters, ensuring they have enough time to correct any written errors on their ballot before it is time for ballots to be counted. 

  • Status: Thursday, 2/1, HB 1171 was on the House uncontested third reading calendar and was passed on the House Floor in a bloc. Next, it will be sent to the Senate to await an assignment to a Senate committee.
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

SB 315: Voter Registration

Although the intent of this bill is to provide the Department of Elections with current information for registered voters who visit the DMV by updating their information automatically, passing this bill would create errors in the registered voter information. Visitors to the DMV often register vehicles that are not housed at their primary residence, but at a secondary residence. There is already a known problem where voters accidentally become registered at the location where they house a vehicle (instead of their primary residence) after getting the vehicle registered at the DMV. This bill would exacerbate that problem. 

  • Status: Tuesday, 1/30. SB 315 was referred to the Senate Finance and Appropriations committee.
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

SB 428 & SB 270: Ranked Choice Voting 

The first bill, SB 428, expands the option for elections to be conducted by ranked choice voting to any race for local or constitutional office. Currently, ranked choice voting is only an option for City Council and Board of Supervisors races. The second bill, SB 270, would allow ranked choice voting for presidential primary elections. Ranked choice voting creates unnecessary barriers for voters by making voting confusing and prone to errors, making vote counting extremely complicated and ensuring audits for these elections are difficult (if not impossible) to conduct. 

  • Status: Tuesday, 1/30, both bills were passed in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee and were sent to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee. 
  • To see SB 428 text and info: Click HERE
  • To see SB 270 text and info: Click HERE

HB 1532: Voter Registration

 Virginia is one of the most expensive states in the nation to acquire the voter roll. This bill would reduce the cost to purchase the voter roll file from the Virginia Department of Elections. – KILLED

  • Status: Wednesday, 1/31, this bill was recommended to lay on the table in the Privileges and Elections subcommittee (5-Y 3-N). 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

SB 606: Voter Registration and Data Sharing

 This bill would require Virginia to re-join the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). Although ERIC claims to be a service to help states keep accurate voter rolls, Virginia left ERIC last year after serious concerns over data privacy breaches and partisanship influence within the organization. 

  • Status: Tuesday, 1/30, this bill was referred to the Finance and Appropriations committee
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HB 502: Nonbinary Registration

This bill would allow individuals to register to vote with their gender listed as nonbinary instead of male or female, along with various other law changes that allow a person to change their legally recognized gender to nonbinary. 

  • Status: Thursday, 2/1, this bill was passed in the House Professions, Occupations and Administrative Process Subcommittee. Next, it will be sent to the full House General Laws Committee for a vote.
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HB 796: Electronic Ballot Return

This bill allows ballots to be returned electronically, in cases where the voter is overseas, military, or has a physical impairment. Electronic ballot return raises security concerns. Additionally, once started it could open the floodgate for expanding electronic ballot voting for all voters. – KILLED

  • Status: Friday, 2/2, this bill died in the House Privileges and Elections Committee.
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HEALTHCARE

SB 277: Certificate of Public Need Process Change
This bill would expand an expedited application and review process for Certificate of Public Need. – PASSED

  • Status: On Tuesday, 2/7, this bill was on the Senate third reading calendar and passed on the Senate Floor. Next, it will be sent to the House and await a committee assignment. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

LICENSING

SB 22: Dentists and Dental Hygienist Compact
This bill would enter Virginia into an interstate licensing compact for dentists and dental hygienists. Any dentist or dental hygienist licensed in any state participating in the compact would be able to practice in any compact state, increasing access to dental services. – PASSED

  • Status: On Monday, 2/5, this bill was on the House uncontested third reading calendar and passed in a block vote on the House Floor. Next, it will be assigned a committee in the Senate. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE 

SB 239: Social Work
This bill would enter Virginia into an interstate licensing compact for fully licensed social workers. Social workers licensed in any state participating in the compact would be able to practice in any compact state, filling a need for more social workers.  

