Photosynthesis » ACLU-VA Legislative Agenda’s Portfolio

11 bills are being tracked.

School resource officers; local school board to place officer in each public school. (HB66)

Patron: Del. David Ramadan (R-South Riding)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia opposes the mandatory deployment of school resource officers (SROs) in all Virginia public schools. Virginia does not collect data on the arrests and referrals made by SROs in Virginia’s schools. Furthermore, SROs are not required to have specialized training for interacting with youth. This basic information and training is vital to determining if SROs are being safely and effectively deployed, and should be mandated before any discussion occurs regarding the use of SROs in Virginia schools. Legislators should focus on increasing funding for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, an evidence-based program that has been shown to make our schools safer and more effective.

There are 2 comments about this bill »

Justice for Victims of Sterilization Act; established, creates Compensation Fund. (HB74)

Patron: Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this bill because it compensates victims of the shameful practice of forced sterilization. Virginia’s legal sterilization program was enacted into law in 1924 – the same year the legislature adopted the Racial Integrity Act that prohibited interracial marriages. It is estimated that between 7,200 and 8,300 people were sterilized in Virginia from 1927-1979 because they were deemed by society at the time to be unworthy or unfit to procreate. In most cases, the individuals were “patients” at state mental institutions who were sent there because of alleged mental illness, physical deformity, “feeble-mindedness,” or simply because they were homeless. Many of those sterilized were not even told they were being sterilized, but instead given some other explanation for their operation. We wholeheartedly support the effort to compensate victims of the state’s forced sterilization law.

There are 3 comments about this bill »

Absentee voting; allows qualified voters to vote absentee in person without an excuse. (HB75)

Patron: Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia supports legislation that expands the opportunity to vote by absentee ballot without having to provide a reason, however this bill only applies to in-person absentee ballot voters. There are too many Virginia voters who do not have access to in-person absentee voting sites because of lack of transportation. Additionally, requiring voters to disclose sensitive or confidential information on an absentee ballot application imposes significant concerns about the privacy rights of voters because the applications are not required to be kept secure or shielded from public disclosure. No-excuse absentee voting should be available to all qualified voters through the mail and by in-person methods.

There are 2 comments about this bill »

Grand larceny; threshold. (HB244)

Patron: Del. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports an increase in the felony larceny threshold. The legislature set a $200 threshold in 1980 and has not adjusted it since. Adjusted for inflation, the current threshold would be approximately $565. A majority of states have set their felony larceny threshold at $1000 or more, including Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, and North Carolina. Adjusting the threshold would not increase theft or harm public safety, but would save Virginia taxpayers millions annually.

Be the first to comment on this bill »

State employment; questions about criminal convictions, arrests, and charges. (HB892)

Patron: Del. Rob Krupicka (D-Alexandria)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this bill because it protects employers and give people a second chance to make an honest living. HB 892 prohibits state agencies from including on any employment application a question inquiring whether the prospective employee has ever been arrested or charged with, or convicted of, any crime, subject to certain exceptions. During an interview, the state agency may ask if the prospective employee has a conviction of, has been arrested for, or has been charged with a specific crime or type of crime that bears a rational relationship to the duties and responsibilities of the position. HB 892 is a win, win! It protects employers and ensures that Virginians are judged on their merit, and not their mistakes.

Be the first to comment on this bill »

Method of execution; Director of DOC certifies that lethal injection isn't available, electrocution. (HB1052)

Patron: Del. Jackson Miller (R-Manassas)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia opposes this bill because, by allowing the electric chair to become the default method of execution if the Commonwealth cannot secure lethal injection drugs, it doubles down on the Commonwealth’s embrace of the electric chair. Instead of focusing on the method of execution, the General Assembly should be focused on implementing the recommendations outlined in the American Bar Association’s report on the fairness and accuracy of Virginia’s death penalty process. The report found “several areas of concern,” extending from the law enforcement identification and interrogation process at the beginning to the post conviction process at the end. It is unconscionable that we are debating methods of execution when there is strong evidence that calls into question the basic fairness and accuracy of Virginia’s death penalty process.

Be the first to comment on this bill »

Constitutional amendment; restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies. (HJ21)

Patron: Del. Rosalyn Dance (D-Petersburg)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports automatic restoration of civil rights, including the right to vote, for all individuals convicted of felonies, regardless of the type of felony. Virginia is one of only four states that permanently disenfranchises its citizens. More than 350,000 Virginians live in the community and pay taxes, but cannot vote despite fully completing their sentences.

Be the first to comment on this bill »

Absentee voting; allows qualified voters to vote absentee in person without an excuse. (SB3)

Patron: Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia supports legislation that expands the opportunity to vote by absentee ballot without having to provide a reason, however this bill only applies to in-person absentee ballot voters. There are too many Virginia voters who do not have access to in-person absentee voting sites because of lack of transportation. Additionally, requiring voters to disclose sensitive or confidential information on an absentee ballot application imposes significant concerns about the privacy rights of voters because the applications are not required to be kept secure or shielded from public disclosure. No-excuse absentee voting should be available to all qualified voters through the mail and by in-person methods.

Be the first to comment on this bill »

Employment applications; inquiries regarding criminal arrests, charges, or convictions. (SB250)

Patron: Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this bill because it protects employers and give people a second chance to make an honest living. SB 250 prohibits state agencies from including on any employment application a question inquiring whether the prospective employee has ever been arrested or charged with, or convicted of, any crime, subject to certain exceptions. After an employment offer is made, the state agency may ask if the prospective employee has been convicted of a specific crime or type of crime that bears a rational relationship to the duties and responsibilities of the position. SB 250 is a win, win! It protects state agencies and ensures that Virginians are judged on their merit, and not their mistakes.

One person has commented on this bill »

Grand larceny; threshold. (SB379)

Patron: Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports an increase in the felony larceny threshold. The legislature set a $200 threshold in 1980 and has not adjusted it since. Adjusted for inflation, the current threshold would be approximately $565. A majority of states have set their felony larceny threshold at $1000 or more, including Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, and North Carolina. Adjusting the threshold would not increase theft or harm public safety, but would save Virginia taxpayers millions annually.

One person has commented on this bill »

Method of execution; Director of DOC certifies that lethal injection isn't available, electrocution. (SB607)

Patron: Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia opposes this bill because, by allowing the electric chair to become the default method of execution if the Commonwealth cannot secure lethal injection drugs, it doubles down on the Commonwealth’s embrace of the electric chair. Instead of focusing on the method of execution, the General Assembly should be focused on implementing the recommendations outlined in the American Bar Association’s report on the fairness and accuracy of Virginia’s death penalty process. The report found “several areas of concern,” extending from the law enforcement identification and interrogation process at the beginning to the post conviction process at the end. It is unconscionable that we are debating methods of execution when there is strong evidence that calls into question the basic fairness and accuracy of Virginia’s death penalty process.

Be the first to comment on this bill »