Senate Democrats defeat Republican voting bills and postpone constitutional amendments

January 18, 2024
Virginia Capitol Building


Updated 7:08 PM EST, January 16, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Democrat-led Virginia Senate panel on Tuesday defeated a handful of Republican-sponsored voting bills and moved to put on hold consideration of several proposed constitutional amendments until after this year’s session.

Without discussion, the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee voted to carry over the proposed amendments, which had been unveiled with great fanfare after the November elections, when Democrats held their Senate majority and flipped control of the House of Delegates.

The measures included proposals to repeal a now-defunct ban in the state constitution on same-sex marriage, expand protections for abortion access and reform the state’s system of civil rights restoration for felons who have completed their sentences.

Senate Democratic Leader Scott Surovell said in a text message that the proposed amendments were being carried over until the 2025 session, something he characterized as a standard practice, given that amendments are typically introduced in odd-numbered years.

The move won’t slow down the timeline by which voters could potentially consider the measures. Proposed constitutional amendments must first pass both chambers of the General Assembly in two years, with an intervening election for the House of Delegates in between. Those elections happen every two years in odd-numbered years, meaning the soonest they could be up for a vote is 2026.

“I think what they wanted to do is put all these folks on record right before the (2025) election,” said Bob Holsworth, a veteran political analyst.

Coldwell Banker Harbour Realty

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