Gov. Northam signs 80 bills into law

Generic pen, fountain pen, signing
Posted at 7:59 PM, Mar 12, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. - Dozens of new pieces of legislation are now law in the Commonwealth.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday he has signed 80 bills into law, including measures to protect homeowners from foreclosure; shift municipal elections from May to November; provide financial aid to students regardless of immigration status and repeal anti-women’s health restrictions on the health insurance exchange in Virginia.

“These new measures will support working Virginians, boost civic engagement, and help us continue building a stronger, more inclusive Commonwealth,” said Gov. Northam. “I am grateful to the General Assembly for their hard work on these important issues, and I am proud to sign these bills into law.”

The new laws include:

  • House Bill 2123, sponsored by Delegate Alfonso Lopez, and Senate Bill 1387, sponsored by Senator Jennifer Boysko, make any student eligible for state financial aid if they are eligible for in-state tuition, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. This law will take effect August 1, 2022.
  • House Bill 2165, sponsored by Delegate Patrick Hope, allows “heirs property” owners to claim property and provides additional time to pay delinquent taxes. This law is a recommendation from the Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law established by the governor in 2019.
  • House Bill 2175, sponsored by Delegate Luke Torian, and Senate Bill 1327, sponsored by Senator Jennifer McClellan, strengthen protections for homeowners facing foreclosure.
  • House Bill 2013, sponsored by Delegate Danica Roem, prohibits school boards from suing families to collect debts on unpaid school meals.
  • Senate Bill 1290, sponsored by Delegate Monty Mason, codifies Gov. Northam’s ConserveVirginia program, a data-driven Geographical Information Systems model to prioritize potential conservation areas across the Commonwealth.
  • House Bill 1896, sponsored by Delegate Sally Hudson, and Senate Bill 1276, sponsored by Senator Jennifer McClellan, remove the prohibition on abortion coverage in any qualified health insurance plan offered through the Virginia state-based exchange.
  • House Bill 2042, sponsored by Delegate Nancy Guy, and Senate Bill 1393, sponsored by Senator David Marsden, allow localities to exceed requirements in tree replacement and conservation efforts, including in development projects.
  • Senate Bill 1157, sponsored by Senator Lionell Spruill, Sr., shifts all municipal elections from May to November, starting in 2022.
  • House Bill 1940, sponsored by Delegate Sam Rasoul, and Senate Bill 1439, sponsored by Senator Jennifer McClellan, direct the Virginia Department of Education to establish guidelines that permit middle and high school students to attend a civic or political event and receive an excused absence.
  • House Bill 2110, sponsored by Leader Charniele Herring, and Senate Bill 1391, sponsored by Senator L. Louise Lucas, build on the work started by the Virginia State Crime Commission to collect and study pretrial data across Virginia, including bail, conviction, and sentencing information.
  • House Bill 2250, sponsored by Delegate Kaye Kory, and Senate Bill 1379, Senator Jennifer Boysko, prohibit the testing of cosmetics on animals and the selling of cosmetics that have been tested on animals beginning in 2022.

The full list of legislation Northam signed from the 2021 special session can be seen here.