VA LIS, – February 22, 2021 (Short)
Repeals the remaining provisions of the Habitual Offender Act. The bill also requires that the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles reinstate a person’s privilege to drive a motor vehicle that was suspended or revoked solely on the basis that such person was determined to be or adjudicated a habitual offender pursuant to the Habitual Offender Act. The bill also authorizes the Virginia Alcohol and Safety Action Program to continue to administer intervention for individuals who were ordered to attend an intervention interview on or before June 30, 2021.
VA LIS, – February 22, 2021 (Short)
Provides that juvenile court service unit records and Department of Juvenile Justice records may be open for inspection to the Department of Social Services or any local department of social services that is providing services or care for, or has accepted a referral for family assessment or investigation and the provision of services regarding, a juvenile and these local agencies have entered into a formal agreement with the Department of Juvenile Justice to provide coordinated services to such juveniles.
VA LIS, – February 22, 2021 (Short)
Authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue restricted driving credentials to individuals with driver’s license suspensions resulting from drug-related offenses.
VA LIS, – February 23, 2021 (Short)
Permits the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court to retain jurisdiction in cases where a child has petitioned the court to make findings of fact that would allow the child to apply for or receive a state or federal benefit until such child reaches 21 years of age for the purpose of entering findings of fact or amending past orders, to include findings of fact necessary for the person to petition the federal government for status as a special immigrant juvenile.
VA LIS, – February 22, 2021 (Short)
Authorizes the Board of Wildlife Resources to quitclaim any interest in a parcel of land and convey a right-of-way easement to the Valerie H. MacDowell Trust. The quitclaim is a result of a boundary line correction of an acquisition by the Board and applies to an unimproved parcel of land containing about 13.6 acres on the watershed of Little Tumbling Creek. The easement, which will follow an existing road and bridge across a portion of the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area, will allow ingress and egress to the MacDowell Trust property from State Route 607. The MacDowell Trust shall be solely responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the easement. This bill is identical to HB 2252.
Courthouse News, – February 18, 2021 (Medium)
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.
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 McClellan–Ryan 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
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.
Meets on: TBD
Meets on: TBD
Bills in committee
(none at this time)
Bills reported out
SB 1105: Provides that a person who was convicted of a felony offense, or who was adjudicated delinquent of an offense that would have been a felony offense if committed by an adult, may petition the Court of Appeals to have his conviction vacated. Referred to House Committee on Appropriations
SB 1108: Increases from $25,000 to $50,000 the maximum civil jurisdictional limit of general district courts for civil actions for personal injury and wrongful death. House amendments agreed to by Senate (38 Yes to 1 No)
SB 1113: Provides that any person 18 years of age or older who communicates a threat in writing to another to kill or to do serious bodily injury to any other person and makes such threat with the intent to (i) intimidate a civilian population at large; (ii) influence the conduct or activities of a government, including the government of the United States, a state, or a locality, through intimidation; or (iii) compel the emergency evacuation, or avoidance, of any place of assembly, any building or other structure, or any means of mass transportation is guilty of a Class 5 felony. House substitute agreed to by Senate (38 Yes to 0 No)
SB 1119: Creates a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Body-Worn Camera System Fund to assist state or local law enforcement agencies with the costs of purchasing, operating, and maintaining body-worn camera systems.
SB 1122: Repeals the remaining provisions of the Habitual Offender Act. The bill also requires that the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles reinstate a person’s privilege to drive a motor vehicle that was suspended or revoked solely on the basis that such person was determined to be or adjudicated a habitual offender pursuant to the Habitual Offender Act. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)
SB 1123: Provides that in any case contesting the validity of a decedent’s will where a presumption of undue influence arises, the burden of producing evidence and the burden of persuasion as to the factual issue that undue influence was exerted over the testator shall be on the party against whom the presumption operates.
