VIRGINIA’S GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Every year, Equality Virginia monitors all legislation introduced to the Virginia General Assembly and advocates on behalf of Virginia’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. We work to introduce and support pro-equality legislation and to oppose bills that move us backward.

The 2018 General Assembly Session beings on Wednesday, January 10. The Equality Virginia teal will be there every day to ensure equality’s progress in the Commonwealth. Bills are still being filed, so check back for updates on legislation affecting LGBT Virginias. Sign up to receive our emails so you can be alerted when urgent action needs to be taken. 

While our work to protect employees statewide from workplace discrimination continues, we ask members of Virginia’s General Assembly to sign a statement assuring that they do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in their legislative office. Click here to see if your Senator or Delegate has signed

Below are the bills we’re following so far in 2018: 

END DISCRIMINATION

Public employment; prohibits discrimination on basis of sexual orientation or gender identity – SB 202 (Ebbin): Prohibits discrimination in state and local government public employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity. EV SUPPORTS

Fair Housing Law; unlawful discriminatory housing practices, sexual orientation, etc – SB 423 (Wexton), HB 971 (Guzman): Adds discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity as an unlawful discriminatory housing practice. The bill defines “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” EV SUPPORTS

Discrimination – HB 401 (Levine): Prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodation, public contracting, apprenticeship programs, housing, banking, and insurance on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. EV SUPPORTS

Transportation network company; discrimination – HB 1013 (Simon): Requires transportation network companies to adopt and enforce a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of a passenger’s race, color, national origin, religious belief or affiliation, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity. EV SUPPORTS

Policies against workplace harassment; legislative branch – HB 1053 (Watts): Requires each legislative branch agency to adopt and implement the Commonwealth Workplace Harassment Policy (CWHP) established by the Department of Human Resources Management (DHRM). EV SUPPORTS

Virginia Equal Pay Act – HB 1089 (Boysko): Creates the Virginia Equal Pay Act (the Act), which prohibits private employers from discriminating between employees based on sexual orientation in the payment of wages or other compensation for substantially similar work. EV SUPPORTS WITH AMENDED LANGUAGE

BUILD SAFE COMMUNITIES

Conversion therapy prohibited / Sexual orientation change efforts, prohibited as training for certain health care providers, etc. – SB 245 (Surovell), HB 363 (Hope): Prohibits any health care provider or person who performs counseling as part of his training for any profession licensed by a regulatory board of the Department of Health Professions from engaging in conversion therapy with any persons under 18 years of age. EV SUPPORTS

Hate crimes; gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability; penalty – SB 112 (Favola), HB 10 (Kory): Adds disability, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation to the categories of victims whose intentional selection for a hate crime involving assault, assault and battery, or trespass for the purpose of damaging another’s property results in a higher criminal penalty for the offense. EV SUPPORTS

SB 112 Status: Defeated in Courts of Justice Committee (6Y – 9N)

Hate crimes; reporting to State Police – HB 32 (Sullivan): Includes within the definition of “hate crime” a criminal act committed against a person because of sexual orientation or gender identification and requires the reporting of the commission of such crime to the State Police. EV SUPPORTS

Hate crimes; gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity; penalty HB 266 (Turpin): Adds gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity to the categories of victims whose intentional selection for a hate crime involving assault, assault and battery, or trespass for the purpose of damaging another’s property results in a higher criminal penalty for the offense. The bill also adds these categories of victims to the categories of hate crimes that are to be reported to the central repository of information regarding hate crimes maintained by the Virginia State Police. EV SUPPORTS

Study: Department of Education; bullying and suicide prevention among LGBTQ and other youth; report  HJ 73 (Carr): Requests that the Department of Education recommend strategies, policies, and programs that can be used to decrease and prevent bullying, harassment, discrimination, and intimidation of LGBTQ and other youth, and the rate of suicide resulting therefrom, in the Commonwealth’s public schools.

Virginia State Crime Commission; hate crimes; report – HJ 85 (Plum): Directs the Virginia State Crime Commission to study the prevalence of hate crimes in the Commonwealth.

