RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Virginia lawmakers are getting an early start on their 2024 legislative wish lists.
Prefiling for the 2024 Virginia General Assembly session opened Monday, allowing returning and new state lawmakers to introduce bills and resolutions for next year.
Democrats and Republicans have staked out their priorities for the session, from big-ticket proposals to measures that aim to change the state’s constitution.
Republican proposals will be at the whim of Democrats, who will control the state legislature once it meets next year. But Democrats won’t have the votes to get past vetoes from Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), likely keeping their most ambitious efforts on the shelf.
Democrats prefiled measures Monday they vowed to after winning General Assembly control, including proposed constitutional amendments that would codify abortion access and automatically give people convicted of felonies their voting rights back once they’re released.
In Virginia, constitutional amendments must pass the General Assembly two years in a row, with elections for the House of Delegates in between. This means a resolution would have to pass in the 2025 and 2026 sessions before going on the ballot for voters to have the final say.
Democrats also introduced bills to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2026 — required legislation for the incremental raises set in a law passed in 2020 — and to ban assault weapons and certain ammunition-feeding devices.
Republicans have proposed a bill that would repeal a law tying Virginia to vehicle emissions standards adopted by California that will ban new gas vehicles from being sold by 2035.
The proposal, effectively dead on arrival, brings back a GOP effort supported by Youngkin’s administration struck down earlier this year by the Democratic-controlled state Senate.
The 2024 General Assembly session begins Jan. 10, 2024. Democrats will have two-seat majorities in the Virginia House of Delegates and state Senate.