Having secured majorities in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate in the Nov. 5 election, House Democrats have not wasted any time crafting the first four bills they expect to pass swiftly on women’s, gun control, voting and LGBTQ rights when the new legislature is sworn in come January, and that Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is deemed ready to sign into law. Del. Marcus Simon, who represents the City of Falls Church, told the News-Press that all the bills were set to be formally introduced Monday.
The first is a bill that will allow early absentee voting without requiring an excuse for the voter. The second is a bill mandating universal background checks for the purchase of a gun. The third is a bill that prohibits discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The fourth, which will probably be introduced first in January, will be a joint bill for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, with the adoption by Virginia putting the U.S. Constitutional amendment over the top to be become law after almost 50 years since its original introduction. There will be more, Simon said, including LGBTQ non-discrimination legislation extending to employment and public accomodations, but they will require a little more time to craft because “now that we’re the majority, we want to remove any language that was too compromising in earlier failed attempts to get passed.”
Simon, himself, was elected the secretary of the Democratic caucus in the House last week, putting him on the executive committee of the caucus and therefore on the inside of a lot of decisions the caucus will make going forward.