UPDATE VIRGINIA’S LAWS TO REFLECT MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Same-sex marriages; civil unions –  SB 3 (Ebbin), HB 75 (Simon), SB 50 (Edwards): Repeals existing unconstitutional law banning same-sex marriages and civil unions. Read more here. EV SUPPORTS

Constitutional amendment (first resolution); marriage – SJ 1 (Ebbin), HJ 7 (Kory): Proposes the repeal of the constitutional amendment dealing with marriage that was approved by referendum at the November 2006 election. Read more here. EV SUPPORTS

OTHER LEGISLATION

Birth Certificates – HB 407 (Boysko): Eliminates the requirement that a person provide a certified copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that his sex has been change by medical procedure for amendment of a birth certificate to reflect a change of sex. EV SUPPORTS

State employee health plan; coverage for gender transition services – HB 1267 (Sickles): Requires the state employee health plan to provide coverage for gender transition services. EV SUPPORTS

Reproductive health services – HB 21 (Kory): Requires health benefit plans to cover the costs of specified health care services, drugs, devices, products, and procedures related to reproductive health. EV IS MONITORING

Female genital mutilation; criminal penalty – SB 47 (Black), HB 95 (Miyares): Increases the penalty for female circumcision, excision, or infibulation from a misdemeanor to a felony. EV IS MONITORING

Affirming the Commonwealth’s commitment to diversity and safeguarding the civil rights and dignity – HJ 92 (Lopez): Affirms the state’s commitment to diversity and safeguarding the civil rights and dignity of all Virginians, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. EV SUPPORTS

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View the 2017 General Assembly action!
We were successful in killing all of the bad bills this session, but unfortunately none of the bills that we supported passed out of the House this session.

  • 2017 General Assembly Recap

    The General Assembly session for 2017 began on Wednesday, January 11 and concluded on Saturday, February 25. We tracked bills as they were filed and updated our supporters with the legislation’s progress. To ensure you receive those updates, make sure you’re on our list to receive action updates.

    In seven short weeks, LGBT Virginians faced a barrage of harmful legislation along with a few bills seeking to end discriminatory practices. As usual, this session was not without its ups and downs, and while we saw many of the same harmful and discriminatory bills we’ve seen in years past, we also watched LGBT-affirming legislation make it farther than it ever has, although ultimately not to the Governor’s desk. Nevertheless, we’re heartened by this sign of progress.

    Your advocacy was out in full force during this session. More than 10,000 emails were sent and countless calls were made to legislators urging them to keep their LGBT constituents a priority in policymaking.  Thanks to all who were involved in Equality Virginia’s Day of Action on February 7, 2017!  The Day of Action empowers LGBT and allied Virginians to create positive change, meet legislators and discuss legislation, and attend workshops hosted by some of the area’s top attorneys and fellow activists. Check out the photos from this year’s event here!

    Fortunately, Del. Bob Marshall’s bills (HB 1612, HB 1667, and HB 2011), all attempts to stigmatize and harm the LGBT community, failed to even make it out of subcommittee, preventing Virginia from following in the footsteps of North Carolina’s fallout from HB2.

    Unfortunately, resolutions that would have removed the same-sex marriage ban that still exists in our state Constitution also failed to make out of committee. Legislation (SB 783/Ebbin and SB 822/Wexton) that would have ended discriminatory practices in housing and employment respectively, both passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate but failed in the House on a party-line vote.

    HB 2025 (Freitas), which would have given a license to discriminate against loving lesbian and gay couples, passed both the Senate and House and was vetoed by Governor McAuliffe.

    The bills we followed in the 2017 session:

    STOP HARMFUL LEGISLATION:

    Religious freedom; solemnization of marriage SB 1324 (Carrico): Provides that no individual authorized to solemnize any marriage shall be required to do so and no religious organization shall be required to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization of any marriage if the action would cause the individual or organization to violate a sincerely held religious belief. EV OPPOSES

    Status: Passed Senate (21-Y 19-N); Vetoed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe

    Physical Privacy Act – HB 1612 (Marshall): Requires that a government entity provide for members of the opposite sex separate restrooms and other facilities in a building owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by the entity. The bill provides that, subject to certain exceptions, no individual shall enter a restroom or other facility designated for use by members of the opposite sex and creates a cause of action against the government entity if they do.  EV OPPOSES

    Status: Left in House General Laws Committee

    Public contracts; civil liability; gender identity; sexual orientation – HB 1667 (Marshall): Prohibits agencies of the Commonwealth and other public bodies from requiring any contractor entering into a public contract to agree to additional nondiscrimination provisions with respect to gender identity or sexual orientation. The bill also provides civil immunity for any business or nonprofit organization that does not provide any benefit or accommodation with respect to gender identity or sexual orientation.  EV OPPOSES

    Status: Left in House General Laws Committee

    Discrimination; separation of the sexes – HB 2011 (Marshall):  EV OPPOSES

    Status: Left in House General Laws Committee

    Religious freedom; solemnization of marriage HB 2025 (Freitas): Provides that no individual authorized to solemnize any marriage shall be required to do so and no religious organization shall be required to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization of any marriage if the action would cause the individual or organization to violate a sincerely held religious belief. EV OPPOSES

