Judiciary Committee

Judiciary Committees


Meets at: Wednesday at Monday, 8:00 a.m. and Wednesday, 30 minutes after adjournment in Senate Room A, Pocahontas Building

Members: John Edwards (Chair) – Jennifer Boysko – Ben Chafin  – Creigh Deeds – Louise Lucas – Jennifer McClellanRyan McDougle – Joe Morrissey –Tommy Norment – Mark Obenshain – Chap Petersen –Dick Saslaw –Bill Stanley – Richard Stuart – Scott Surovell 

(9 Democrats and 6 Republicans)


  • Civil Law
  • Criminal Law


OnAir Post: Judiciary Committee


Judiciary bills passed by the General Assembly
Virginia Legislative Information System

Note: Details on bills passed below are in the Heading “Bills passed”)

  • SB 1108: General district courts; jurisdictional limits
  • SB 1113: Communicating threats of death or bodily injury to a person with intent to intimidate; penalty
  • SB 1119: Law-enforcement agencies; body-worn camera systems
  • SB 1122: Habitual offenders; repeals remaining provisions of Habitual Offender Act
  • SB 1138: Sexually transmitted infections; infected sexual battery, penalty
  • SB 1142: Marriage; persons who may celebrate rites, authorizes current members of the General Assembly
  • SB 1165: Death penalty; abolition of current penalty
  • SB 1168: “Abused or neglected child;” definition
  • SB 1181: Special immigrant juvenile status; jurisdiction
  • SB 1184: Standby guardianship; triggering event
  • SB 1209: Subcontractor’s employees; liability of general contractor for wages
  • SB 1213: Restricted licenses; DMV authorized to issue
  • SB 1234: Virginia State Bar examination; foreign applicants, evidence required
  • SB 1241: Personal injury claim; disclosure of insurance policy limits
  • SB 1242: Personal appearance by two-way electronic video and audio communication; entry of plea
  • SB 1248: Juveniles; competency evaluation, receipt of court order
  • SB 1256: Criminal Justice Services Board and Committee on Training; membership
  • SB 1261: Court of Appeals; expands jurisdiction, increases from 11 to 17 number of judges on Court
  • SB 1262: Restricted permit; prepayment of fines and costs
  • SB 1266: Admission to bail; rebuttable presumptions against bail
  • SB 1272: Unrestorably incompetent defendant; disposition, capital murder charge, inpatient custody
  • SB 1315: Criminal proceedings; consideration of mental condition & intellectual & developmental disabilities
  • SB 1316: Child care providers; background checks, portability
  • SB 1325: Visitation; petition of grandparent
  • SB 1336: Ignition interlock systems; restricted permits to operate a motor vehicle
  • SB 1339: Criminal records; sealing of records, Sealing Fee Fund created, penalties, report
  • SB 1381: Weapons; possessing or transporting within Capitol Square, etc
  • SB 1391: Pretrial data collection; VCSC to collect and disseminate on an annual basis
  • SB 1400: Tazewell County; quitclaim and conveyance of easement by Board of Wildlife Resources
  • SB 1415: Protective orders; violations of preliminary child protective order, changes punishment, etc
  • SB 1426: Orders of restitution; docketed on behalf of victim, enforcement
  • SB 1431: Unrestorably incompetent defendant; competency report
  • SB 1442: Public defender office; establishes an office for the County of Chesterfield
  • SB 1456: Juveniles; eligibility for commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice
  • SB 1461: Bribery in correctional facilities; penalty
  • SB 1468: Victims of crime; certifications for victims of qualifying criminal activity
  • SB 1475: Search warrants; date and time of issuance, exceptions
Judiciary 2021 Hearings
Virginia Senate Live Session Video Stream

Standing Committee: 1/18.1 1/18.2  1/18.3 1/20 1/25 1/27 2/1 2/3 2/9 2/10 2/15 2/17 2/22.1 2/22.2

Civil Law: 2/1 2/16
Criminal Law: 1/29

RICHMOND, Va. (CN) — Virginia’s Senate nixed a bill aiming to make unsolicited pictures of genitals or sex acts illegal after citing First Amendment concerns in a hearing Thursday.

