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2017 Legislative Agenda

Protecting our Children

Keeping Virginia’s children safe has always been a top priority for me. This year, two of my bills would keep them safer in our daycares and empower K-12 kids to recognize and report sexual abuse. Those bills would:

  • Require fingerprint-based background checks, not just name-based checks, for daycares and assisted living facilities. This bill will keep criminals from being employed by these facilities (SB 897)**

  • Introduce age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention education for K-12 in our public schools. In other states where this legislation has passed, after being taught to recognize abuse, more children have reported abuse to their teachers and other trusted adults. (SB 828)

Combating the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic

The heroin and opioid epidemic continues to overwhelm Virginia’s public safety and social services providers. Since 2014, the number of deaths caused by drug overdoses has exceeded both motor vehicle accidents and gun related deaths, and in 2016, more than 1400 Virginians died of opioid overdose. We are working at the state level to change how doctors prescribe opioids as well as to improve access to treatment for addiction and overdoses. Two of my bills, Senate Bill 848 and Senate Bill 1086, would improve the state’s ability to deal with the crisis.

  • SB 848 would allow certain individuals to distribute naloxone (Narcan), an overdose reversal drug, to those they train in administering Narcan. Putting this drug into the hands of more people will save lives.**

  • SB 1086 would let CPS help substance exposed newborns and their mothers gain access to more resources to get and stay clean and safe. **

Civil cause of action for “revenge porn” victims

Under Virginia law, perpetrators can be criminally charged for “revenge porn” or taking surreptitious photographs or videos. I introduced a bill that would allow victims of these types of crimes to sue their perpetrator for compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees and costs. (SB1210)**

 

Criminal Justice Reform

Addressing the school-to-prison pipeline is a major priority for me this session. Virginia leads the nation in prosecuting kids criminally for even minor incidents that take place in our schools. In order to address that statistic and improve outcomes for children, I have proposed legislation that would:

  • Promote alternatives to suspension including positive behavior incentives, mediation, peer-to-peer counseling, community service, and other intervention alternatives (SB829)**

  • Change the mandated reporting of every incident to law enforcement to mandated reporting of felonies (SB1082)

Integrity and fairness in our justice system is a high priority for me. From 1995 to 2000, Virginia juries were not instructed that parole had been abolished in Virginia.

  • My SB825 would require new sentencing proceedings for those defendants.

An Economy that Works for Everyone

We need to build a Virginia that works for everyone, especially women and their families. Establishing policies that would allow paid medical leave and equal pay laws would help Virginia’s families and economy. During this legislative session, I introduced bills that would:

  • Establish Paid Medical Leave in Virginia. My SB824 would have required that certain businesses provide paid medical leave benefits for employees.

  • Create greater equity between men and women in the workplace. My bill, Senate Bill 1080, added equal employment benefits and privileges to Virginia’s equal pay law and would have made it illegal for employers to fire employees who discuss salaries with one another.

Environment

Virginia has been trailing behind our neighboring states in welcoming solar energy to our electrical grid. Providing true community solar would give economic benefits to participating customers, strengthen our communities, and deliver valuable clean energy to our grid. My SB1208 would expand consumers’ access to community solar energy in Virginia.

 

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 (SB822) that would add discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited practices under Virginia’s Fair Housing Law.

 

Transportation

  • Reducing Tolls on the Dulles Greenway

    • Ever-increasing tolls on the Dulles Toll Road and the Greenway are an excessive burden on Loudoun residents. This session, I introduced legislation (SB 1209) that would remove language that mandates increases in tolls on the Greenway.

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  • Improving customer service at the DMV

    • Bringing much needed improvements to the Department of Motor Vehicles is a priority for me. One of my bills (SB1085) would allow the DMV to extend validity period of licenses, conduct additional services online, and digitally verify the authenticity of Virginia driver’s licenses.**

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Voting Access

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 SB826 would expand the types of voters IDs accepted at polling locations

  • Another bill (SB827) would implement no-excuse absentee voting options for people aged 70 and older

Women’s Healthcare

After the ruling in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, Virginia needs to fix its laws that create undue burdens on women’s access to abortion services. My SB1549 would remove those unconstitutional barriers to access like TRAP laws and waiting periods.

 

**Bills that became law