Family Law Bills Racing Through 2023 Virginia Gen'l Assembly

By Alison Gedraitis and John Crouch

Our Virginia family law legislation blog posts always cut a wide swath -- not just  family-law bills, but anything that affects how we practice family law -- such as evidence and procedure rules; wills, probate, etc., which are also part of our work, and anything that affects the families we typically work with and the choices they have to make in their cases, including some legislation about education, health care, child safety, and several other topics.

But as fast as Alison -- from American University and St. Norbert -- moves, the legislators have been moving even faster, since they are doing this full-time this season, while she's also working for our clients and going to college. So I'm posting what we have added so far, including the core areas of family law and only some of the outlying subjects. More soon.

APPROVED BY GOVERNOR: None yet.

PASSED BOTH HOUSES: None yet.

PASSED ONE HOUSE, ON FLOOR OF THE OTHER: None yet.

PASSED ONE HOUSE, IN FULL COMMITTEE OF THE OTHER: None yet.

PASSED ONE HOUSE:

Divorce

  • HB 1385 Divorce; affidavit submitted as evidence, minor children of the parties- Clarifies that an affidavit submitted as evidence in support of a divorce shall state whether there were minor children either born of the parties, born of either party and adopted by the other, or adopted by both parties.

Custody/Parenting Time

  • HB 1581 Child custody, etc.; educational seminars approved by Office of Ex. Sec. of Supreme Court of Va- Provides that when the parties to any petition where a child whose custody, visitation, or support is contested are required show proof that they have attended an educational seminar or other like program conducted by a qualified person or organization.

Child Support

  • HB 1549 Wrongful death; death of parent or guardian of child resulting from driving under the influence- If a defendant unintentionally causes the death of a parent or guardian of a child as a result of driving /operating a watercraft under the influence, the person who has custody of the child may petition the court to order the defendant to pay child support!

Domestic Violence/Protective Orders/Harassment/Stalking

  • SB 873 Family abuse protective orders; filing a petition on behalf of minors- For purposes of filing a petition for preliminary protective order in family abuse situation, attorney for the Commonwealth or a law-enforcement officer may file a petition on behalf of a minor as his next friend if petition is filed before a previously issued emergency protective order for the minor expires or within 24 hours of expiration. (Cross-reference: Child Abuse)
  • HB 1590 Telephone, digital pager, or other device to signal; causing alert with intent to annoy, penalty. Modernizes the harassing phone call statute to include any communications that may ring or otherwise signal or alert. Under current law, only telephones and digital pagers are included.

Child Abuse/Neglect/CHINS/Foster Care/Child Safety

  • SB 873 Family abuse protective orders; filing a petition on behalf of minors- For purposes of filing a petition for preliminary protective order in family abuse situation, attorney for the Commonwealth or a law-enforcement officer may file a petition on behalf of a minor as his next friend if petition is filed before a previously issued emergency protective order for the minor expires or within 24 hours of expiration. (Cross-reference: Domestic Violence)

Marriage

  • HB 2071 Persons other than ministers who may perform rites of marriage; issuance of order, etc- Provides that a clerk may issue an order authorizing one or more persons resident in the circuit in which a petition was filed to celebrate the rites of marriage in the Commonwealth. (Current law only allows a circuit court judge to issue such an order)
  • SB 1096 Marriage; lawful regardless of sex of parties-A marriage between two parties is lawful regardless of the sex of such parties, provided that such marriage is not otherwise prohibited by the laws of the Commonwealth.