“Sending an obscene picture should require consent from the recipient,” Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler argued regarding her bill, which sailed through the state’s House with unanimous consent.

“Sending one without consent should be the equivalent of cyberflashing,” the Virginia Beach Democrat said.

Convirs-Fowler defended the effort during a hearing of the state Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, saying the bill came from constituents who had been victimized by unwanted sexual photos sent via email, text or even during video-streamed events.

McClellan’s bill was met with debate from other lawmakers in the Senate Judiciary committee, such as Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, over the bill’s language. McClellan asked Petersen if he wanted to add an amendment. He said he didn’t.

“I just want this bill to go away,” Petersen said.

Petersen questioned if his wife asking men “to move the furniture for her” constituted sexual harassment. Multiple lawmakers said the bill’s language was too broad.

A bid to overturn Virginia’s cap on medical malpractice damages ended last month when the state’s General Assembly adjourned its legislative session without taking action on a bill that was being supported by an attorney best known for representing Paula Jones in her sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton.

S.B. 1107, which would have eliminated the current $2.45 million total damages limit for medical malpractice payouts, didn’t make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee before the legislative session ended on Feb. 11.

Washington, D.C.-based attorney Joe Cammarata had garnered the support of state Sen. Bill Stanley, a Republican, to move the legislation forward, but to no avail. Cammarata, a partner with personal injury firm Chaikin Sherman Cammarata & Siegel PC, served as one of Jones’ attorneys in her suit against Clinton in the late 1990s, a case that ultimately ended in an $850,000 settlement.

More rights for Va. disabled and domestic workers
Fauquier Now, David TranMarch 5, 2021

The two bills amending the Human Rights Act that lawmakers could not advance would have strengthened current workplace sexual harassment laws.

Del. Vivian E. Watts (D-Fairfax) introduced HB 2155 to expand and clarify the definition of workplace harassment and sexual harassment. The bill passed the House but died in the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 6-7. It was the delegate’s second attempt to pass such protections.

The Senate companion bill, SB 1360, reported out of the Senate Judiciary committee, but was sent back and never picked back up. Patroned by Sen. McClellan, the legislation died over concerns on the bill’s absence of employers’ liabilities, especially for small businesses.


From Senate Rules: A Committee for Courts of Justice (Note: The Courts of Justice Committee name has been changed to “Judiciary Committee”) 15 Senators, to consider matters relating to the Courts of the Commonwealth and the Justices and Judges thereof, including the nominations of such Justices and Judges where provided by the Constitution and statutes of Virginia; and all matters concerning the criminal laws of the Commonwealth; together with all matters concerning contracts, domestic relations, eminent domain, fiduciaries, firearms, garnishments, homestead and all other exemptions, immigration (with the exception of matters relating to the powers of the Governor or education), magistrates, mechanics’ and other liens, notaries public and out-of-state commissioners, property and conveyances (except landlord and tenant and condominium matters), wills and decedents’ estates.

It shall report to the Senate the names of such persons as it shall find qualified for election as a Justice or Judge of the Commonwealth. Senators, all or part of whose Senate Districts are within the Circuit or District for which a Judge is to be elected, shall nominate a qualified person for such election by affirmation of a majority of such Senators on a form provided by the Clerk of the Senate. If such Senators are unable to agree on a nominee, a Senator shall only nominate a person deemed qualified by the Committee for Courts of Justice for any judicial position.

Whenever a vacancy in the office of a justice of the Supreme Court or judge of the Court of Appeals is announced, the Chair of the Committee for Courts of Justice shall establish a date certain by which any Senator may forward the name of any potential nominee for such office to the Chair.

Web Links


Civil Law

Meets on: TBD

Members:  Chap Petersen (Chair),  Jennifer BoyskoBen Chafin,  Louise LucasJennifer McClellanRyan McDougle,  Tommy NormentMark Obenshain

Criminal Law

Meets on: TBD

MembersCreigh Deeds (Chair),  Ryan McDougleJoe Morrissey,  Dick SaslawBill StanleyRichard StuartScott Surovell


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