Governor Northam Has Been Busy While We’re On Lock-down
According to several press releases sent out over the weekend here is what Governor Ralph Northam has been signing into law while we are all asked to stay-at-home.
Because there have been so many new laws signed over the last week and each press release outlines several reforms Colonial Beach News will be presenting them in small articles over the next few days to make them easier to digest.
Governor Northam Series Part 6 Abortion Bills and Values Acts
On April 10, 2020 Governor Ralph Northam announced he has signed the Reproductive Health Protection Act, which repeals medically-unnecessary restrictions on women’s healthcare.
According to a press release issued by Governor Northam’s Office, “Senate Bill 733 sponsored by Senator Jennifer McClellan and House Bill 980 sponsored by House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, repeal Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound law and 24-hour waiting period prior to abortion. The legislation also rolls back politically motivated “TRAP” restrictions on women’s health centers, which are designed to force their closure and make it more difficult for Virginians to get access to the healthcare services.”
The official SUMMARY AS PASSED states Senate Bill 733 Abortion :
“Expands who can perform first trimester abortions to include any person jointly licensed by the Board of Medicine and Nursing as a nurse practitioner acting within such person’s scope of practice. The bill eliminates all of the procedures and processes, including the performance of an ultrasound, required to effect a pregnant woman’s informed written consent to the performance of an abortion; however, the bill does not change the requirement that a pregnant woman’s informed written consent first be obtained. The bill removes language classifying facilities that perform five or more first trimester abortions per month as hospitals for the purpose of complying with regulations establishing minimum standards for hospitals. This bill incorporates SB 21 and SB 68 and is identical to HB 980.”
Northam’s press release states, “The legislation also rolls back politically motivated “TRAP” restrictions on women’s health centers, which are designed to force their closure and make it more difficult for Virginians to get access to the healthcare services.”
Governor Northam said, “No more will legislators in Richmond—most of whom are men—be telling women what they should and should not be doing with their bodies. The Reproductive Health Protection Act will make women and families safer, and I’m proud to sign it into law.”
Senator Jennifer McClellan said, “This is about protecting Virginians’ health, rights, and basic dignity. Today, we have finally put an end to these medically unnecessary barriers to women’s reproductive health care. Politicians should not interfere in women’s personal medical decisions, period.”
“Virginia women deserve access to healthcare free from interference from politicians,” said House Majority Leader Charniele Herring. “Simply, this bill rolls back restrictions that are not evidence-based and presume that women have an inability to make their own healthcare decisions. I’m glad to see this bill signed into law.”
Governor Northam Signs Virginia Values Act
On April 11, 2020 Governor Ralph Northam announced he has signed the Virginia Values Act, making Virginia the first state in the South to enact comprehensive protections for the LGBTQ community against discrimination in housing, employment, public spaces, and credit applications.
Senate Bill 868, sponsored by Senator Adam Ebbin, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public and private employment, public accommodations, and access to credit. The legislation also extends important protections to Virginians on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, and status as a veteran.
“This legislation sends a strong, clear message—Virginia is a place where all people are welcome to live, work, visit, and raise a family,” said Governor Northam. “We are building an inclusive Commonwealth where there is opportunity for everyone, and everyone is treated fairly. No longer will LGBTQ Virginians have to fear being fired, evicted, or denied service in public places because of who they are.”
“With the Governor’s signing of the Virginia Values Act, we have made discrimination against our gay, lesbian and transgender friends, family, neighbors and co-workers in employment, housing and public accommodation illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn. “It is now the law of the land that every Virginian can work hard, earn a living wage, and live their lives without fear of discrimination based on who they are or who they love. A tremendous victory.”
“I am grateful to Governor Northam for signing the Virginia Values Act, which represents years of dedicated work by activists, legislators, and progressive members of our business community to ensure full protection for every Virginian under the law,” said Senator Adam Ebbin. “Sadly, during times of crisis like these, discrimination rises, and its effects become more apparent. When jobs are scarce and housing unaffordable, the reality of who you are must be an additional hurdle to putting food on the table or providing shelter for your family. This law provides important new protections.”
“After decades of hard work, we are closer to making Virginia the Commonwealth that we all want it to be,” said Delegate Mark Sickles. “This new law will bring protections that Virginians need to live, work, and access services free from discrimination and harassment. I am grateful to Governor Northam for signing this legislation, and to the broad coalition of dedicated advocates, legislators, constituents, faith leaders, and members of the business community, who worked together to pass the most comprehensive civil rights bill in Virginia’s history this session.”