Child Abuse/Neglect/CHINS/Foster Care/Child Safety

  • SB 835 Juveniles; prohibited sales and loans. Makes definition of "sexual conduct" neutral regarding sexual orientation for the purposes of crimes related to prohibited sales and loans to juveniles. Incorporates SB 837 (Cross references: LGBT, Sex Abuse)

Sexual Abuse/Assault

  • SB 835 Juveniles; prohibited sales and loans. Makes definition of "sexual conduct" neutral regarding sexual orientation for the purposes of crimes related to prohibited sales and loans to juveniles. Incorporates SB 837  (Cross references: LGBT, Child Abuse)

LGBT

  • SB 835 Juveniles; prohibited sales and loans. Makes definition of "sexual conduct" neutral regarding sexual orientation for the purposes of crimes related to prohibited sales and loans to Child Abuse, Sex Abuse) juveniles. Incorporates SB 837  (Cross references: Child Abuse, Sex Abuse)

Judges

  • HB 2012 Retired Supreme Court justices and Court of Appeals judges may be recalled in circuit courts.

Education

  • HB 1629 Virginia Parent Data Portal; Board of Education to create and maintain, report.

OUT OF COMMITTEE / ON FLOOR IN ONE HOUSE:

Custody/Parenting Time

Child Support

Spousal Support

Marriage

Divorce

  • HB 1583 It is unlawful for any person to knowingly and intentionally cause an electronic device to secretly or furtively peep or spy or attempt to peep or spy into or through a window, door, or other aperture of any building, structure, or other enclosure occupied or intended for occupancy as a dwelling, whether or not such building, structure, or enclosure is permanently situated or transportable and whether or not such occupancy is permanent or temporary, or to do the same, without just cause, upon property owned by him and leased or rented to another under circumstances that would violate the occupant's reasonable expectation of privacy. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a lawful criminal investigation. Under current law, such acts are prohibited only when the person causes the electronic device to enter the property of another. (As amended) (Cross-references: Procedure, Criminal Law)

Adoption

Child Abuse/Neglect/CHINS/Foster Care/Child Safety

  • SB 1392,   Wide-ranging "assault firearms" ban including absolute ban on anyone under 21 doing anything with them. Not as extreme as most "assault weapons" bans, because most of it uses the definition already in Virginia law, "equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine which will hold more than 20 rounds ... or designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or equipped with a folding stock."  However, it inserts a much wider definition in a section that bans any sale of "assault firearms," although that section is deceptively titled "§ 18.2-308.2:2. Criminal history record information check required for the transfer of certain firearms." That section starts by saying that dealers can only sell "assault firearms" to people 21 or older, but further down, it bans dealers from selling "any assault firearm to any person."
     The existing text of the statute follows the term "any person" with  "who is not a citizen of the United States or who is not a person lawfully admitted for permanent residence." But the proposed bill makes the phrase "any person" absolute, by inserting the word "or" after it. The new wording of the statute would, then, say, "no dealer shall sell, rent, trade, or transfer from his inventory any assault firearm to any person or any semi-automatic center-fire rifle or pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material and is equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine that will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition or is designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or is equipped with a folding stock to any person who is not a citizen of the United States or who is not a person lawfully admitted for permanent residence." [New language in italics.]  Incorporates SB 918, SB 1283. Currently-live version, discussed here, is a substitute bill. 

Sexual Abuse/Assault

Domestic Violence/Protective Orders

Retirement

Elder Law/Wills/Trusts/Probate

Procedure

  • HB 1386 Interlocutory decrees or orders. Prohibits the appeal of certain interlocutory decrees or orders relating to affirmance or annulment of a marriage, divorce, custody, spousal or child support, control or disposition of a minor child, or any other domestic relations matter. The bill also restores the Court of Appeal's jurisdiction over appeals of orders granting or denying pleas of immunity. Under current law, such orders are appealable to the Supreme Court. The bill requires the Virginia Family Law Coalition to study appeals of interlocutory decrees and orders involving domestic relations matters in the Commonwealth and to report.

Health

LGBT Issues

Education

  • HB 1659 Students with disabilities; DBHDS, best practice standards, transition of records.

Mental Health

  • HB 1659 Students with disabilities; DBHDS, best practice standards, transition of records.

