Senate Democrats release six-point plan for criminal justice reform in Virginia, House Dems plan hearings

Senate Democrats release six-point plan for criminal justice reform in Virginia, House Dems plan hearings
Police fortified the Capitol after protesters easily ripped down a temporary fence erected to block the entrance Saturday. (Source: Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury -- May 31, 2020)

Democrats in the Senate outlined an expansive criminal justice reform agenda Friday they say their 21-member majority has agreed to pursue during a coming special session of the General Assembly.

The proposals range from a ban on no-knock warrants to a plan that would cut state funding to local law enforcement agencies that disproportionately use force against minorities.

“Our constituents want change,” said Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus. “We hear that loud and clear from them. They want policy change. They’re pretty much done with thoughts and prayers. They’re done with ‘one more discussion’ and hearing us say we’ll get it done. … They want policy change.”

The list they presented in a press call Friday lays out six policy areas and 27 bills they say they expect to pursue during the special session, which Gov. Ralph Northam has said he intends to call in mid- to late- August.

The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.