What’s at Stake this General Assembly Session

The Virginia General Assembly session kicked off last week. While several issues are making the news headlines, like abortion access, there are others affecting survivors and advocates of sexual and intimate partner violence that are not getting as much attention from the media.

Some of the Action Alliance’s major priorities this year are:

  • supporting funding for the Virginia Statewide Hotline, as it has become difficult to secure federal funds for this vital service. Funding from the state budget would guarantee support to the tens of thousands of callers the Hotline receives every year.
  • firearms safety measures that would ensure a safe and lawful way for firearms to be transferred out of the possession of those convicted of domestic violence or who are subject to a final protective order.
  • closing the dangerous loophole in Virginia’s strangulation statute. Domestic violence advocates, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, and Law Enforcement have seen many recent abuse cases involving this act where respiration is knowingly impeded but the abuser is careful to not leave marks or cause death. Virginia’s definition of “strangulation” where the specific act of restricting oxygen to an individual’s airways is not captured under current law.
  • economic supports for families and children. Policies that strengthen economic security like paid sick leave, a child tax credit, and affordable childcare options for families can go a long way toward reducing violence and enhancing conditions where every child has an opportunity to fully thrive.

We are also opposing attacks on LGBTQ+ Virginians and restrictions on abortion access. You can see the full list of our legislative priorities here.

Join us in speaking up on these important bills! We’re bringing together advocates for Legislative Advocacy Day (LAD) on February 2. There are both in-person and virtual options. Connect with advocates across the state as we meet with our legislators to ask them to support bills that will help survivors and oppose bills that have the potential for harm.

For the in-person event, we’ll be meeting at the Virginia Credit Union League for a breakfast reception and legislative briefing. The rest of the day will be spent sharing our stories and experiences with legislators. Don’t forget to join us in the Capitol Gallery when we will be recognized by legislators.

Can’t make it to Richmond in person? Take part in virtual Legislative Advocacy Day by sending letters or emails or calling your legislators. We want to ensure that everyone has the tools and information they need to effectively communicate with their legislators. We’ll soon be releasing the latest update to Legislative Advocacy Toolkit—stay tuned! Also, mark your calendars for our Legislative Advocacy Day webinar on January 31, 2:00-3:30pm (please note there is no registration required to join this webinar).

For more information about our priority bills and for  tools for legislative advocacy, check out our Legislative Advocacy Day webpage. Check back regularly as we’ll add documents throughout the session.

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