Military Families

  • HB 1436 Income tax; military benefits subtraction; age restriction. Removes the age 55 or older restriction on those individuals allowed a military benefits income tax subtraction beginning with taxable year 2023
  • HB 2362 Military spouses; state shall pay fees charged for their burial at state-operated veterans' cemeteries. As amended, includes National Guard and Reserves.  (Cross-reference- Elder/Probate)
  • SB 924 Military spouses; state shall pay fees charged for their burial at state-operated veterans' cemeteries.  (Cross-reference- Elder/Probate)
  • HB 2246 (incorporating former HB 1868). Unremarried surviving spouses of veterans who'd be eligible for special license plates for certain types military service shall likewise be eligible for them. 

Elder law/Wills/Trusts/Probate

  • HB 2362 Military spouses; state shall pay fees charged for their burial at state-operated veterans' cemeteries. As amended, includes National Guard and Reserves.  (Cross-reference- Military)
  • SB 924 Military spouses; state shall pay fees charged for their burial at state-operated veterans' cemeteries.  (Cross-reference-Military)

Abortion / Reproductive Technology

Constitutional

Criminal

  • HB 1583 It is unlawful for any person to knowingly and intentionally cause an electronic device to secretly or furtively peep or spy or attempt to peep or spy into or through a window, door, or other aperture of any building, structure, or other enclosure occupied or intended for occupancy as a dwelling, whether or not such building, structure, or enclosure is permanently situated or transportable and whether or not such occupancy is permanent or temporary, or to do the same, without just cause, upon property owned by him and leased or rented to another under circumstances that would violate the occupant's reasonable expectation of privacy. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a lawful criminal investigation. Under current law, such acts are prohibited only when the person causes the electronic device to enter the property of another. (As amended) (Cross-references: Procedure, Divorce)

Real Estate

Judges

  • HB 2015 Unlawful picketing or parading to obstruct or influence justice; penalty.
  • SB 843 Retired circuit court and district court judges; evaluation required before they can be recalled to try cases.

Lawyer Ethics and Discipline

IN FULL COMMITTEE IN ONE HOUSE:

Custody/Parenting Time

Paternity

Spousal support

Child Support

  • HB 2038 Health Insurance Coverage: state employees and incapacitated adult children: Incapacitated children will be included in a state employee's health insurance coverage, even if not living in employee's household, so long as the child is dependent upon the employee for more than half of the child's financial support, and is receiving residential support services.

Marriage

Divorce

Adoption

Child Abuse/Neglect/CHINS/Foster Care/Child Safety

  • HB 1636 Child day program or family day system; for the purpose of the Class 4 felony prescribed for any parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of a child younger than the age of 18 who by willful act or willful omission or refusal to provide any necessary care for the child's health causes or permits serious injury to the life or health of such child, the term "willful act or willful omission" includes operating or engaging in the conduct of a child day program or family day system without first obtaining a license such person knows is required by relevant law or after such license has been revoked or has expired and not been renewed.

Sexual Abuse/Assault

Domestic Violence/Protective Orders

  • HB 1572 Emergency response; false information by device, penalty. Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to maliciously advise or inform another over any other device by any means, or cause another to do the same, of the death of, accident to, injury to, illness of, or disappearance of some third party, or of the imminent threat to the safety of a person, that results in an emergency response, knowing the information to be false. The bill defines emergency response as a response by law-enforcement officers, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel to a situation where human life or property is in jeopardy and the prompt summoning of aid is essential. Current law only prohibits such false information to another by telephone. House subcommittee amendments and substitutes adopted.

