Review the status of the bills Right Way Forward Virginia lobbied for and against during the 2015 General Assembly.
Right to Earn an Honest Living
H.B. 1277 – Virginia Industrial Hemp Farming Act
Supported – PASSED AND SIGNED INTO LAW
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.B. 1277) is good for farmers, job seekers, and all Virginians who could benefit from the multitude of economic uses of industrial hemp such as textiles, oil, and building materials.
Now signed into law, the bill takes effect in July. The next step to enable Virginia to become a leader in hemp cultivation is for Congress to pass H.R. 525/ S. 134.
Criminal Justice Reform
Asset Forfeiture Reform – H.B. 1287
Supported – KILLED IN SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE
Virginia’s abusive asset forfeiture laws enable police and prosecutors to seize someone’s property without ever even charging them with a crime. In fact, the libertarian Institute for Justice rated Virginia’s laws as among the worst in the country.
H.B. 1287/S.B. 684 would be an important first step to protect individual rights and end asset forfeiture abuse in Virginia by requiring a criminal conviction.
Unfortunately, after H.B. 1287 passed the House of Delegates, Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment sent the bill to the Senate Finance Committee, where it was killed.
Marijuana Decriminalization – S.B. 686
Supported – KILLED IN SENATE COURTS COMMITTEE
Eight percent of all arrests in Virginia in 2013 were marijuana-related. Marijuana prohibition wastes police resources that could be better spent keeping Virginians safe from violent crimes.
It’s time to get Virginia law in line with the vast majority of Americans who support marijuana decriminalization.
The Senate Courts of Justice Committee killed the bill.
Equality Under Law
Public Employment Non-Discrimination – S.B. 785
Supported – KILLED IN HOUSE GENERAL LAWS COMMITTEE
S.B. 785 would prohibit workplace discrimination against LGBT government employees. The government belongs to all people and as such should not fire or refuse to hire any individual on any basis other than ability to perform one’s job.
After barely passing the Virginia Senate, the bill was killed in the House General Laws Committee..
Freedom to Marry – S.B. 682, S.B. 1211
Supported – KILLED IN HOUSE COURTS COMMITTEE
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to decline review of the 4th Circuit’s ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer, gay and lesbian couples have been free to marry in Virginia.
S.B. 682 would repeal the statutory prohibition on same-sex marriages and civil unions. The Senate Courts of Justice Committee killed this bill.
S.B. 1211 would would provide more certainty for gay and lesbian couples regarding marriage, adoption, and inheritance by revising references to gender-specific terms (wife, husband, father, mother, etc.) in the Code of Virginia. The House Courts of Law Committee killed the bill after it narrowly passed in the Senate.
Special Privileges for Anti-Gay Sentiment – H.B. 1414
Opposed – KILLED IN HOUSE GENERAL LAWS COMMITTEE
Delegate Robert Marshall’s H.B. 1414 would uniquely privilege one particular moral belief (opposition to same-sex marriage) in the law. Read more about this bill and Delegate Marshall’s career-long crusade to limit the rights of LGBT Virginians.