Virginia House passes COVID-19 relief, justice reform legislation

Virginia House passes COVID-19 relief, justice reform legislation
Virginia General Assembly Building (Source: WHSV)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia House passed eight bills during its Special Session on Wednesday on police and criminal justice reform and COVID-19 relief.

The bills will now go to Gov. Ralph Northam for further action.

“We began this Special Session with a promise to Virginians that we would pass meaningful laws making our Commonwealth safer and more accountable,” said Virginia Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn. "Today we passed a number of bills that will reform policing in our communities and address disparities in our criminal justice system. I am incredibly proud of our accomplishments in this Special Session, and I thank all of the members of the legislature for their hard work and dedication in passing these historic pieces of legislation.

The following COVID-19 bills were passed:

  • HB 5050 - Authorizes the Governor, during a declared state of emergency due to a communicable disease of public health threat, to purchase and distribute PPE to private, nongovernmental entities.
  • HB 5064 - Providing rent payment plan opportunities for tenants negatively impacted by COVID-19.
  • HB 5068 - Prohibiting garnishment of stimulus relief checks.

The following policing and criminal justice reforms were passed:

  • HB 5049 - Demilitarizing police departments by prohibiting the acquisition and use of certain weapons and military equipment by law enforcement agencies.
  • HB 5055 - Strengthening laws related to Citizen Review Panels.
  • HB 5099 - Prohibiting no-knock search warrants.
  • HB 5104 - Strengthening the assessments and review of prior law-enforcement employment records required before hiring law enforcement officers.
  • HB 5148 - Increasing earned sentence credits.

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