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It is already February! Here are the top political stories for Monday.

*This newsletter is sponsored by the Legal Aid Justice Center. They partner with communities and clients to achieve justice by dismantling systems that create and perpetuate poverty. Justice means racial justice, social justice, and economic justice.*


In case you missed it:


Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) announced on Monday that she filed a federal civil lawsuit against her Senate colleagues.

Attorney Tim Anderson of Anderson and Associates in Virginia Beach will file a federal lawsuit on behalf of Chase in the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, against the Senate of Virginia for a civil rights violation, related to the public censure issued against her as a Virginia State Senator.

Chase’s announcement said that the lawsuit was filed against the Senate for their “intentional, knowingly and deliberate violations offending the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution as well as a total disregard to follow its own due process rules in issuing the censure.”

Chase did not release a statement with the announcement.


Updates from an early morning in the General Assembly

The following bills advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee early Monday morning.

SB 1339 Police and court records; expungement and sealing of records, Expungement Fee Fund created.

Introduced by: Scott A. Surovell

This bill would establish a process for the sealing of police and court records, defined in the bill, of criminal records for certain convictions, deferred dispositions, and acquittals and for offenses that have been nolle prossed or otherwise dismissed. The bill also allows a person to petition for the expungement of the police and court records relating to convictions of marijuana possession, underage alcohol or tobacco possession, and using a false ID to obtain alcohol and for deferred disposition dismissals for possession of controlled substances or marijuana, underage alcohol or tobacco possession, and using a false ID to obtain alcohol.

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SB 1105 Post-conviction relief; previously admitted scientific evidence, report.

Introduced by: William M. Stanley, Jr. (R)

Provides that a person who was convicted of certain offenses, upon a plea of not guilty or an Alford plea, or who was adjudicated delinquent, upon a plea of not guilty or an Alford plea, by a circuit court of an offense that would be a covered offense if committed by an adult may petition the Court of Appeals to have his conviction vacated.

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SB 1234 Attorneys; granting certificates without examination.

Introduced by: J. Chapman Petersen (D)

Provides that the Supreme Court of Virginia shall have the discretion to grant a certificate to practice law without examination to an attorney who has (i) been admitted to practice law before the court of last resort of any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia for at least two years; (ii) made at least six pro hac vice appearances in a court in the Commonwealth, whether state or federal; and (iii) obtained a juris doctor or LL.M. degree from an accredited law school in the United States that was approved by the American Bar Association.


VAPLAN @vaplan2018A cranky and impatient Senate Judiciary reports @AdamEbbin @SenLouiseLucas amended marijuana legalization bill (slowing down many provisions to take effect later) to Finance, with bipartisan support. February 1st 2021


The House Labor and Commerce Energy subcommittee passed multiple pieces of legislation on Monday morning:

HB 2200 Electric utilities; triennial review.

Introduced by: Jerrauld C. “Jay” Jones

Makes various changes to procedures under which the State Corporation Commission reviews the earnings and sets the rates of investor-owned incumbent electric utilities. The bill requires the Commission, in determining a fair rate of return on common equity for an investor-owned utility, to consider the average of either (i) the returns on common equity reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission for the three most recent annual periods for which such data is available by not less than a majority of a selected peer group of the utility or (ii) the authorized returns on common equity that are set by the applicable regulatory commissions for the same selected peer group. Under current law, the Commission is required to set such return not lower than either such average.

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More News:

Census delay helps GOP in one statehouse, Dems in another – Associated Press

By MATTHEW BARAKAT and MIKE CATALINI

The Census Bureau’s missed deadlines could be a boon for Virginia Republicans but a bust for the New Jersey GOP — and the reverse for Democrats — as the only two states with legislative elections this year do so without the data they need to draw new boundaries.

The 2021 election cycle, the first since Democrats took control of the White House and Congress, is also supposed to be the first conducted after redistricting based on changes captured in the once-a-decade census required under the Constitution. The delay in census figures means Virginia and New Jersey will continue to use decade-old maps that don’t reflect growth in areas such as northern Virginia and may undercount people of color, factors that could contribute to shifts in their statehouses.

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Video: Former Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA10) Says There’s “No Room” In the GOP For “Kooks” like Marjorie Greene – Blue Virginia

“I don’t think so. In fact, I’m on a board for Republican women; we’re having a fundraiser for Liz Cheney this weekend. We’re getting lots of good support…We have a broad tent party, but there’s no room for people like Marjorie Greene, a conspiracy theorist who should be taken off of her committees and really I think taken out of the party, voted out of the party, not allowed to be part of the caucus. Republicans in the state of Virginia did that with a Virginia State Senator [Amanda Chase] who had similar type of outrageous comments and dangerous things”

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Democrats push to preserve pandemic voting access measures – Roanoke Times

by Amy Friedenberger

Legislator to Lobbyist – VPAP

Fourteen former General Assembly members have registered this year to lobby their former colleagues. They are among 39 legislators who have turned lobbyist during the last decade.

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