2020 Legislative Agenda


Delegate Alfonso Lopez

2020 Legislative Agenda

Bill No.

Description

HB 215

Voter Pre-Registration for 16- & 17-Year-Olds

Allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register with the Virginia Department of Elections so that they are automatically registered to vote upon turning 18. This bill will boost youth participation in our elections by allowing teenagers to pre-register well before their first election—making it much more likely that those young Americans will become voters for life!

HB 219

Automatic Voter Registration

Provides for the automatic registration of eligible Virginia voters through the Department of Motor Vehicles—along with an opt-out for those who choose not to register. This bill will encourage more participation in our elections and ensure the protection of voting rights for all Virginians!

HB 260

Closing the Background Check Loophole in Firearm Sales

When a background check is requested by a licensed gun dealer in Virginia, the State Police have until the next business day to complete the check or the gun can be legally sold. In compliance with expert guidance from the FBI, my bill closes that loophole and gives State Police five business days to conduct a background check. This will help ensure that individuals who may ultimately fail a background check don’t have the opportunity to walk away with a gun.

HB 262

Protecting Undocumented Crime Victims and Witnesses from Being Reported to the Federal Government

This legislation would prohibit the police from inquiring about the immigration status of cooperating victims or witnesses of a crime. This law is critically important in order to encourage crime victims and witnesses to come forward, report crimes, and assist in prosecutions without fearing that their immigration status will be questioned. It strikes the right balance between giving police the latitude they need to effectively investigate violations of state and local law and giving immigrant victims and witnesses the assurances they need to feel safe about contacting the authorities. Moreover, by reinforcing community policing efforts it will improve improve overall public safety.

HB 263

Raising the Threshold for Grand Larceny to $2,000

Raises the threshold for the crime of grand larceny—a felony—from $500 to $2,000. Our larceny threshold is one of the lowest in the nation and has not kept up with inflation—resulting in the threshold for a felony larceny charge being lower than the average cost of a new cell phone. No one should be placed in a state prison and lose the right to vote for stealing an iPhone or a bicycle. This bill brings our criminal code into the 21st century by matching the criminal charge with the severity of the crime.

HB 264

Mandating an In-Person Demonstration of Competence for a Concealed-Carry License

Current law allows Virginia residents to produce a certificate from an online or video-based firearm competency course in order to apply for a license to carry a concealed gun. The law was carved out specifically to allow the NRA to certify gun owners as “competent” without having to actually prove their competency in-person before a trained professional. My bill outlaws this practice and mandates that any proof of firearm competency be demonstrated in-person for a concealed-carry license.

HB 356

Banning Child Labor on Tobacco Farms

Between May and October 2013, Human Rights Watch interviewed 141 children, some as young as seven, who worked on US tobacco farms in the previous year. The children worked in four states—North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia—where nearly 90 percent of tobacco grown in the US is cultivated. Young children should not be working in direct contact with tobacco. They are especially vulnerable to nicotine poisoning due to their size and stage of development. Indeed, a recent report from the Surgeon General suggests that nicotine exposure during adolescence may have lasting negative consequences for children. In order to protect kids from the hazards of tobacco farming, this legislation prohibits the employment of a child under the age of 18 to work with tobacco plants or dried tobacco leaves unless he or she is employed by a parent or guardian that owns their own farm/business.

HB 357

Banning Income-Source Discrimination in Housing

This bill would add income-source discrimination to the Virginia Fair Housing Law, protecting holders of housing vouchers from being discriminated against when seeking housing. Currently, voucher holders face significant discrimination when searching for rental options and, with soaring rental costs in the DC-area, many low-income residents are being forced to move farther and farther away from their work, schools, and communities. Virginia should be doing all it can to improve the state of affordable housing and this bill will provide critical protection for some of our most disadvantaged neighbors.

HB 358

Allowing the State and Local Governments to Enter into Project Labor Agreements

This bill repeals the section of the state code prohibiting the state government and localities from requiring contract bidders to enter into project labor agreements (PLAs) for the construction, manufacturing, maintenance, or operation of public works projects. PLAs are collective bargaining agreements between building trade unions and contractors that govern the terms and conditions of employment for all craft workers—union and nonunion—on a construction project. This is an important pro-labor bill that will protect taxpayers by eliminating costly delays due to labor conflicts or shortages of skilled workers.

HB 359

Allowing Public Bodies to Implement Best Value Procurement Standards 

“Best value” procurement standards expand the criteria for selecting a contractor for state-funded construction projects and vendor services beyond the default practice of awarding contracts to the lowest bidder, regardless of an applicant’s record of poor past performance or history of labor violations. Currently, public bodies in Virginia are only able to consider best value concepts when procuring goods and services. This bill would permit public bodies to utilize best value concepts when procuring construction services, allowing for a more conscientious evaluation of all the potential costs and impacts of public procurement decisions.

