Virginians For Justice,
February 12, 2001
Below is a summary of the action taken on various bills in the 2001 General
While most proactive bills related to VJs primary issues did not pass,
it was a successful session nonetheless. Democratic and Republican lawmakers
alike relied extensively on VJs 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
HB = "House Bill"
SB = "Senate Bill"
PBI = "Passed By Indefinitely" and means defeated.
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
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 bills merits
HB2309 - PBI (16-4) in House Militia & Police
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) didnt 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 (govt
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 persons 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 employees spouse or to one other adult who
meets criteria established by the county.
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 VHDAs 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.
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.
Virginians for Justice
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Richmond, VA 23219