2019 General Assembly Update

This year, I introduced 15 Bills During the General Assembly Session:

HB 1856 Firearms; libraries owned or operated by localities

HB 1857 Health insurance; credits for retired school division employees

HB 1858 Virginia Grocery Investment Program and Fund; created, report

HB 1859 Virginia Human Rights Act; pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, causes of action

HB 1860 Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act; nonpayment of rent, written notice of termination

HB 1861 Police & court records; expungement of records relating to misdemeanor/nonviolent felony conviction

HB 1862 Employees; break time and location to express breast milk. (Merged into) HB 1916 Employees; break time and location to express breast milk

HB 2051 Cemeteries; development, local ordinance

HB 2052 Richmond, City of; amending charter, runoff elections

HB 2053 School boards; staffing ratios, guidance counselors

HB 2238 Cemeteries; removal of remains, etc., of previously unidentified

HB 2681 Historical African American cemeteries; adds seven cemeteries in City of Hampton

HB 2699 Humanities, Virginia Foundation for the; adds members to task force

HJ 617 Year of Reconciliation and Civility

HJ 655 Lynching; acknowledging with profound regret the existence and acceptance within the Commonwealth

HJ 733 Commending the Richmond 34

Legislative Highlights

2019 – Year of Reconciliation and Civility in Virginia

 

On January 3, 2019, I pre-filed House Joint Resolution – 617 (HJ 617) which proposed to “Designate 2019 as the Year of Reconciliation and Civility in Virginia”. On February 4, 2019 the Resolution was adopted in the Virginia House of Delegates with a unanimous bi-partisan vote and the Resolution was then referred to the Senate, where it also passed unanimously with a bipartisan vote.  

 

This Resolution – challenges Virginians to embrace this unique opportunity to accelerate the healing of racial wounds by not only acknowledging the depths of racial divisions, but by developing solutions that move Virginia toward unity and Reconciliation. The goal is to establish a new dynamic where people of different races will have a much healthier dialogue and work closer together to advance the common good.

 

I have spent my entire adult life working diligently to preserve the history of African Americans and to promote racial equity and Reconciliation. The need for Reconciliation in this great Commonwealth and this country has become even more apparent with the recent disclosure of racially insensitive incidents. Let us use this difficult time as a teachable moment of genuine Reconciliation as we work towards achieving real equality and justice. -Passed

 

HJ 655 - Lynching; Acknowledging with profound regret the existence and acceptance of lynching within the Commonwealth of Virginia.

 

On January 31, 2019, HJ 655 was presented before the 2019 General Assembly Session. This resolution acknowledges with profound regret the existence and acceptance of lynching within the Commonwealth and calls for reconciliation among all Virginians. We must acknowledge the harsh realities of the past and the impact these injustices still have on the African American community. Reconciliation of the past is the only way we can move forward as one nation. -Passed

 

HB 1860 Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act; nonpayment of rent, written notice of termination

 

HB 1860 was introduced in the 2019 General Assembly, with the goal to extend the time for tenants to pay upon notice of termination from five days to fourteen days. The community would have benefited from the extension because it offered an opportunity for tenants to secure adequate funds before eviction proceedings are started in courts. The proposed bill would not only benefit the tenants, but the landlords as well. The additional time would have afforded the tenants a better opportunity to secure funds for their rent before additional late fees and court costs were accumulated. This nine-day extension could have drastically assisted the tenants in their efforts to avoid eviction and would have been beneficial in the overall well-being of the community.

 

HB 1861 Police & court records; expungement of records relating to misdemeanor/nonviolent felony conviction.

 

This Expungement Bill would have allowed citizens convicted of a misdemeanor or a non-violent felony to petition the court for expungement of their police and conviction records. The process would still include the participation of the Commonwealth Attorney’s office in the hearing proceedings, so it would not be an automatic expungement.

 

My Legislation That Passed In 2019  

This year, I patroned 9 pieces of legislation that passed the House and the Senate and have already been signed by Governor Northam or are awaiting action from the Governor’s Office. They are listed below:

 

HB 2238 - Cemeteries; removal of remains, etc.., of previously unidentified. This Bill adds the category of previously unidentified cemeteries to the legislation allowing for the removal of remains from graveyards or family cemeteries that have been abandoned or are unused and neglected by their owners. This bill also includes technical amendments.

 

HB 2681 - Historical African American cemeteries; adds seven cemeteries in City of Hampton. This Bill adds seven cemeteries in Hampton to the list of cemeteries for which qualified organizations may receive funds from the Department of Historic Resources for the care of Historical African American cemeteries and graves.

HB 2699 - Humanities, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities; This Bill provides for five additional members to be appointed to the African American Historical Resources Task Force.  This Task Force was established to assist the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in its work regarding the history of formerly enslaved African Americans in Virginia.

 

HJ 617 – Designated 2019 as the Year of Reconciliation and Civility

 

HJ 655 - Lynching; acknowledging with profound regret the existence and acceptance of lynching within the Commonwealth.

 

HJ 733 – Commending the Richmond 34. The members of this Historic Civil Rights group were recognized on the Floor of the House Chambers on Feb. 22, 2019 to commemorate the 59th Anniversary of their Sit-In and subsequent arrested for trespassing at Thalhimer’s. Their courageous non-violent protest helped to desegregate downtown Richmond and was a contributing action that sparked the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

HB 2053 – School Board; staffing ratios, guidance counselors. This bill will effectuate a three-year plan to substantially decrease the ratio of Guidance counselors to students, allowing for more quality time for the counselors to spend with the students.

 

HB 1916 – Employees; Break time and location to express milk. This bill provides for a reasonable time and space (clean and private) for mothers who are breast feeding to express milk while at work.

 

HB 2052 – Richmond City Charter Amendment/ runoff elections.

 

Paid for and authorized by McQuinn for the 70th District House of Delegates. Not paid for at taxpayer expense.