HB 1128

Updating Public Notification Requirements after Toxic Chemical Spills into State Waterways

Current law only requires the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to provide public notices of toxic chemical spills in one local newspaper. This bill would help protect communities and and increase transparency by mandating that DEQ place toxic spill notices in several local newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, official social media pages, and email distribution lists where possible. 

HB 1129

Protecting Children & Firefighters from Dangerous Chemical Flame Retardants

Flame retardants in upholstered furniture and children’s products are unneeded, ineffective, and no longer required by state regulators. Despite not being required in Virginia, manufacturers nationwide have added them to upholstered furniture and a variety of baby products to comply with a 1975 California flammability standard. In 2013, California changed its requirements, but this legislation would ensure that any products sold in Virginia are free of the worst of these chemicals to protect the health of both firefighters and children. Flame-retardants added to polyurethane foam products have been shown to be ineffective in fire protection. They generate excessive smoke and toxic chemical byproducts that expose firefighters to a toxic soup, including cancer-causing chemicals.

HB 1130

Restoring TANF-Eligibility for Returning Citizens Convicted of Drug Crimes

This bill overturns the lifetime ban on Virginians who have previously been convicted of a drug-related felony from obtaining benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Returning citizens often need as much assistance as possible to make ends meet and to begin to build a better life for themselves and their families. 

HB 1134

Small Business Definition Reform

Since I was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, I’ve been working to improve Virginia’s definition of small business in the Small, Women, and Minority-owned (SWaM) public procurement program. Under the current definition, a business in Virginia is considered "small" if it has fewer than 250 employees or less than $10 million in annual revenue. This overly broad, one-size-fits-all standard makes it difficult for truly small, women, and minority-owned businesses to compete with large companies that still qualify under the definition. My legislation moves Virginia closer to a more realistic—and more fair—SWaM procurement process.

HB 1135

Protecting Students from Invasive Policing or Immigration Actions at School

This bill makes changes to state policy that will effectively prohibit school resource officers and security guards from conducting invasive student searches or questioning and from asking students about their immigration statuses or from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. The bill also mandates the use of translators or appropriate guardians to assist students in responding to questions from a school resource officer. 

HB 1136

Creating a Hazardous Waste Site Inventory

Virginia currently does not have a one-stop list of all the sites in the Commonwealth that pose a hazard to human health or the environment from toxic substances. The public has a right to know if one of these sites is in their community and poses a hazard to public health. This bill simply consolidates existing lists of hazardous waste sites maintained by the state and federal government and puts that information in a format that the public can easily access. It also provides a mechanism for DEQ to add new sites as it becomes aware of them.

HB 1137

Mandating Record-Keeping for TANF Beneficiaries with Hardship Exceptions

Requires the Department of Social Services to keep and publish records of the number of Virginia Initiative for Education and Work (VIEW) participants that receive an exception to the time limitations on TANF benefits due to hardship and the specific circumstances relied upon to grant such exceptions. This bill will increase transparency within the TANF program and allow researchers to better study the impacts of the program on low-income recipients.

HB 1150

Repealing Laws that Require the Reporting of Undocumented Immigrants to the Federal Government 

This legislation would repeal several sections of the Virginia Code that mandate the reporting of undocumented immigrants to federal authorities by various law enforcement officials and county clerks.

HB 1151

Allows Localities to Implement Local Plastic Bag & Styrofoam Laws  

Allows localities to prohibit the purchase, sale, or provision of certain single-use products that are not recyclable or compostable and for which there is a suitable and cost-effective compostable or recyclable alternative product available. The bill also authorizes any locality to impose a five-cent per item tax on single-use plastics and polystyrene product sand directs revenue from the local tax to be used for cleanup or education programs designed to reduce waste.

HB 1152

Directing the Commonwealth to Formally Join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

This critical bill directs the state government to join RGGI and establish a carbon dioxide cap and trade program for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI is a cooperative interstate effort joined by Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector in order to slow the progress of climate change.

HB 1153

Reforming Discovery Rules for Evidence in Criminal Cases and Expanding Petitions of Actual Innocence

This bill makes several changes to the state code designed to empower defense attorneys and those accused of crimes during trial by allowing them greater access to evidence held by prosecutors. The bill also allows individuals convicted of felonies to petition for release based on newly released scientific evidence—like DNA testing—regardless of the individual’s plea entered at trial. Current law only allows for such petitions in the cases of capital punishment, life imprisonment, or a conviction of murder. 