SB 1129: Exempts a member of a lawfully recognized military color guard, honor guard, or similar organization, or a member of a veterans service organization that is Congressionally-chartered or officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, when such member is participating in a public ceremony on behalf of such color guard, honor guard, or similar organization or such veterans service organization from the crimes of brandishing a firearm and unlawful paramilitary activity.
SB 1138: Provides that any person who is diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection and engages in sexual behavior that poses a substantial risk of transmission to another person according to current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations regarding such risk of transmission with the intent to transmit the infection to another person and transmits such infection to that person is guilty of infected sexual battery, punishable as Class 1 misdemeanor. House amendments rejected by Senate (2 Yes to 37 No)
SB 1142: Authorizes any current member of the General Assembly and the current Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General to celebrate the rites of marriage anywhere in the Commonwealth without the necessity of bond or order of authorization. Passed House by BLOCK vote (98 Yes to 0 No)
SB 1165: Abolishes the death penalty, including for those persons currently under a death sentence. Passed House (57 Yes to 43 No)
SB 1168: Conforms the definition of “abused or neglected child” in Title 16.1 (Courts Not of Record) with the definition of the same term in Title 63.2 (Welfare (Social Services)).
SB 1180: Provides that a circuit court may enter an order joining, coordinating, consolidating, or transferring civil actions upon finding that separate civil actions brought by a plaintiff on behalf of multiple similarly situated persons involve common questions of law or fact and arise out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences.
SB 1181: Permits the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court to retain jurisdiction in cases where a child has petitioned the court to make findings of fact that would allow the child to apply for or receive a state or federal benefit until such child reaches 21 years of age for the purpose of entering findings of fact or amending past orders, to include findings of fact necessary for the person to petition the federal government for status as a special immigrant juvenile.
SB 1184: Allows a parent who has reason to anticipate his possible detention, incarceration, or deportation connected to an immigration action to petition the court for approval of a standby guardian for the parent’s minor child. Passed House by BLOCK vote (98 Yes to 0 No)
SB 1206: Provides that juvenile court service unit records and Department of Juvenile Justice records may be open for inspection to the Department of Social Services or any local department of social services that is providing services or care for, or has accepted a referral for family assessment or investigation and the provision of services regarding, a juvenile and these local agencies have entered into a formal agreement with the Department of Juvenile Justice to provide coordinated services to such juveniles. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)
SB 1209: Provides that in an action against a general contractor for nonpayment of wages to a subcontractor’s employees, the general contractor may offer as evidence a written certification that (i) the subcontractor and each of his sub-subcontractors has paid all employees all wages due for the period during which the wages are claimed for the work performed on the project and (ii) to the subcontractor’s knowledge all sub-subcontractors have also paid their employees.
SB 1213: Authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue restricted driving credentials to individuals with driver’s license suspensions resulting from drug-related offenses. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)
SB 1226: Provides that the Compensation Board shall consider workload totals comprehensively, including the use of diversion programs and specialty dockets, when determining staffing and funding levels for an attorney for the Commonwealth and the office.
SB 1234: Allows persons who have been licensed as an attorney or barrister in a foreign country, obtained an LL.M degree from an accredited law school in the United States and been admitted to practice law before the court of last resort in any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia to sit for the Virginia Bar examination.
SB 1241: Provides that in a civil action for personal injuries sustained from a motor vehicle accident, regardless of the number of losses sustained by an injured person, an insurance company shall disclose the policy limits of an alleged tortfeasor who has been charged with an offense of driving under the influence within 30 days of a request for such disclosure. Passed House by BLOCK vote (98 Yes to 0 No)
SB 1242: Provides that with the consent of the court and all parties, an appearance in a court may be made by two-way electronic video and audio communication for the purpose of (i) entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere and the related sentencing of the defendant charged with a misdemeanor or felony, (ii) entry of a nolle prosequi, or (iii) adjudication of an alleged violation of probation. House amendments agreed to by Senate (38 Yes to 0 No)
SB 1248: Requires the appointed evaluator or the director of the community services board, behavioral health authority, or hospital to acknowledge receipt of the court order requiring a competency evaluation to be performed to the clerk of the court on a form developed by the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia as soon as practicable but no later than the close of business on the next business day following receipt of the court order. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)
SB 1256: Requires the social justice organization represented by a member of the Criminal Justice Services Board and a member of the Committee on Training be engaged in advancing inclusion and human rights. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)
SB 1261: Expands the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals of Virginia by providing for an appeal of right in every civil case and provides that the granting of further appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia shall be within the discretion of the Supreme Court.
