On Monday, Virginia House Democrats rushed to file several legislation bills including, gun control, LGBTQ protections and the Equal Rights Amendment, as the window opened for next year’s General Assembly session.
However, pre-filling came at a bad time for Republican leaders, who traveled to Richmond to officially close the special legislative session on gun control, which was cut short in summer.
The overhaul in the House dominated by Republicans is set to change, especially after the way state’s docket filled with Democratic proposals. Nonetheless, Republican leaders still took over the floor of the Senate and House of Delegates, probably keeping in mind that it was the last time that they were dictating terms before their rivals take over.
State Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan submitted her first legislations moments after filing season opened at midnight. In her list, the Senator put passage of the ERA as her top priority. “It’s past time. There’s no reason to wait,” said McClellan, who is already positioning herself as a possible candidate for governor in 2021.
This was followed by another lawmaker, Delegate Jennifer D. Carroll Foy, who filed a parallel ERA measure as House Resolution 1. This in turn was followed by another ERA proposal, signaling the prime importance that House Democrats have given to the issue.
Other than ERA, Gun control legislation has also been long debated. Therefore, it is almost certain that background checks on those purchasing guns, would soon be formulated into law.
Democrats took majorities in both the Senate and the House of Delegates in the November 5 elections. The move implies Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, has majority power to implement the changes. As numbers say, when the General Assembly gathers in January, Democrats will have 55-45 majority in the House and 21-19 in the Senate.
“Finally, these bills will get the consideration they deserve in the House of Delegates, and we can take our first steps toward improving voting rights, preventing gun violence, and recognizing all Virginians as equal regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation,” House Majority Leader-elect Charniele L. Herring said via email.
Virginia House Democrats chose Eileen Filler-Corn as the House Speaker, making her the first ever female leader in Virginia’s 400-year legislative history.
On Tuesday, the Virginia Senate passed four LGTB rights bills and with it has once again