HB 1154

Raising the State Litter Tax

This bill increases the annual litter tax paid by manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers of commonly-littered products—like cigarettes—from $10-15 annually to $20-30 annually. This tax has not been adjusted since the 1970’s.

HB 1156

Raising the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HRTC)

Virginia’s HRTC program has played an essential role in the preservation of thousands of historic properties since its inception in 1997. These rehabilitated properties have provided significant cultural, educational, and economic benefits to communities across the Commonwealth. This bill would encourage the expansion of this incredible resource by increasing the maximum amount of the historic rehabilitation tax credit from $5 million to $10 million per year.

HB 1158

Eliminating Racial Identification on Marriage Licenses 

This bill eliminates the requirement that the race of married parties be included in marriage records, divorce reports, and annulment reports filed with the State Registrar. The bill also removes the requirement that the State Registrar include race data in the compilation and posting of marriage, divorce, and annulment data.

HB 1161

Lead Pipe Disclosures for New Homeowners & Renters

This public health and transparency measure would require the owner of a home to disclose the existence of lead pipes to a potential homebuyer or renter before completing a sale or entering into a lease. Any tenant who is not provided with such disclosure may terminate the lease agreement at any time within 60 days of discovery of the existence of lead pipe by providing written notice to the landlord.

HB 1162

Defining “Environmental Justice” within the State Code

This bill would enter the definition of “environmental justice” into the state code and modify the mission of the Department of Environmental Quality to include furthering environmental justice, as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration.

HB 1163

Right to Rental for Individuals Evicted from Manufactured Home Communities

Current law only allows someone who has been evicted from a manufactured home community to sell or junk their trailer, effectively forcing low-income individuals to sell what may be their only property and shelter with little means left over to acquire new lodging. This bill would grant individuals in those circumstances the right to rent the trailer out to another party, allowing them to maintain ownership over their property and use the collected rents to afford lodging elsewhere. 

HB 1164

Updating the Policies and Mission of the Department of Environmental Quality

Adds provisions for addressing climate change and for the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the administration of environmental laws, regulations, and policies in the statement of the Department of Environmental Quality's purpose. The bill also adds the enhancement of the environment and the promotion of the health and well-being of the Commonwealth's residents and visitors to the Department's policy goals.

HB 1173

Tax Exemption for Certified Pollution Control Equipment and Facilities

This bill re-establishes a prospective state tax exemption for certain pollution control equipment and facilities intended for use by a political subdivision in conjunction with the operation of its water, wastewater, stormwater, or solid waste management facilities or systems.

HB 1174

Requiring Schools to Stock Albuterol Inhalers 

This bill allows local school boards to adopt and implement policies for the possession and administration of undesignated stock albuterol inhalers in every school in the local school division, to be administered by any school nurse or other employee authorized by a prescriber and trained in the administration of albuterol inhalers, for any student suffering from an asthmatic or other respiratory episode.

HB 1180

Reducing the Maximum Misdemeanor Sentence to Protect Noncitizens from Automatic Deportation 

Under federal law, if a noncitizen is convicted of any misdemeanor offense carrying a potential sentence of a year in jail, it can jeopardize their immigration status—a tool the current administration has been all-too-willing to exploit in order to expel immigrants from the country. This bill follows the lead of states like Utah, whose legislature last year unanimously approved a reduction in the state maximum sentence for misdemeanors from 365-days to 364-days in order to prevent noncitizens from being automatically considered for deportation for low-level misdemeanor offenses.

HB 1183

Creating a Bulk Energy Storage Task Force 

This measure requires the State Corporation Commission to establish a task force to evaluate and analyze the potential for bulk energy storage resources to help integrate renewable energy into the electrical grid.

HB 1184

Promoting the Establishment of Distributed Solar Energy

This bill institutes a series of reforms intended to promote the establishment of distributed solar and other renewable energy in the Commonwealth. The measure also amends the Commonwealth Energy Policy to include provisions supporting distributed generation of solar energy and states that the distributed generation of solar electricity is in the public interest.

HB 1185

Restrictions on the Sale of Certain Vaping Products

This bill addresses the epidemic of electronic cigarette and vape use by minors by limiting the sale of certain flavored nicotine vapor products and high-nicotine vapor products to retail establishments that only sell to people 21 years of age or older and have proven age restriction processes.

