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Review 2021 Session Highlights Here (PDF)

2020 Special Session Highlights (August - November 2020) 

  • 2020 - Required the state to provide funding to the Dept. of Elections for providing prepaid postage for the return of absentee ballots
  • 2020 - Virginia Residential Landlord & Tenant Act; landlord remedies, noncompliance with rental agreement
  • 2020 - Eviction Moratorium, Budget Enactment: Prevents landlords from terminating a residential tenancy, or taking any eviction actions, for non-payment of rent through December 31, 2020, and allows tenants facing financial hardship to enroll in a payment plan for existing rent debt for six months or the remainder of their lease term
  • 2020 - Utility Moratorium, Budget Enactment: Provides policy to extend statewide utility service disconnection moratorium, requires utilities to provide customer debt repayment plans for up to 24 months, and calls on Dominion Energy to forgive accounts 30 days in arrears or more
  • Enabled the creation of a Marcus alert system to help those experiencing mental health crises by utilizing law enforcement and behavioral health workers.
  • Marijuana-related offenses can be prepaid, avoiding the need for a court appearance
  • Allows a prosecutor the authority to dismiss a criminal case
  • Limits the circumstances for lawful traffic stops or pedestrian stops. Also prohibits a stop solely on the basis of the odor of marijuana. Evidence found under these circumstances is not admissible in court. The bill also updates other traffic/ vehicle regulations
  • Law enforcement's duty is to intervene and render aid
  • Prohibits neck restraints unless the use of a neck restraint is immediately necessary to protect the law enforcement officer or another person. 
  • Limiting the circumstances under which search warrants (especially no-knock warrants and nighttime warrants) can be requested from a judge or magistrate and execution to daytime unless good cause is shown upon warrant request
  • Requires the adoption of standards of conduct and expanded the criteria for decertification when a law enforcement officer is found guilty of misconduct and mandates reporting to the Criminal Justice Services Board in writing
  • Mandates law enforcement agencies and jails request the prior employment and disciplinary history of new hires
  • Authority for localities to create Civilian Review Boards. 7/1/21 Effective Date
  • Establishes a structure for incarcerated individuals to earn credits against their sentence by completing recommended programs and displaying good behavior 07/1/22 Effective Date

2020 Session Highlights (January - March 2020) 

  • Establishes Election Day as a state holiday
  • Establish absentee voting without a needed excuse (e.g. business trip, student attending college, etc.)
  • Create a 45-day early vote and absentee voting period before primary and general elections
  • Repeals strict photo ID requirements for voting
  • Require election materials and voting information be provided in multiple languages
  • Establish redistricting criteria for how legislative maps protect communities of interest
  • Increase Virginia’s minimum wage by 30% for nearly 1 million people and puts us on the path to $15/hour
  • Establish a state-based health exchange that provides access to health coverage
  • Cover doula and midwifery services for Medicaid beneficiaries to help reduce the number of Black maternal deaths
  • Ensure that health insurance plans sold in Virginia cannot discriminate based on health status and must cover essential health benefits
  • Allow all immigrants regardless of status to drive legally
  • Remove the mandate that law enforcement report to ICE individuals they have in custody
  • Prohibit law enforcement from asking the immigration status of victims and witnesses of crime
  • Allowed for community service to be done as credit towards court fines/ fees
  • Ban the Box on applications for public employment
  • Simple possession of marijuana was decriminalized
  • Grand Larceny threshold increased to $1000
  • Community Policing Act which prohibited certain biased-based policing practices
  • The process for granting bail was made easier so less people would be held pretrial
  • Requires Norfolk Southern Railroad Company to include a cost-benefit analysis of covering rail cars carrying coal and for enclosing with a dust suppression system the twin rotary dumpsters in Norfolk in their annual report to the General Assembly
  • Defines environmental justice in state law and declares it the policy of the Commonwealth to promote and ensure environmental justice is carried out throughout Virginia
  • Formally established the Virginia Environmental Justice Council, so it cannot be dissolved at the will of the Governor and enshrines their duties and powers in law
  • Amendment 101: Item 402 Governor’s Budget Item allowing for the release of those incarcerated who had less than 1 year remaining on their sentence. Over 1000 people have since been released
  • Tenants cannot be discriminated against based on their source of income allowing those with housing vouchers to more easily find housing
  • Created a Tenants Bill of Rights that defines and informs tenants of their rights and responsibilities, as well as provides the contact information for necessary resources to protect those rights

Historical Victories

  • 2018 - Part of leading the effort to pass Medicaid expansion in Virginia, restoring affordable healthcare to nearly 400,000 Virginians
  • 2017 - In 2016, voted in a more representative legislature -- the majority of New Virginia Majority's endorsed candidates were elected
  • 2016 - After nearly a decade of organizing, celebrated the restoration of voting rights to thousands of formerly incarcerated people in Virginia who continue to be registered, and expand the electorate
  • 2015 - We have registered more than 200,000 Virginians to vote since 2015
  • November 2013 - Led a non-partisan, voter protection initiative in Northern Virginia, Richmond and Norfolk. We trained 58 poll monitors and staffed three regional command centers, with two attorneys at each location
  • August 2013 to November 2013 -- Reached out to 31,000 voters in Norfolk City, Richmond and Northern Virginia. We identified voters who supported issues close to our organizational mission and moved them to the polls
  • July 2013 -- Organized a candlelight vigil in support of immigration reform in Herndon. Over 250 supporters turned out for this event
  • May 2013 -- Celebrated May Day by organizing an immigration rally in Herndon. Over 200 supporters came out for this event
  • April 2013 -- Launched the New Majority Academy, where we trained 30 activists from Virginia and around the country in our approach to community organizing
  • March 2013 -- Worked with Wellstone Institute to train the next generation of community activists, campaign managers and progressive candidates
  • January 2013 -- Delivered over 18,500 signatures challenging a surprise Senate redistricting plan