Procedure

Education

Elder Law/Wills/Trusts/Probate

Retirement

Health

LGBT Issues

Mental Health

  • HB 1624 Mental health and rehabilitative services; military service members transitioning to civilian life- Adds military service members transitioning from military to civilian life to the list of persons supported by the program for mental health and rehabilitative services administered by the Department of Veterans Services. (Cross-reference - Military)

Military Families

  • HB 1624 Mental health and rehabilitative services; military serv. members transitioning to civilian life- Adds military service members transitioning from military to civilian life to the list of persons supported by the program for mental health and rehabilitative services administered by the Department of Veterans Services. (Cross-reference - Mental)

Abortion / Reproductive Technology

Constitutional

Criminal

Real Estate

Judges

Lawyer Ethics and Discipline

IN SUBCOMMITTEE IN ONE HOUSE:

Constitutional Law

  • HJ 531 Constitutional amendment; exemption for certain personal property tax. Makes scouting units' (i.e., troops, packs, crews, ships, posts) property exempt from local property taxes even if it's formally owned by a nonprofit group that sponsors or supports the scout unit. I wrote this one. The first draft, that is. Because Arlington's charging my kids' troop over $3,000 in vehicle tax and (!!!???)  "business property tax."  I'm trying to get people who are supportive of scouting, or of me and my family, to email their legislators and to spread the word about it. Info and background at http://bit.ly/vantax. (Cross-reference - Taxes)
  • HJ 505 Constitutional amendment; rights of parents (first reference)- Provides that parents have the right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children and that the Commonwealth shall not infringe these rights without demonstrating that its governmental interest is of the highest order and not otherwise served.
  • SB 1243 Prohibits extraditing people from Virginia to other states where they are charged with violating abortion laws that are different from Virginia's laws, BUT ONLY IF they were not physically present in the other state when they allegedly violated that state's laws. (Cross-references: Abortion, Procedure, Criminal)
  • HJ 509 Constitutional amendment; public schools of high quality-Provides that each child attending public school has a right to access a school-based mental health professional licensed by the Commonwealth as a licensed clinical social worker or licensed professional counselor, including the right to choose a mental health professional who will not utilize applied behavioral analysis. (Cross-references - Mental, Education)
  • HJ 553 Constitutional amendment; marriage between two individuals. Affirmative right to marry. Repeals the constitutional provision defining marriage as only a union between one man and one woman as well as the related provisions that are no longer valid as a result of the United States Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015). The amendment provides that the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of persons and requires the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions and agents to issue marriage licenses between two individuals, recognize marriages between two individuals, and treat all marriages between two individuals equally under the law, regardless of the sex or gender of the parties to the marriage. The amendment provides that religious organizations and clergy acting in their religious capacity have the right to refuse to perform any marriage.(Cross-references - Marriage, LGBT)

Marriage

  • HJ 553 Constitutional amendment; marriage between two individuals. Affirmative right to marry. Repeals the constitutional provision defining marriage as only a union between one man and one woman as well as the related provisions that are no longer valid as a result of the United States Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015). The amendment provides that the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of persons and requires the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions and agents to issue marriage licenses between two individuals, recognize marriages between two individuals, and treat all marriages between two individuals equally under the law, regardless of the sex or gender of the parties to the marriage. The amendment provides that religious organizations and clergy acting in their religious capacity have the right to refuse to perform any marriage.(Cross-references - LGBT, Constitutional)

Divorce

Adoption

  • HB 1699 Minors; buying or selling a minor is a Class 5 Felony. Includes giving or receiving, requesting or offering, money or valuable things in exchange for custody or control of a minor. Exceptions for a surrogacy contract or seeking to adopt or place child for adoption pursuant to relevant law. (Cross references: Abortion/Reproductive, Child Abuse, Custody.)

Custody/Parenting Time

  • HB 2280 Surgical & medical trtmt. of certain minors; written parental consent, admission to mental health facility. (Cross-reference - Health)
  • HB 1699 Minors; buying or selling a minor is a Class 5 Felony. Includes giving or receiving, requesting or offering, money or valuable things in exchange for custody or control of a minor. Exceptions for a surrogacy contract or seeking to adopt or place child for adoption pursuant to relevant law. (Cross references: Abortion/Reproductive, Adoption, Child Abuse, Custody.)
  • SB 1214 Child abuse and neglect; custody and visitation, possession or use of marijuana- A child shall not be considered abused or neglected, and no person should be denied custody or visitation on the sole factor that the child's parent or guardian possessed or consumed marijuana in accordance with applicable law. (Cross reference - Child Abuse)

