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On March 5th,  the Virginia General Assembly passed Sen. Jennifer McClellan’s (D-Richmond) bill eliminating the mandatory minimum term of confinement in jail for 10 days for a third or subsequent conviction of driving on a suspended license. 

The bill returns discretion to judges on how to address charges of driving with a suspended license. Nearly half of suspended license cases in Virginia are due to nonpayment of court fees, according to the Legal Aid Justice Center. Although these suspension have nothing to do with driving offenses, from 2017 through 2019, some 35,503 Virginians were incarcerated for an average of 46 days, due to charges of driving with a suspended license due to unpaid debt.

Today,  the Virginia General Assembly passed a resolution from Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), creating the first-ever study of Virginia’s social work workforce. 

Under SJ 49, the Department of Health Professions will form a work group that will explore the recruitment, retention, research, reinvestment, and need for possible additional social workers in Virginia.

 

Today, the General Assembly passed Sen. Jennifer McClellan’s (D-Richmond) Pregnant Worker Fairness Act (SB 712), requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant and new mothers in Virginia. 

The legislation prohibits employers from retaliating or denying employment or promotion opportunities to employees who request reasonable workplace adaptations.

We are now in the final week of session, and several bills are now on their way to the Governor for his signature. These include the following:

 
SB 1 finally repeals the requirement to suspend drivers licenses for failure to pay court costs and fees.  After similar legislation failed last year, the final budget passed by the General Assembly included an amendment ending enforcement of the requirement through June 30, 2020.  As a result, DMV estimates that over 600,000 people have had their licenses restored, and at least 30,000 people a month have kept their licenses. I am a chief co-patron of this bill. 

Today, Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) applauded final passage of the landmark Reproductive Health Protection Act to remove medically unnecessary restrictions for a patient seeking access to safe and legal abortion, which insert government in the provider/patient relationship.

McClellan’s bill, SB 733, eliminates restrictions passed by Republican-held legislatures over the last decade, including the controversial 2012 law requiring ultrasounds and a 24-hour waiting period prior to an abortion. SB 733 also removes targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws that require abortion providers to be regulated like hospitals and allows women to access early abortion care from a highly trained clinician.

Today, the Virginia Senate & House passed Sen. Jennifer McClellan’s (D-Richmond) and Del. Mark Sickles’s (D-Fairfax) bills empowering Virginia to run its own state-based health care exchange. 

McClellan’s bill, SB 732 and Sickles’s HB 1428 create a Virginia Health Benefit Exchange under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  McClellan has advocated for creating a state-based exchange since the ACA went into effect, including leading a 2012 legislative proposal to create an exchange.

Yesterday, the Virginia House passed Sen. Jennifer McClellan’s (D-Richmond) bill to raise the threshold for grand larceny.  This bill is part of Senator McClellan’s criminal justice reform package.  

Virginia currently has one of the lowest felony grand larceny thresholds in the country, leading to more prison sentences for small thefts. SB 788, would increase the grand larceny threshold from $500 to $1000. The bill now heads to Gov. Northam’s desk for signature.

Last week, the Senate and House each passed their amendments to the Governor's proposed "Caboose" budget through July 1, 2020 and t

Today, Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) applauded the Senate passage of the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act (SB 712), which would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant and new mothers in Virginia. 

In addition, the legislation would prohibit employers from retaliating or denying employment or promotion opportunities against employees who request reasonable adaptations of the workplace.  

Today, the Senate passed Sen. Jennifer McClellan’s (D-Richmond) Solar Freedom Act, an energy bill that would democratize solar energy and make it accessible for more Virginia consumers and localities.

McClellan’s bill, SB 710, passed by a 22-18 margin.  The bill removes barriers on local governments, residents and businesses to install solar for their own use. The bill will open up a major marketplace for distributed solar energy in Virginia. 

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