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General Assembly Update – End of Session

Saturday, February 25th, marked what is known as “Sine Die” at the Virginia General Assembly, the final day of the 2023 regular session.

Thousands of bills were heard and debated during the 46 days of session. LAJC’s team worked tirelessly to prevent the rollback of rights for our communities and to push for progress during this intense and sometimes contentious process. We organized press conferences, testified on bills, attended lobby days with community members and partner organizations, met with legislators and stakeholders, and connected people with their representatives to advocate on issues that impact their lives.

LAJC staff and community members at Justice Forward VA’s lobby day

Our Youth Justice Program Director Fallon Speaker emceeing the Fund Our Schools Coalition press conference responding to House and Senate budget proposals

Much of our work this session has been defensive. We successfully fought back against bills that would have reinstated unfair presumptions against bail, removed tenant protections for those forced to call a motel “home”, and increased policing in our schools. We also helped to stop bills that rolled back the ban on the discriminatory practice of pretextual stops as well as bills that would expand police surveillance across the state.

We also made progress on bills to prevent mass evictions and preserve family integrity. Heading to the Governor’s desk to hopefully be signed into law is a bill that would require landlords in large apartment buildings to provide at least 60 days notice if they intend to terminate 20 or more month-to-month leases, as well as a bill establishing a workgroup to make recommendations for a Parents Advocacy Commission to support parents whose children are in or at risk of foster care.

One item still to be finalized is the state budget. When The General Assembly adjourned on Saturday, there was no final agreement due to significant differences between the House and Senate versions, so they passed a “skinny budget” until the full budget can be finalized.

This means that important issues around school funding are still very much up in the air until the Governor calls them back to a special session. You can help ensure that Virginia students, families, and teachers are prioritized over corporate tax cuts by clicking on the button below:

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In the coming weeks, the Governor will review the bills that the General Assembly passed and either sign them into law, veto them, or send them back to the legislature with proposed amendments to be dealt with during the April 12th reconvened session.

It’s been a busy and wonderful first GA session for me and I truly appreciate this LAJC team, the power of advocacy and community, and your support of our work. As we await the outcome of the legislation passed and the finalization of the state budget, we will continue our everyday work supporting our communities and advocating with them for justice.

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