Paternity

  • HB 2259 Paternity; genetic tests to determine parentage, relief from paternity, certain actions, penalty- Provides that any person who knowingly gives any false information or makes any false statements for the purpose of determining paternity is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

Child Support

  • HB 2290 Judgment or child support order; pregnancy and delivery expenses: Courts shall order the legal father (not including sperm donors) to pay 50% of the mother's unpaid pregnancy & delivery expenses, and 50% of mother's paid maternity leave (or bereavement leave for a nonviable pregnancy or stillbirth), UNLESS court orders differently for good cause shown. If a government program has paid the expenses, then the reimbursement shall be to the government. Two amendments pending: (1) recommended Jan. 24 and (2) recommended Jan. 25.

Spousal Support

Domestic Violence/Protective Orders

  • HB 1961 Family abuse protective orders; relief available, password to electronic device- Granting the petitioner and, where appropriate, any other family or household member of the petitioner, exclusive use and possession of a cellular telephone number or electronic device and the password to such device.

Procedure

  • HB 1432 Trespass; service of process. Provides immunity from criminal trespass for any person who goes on or remains on the property of another after having been forbidden to do so by a sign or signs posted by or at the direction of a person lawfully in charge of such property, provided that the person going on or remaining on the property is authorized to serve process and is engaged in the lawful service of process.
  • SB 1243 Prohibits extraditing people from Virginia to other states where they are charged with violating abortion laws that are different from Virginia's laws!!!! (Cross-references: Abortion, Constitutional, Criminal)

Education

  • HJ 509 Constitutional amendment; public schools of high quality-Provides that each child attending public school has a right to access a school-based mental health professional licensed by the Commonwealth as a licensed clinical social worker or licensed professional counselor, including the right to choose a mental health professional who will not utilize applied behavioral analysis. (Cross-references - Mental, Constitutional)
  • HB 2425 Higher educational institutions; information about institutional debt, report, civil penalty- Certain higher education institutes in the Commonwealth will be required to report to the Secretary of Education on January 1st of each calendar year with certain documents and information about current and former students who have educational debts to said institutions.
  • HB 2076 Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program, broadens eligibility.(Cross-reference - Military)
  • SB 818 Public elementary and secondary schools to teach mental health education. (Cross-reference - Mental)
  • HB 2236 Secured Schools Program and Fund; established.

Health

  • HB 2224 Newborn screening tests; fees prohibited- Required newborn screening tests shall be performed at no cost to parents, guardians, hospitals or health care providers. (Reported out of Health/Welfare subcommittee, BUT with recommendation to re-refer to Appropriations committee.
  • HB 2280 Surgical & medical trtmt. of certain minors; written parental consent, admission to mental health facility. (Cross-reference - Custody)
  • SB 1101 Paid family and medical leave program; Virginia Employment Commission required to establish.

Retirement

Mental Health

  • HJ 509 Constitutional amendment; public schools of high quality-Provides that each child attending public school has a right to access a school-based mental health professional licensed by the Commonwealth as a licensed clinical social worker or licensed professional counselor, including the right to choose a mental health professional who will not utilize applied behavioral analysis. (Cross-references - Constitutional, Education)
  • SB 818 Public elementary and secondary schools to teach mental health education. (Cross-reference - Education)
  • HB 2074 Assault and battery; persons diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, not subject to mandatory minimum sentences if condition related to their actions.
  • SB 1272 Assault and battery; persons diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, not subject to mandatory minimum sentences if condition related to their actions.