SB 1262: Provides that any person who is otherwise eligible to receive a restricted permit to operate a motor vehicle shall not be required to pay in full his fines and costs before being issued such restricted permit.
SB 1266: Eliminates provisions regarding the rebuttable presumptions against being admitted to bail.
SB 1270: Provides that the notice required to be sent to a landowner prior to an authorized condemnor recording a certificate of take or certificate of deposit shall state that (i) the certificate of take or certificate of deposit will be recorded between 30 and 45 days from the date of the notice and (ii) that the property will transfer to the condemnor upon recordation and that the owner has the right to petition the court for distribution of the funds represented in the certificate. Passed House by BLOCK vote (98 Yes to 0 No)
SB 1272: Provides that a court may commit a capital murder defendant to the inpatient custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, provided that such defendant has remained unrestorably incompetent for a period of five years. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)
SB 1306: Eliminates the mandatory minimum term of confinement of six months for an assault and battery committed against a judge, magistrate, law-enforcement officer, correctional officer, person directly involved in the care, treatment, or supervision of inmates, firefighter or volunteer firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel.
SB 1315: Permits the admission of evidence offered by the defendant concerning a defendant’s mental condition at the time of an alleged offense, including expert testimony, is relevant, is not evidence concerning an ultimate issue of fact, if such evidence (i) tends to show the defendant did or did not have the specific mental state required for the offense charged and (ii) is otherwise admissible pursuant to the general rules of evidence.
SB 1316: Exempts prospective employees and volunteers of certain child care providers from statutory background check requirements where the individual completed a background check within the previous five years, provided that (i) such background check was conducted after July 1, 2017; (ii) the results of such background check indicated that the individual had not been convicted of any barrier crime and was not the subject of a founded complaint of child abuse or neglect; and (iii) the individual is an employee or volunteer of a child care provider that is subject to background check requirements or has been separated from such employment or volunteer position for not more than 180 days. Passed House by BLOCK vote (98 Yes to 0 No)
SB 1325: Allows a grandparent who has petitioned the court for visitation of a minor grandchild, in cases where the parent of the minor grandchild is deceased or incapacitated, to introduce evidence of such deceased or incapacitated parent’s consent to visitation with the grandparent. House substitute agreed to by Senate (37 Yes to 2 No)
SB 1336: Provides that in any criminal case for reckless or improper driving where a defendant’s license to operate a motor vehicle, engine, or train is subject to revocation or suspension and the court orders a defendant, as a condition of probation or otherwise, to enter into and successfully complete an alcohol safety action program, the court may issue the defendant a restricted license to operate a motor vehicle where the only restriction is to prohibit the defendant from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a functioning, certified ignition interlock system for a period of not less than 12 consecutive months without alcohol-related violations of the interlock requirements. House substitute agreed to by Senate (38 Yes to 0 No)
SB 1367: Requires that, for any medical review of a claim made pursuant to the provisions of the Line of Duty Act, the Virginia Retirement System shall require that such review be conducted by a doctor, nurse, or psychologist who is licensed in the Commonwealth or a contiguous state.
SB 1381: Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for a person to possess or transport any (i) firearm or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile or projectile of any kind; (ii) frame, receiver, muffler, silencer, missile, projectile, or ammunition designed for use with a dangerous weapon; or (iii) other dangerous weapon within Capitol Square or into any building owned or leased by the Commonwealth. A dangerous weapon includes a bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, machete, razor, slingshot, spring stick, fighting chain, throwing star, and oriental dart or any weapon of like kind.
