In just a few days, you will strongly feel the new direction Virginia is taking with its Democratic Party in charge. Here is some of what you can expect (according to journalist Caleb Stewart):
- The long-awaited Equal Rights Amendment was passed, giving the necessary 38 votes to become law, but Republicans don’t want it and are suing.
- Gun Control laws passed include:
Universal background checks
Extreme Risk Protective Order, allowing authorities to temporarily take guns away from people deemed to be dangerous
Reinstates Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month law
Requires gun owners to report their lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement within 48 hours or face a civil penalty
Toughens the penalty for leaving a loaded, unsecured firearm
in a reckless manner that endangers a child
Gives local governments more authority to ban guns in public
Bars people with protective orders against them from possessing firearms and requires them to turn over their guns within 24 hours
- Lee Jackson Day will no longer be a Virginia holiday.
- Local governments across Virginia will officially have the authority to remove or contextualize Confederate monuments on their town, city, or county property.
- The ‘Virginia Values Act’ adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the commonwealth’s antidiscrimination law.
- Virginia is the first state to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ
youth. The Commonwealth makes it easier to change a person’s name and gender on a birth certificate and requires the Department of Education create and implement policies concerning the treatment of transgender students in public schools.
- The Republican abortion restrictions law has been rolled back, including a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion can be performed and a requirement that women seeking an abortion undergo an ultrasound and counseling. The measure also undoes the requirement that abortions be provided by a physician, allowing nurse practitioners to perform them, and does away with strict building code requirements on facilities where abortions are performed.
- Criminal charges for simple possession of marijuana will be scrapped and replaced with a $25 civil penalty. Medical cannibus was legalized.
- Insurers will be limited to charging a maximum of $50 a month for insulin in Virginia, giving the commonwealth the fourth lowest cap in the country.
- Virginians will no longer need to show a photo ID in order to vote by this November. Voters will no longer need to provide an excuse from a pre-approved list to cast an absentee ballot in Virginia.
- Students living in the U.S. without documentation but who still meet Virginia residency standards, will be eligible for in-state tuition at Virginia colleges and universities.
- The requirement that drivers licenses be suspended if court fees are not paid will be repealed.