Gov. Northam signs 14 new bills into law last minute

Richmond

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam attends a news conference to announce the expansion of commuter rail in Virginia at the Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Alexandria Station, Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in Alexandria, Va. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

RICHMOND, VA. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Wednesday night that he has signed another 14 bills into law.

Northam had until midnight tonight to act on legislation passed during the 2020 General Assembly special session. 

“These new laws will increase support for Virginia families and businesses, ensure our children and teachers can safely return to classrooms, advance equity, and tackle systemic racism,” Northam said in a prepared statement. “I am extremely proud of the meaningful progress we have made to enact legislation as unprecedented as the challenges we are facing.”

Here are the bills Northam signed:

  • H.B. 1889: This bill extends eviction protections for renters experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic through July 1, 2022.
  • H.B. 1930: This legislation prohibits public colleges and universities from asking about a person’s criminal record during the application process, as well as prohibits them from denying admission based on criminal history.
  • H.B.1980: The bill establishes the “Enslaved Ancestors College Access Scholarship and Memorial Program” to support the families of enslaved individuals who labored at Virginia colleges.
  • H.B. 2081: The new law prohibits people carrying firearms within 40 feet of a polling place or electoral board meeting to certify the results of an election.
  • H.B. 2075: This renames U.S. Route 1 as “Emancipation Highway.” The roadway is currently named “Jefferson Davis Highway” in different parts of Virginia.
  • H.B. 2132: This new law bans the “gay panic” defense.
  • H.B. 2137: The law will require employers to provide paid sick leave to home health workers and also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who use leave.
  • H.B. 2161 and S.B. 1410: This will prohibit discrimination for public accommodations, employment and housing because of a person’s military status.
  • H.B. 2332: The bill establishes the Commonwealth Health Reinsurance Program wich is meant to expand access to health care and lower insurance premiums.
  • S.B. 1122: This repeals the remaining provisions of the Habitual Offender Act. This will allow more than 13,000 people to obtain driver’s licenses.
  • S.B. 1138: The bill updates several criminal laws related to people living with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
  • S.B. 1261: Once enacted, every civil case will have an appeal of right and expands the Virginia Court of Appeals from 11 to 17 judges.
  • S.B. 1303: This bill requires all school divisions to offer in-person learning consistent with public health guidelines, in accordance with the constitutional authority of school divisions and while prioritizing the safety of students, teachers and staff.
  • S.B. 1310, H.B. 2032 and H.B. 1864: This makes sure domestic workers are covered by employee protections, fair pay laws and the Virginia Human Rights Act.

You can find a full list of legislation signed by the governor online here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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