Last edited: February 14, 2005

Legislative Summary

Virginians For Justice, February 12, 2001
Action Alert

Below is a summary of the action taken on various bills in the 2001 General Assembly.

While most proactive bills related to VJ’s primary issues did not pass, it was a successful session nonetheless. Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike relied extensively on VJ’s lobbyist for information, testimony and expertise. Boding well for the future, even those who oppose us reached out to VJ for expertise. As in the past, our allies in the General Assembly remained steadfast in their support.

Thanks to your emails and phone calls to your legislators, we are closer than ever to achieving equal justice and equal rights for GLBT Virginians.

A detailed description summary will appear in the March-April VJ newsletter.

HB = "House Bill"
SB = "Senate Bill"
PBI = "Passed By Indefinitely" and means defeated.

Hate Crimes

HB2441 - PBI(17-6) in House Courts of Justice Committee.
Adds sexual orientation to existing Hate Crimes Laws. Many legislators still claim to be opposed to hate crimes laws in general. VJ still believes it is primarily homophobia (see HB2521). This year, VJ called to task those legislators who voted for the initial Hate Crimes legislation in 1994 and claim to be opposed to hate crimes laws in general.

SB1005 - PBI (9-6) in Senate Courts of Justice Committee.
Adds sexual orientation to existing Hate Crimes Laws. Legislators claim same rationale as HB2441 (also see HB2521).

HB2521 - Passed House 69-29, in Senate Courts of Justice Committee.
Provides for mandatory jail sentences when an adult is convicted of battery of a sports official when the intent is to cause bodily injury. While VJ takes no stand on this bill, it is obvious that legislators’ willingness to support HB2521 exposes the homophobia involved in not supporting HB2441 or SB1005.

Crimes Against Nature

HB2632 - PBI (13-9) in House Courts of Justice Committee.
Effectively legalizes consensual adult acts of sodomy. Note: HB2632 much closer to passing than the vote indicates - next year will provide significant opportunity to pass this bill. Delegates debated the bill’s merits extensively.

HB2309 - PBI (16-4) in House Militia & Police Committee.
Similar to HB2632 except that it lowers the penalty for sodomy rather than an outright legalization.


SB815 - Defeated (6-9) in Senate Courts of Justice Committee.
Prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation. The religious right lobbied extensively against SB815 when it began looking as if it could pass. Unfortunately, Senators Tommy Norment (R-Williamsburg) and Roscoe Reynolds (D-Martinsville) didn’t vote as we thought they would.

SB1147 - PBI (9-6) in Senate Local Government Committee.
Would allow Fairfax County to change their local ordinances to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, real estate transactions, employment, public accommodations, credit and education.

HB1859 - Passed House (98-0), passed Senate (38-0).
Would add age, disability or any other basis prohibited by federal or state law related to employment discrimination to the VA Public Procurement Act (gov’t contracts, purchasing, etc.) Does not include "sexual orientation".

HB2386 - PBI (15-9) in House General Laws Committee
This so-called "Religious Freedom Preservation" bill would prohibit the state from burdening a person’s exercise of religion. If enacted, it could wreak havoc on civil rights laws, fair housing laws and any other law or policy that a particular religious group may oppose.

Domestic Partner Benefits

SB1226 - PBI (9-6) in Senate Courts of Justice
Would allow Arlington County to enact an ordinance to extend health insurance benefits to county employee’s spouse or to one other adult who meets criteria established by the county.

VHDA Regulations

SB1002 - PBI (8-5-1) in Senate General Laws Committee.
Would require that the Virginia Housing and Development Authority make loans available to persons living together as a single, non-profit housekeeping unit. This would override the VHDA’s current policy of disallowing loans to persons not related by blood or marriage.


SB824 - passed Senate (40-0), now in House Courts of Justice.
Establishes a procedure for determining "probably cause" for persons who have been charged with a crime that mandates HIV testing. This applies only to those accused whose competency is at issue. VJ believes that this new procedure could protect the civil rights of the accused and does not endanger the rights of victims.

Other Issues

HJ508, HB1827, HB2664 HB2764, SB1185
All bills related to either studying the need for a moratorium on death sentence executions in the Commonwealth, or to enact such a moratorium. All bills were defeated at the committee level.

SB1190 - passed Senate (39-0), passed House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee (22-0), on House floor.
Provides for a department to lead youth suicide prevention programs. The study that was the basis for this bill recognized the need to include gay and lesbian teen suicide.

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