Military Families

  • HB 2076 Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program, broadens eligibility.(Cross-reference - Education)
  • HB 1565 Military spouses; state shall pay fees charged for their burial at state-operated veterans' cemeteries. Includes National Guard and Reserves.  (Cross-reference- Elder/Probate)
  • SB 1032 Disabled veterans & surviving spouses of certain military; state subsidy of property tax exemptions. (Cross-reference - Tax)
  • SJ 231 Const. amendment; prop. tax exemption for surviving spouses of soldiers who died in line of duty. (Cross-reference - Tax)

Elder law/Wills/Trusts/Probate

  • HB 1565 Military spouses; state shall pay fees charged for their burial at state-operated veterans' cemeteries. Includes National Guard and Reserves.  (Cross-reference- Military)
  • SB 1223 Vulnerable adults; financial exploitation, venue for trial.

Sexual Abuse/Assault

  • HB 2398 Sexual extortion; penalties. Adds sexual extortion, defined in the bill as when an accused maliciously disseminates or sells, or threatens to maliciously disseminate or sell, a videographic or still image created by any means whatsoever that depicts the complaining witness or such complaining witness's family or household member who is totally nude, or in a state of undress so as to expose the genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breast, to the list of actions that, when used to accomplish certain acts against the will of another person, constitute rape, forcible sodomy, object sexual penetration, aggravated sexual battery, or sexual battery. (Cross-reference: Sexual Assault)

Child Abuse/Neglect/CHINS/Foster Care/Child Safety/Firearms

  • HB 2018 Children's Services Act; information sharing, confidentiality exception- Family assessment and planning teams (FAPT) and community policy and management teams (CPMT) can share information with local law enforcement or threat assessment teams established by local school boards if a FAPT or CPMT obtains information from which the team determines that a child poses a threat of violence or physical harm to himself or others.
  • HB 2129 Child victims and witnesses; using two-way closed-circuit television, expands age range and eases requirements.
  • SJ 241 Child dependency case; Office of the Children's Ombudsman continuing to stud legal representation- Directs the Office of the Children's Ombudsman to continue its work group considering issues relating to the Commonwealth's model of court-appointed legal counsel in child dependency cases.
  • SB 1214 Child abuse and neglect; custody and visitation, possession or use of marijuana- A child shall not be considered abused or neglected, and no person should be denied custody or visitation on the sole factor that the child's parent or guardian possessed or consumed marijuana in accordance with applicable law. (Cross reference - Custody)
  • SB 1443 Parents Advocacy Commission; recommendations for establishing, report. "... work group to study the establishment of the Parents Advocacy Commission to provide training, qualification, and oversight for court-appointed counsel who represent parents in child dependency cases. The work group shall review, analyze, and make recommendations for possible models for the Parents Advocacy Commission's standards of practice and training and certification procedures, including the model currently implemented by the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission for court-appointed counsel in criminal proceedings. The work group shall also study and make recommendations for the development of local or regional offices for the Parents Advocacy Commission. ..."
  • HB 1699 Minors; buying or selling a minor is a Class 5 Felony. Includes giving or receiving, requesting or offering, money or valuable things in exchange for custody or control of a minor. Exceptions for a surrogacy contract or seeking to adopt or place child for adoption pursuant to relevant law. (Cross references: Abortion/Reproductive, Adoption, Custody.)
  • HB 2141 Owners of firearms; use of firearm by minor in commission of crime or to cause bodily injury.
  • HB 2421 Firearm, stun weapon, or other weapon on school property; limits prohibition on possession.

