RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A proposal to limit solitary confinement in Virginia prisons advanced out of a state Senate committee Friday before moving to another panel for consideration.

The bill, introduced by state Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond), would only allow prisons to hold an incarcerated person in isolated confinement when there is a medical need or to prevent an imminent threat for up to 15 days within 60 days.

The proposal faces long odds in the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and didn’t receive GOP support in Friday’s Virginia Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services committee hearing.

But Sen. Morrissey thinks his colleagues across the aisle in the state Senate will back the legislation.

“I think we’ll get bipartisan support on the floor of the Senate, and I believe it will pass out of the Senate,” Morrissey told 8News after the committee hearing.

Morrissey said he believes there are enough safeguards in the legislation to protect the mental health and rights of incarcerated people in Virginia and others in prisons. He pointed out that the measure requires documentation on why someone was put into confinement and the factors that may lead them to return once they are back in general population.

“I think that people now realize that after 10 days there are mental health issues associated with keeping someone locked up,” Morrissey told 8News. “I think you can be merciful and compassionate but still show strength, and that’s what this bill does.”

In a party-line vote — with one Republican abstaining — the bill reported out of the committee and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.