RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Virginia state senator has revived his call to ban Dominion and other public utilities from donating to political campaigns, a proposal that was stalled by the General Assembly last year despite bipartisan support.
Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) submitted SB 804 ahead of the General Assembly’s January session. Despite its short length — the bill is just two paragraphs long — it would have a deep impact on Virginia politics if passed.
The bill doesn’t single out Dominion specifically, but simply prohibits all public utilities from donating to any “candidate, campaign committee, or political committee” in Virginia.
That list includes power companies like Appalachian Power and the various regional electric cooperatives, as well as gas utilities like Virginia Natural Gas and Columbia Gas of Virginia.
But the biggest impact by far would be on Dominion, which donates heavily to politicians on both sides of the aisle. Petersen has been a persistent critic of Dominion’s influence on the lawmakers who oversee laws regulating the public utility, alongside Delegate Lee Ware, who sponsored identical legislation in the House last year.
Ware has not yet filed his own version of the bill this session, but could still do so once the session begins next month.
Though the proposal was defeated last year in committee, it received a boost when the Youngkin administration reportedly told lawmakers that he would sign the bill if it made it to his desk.