Virginia State Senate has passed legislation that would impact state hiring of applicants with criminal convictions. The "Ban the Box" bill would allow to people who were charged or convicted of crimes to advance further in the employment vetting process before a prospective employer could inquire about any criminal history.
After a very spirited debate in the state Senate, charter school proponents win a major victory. Senators passed a resolution to amend the state constitution to give the Board of Education authority to establish charter schools in Virginia.
Bill supporters argue that Virginia has only seven charter schools, but a far greater number of jurisdictions need more options for students with substandard public schools. Senator Tom Garrett agrees that socio-economic status should not determine a child's quality of education.
Public employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity would be prohibited under legislation that has passed the Virginia Senate. The bill inserts a policy into state law that has been adopted through executive order by Governor McAuliffe and several other gubernatorial
administrations. The commonwealth’s Lieutenant Governor played a key role in the legislation’s passage.
Senator Barbara Favola argued that steps to prohibit workforce discrimination are needed.
Virginia’s Medicaid program provides healthcare for poor children, the elderly and disabled, but working adults rarely qualify. Experts say as many as 400,000 people could get insurance if the state were to expand its Medicaid program, but there’s another reason why some lawmakers support that idea – it could be good for the economy.
Opponents say Virginia can’t afford to expand Medicaid - even with the federal government paying 90-100% of the bill, but supporters say failing to expand the program will be even more expensive.
The Virginia Senate has shot down legislation to allow people with concealed-carry permits to possess a handgun on school property after normal school hours. The bill applied only to those times when no school-sponsored functions or extracurricular activities were taking place. Questions about how residents would determine which events are school-sponsored were an insurmountable hurdle to some lawmakers.