Virginia General Assembly, March, 2020–Important Progress

Constitutional amendment (second resolution); apportionment; Virginia Redistricting Commission. Establishes the Virginia Redistricting Commission, a 16-member Commission tasked with establishing districts for the United States House of Representatives and for the Senate and the House of Delegates of the General Assembly. The Commission consists of eight legislative members and eight citizen members. The legislative members consist of four members of the Senate of Virginia and four members of the House of Delegates, with equal representation given to the political parties having the highest and next highest number of members in their respective houses. The citizen members are selected by a selection committee consisting of five retired judges of the circuit courts of Virginia, from lists submitted to the selection committee by the Speaker of the House of Delegates, the leader in the House of Delegates of the political party having the next highest number of members in the House of Delegates, the President pro tempore of the Senate of Virginia, and the leader in the Senate of the political party having the next highest number of members in the Senate. The Commission is required to submit to the General Assembly plans of districts for the Senate and the House of Delegates of the General Assembly no later than 45 days following the receipt of census data and plans of districts for the United States House of Representatives no later than 60 days following the receipt of census data, or July 1 of that year, whichever occurs later. The measure requires certain vote thresholds for plans, depending on the type of district, in order to be submitted to the General Assembly. No amendments may be made to a plan by the General Assembly, and any plan approved by the General Assembly becomes law without the signature of the Governor. The measure requires additional plans to be submitted, or additional time to be given to submit a plan, in certain circumstances, and further provides that districts will be drawn by the Supreme Court of Virginia if such efforts fail. This resolution incorporates SJ 12 and SJ 70.
From Dr. John Copenhaver: Two years ago we had a demonstration for Medicaid Expansion—this year a Preach-In for Responsible Lending. Both finally succeeded after years of advocacy. Thanks for the partners along the way: Valley Interfaith Council, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy #VICPP, Virginia Poverty Law Center #VPLC, Virginia Hospital Association, and Virginia Organizing.
From Delegate Wendy Gooditis: Environmental Legislation

As this legislative session comes to a close, I’m proud of the work the House has done to pass some truly remarkable legislation. While my office will send out a more thorough end-of-session newsletter soon, I wanted to highlight some of the progress the House has made on environmental policy.

I chose to raise my children in the 10th district because of its beautiful green spaces. Our Commonwealth’s nature is stunning, but too many Virginians are already feeling the impact of the climate crisis. I spoke about the urgency of the moment on the floor this past week– you can watch my speech here.

HB 1526/SB 851

The Virginia Clean Economy Act is one of the most ambitious energy policies in the country. This legislation creates a plan to reach zero carbon emissions by 2045 and establishes an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard to reduce energy waste.

HB 704/SB 406

This bill establishes the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice to ensure the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of every person, regardless of race, color, national origin, income, faith, or disability, regarding the creation of environmental policy.

HB 573

HB 573 creates a community solar development pilot program in low-income communities.

HB 981

The Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act establishes a carbon cap and trade program to comply with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an important effort to reduce carbon emissions.

HB 1034

HB 1034 creates the Local Food and Farming Infrastructure Fund and Grant Program to support local food production and sustainable farming.

HB 1641 and HB 1642

This legislation addresses the risk coal ash ponds pose to our groundwater supply and sets up water quality testing requirements.

HB 585

HB 585 requires certain cities to promote transit-oriented development for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

HB 1136

This bill directs the Department of Environmental Quality to compile and maintain a Hazardous Waste Site Inventory to be published and updated annually.

To keep up with more General Assembly Legislation, click here.
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