  • Status: Yesterday, Monday, 2/5, this bill was on the House third reading calendar and passed in a vote on the House Floor. Next, it will be assigned a committee in the Senate.
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

SB 407: Teacher Mobility Compact
This bill would enter Virginia into the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact. Teachers licensed in any state participating in the compact would be able to practice in any compact state, filling a need for more educators. – KILLED

  • Status: On Thursday, 2/8, this bill was stricken from the Senate Education and Health Committee agenda at the request of the legislator who was carrying the bill.
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

TAXES

HB 1414: Reinstating the Death Tax
This bill proposes to reinstate the estate tax for deceased persons. – KILLED

  • Status: On Monday, 2/5, this bill was killed in the House Finance Subcommittee #3 through the motion to continue the bill to 2025. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE


All Bills Virginia Institute is Following

ISSUE DESCRIPTION BILL LINK Good Policy or Bad Policy
EDUCATION Education Savings Account (ESA) SB 533 Good Policy
EDUCATION Education Savings Account HB1164 Good Policy
EDUCATION Education Tax Credit HB1180 Good Policy
EDUCATION Open Enrollment for Public Schools HB 659 Good Policy
EDUCATION Local Authority for ESA SB 380 Good Policy
ELECTIONS Donor Disclosure HB 276 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS 14 days of Early Voting HB 932 Good Policy
ELECTIONS 14 days of Early Voting HB 1200 Good Policy
ELECTIONS Ranked Choice Voting expansion HB 658 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Election Reform HB 393 Good Policy
ELECTIONS Pulic Higher Ed Campus Precincts HB 941 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Deadline for Reviewing AB returns HB 1171 Good Policy
ELECTIONS FOIA Bill SB 324 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Non Binary Voter Registration HB 502 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Re-enter ERIC HB 1177 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Re-enter ERIC SB 606 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS National Popular Vote HB 375 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Ranked Choice Voting Expansion SB 270 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Ranked Choice Voting Expansion SB 428 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Electronic Ballot Return HB 796 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Ranked Choice Voting Expansion HB 841 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Extend License/Driver Privilege Cards SB 246 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Insurrection, Rebellion, Riot SB280 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Insurrection, Rebellion, Riot HB363 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Counting AB Before Close of Polls HB694 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS EO Intimidation & Harassment Penalties SB 364 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Removal of Same Day Registration SB 92 Good Policy
ELECTIONS SSN Administration Verification for Voters SB32 Good Policy
ELECTIONS 21 Days of Early Voting SB42 Good Policy
ELECTIONS Photo ID Required for Voting SB45 Good Policy
ELECTIONS Photo ID Required for Voting SB81 Good Policy
ELECTIONS Voter Roll Cost Reduction HB 1532 Good Policy
ELECTIONS 30 days of early voting HB44 Good Policy
ELECTIONS Omnibus HB 1176 Good Policy
ELECTIONS ID Type Noted for Provisional Ballot HB 1170 Good Policy
ELECTIONS Automatic DMV update for Voter Info HB 565 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Automatic DMV update for Voter Info SB 315 Bad Policy
ELECTIONS Printed Receipt for Voter SB 303 Good Policy
ENERGY California Car Repeal HB3 Good Policy
HEALTHCARE COPN – Psychiatric Beds HB 628 Good Policy
HEALTHCARE COPN Repeal HB 1188 Good Policy
LICENSING Social Work Compact SB 239 Good Policy
LICENSING Dentist & Dental Hygienist Compact SB 22 Good Policy
LICENSING Teacher Compact SB 407 Good Policy
REG REFORM Reg Budget Bill HB 722 Good Policy
LABOR Portable Benefits Related HB 734 Good Policy
TAXES Reinstate the Death Tax HB 1414 Bad Policy
TAXES Flatten the Tax Rate HB 89 Good Policy

 

More Articles You Might Like