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Legislative Update: 3 March 2024

March 3, 2024

Today begins the last week of the 2024 General Assembly session. This means that conference committees are meeting for some bills; they will negotiate compromises on bill details if the House and Senate have slightly different versions that passed the respective chambers. Subcommittees and committees, for the most part, concluded their business last week. But most importantly, this week Governor Youngkin has begun to receive bills to approve or veto. For bills that have already passed both chambers, the Governor has 7 days to sign or veto each bill. For bills that did not receive a vote from both chambers early on, the Governor will have a 30 day timeframe in which to take action with his pen, after session ends. When that 30 day period has elapsed, the General Assembly will return to Richmond to consider any bill amendments the Governor has recommended. The General Assembly can choose to accept or reject the Governor’s amendments during the Reconvened Session, which will take place on Wednesday, April 17. Please review the information below, noting especially the bills that the Governor has before him.

2024 Session Overview Numbers
(Total # of bills and resolutions)

  • Introduced: 3196
  • Passed the House: 1528
  • Passed the Senate: 1326
  • Continued to next session: 395
  • Failed: 855
  • Vetoed: 0

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.


HB 939 Firearms at Precincts

If passed, this bill would prohibit a person from carrying a firearm within 100 feet of a voting location, including a ballot drop box. The original text of this bill would have also prohibited a firearm in a vehicle that was within 100 feet of a voting location, but the bill was amended to eliminate that problem.

  • Status: Friday, 3/1, this bill was read for the third time in the Senate and passed by the House for the day.

HB 1171 – Absentee Ballot Counting

This bill requires 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: Friday, 3/1, this bill was read for the third time in the Senate and passed by the House for the day.

SB 364 – Protection of Election Officials & Increased Penalties

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. Although there was an amendment to clarify that communication like politely asked questions couldn’t be considered intimidation, there have been differing opinions about whether the language of the bill is clear that it would only apply to imminent harm and threats of bodily injury to election officials and couldn’t be applied to benign communications. To protect citizens from inaccurate or subjective allegations, we oppose this bill.

  • Status: Friday, 3/1, this bill was reported from the House Privileges and Elections committee with a substitute 

SB 428 – Ranked Choice Voting Expansion

This bill, initially, would have expanded Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for more local offices. Currently, if a Board of Supervisors or City Council votes to approve RCV it can be used to conduct a Board of Supervisors race or a City Council race. This bill was written to expand that to permit other local office races to be conducted using Ranked Choice Voting. It also would require some minor changes to be made to processes for RCV local races that are currently permitted. This bill was amended so it no longer expands RCV to new local offices. Now, if passed, it only would establish the minor process changes for already permitted RCV races. 

  • Status: Friday, 3/1, this bill was reported from the House Privileges and Elections committee with a substitute 

HB 1490Local Electoral Boards

This bill would give power to local governing bodies (like the Board of Supervisors or City Council) to circumvent the local Electoral Boards and dictate the number, location, and hours of operation of early voting locations. 

  • Status: Tuesday, 2/27, this bill died through the motion to continue the bill to 2025 in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

THE GOVERNOR’S DESK: The following bills have passed both the House and the Senate and are set to be sent to the Governor for his approval or veto. Please call or email his office as soon as possible and ask that Governor Youngkin veto these bills.

SB 606 & HB 1177 – ERIC

 These bills 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.

SB 196 & HB 1534 – Voter Registration

These bills would alter the procedure for challenging a voter registration. It would abolish the mechanism for a voter to challenge another voter’s registration eligibility while at a polling place, shifting the responsibility of challenge oversight solely to the court system. In advocating for this, SB 196 and HB 1534 erect barriers that could impede the timely resolution of eligibility disputes. Registrars, who maintain up-to-date, accurate voter registration lists for their areas, should retain control over this process.

SB 246 (similar to HB 1454) – Driver Privilege Card Extension 

This bill eliminates features used to distinguish between citizen and non-citizen state-issued driver’s permits and ID cards, which could facilitate non-citizens voting. 

HB 1408 – Electoral Administration

This bill takes a top-down approach to determining the appropriate number of early voting locations in each Virginia city and county, by directing the Department of Elections to create guidelines for localities to utilize regarding how many early voting locations should be open for early voting. These decisions are best made at the local level, where they are currently made, by the local election administrators who know their locality best.

HB 26 – Acceptable ID Expansion

 This bill expands the list of accepted forms of identification to be presented when voting. Currently, although there is a list of accepted IDs, no ID is required to vote. Any registered voter who arrives at a polling location without an accepted form of identification, or with no ID at all, can sign a statement confirming that they are the registered voter that they say that they are, and then they are permitted to vote. This statement makes the list of acceptable IDs seem like a formality; additionally, some people are concerned that the types of IDs that this bill approves are available to noncitizens. 


SB 277Certificate of Public Need 

This bill would expand an expedited application and review process for Certificate of Public Need. 

  • Status:  Friday, 3/1, this bill was on the House second reading calendar. It is expected to be on the third reading calendar on Monday, 3/4, and to receive a floor vote. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE

HB 570Medicinal Price Setting

This bill would create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board. Under this proposed legislation, the Board will be given authority to limit drug payment amounts and reimbursements to an upper payment limit amount for state sponsored and state regulated health plans. 

  • Status: Thursday, 2/29, this bill passed in the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee. Next, this bill will be sent to the Senate floor for a vote. 
  • To see bill text and info: Click HERE


THE GOVERNOR’S DESK: The following bill has passed both the House and the Senate and has been sent to the Governor for his approval or veto. Please call or email his office as soon as possible and ask that Governor Youngkin veto this bill.

SB 239 – Social Worker Compact
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. 

All Bills Virginia Institute is Following

ISSUE DESCRIPTION BILL Good Policy or Bad Policy
Education Open enrollment for Public Schools HB 659 Good policy
Election Deadline for reviewing absentee ballots HB 1171 Good policy
Election Re-enter ERIC HB 1177 Bad policy
Election Re-enter ERIC SB 606 Bad policy
Election Ranked Choice Voting expansion SB 270 Bad policy
Election Ranked Choice Voting expansion SB 428 Bad policy
Election Cancellation procedures etc HB 904 Bad policy
Election Extend license/driver privilege cards SB 246 Bad policy
Election Election Officer intimidation & harassment SB 364 Bad policy
Election Automatic DMV Update SB 315 Bad policy
Election Electoral Boards HB 998 Bad policy
Election Voter list maintenance changes SB 300 Bad policy
Election Voter registration challenges HB 1534 Bad policy
Healthcare Drug Price Setting HB 570 Bad policy
Healthcare Certificate of Public Need SB 277 Good policy
Licensing Social Work Compact SB 239 Good policy
Licensing Dental Compact SB 22 Good policy
Transparency FOIA SB 324 Bad policy
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