Abortion / Reproductive Technology

  • HB 2357 Surrogacy; relinquishment of parental rights- surrogate may relinquish parental rights to at least one intended parent before birth.
  • HB 1699 Minors; buying or selling a minor is a Class 5 Felony. Includes giving or receiving, requesting or offering, money or valuable things in exchange for custody or control of a minor. Exceptions for a surrogacy contract or seeking to adopt or place child for adoption pursuant to relevant law. (Cross references: Adoption, Child Abuse, Custody.)
  • HB 1488 Abortion; use of public funds prohibited.
  • HB 2270 Abortion; right to informed consent, penalties. Requires physicians and authorized nurse practitioners to follow certain procedures and processes to effect a pregnant woman's informed written consent prior to the performance of an abortion and imposes civil and criminal penalties for violations of certain provisions.
  • HJ 519 Constitutional amendment; fundamental right to reproductive freedom (first reference)-Provides that every individual has the fundamental right to reproductive freedom and that the right to make and effectuate one's own decisions about all matters related to one's pregnancy cannot be denied, burdened, or otherwise infringed upon by the Commonwealth, unless justified by a compelling state interest and achieved by the least restrictive means.
  • SB 1243 Prohibits extraditing people from Virginia to other states where they are charged with violating abortion laws that are different from Virginia's laws, BUT ONLY IF they were not physically present in the other state when they allegedly violated that state's laws.  (Cross-references:  Constitutional, Procedure, Criminal)
  • HB 1395 Rights beginning at conception; definitions, etc.

LGBT Issues

  • HJ 460 Constitutional amendment; repeal of same-sex marriage prohibition (first reference)- Repeals the constitutional provision defining marriage as only a union between one man and one woman as well as the related provisions that are no longer valid as a result of the United States Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015).
  • HJ 553 Constitutional amendment; marriage between two individuals. Affirmative right to marry. Repeals the constitutional provision defining marriage as only a union between one man and one woman as well as the related provisions that are no longer valid as a result of the United States Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015). The amendment provides that the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of persons and requires the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions and agents to issue marriage licenses between two individuals, recognize marriages between two individuals, and treat all marriages between two individuals equally under the law, regardless of the sex or gender of the parties to the marriage. The amendment provides that religious organizations and clergy acting in their religious capacity have the right to refuse to perform any marriage.(Cross-references - Marriage, Constitutional)

Taxes

  • SB 1529 Right to life; tax credit for each birth of a dependent member of a taxpayer's household-Allows a refundable income tax credit of $250 for each birth of a dependent member of a taxpayer's household that occurs in taxable years 2023 through 2027 (only available to families with annual household income that does not exceed 400 percent of current poverty guidelines and is subject to aggregate cap of $25 million per taxable year).
  • HJ 531 Constitutional amendment; exemption for certain personal property tax. Makes scouting units' (i.e., troops, packs, crews, ships, posts) property exempt from local property taxes even if it's formally owned by a nonprofit group that sponsors or supports the scout unit. I wrote this one. The first draft, that is. Because Arlington's charging my kids' troop over $3,000 in vehicle tax and (!!!???) "business property tax." I'm trying to get people who are supportive of scouting, or of me and my family, to email their legislators and to spread the word about it. Info and background at http://bit.ly/vantax. (Cross-reference - Constitutional)
  • SB 1032 Disabled veterans & surviving spouses of certain military; state subsidy of property tax exemptions. (Cross-reference - Military)
  • SJ 231 Const. amendment; prop. tax exemption for surviving spouses of soldiers who died in line of duty. (Cross-reference - Military)

Criminal

  • SB 1243 Prohibits extraditing people from Virginia to other states where they are charged with violating abortion laws that are different from Virginia's laws, BUT ONLY IF they were not physically present in the other state when they allegedly violated that state's laws. (Cross-references: Abortion, Constitutional, Procedure)
  • HB 1892 Abduction of a minor; penalty changed from Class 2 to Class 5, but does not change penalties for child abduction by a parent.
  • HB 2398 Sexual extortion; penalties. Adds sexual extortion, defined in the bill as when an accused maliciously disseminates or sells, or threatens to maliciously disseminate or sell, a videographic or still image created by any means whatsoever that depicts the complaining witness or such complaining witness's family or household member who is totally nude, or in a state of undress so as to expose the genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breast, to the list of actions that, when used to accomplish certain acts against the will of another person, constitute rape, forcible sodomy, object sexual penetration, aggravated sexual battery, or sexual battery. (Cross-reference: Sexual Assault)

