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2015 Legislative Agenda

Conner's Law - Child Support for Disabled Child Over Age 18

Provides that a court may order child support for children over the age of 18 who are severely or permanently mentally or physically disabled prior to their turning 18. (SB 923)**

 

Breastfeeding in Public  

Women in Virginia have not have the right to breastfeed their babies in places that were open to the public, like malls and parks. I heard from lots of Virginia moms who, when simply trying to discreetly breastfeed their babies in public, were asked to relocate to the women’s bathroom or leave the premises. This is ridiculous and discriminatory thinking has no place in Virginia, so my bill would give mothers an absolute right breastfeed their children in public places in our state. (SB 1427)**

 

Protecting Our Children

Keeping Virginia’s children safe has always been a top priority for me. As a prosecutor and attorney, I saw that a number of legislative changes were needed to deal with child safety and sexual abuse prevention. Bills I introduced would:

  • Improve the employer background check system to stop abusers from working in daycare settings (SB 911)

  • Require circuit court case files on crimes for which a person can be committed as a sexually violent predator be retained for 50 years or until the sentence term ends, whichever comes later (SB 914)**

  • Close a loophole that made it difficult to determine where to prosecute certain cases involving sex offenses against children. (SB 915)**

  • Clarify the physical verification of information provided by offenders subject to the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry. (SB 918)**

  • Authorize the Attorney General to issue administrative subpoenas to obtain identifying information from internet service providers if relevant to a law-enforcement investigation of certain child pornography, abduction, and prostitution crimes. The bill also provided strict protections for when these subpoenas could be issued, and made it clear that the content of communications could not be disclosed. (SB  919)**

  • Require the Superintendent of State Police to establish and maintain a Supplement to the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry that would include the names of persons who have committed offenses that would require registration if the offense occurred today, but who are not otherwise required to register due to the date of conviction. (SB 934)**

  • Establish stricter registration rules for family day homes (SB 1069)**

Combating the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic

The heroin and opioid epidemic continues to overwhelm Virginia’s public safety and social services providers. We are working at the state level to change how doctors prescribe opioids as well as to improve access to treatment for addiction and to give law enforcement the tools necessary to prosecute those who sell drugs to vulnerable users. My bill, SB 1035, would hold predatory drug dealers accountable for the overdose deaths they cause.

 

An Economy that Works for Everyone

Not every child who graduates from our high schools will go on to college. We need to ensure that Virginians have access to apprenticeships and other career paths that are not your traditional four-year university. I introduced a bill (SB 1153) that would require the Virginia Board of Workforce Development, in coordination with the Commissioner of Labor and Industry, to establish an online portal for accessing apprenticeship opportunities available to high school graduates.

 

Education

Today’s graduates are competing not just with students from other states, but with those from other nations. My SB 916 would recognize that fluency in a world language other than English is something colleges and employers will consider when making decisions in admissions and hiring. Specifically, it would create a Biliteracy Seal for high school diplomas for students who demonstrate fluency in English and another world language.

 

Environment

My SB 1154 would reduce the time hazardous spills in Virginia waterways must be reported to the appropriate authorities and modernize the manner in which they are reported to media outlets

 

Ethics Reform

  • My SB 1278, would implement stricter ethics laws, including a ban on gifts over $100 and removing the distinction between "tangible" and "intangible" gifts to public officials.**

  • My SB 924 would prohibit compensation to legislators for attending conferences for which the agenda and materials are not available to the public.

LGBT protections in Virginia’s Fair Housing Law

Someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity will not tell you if they will be a good tenant or be able to pay rent. This discrimination has no place in Virginia, and it has an adverse affect on promoting business’ relocation and investment in the Commonwealth. Therefore, I introduced a bill (SB 917) that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to Virginia’s Fair Housing Law.

 

Transportation

  • Dulles Greenway

    • I introduced a resolution (SJ 234) that would direct the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study the feasibility of purchasing the Dulles Greenway.

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  • I introduced a bill (SB 921) that would allow towns who maintain their own roads within the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to receive funds for specific projects.

    • Another bill (SB 1033) would expand the membership of the NVTA to add one additional representatives from towns that would receive that new funding.

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  • Keeping our roads safe

    • One of my bills, SB 1279, would make driving while using a cell phone illegal, if not done hands-free or with a hands-free device.  

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Voting

In the past few years, legislators have passed laws that have created barriers to the voting booth for many Virginians. I believe that we should be making it easier to vote, not harder. Two of my bills would do just that.

  • My bill (SB 910) would implement easier absentee voting options for people aged 65 and older.

  • Another bill (SB 922) would expand the types of voters IDs accepted at polling locations.

Women’s Healthcare

Virginia has created numerous undue burdens on a woman’s access to abortion services. One of the major barriers is the wait period between an initial ultrasound and the procedure. I introduced a bill (SB 920) that would remove that wait period, giving women increased access to make their own healthcare decisions.

 

**Bills that became law