SB 1391: Requires the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission to collect and disseminate, on an annual basis, statewide and locality-level data related to adults charged with criminal offenses punishable by confinement in jail or a term of imprisonment. Passed both the House and Senate
SB 1400: Authorizes the Board of Wildlife Resources to quitclaim any interest in a parcel of land and convey a right-of-way easement to the Valerie H. MacDowell Trust. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)
SB 1406: Eliminates criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana, modifies several other criminal penalties related to marijuana, and provides for an automatic expungement process for those convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes.
SB 1415: Changes the punishment and sentencing requirements for a violation of a preliminary child protective order so that the maximum penalty is a Class 1 misdemeanor and the court is no longer required to enter a permanent family abuse protective order (i.e., a protective order with a maximum duration of two years) upon a conviction of a violation of a preliminary child protective order.
SB 1426: Provides that an order of restitution shall be docketed in the name of the Commonwealth, or a locality if applicable, on behalf of a victim, unless the victim named in the order of restitution requests in writing that the order be docketed in the name of the victim. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)
SB 1431: Provides that in cases where a defendant was previously determined to be unrestorably incompetent in the past two years, a competency report may recommend that the court find the defendant unrestorably incompetent to stand trial, and the court may proceed with the disposition of the case based on such recommendation. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)
SB 1437: Eliminates the requirement that a promise to appear be completed after the issuance of a summons for a misdemeanor offense or an administrative violation.
SB 1442: Establishes a public defender office for the County of Chesterfield. The provisions of the bill are contingent on funding in a general appropriation act.
SB 1443: Eliminates all mandatory minimum sentences of confinement from the Code of Virginia. The bill directs the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to establish a work group to evaluate the feasibility of resentencing persons previously convicted of a felony offense that was punishable by a mandatory minimum term of confinement.
SB 1456: Provides that a juvenile may be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice (the Department) only if he (i) is adjudicated delinquent of a violent juvenile felony and is 11 years of age or older or (ii) is 14 years of age or older. House amendment agreed to by Senate (38 Yes to 0 No)
SB 1461: Provides that any person who (i) offers, confers, or agrees to confer upon another any pecuniary benefit as consideration for the recipient to act in the unlawful delivery of items or contraband to prisoners or (ii) receives any pecuniary benefit or other consideration to act in in the unlawful delivery of items or contraband to prisoners shall be guilty of bribery, punishable as a Class 4 felony. House substitute agreed to by Senate (39 Yes to 0 No)
SB 1465: Provides that any person who conducts, finances, manages, supervises, directs, or owns a gambling device that is located in an unregulated location is subject to a civil penalty of up to $25,000.
SB 1468: Establishes a process for a state or local law-enforcement agency, an attorney for the Commonwealth, the Attorney General, or any other agency or department employing law-enforcement officers to complete a certification form or declaration that is required by federal immigration law certifying that a person is a victim of qualifying criminal activity.
SB 1475: Provides that a search warrant for the search of any place of abode shall be executed by initial entry of the abode only in the daytime hours between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. unless (i) a judge or a magistrate, if a judge is not available, authorizes the execution of such search warrant at another time for good cause shown by particularized facts in an affidavit; or (ii) prior to the issuance of the search warrant, law-enforcement officers lawfully entered and secured the place to be searched and remained at such place continuously. House amendments agreed to by Senate (38 Yes to 0 No)
Commissions & Boards
oint Subcommittee to Study Barrier Crimes and Criminal History Records Checks
Study of the Commonwealth’s laws related to barrier crimes and criminal history records checks and development of recommendations related to (i) whether statutory provisions related to criminal history records checks, barrier crimes, and barrier crime exceptions should be reorganized and consolidated into a central location in the Code of Virginia; (ii) whether certain crimes should be removed from the list of barrier crimes; (iii) whether barrier crime exceptions and waiver processes should be broadened; (iv) whether the required amount of time that must lapse after conviction of certain barrier crimes should be shortened; and (v) other changes that could be made to criminal history records check and barrier crimes requirements that would improve the organization, effectiveness, and fairness of such provisions.
