WASHINGTON — Today, new laws in Virginia go into effect following this year’s legislative session, representing an important step forward for all Virginians. After flipping the General Assembly blue in 2019, Democratic legislators have been hard at work to deliver for their communities on issues from voting rights to gun violence prevention and strong schools. Following this year of accomplishments, Virginia Democrats are ready to defend their majority this November.
“I could not be prouder of the work that our Virginia state legislators have accomplished with their majority,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “Democrats made historic progress for the commonwealth, from leading the coronavirus pandemic recovery to criminal justice reform. The change we’ve seen in Virginia shows just how much we can accomplish by flipping state legislatures from red to blue. Defending this majority this year is crucial to ensure that extremist Virginia Republicans can’t turn back the clock on progress.”
New laws taking effect today include:
- The legalization of recreational marijuana that will also expunge previous misdemeanor marijuana convictions.
- A set of bills to expand and protect voting rights by permitting early voting on Sundays, pre-paying postage for mail-in ballots, and ensuring access to drop boxes.
- An expansion of the Virginia Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.
- The abolition of the death penalty in Virginia, making it the first Southern state to do so.
- Five new pieces of gun violence prevention legislation, including restrictions on access to firearms for domestic abusers.
- A 5% raise for state employees including teachers, college, and university faculty and a requirement for schools to open five days a week for in-person learning.
- A bill to prohibit local and campus law enforcement from using facial recognition technology.
- An expansion of the Workers’ Compensation Act to ensure health care providers who have fallen ill or died due to the coronavirus pandemic receive their benefits.
Since 2019, Virginia Democrats have enacted long-overdue legislation to move Virginia forward. Defending this chamber in November will be crucial to preventing Republicans from undoing these hard-won gains.