Constitutional amendment; restoration of civil rights to persons convicted of nonviolent felonies. (HJ535)

Introduced By

Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) with support from co-patron Del. Matthew James (D-Portsmouth)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate


Constitutional amendment (first resolution); qualifications to vote; restoration of civil rights. Authorizes the General Assembly to provide by law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies who have completed service of their sentences subject to the conditions, requirements, and definitions set forth in that law. The present Constitution provides for restoration of rights by the Governor. The amendment retains the right of the Governor to restore civil rights and adds an alternative for restoration of rights pursuant to law for nonviolent felons. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


07/18/2012Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13100115D
07/18/2012Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
11/29/2012Left in Privileges and Elections
01/11/2013Assigned P & E sub: Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee
01/14/2013Subcommittee recommends passing by indefinitely (6-Y 1-N)
02/05/2013Left in Privileges and Elections


Stephen writes:

Why just non violent, I'd rather see violent offenders turn there life around.

ACLU-VA Voting Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports passage of a constitutional amendment that would permit enactment of general laws restoring the right to vote to persons convicted of felonies.

Ruth Mullaney writes:

This is too important a decision, witness by interest expressed by our Governor, to be shelved indefinitely. It's pure arrogance for four people to make that opinion stand for the entire General Assembly. I'm disappointed, too.

james stevens writes:

I agree with Ruth. How can we allow 4 people to kill such an important bill that would allow people to have a second chance at being a productive part of society? It is completely unreasonable to think that a 40 year old man who had a non violent drug charge when he was 18 years old can never be a productive member of society again. He cant get a job doing anything other than construction or landscaping. Under current law, it doesn't matter how intelligent or responsible he is now. Our legislature is full of old, self righteous, wealthy white men. No, I don't have a felony and I am a white male. I would like to see how these people would feel if their 18 year old child made a minor mistake and they never get a chance at redemption. It is heart breaking and Virginia needs to change its laws to allow non violent offenders the opportunity to mature, learn, grow and become a part of society again.