    Status: Passed in the House (57-Y 37-N); Passed in the Senate (21-Y 19-N); Vetoed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe

    UPDATE VIRGINIA’S LAWS TO REFLECT MARRIAGE EQUALITY

    Same-sex marriages; civil unions – HB 1395 (Sickles), SB 782 (Ebbin): Repeals existing obsolete law banning same-sex marriages and civil unions. Read more here. EV SUPPORTS

    SB 782 Status: Passed-by indefinitely (killed) in Courts of Justice with letter (10-Y 2-N)

    HB 1395 Status: Left in Courts of Justice Committee

    Constitutional amendment (first resolution); marriage – HJ 538 (Sickles), SJ 216 (Ebbin), SJ 220 (Locke): Proposes the repeal of the constitutional amendment dealing with marriage that was approved by referendum at the November 2006 election. Read more here.  EV SUPPORTS

    HJ 538 Status: Left in Privileges and Elections Committee

    SJ 216/SJ 220 Status: Both were voted to full committee with a recommendation to refer to code commission

    END DISCRIMINATION

    Virginia Human Rights Act; nondiscrimination in public employment – SB 783 (Ebbin): Prohibits discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, as defined in the bill. Read more here. EV SUPPORTS

    Status: Passed the Senate (25-Y 14-N); House Subcommittee failed to recommend reporting (2-Y 4-N)

    Fair Housing Law; unlawful discriminatory housing practices, sexual orientation, etc – SB 822 (Wexton): Adds discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity as an unlawful discriminatory housing practice. The bill defines “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Read more here. EV SUPPORTS

    Status: Passed the Senate (25-Y 14-N); House Subcommittee failed to recommend reporting (2-Y 4-N)

    Virginia Human Rights Act; public employment, public accommodation, and housing; prohibited discrimination; sexual orientation HB 2129 (Levine): Prohibits discrimination in employment and public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation. EV SUPPORTS WITH AMENDED LANGUAGE 

    Status: Subcommittee recommends to not report with substitute (5-Y 2-N)

    Prohibited discrimination in employment – HB 2057 (Kory): Prohibits discrimination in private or public employment based on sexual orientation. EV SUPPORTS WITH AMENDED LANGUAGE 

    Status: Subcommittee failed to recommend reporting out of committee (5-N 2-Y)

    BUILD SAFE COMMUNITIES

    Hate crimes; gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability; penalty – SB 1524 (Favola): Adds disability, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation to the categories of victims whose intentional selection for a hate crime involving assault, assault and battery, or trespass for the purpose of damaging another’s property results in a higher criminal penalty for the offense. EV SUPPORTS

    Status: Passed-by-indefinitely in Courts of Justice (9-Y 6-N)

    Hate crimes; reporting to State Police – HB 1702 (Sullivan): Includes within the definition of “hate crime” a criminal act committed against a person because of sexual orientation or gender identification and requires the reporting of the commission of such crime to the State Police. EV SUPPORTS

    Status: Subcommittee failed to recommend reporting (3-Y 5-N)

    Hate crimes; gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability; penalty HB 1776 (Plum): Adds gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability to the categories of victims whose intentional selection for a hate crime involving assault, assault and battery, or trespass for the purpose of damaging another’s property results in a higher criminal penalty for the offense. The bill also adds these categories of victims to the categories of hate crimes that are to be reported to the central repository of information regarding hate crimes maintained by the Virginia State Police. EV SUPPORTS

    Status: Tabled by voice vote

    Study; Virginia State Crime Commission; hate crimes; report HJ 708 (Plum): Seeks to fund the study the prevalence of hate crimes in the Commonwealth and the adequacy of the current Criminal Code provisions in addressing such offenses in comparison to the laws of other states across the nation. EV SUPPORTS THIS STUDY

    Status: Tabled in Rules Committee by voice vote

    Denouncing the intimidation of the Commonwealth’s residents – HR 303 (Lopez):  Affirms the commitment to diversity, and safeguarding the civil rights and dignity of all Virginians. EV SUPPORTS

    Status: Tabled in Rules Committee (15-Y 0-N)

    OTHER LEGISLATION

    Female genital mutilation; criminal penalty and civil action – SB 1060 (Black): EV IS MONITORING

    Status: Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)

    Virginia Human Rights Act; unlawful discriminatory practice; anti-Semitism – HB 2261 (LaRock): EV IS MONITORING

    Status: Left in General Laws


Additional Resources