Governor Northam kicked off the 2020 legislative session last night with his annual State of the Commonwealth address to both houses of the General Assembly. The Governor set forth his Virginia 2020 plan in which he hopes to fulfill a wish list of Democratic initiatives since that party is now in control of both sides
According to the Governor’s office, the ‘Virginia 2020 Plan’ includes:
- “Pass the Equal Rights Amendment. It’s long overdue.
- Restore women’s reproductive rights. Overturn laws that have injected politics into women’s healthcare.
- Expand affordable housing. More funding for the Virginia House Trust Fund. Establish an Eviction Prevention and Diversion Pilot Program.
- Ban discrimination in housing and employment. Codify prohibitions on housing and employment discrimination against LGBTQ people.
- Raise the minimum wage. Virginians have waited too long. Legislative process will determine specifics and timeframe for implementation.
- Make voting easier. End the requirement to tell the state why you need to vote early. Make Election Day a state holiday.
- Reform criminal justice. Make permanent the current temporary ban on suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid fines. Raise the threshold for felony larceny. Hire more public defenders.
- Advance common-sense gun safety measures. Keep prohibited persons away from firearms. Universal background checks. “Red flag” law. Restore longstanding “1 handgun a month” law.
- Fight climate change, protect natural resources. Advance clean energy. Join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Increase water funding to clean the Chesapeake Bay.
- Increase education funding. Early childhood education. K-12 funding, including teacher raises and “at-risk add-on” special funding for high-poverty schools. Fund HBCUs. College affordability and free community college for low- and middle-income people going into high-demand fields. In-state tuition for DREAMers.
- Expand transit and broadband. Move commuters and passengers faster, more efficiently. Bring broadband to more parts of Virginia.”