General Assembly

A coalition of nonprofit and advocacy organizations says the General Assembly’s legislative process needs to be more open and clear to the public.  

Members of “Transparency Virginia” attended more than three-quarters of the Assembly’s 101 committee and subcommittee meetings during its recent session.  They found a less-than-stellar record of adequate notice for meetings, recorded votes, and full consideration of bills.

Human-rights advocates are applauding the passage and benefits of Virginia's first standalone sex trafficking law, which goes into effect this July.  They say the new law is long overdue and puts the Commonwealth in step with other states that have passed similar measures. But they also say this should simply start the effort to pass laws that deter sex trafficking-which is the second fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the U.S.

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While the Virginia ACLU applauds Governor McAuliffe's signing of a number of bills this past legislative session, the organization opposes his amendments to several bills that had aimed to reign in the government’s powers of surveillance--and which passed the General Assembly overwhelmingly.  The ACLU is asking state lawmakers to reject the amendments when they soon return to Richmond.  

During its recent session, Virginia's General Assembly took action on the Governor's Access Plan, which is a limited mental health and medical benefits package for a group of low-income adults in the Commonwealth. But what does it do, who is eligible, and what are its limitations? 

Lawmakers approved a variation of the program granted by the federal government at the behest of Governor McAuliffe.  Mira Signer with the National Alliance for Mental Illness says the benefits are for the seriously mentally ill between the ages of 21 and 64.

Bills that REALLY crack down on those who first exhibit signs of domestic abuse and strengthen penalties for sex traffickers are some of the public safety measures that the General Assembly recently sent to Governor McAuliffe.  The governor is also reviewing a potential new law that’s designed to take the temptation out of smuggling cigarettes.  

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