Criminal Justice Services Board
Supervisory board of the Department of Criminal Justice Services which is the planning and coordinating agency responsible for the implementation and administration of any federal programs for strengthing and improving law enforcement, and the administration of criminal justice, and delinquency prevention and control throughout the Commonwealth.
Criminal Sentencing Commission
To develop discretionary sentencing guidelines to achieve the goals of certainty, consistency, and adequacy of punishment with due regard to the seriousness of the offense, the dangerousness of the offender, deterrence of individuals from committing criminal offenses,and the use of alternative sanctions, where appropriate.
Disbursement Review Committee
Provide input to the Attorney General on forfeitures through the U.S. Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program or the U.S. Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture
Committee on District Courts
Authorizing the appointment of substitute judges pursuant to § 16.1-69.14, authorizing the establishment of clerks’ offices in counties or cities as may be required and establishing when such offices are open for business, authorizing the appointment of personnel for the district courts and establishing procedures for administrative review of appeals from personnel actions for district court personnel and magistrates, fixing salary classification schedules of court personnel and establishing vacation and sick leave for district court judges, district court personnel and magistrates, and for such other duties or matters as may be conferred upon by law.
Forensic Science Board
VA Council Interstate Compact for Juveniles
The Council shall exercise oversight and advocacy concerning its participation in interstate commission activities and other duties as may be determined by the Council, including development of policies concerning operations and procedures of the compact within Virginia.
Judicial Conference of Virginia for District Courts
There is hereby established a Judicial Conference of Virginia for District Courts whose active members shall be the judge of every general district court and juvenile and domestic relations district court of the Commonwealth. The Attorney General of Virginia, the chairmen of the Courts of Justice Committees of the Senate and House of Delegates or their designees who shall be members of the Courts of Justice committees, the president and secretary of the Virginia State Bar, the president and secretary of the Virginia Bar Association, the president and secretary of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, the president and secretary of the Old Dominion Bar Association, the president and secretary of the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys, the president and secretary of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, the president and secretary of the Virginia College of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and the president and secretary of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys shall be honorary members of the Conference without voting privilege.
Judicial Council of Virginia
Study the organization and the rules and methods of procedure and practice of the judicial system, the work accomplished and the results produced by the system and shall make studies of the need, or lack of need, of additional judges or justices of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals of Virginia, and the circuit courts.
Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission
To investigate charges arising out of the present or any prior term of office which would be the basis for retirement, censure, or removal of a judge under Article VI, Section 10 of the Constitution of Virginia.
Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice
Advise and assist all agencies on matters related to the prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency and the administration of juvenile justice in the Commonwealth.
Virginia Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence
The Advisory Committee shall have the responsibility for advising and assisting the Board, the Department, all agencies, departments, boards, and institutions of the Commonwealth, and units of local government, or combinations thereof, on matters related to the prevention and reduction of sexual and domestic violence in the Commonwealth, and to promote the efficient administration of grant funds to state and local programs that work in these areas.
Commission To Study Slavery and Subsequent De Jure and De Facto Racial and Economic Discrimination Against African Americans
To study the current impact and long-term inequities of slavery and subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African Americans
Virginia African American Advisory Board
The Virginia African American Advisory Board (the Board) is established as an advisory board in the executive branch of state government.
Qualifications: The Board shall have a total membership of 26 members that shall consist of 21 nonlegislative citizen members and five ex officio members. Nonlegislative citizen members shall be appointed as follows: 21 members, at least 15 of whom shall be African American, to be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly. The Secretaries of the Commonwealth, Commerce and Trade, Education, Health and Human Resources, and Public Safety and Homeland Security or their designees shall serve ex officio with nonvoting privileges.
Virginia Indigent Defense Commission
To develop and publicize a list of and develop and enforce the qualification standards for attorneys seeking eligibility to serve as court-appointed counsel for indigent defendants pursuant to § 19.2-159.