HB 1192

Creating a Hazardous Substance Aboveground Storage Tank Fund

This bill creates enhanced regulations for large above ground chemical storage tanks that have been responsible for devastating spills in West Virginia and other parts of the country in recent years. The bill requires tank owners to register their tanks, pay certain registration fees, develop release response plans, upgrade certain older tanks, install containment infrastructure for certain aboveground storage tanks, notify certain parties in the event of a release of a regulated substance, and demonstrate their financial responsibility. 

HB 1194

Establishing the Dairy Producer Margin Coverage Premium Assistance Program

Long-term trends have drastically impacted the dairy industry, resulting in an average of 2-3 Virginia dairy farms closing per week. These closures have devastated local communities and towns across the Commonwealth. This bill creates the Dairy Producer Margin Coverage Premium Assistance Program to provide much-needed assistance to Virginia’s dairy farmers who take necessary environmental precautions.

HB 1195

Providing Legal Resources to Evicted Residents in Virginia  

This bill mandates that every eviction notice must provide, on the first page, the name, address, and telephone number of the legal services program, if any, serving the jurisdiction in which the premises is located.

HB 1196

Ending the Suspension of Driver’s Licenses due to Inability to Pay Court Fines or Fees

After working on this issue for several years, I am proud to be carrying the Governor's bill to end the suspension of driver's licenses due to the inability of an individual to pay a court fine or fee. In Virginia, there are over 640,000 individuals with suspended licenses due to non-payment of court fines and costs. Many Virginia residents rely upon their driver’s licenses to get to work and complete other vital daily tasks. When a person’s driver’s license is suspended, they may face a difficult dilemma: obey the suspension and potentially lose their ability to provide for their families, or drive anyway and face further punishment/fees, and even imprisonment, for driving while suspended. Our state government shouldn’t be putting families in this situation. It’s time that Virginia stop punishing folks for being poor.

HB 1547

Virginia DREAM Act—Tuition Equity for Undocumented Students

This bill will grant access to in-state tuition at Virginia colleges and universities to undocumented students. These children know no other home but Virginia. We have invested in their education from kindergarten through twelfth grade. This legislation will allow us to fulfill our investment so that these students can stay in the Commonwealth and help build a new Virginia economy. I have been working on this legislation since my first year in the House of Delegates and will keep fighting until it is the law of the Commonwealth!

HB 1635

Repealing Restrictions on WMATA Project Labor Agreements

This bill repeals sections of the 2018 Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) funding bills that prevented WMATA and its contractors from participating in project labor agreements.

HJ 31

Study of Commonwealth-Wide Housing Needs

This joint resolution directs the Department of Housing and Community Development to (i) determine the quantity and quality of affordable housing across the Commonwealth, (ii) conduct a review of current programs and policies to determine the effectiveness of current housing policy efforts, (iii) develop an informed projection of future housing needs in the Commonwealth and determine the order of priority of those needs, and (iv) make recommendations for the improvement of housing policy in the Commonwealth.

HJ 91

Affirming the Commonwealth's Commitment to Diversity

This joint resolution affirms the Commonwealth's commitment to diversity and safeguarding the civil rights and dignity of all Virginians.

HJ 92

Drinking Water Study

This joint resolution requests the Office of Drinking Water of the Department of Health to study the Commonwealth's drinking water infrastructure and oversight of the drinking water program. In conducting its study, the Office shall (i) identify problems or issues that may result in contamination of drinking water with lead, copper, or other substances or organisms and (ii) develop recommendations for addressing such problems or issues.

HJ 93

Bust of Oliver White Hill, Sr.

This joint resolution requests that the Governor direct that a bust of Oliver White Hill, Sr.—a prominent African-American Virginia lawyer and leader of the Civil Rights Movement—be made and displayed in the Old House Chamber of the Virginia State Capitol.

HJ 94

Daycares in Rental Units Study

This joint resolution directs the Virginia Housing Commission to study whether renters should be permitted to operate a family daycare out of their rental home. In conducting its study, the Commission is directed to review (i) the need of families to have access to high-quality, affordable child care, (ii) the unique challenges presented by the operation of a family day home from within a rental dwelling unit; (iii) the concerns of landlords stemming from the use of a dwelling unit as a family day home; and (iv) ways in which the needs of families to have access to affordable, high-quality child care can be reconciled with the concerns of landlords stemming from the use of dwelling units as family day homes.

HJ 95

State Parks Study

This joint resolution creates a study to examine the possibilities of establishing two new state parks in Culpeper County, one at Brandy Station Battlefield and one at Cedar Mountain Battlefield.

HJ 96

Commending the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin

This joint resolution commends the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) on the occasion of their 80th anniversary. I have served as the Virginia legislative representative to the ICPRB since 2018.