Real Estate

Judges

  • HB 2024 Judges and magistrates; harassing or coercing, doxxing, protecting personal information. Prohibits the state from publishing on the Internet the personal information of any active or retired federal or Virginia justice, judge, or magistrate. The bill adds active or retired federal or Virginia justices, judges, and magistrates to the list of people for which an enhanced punishment applies for the crime of using such person's identity with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass. The bill also adds active and retired magistrates to the list of people who may furnish a post office box address to be included in lieu of their street addresses on the lists of registered voters. 
  • SB 1031 Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission; exception to confidentiality: JIRC must promptly inform complainant of outcome.
  • SB 1517 Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission; removes confidentiality of papers and proceedings if judge is suspended or appeals, but identity of anyone else involved in the case shall be protected.

Lawyer Ethics and Discipline

  • SB 1494 Disciplining attorneys and reinstatement of attorneys; procedure by three-judge circuit court may be demanded by former attorney seeking reinstatement; appeal is to three-judge panel of Ct. of Appeals instead of Supreme Ct.

DEAD (BY VARIOUS METHODS AND EUPHEMISMS):

Marriage

Divorce

  • HB 1720 Divorce; cruelty, reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt, or willful desertion or abandonment- Eliminates the one-year waiting period for being decreed a divorce on the grounds of cruelty, reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt, or willful desertion or abandonment by either party. 

Adoption

Custody/Parenting Time

  • HB 2091 Parental access to minor's medical records; consent by certain minors to treatment.

Child Support

Spousal Support

Domestic Violence/Protective Orders

  • HB 2079 Assault and battery against a family or household member; prior conviction, second offense sentence- Upon conviction for assault and battery against family or a household member where such person was previously convicted of a violent offense relating to domestic or other malicious intent in the past 10 years, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days of confinement.
  • HB 1613 False emergency communication to emergency personnel; penalties, report.
  • HB 2079 Assault and battery against a family or household member; prior conviction, second offense sentence.

Retirement

  • HB 1867 Virginia Retirement System; teachers get four years' retirement credit for earlier active duty military service.

Procedure

  • HB 1880 Localities; record of legal settlement or judgment, disclosure of records.

Elder law/Wills/Trusts/Probate

Military Families

  • HB 1460 Income tax, state; subtraction for low-income mil. veteran w/permanent service-connected disability.
  • HB 1867 Virginia Retirement System; teachers get four years' retirement credit for earlier active duty military service.
  • HB 2152 Higher educational institutions, public; in-state tuition, children of active duty service members - shortened residency requirements.
  • SB 1462 Income tax, state; military benefits subtraction, age restriction.

Sexual Abuse/Assault

  • SB 902 Attorney General; instituting or conducting criminal prosecutions- Authorizes the Attorney General to institute or conduct criminal prosecutions in cases involving a violation of criminal sexual assault or commercial sex trafficking when such crimes are committed against children.
  • SB 921 Sex offenses; prohibiting proximity to children and school property, penalty.
  • HB 2475 Sexual battery; an accused who was a member of clergy, penalty.

Child Abuse/Neglect/Foster Care/Child Safety/CHINS

  • SB 902 Attorney General; instituting or conducting criminal prosecutions- Authorizes the Attorney General to institute or conduct criminal prosecutions in cases involving a violation of criminal sexual assault or commercial sex trafficking when such crimes are committed against children.
  • HB 1708 Juveniles; prohibited sales and loans of materials deemed harmful.
  • SB 921 Sex offenses; prohibiting proximity to children and school property, penalty.

Education

  • HB 1867 Virginia Retirement System; teachers get four years' retirement credit for earlier active duty military service.
  • HB 2152 Higher educational institutions, public; in-state tuition, children of active duty service members - shortened residency requirements.
  • SB 920 School protection officers; employment in public schools.

Health

  • HB 2091 Parental access to minor's medical records; consent by certain minors to treatment.

Mental Health

  • HB 1923 Minors; admission to mental health facility for inpatient treatment. Would have changed standards based on consent, age, and addiction.

Abortion / Reproductive Technology

  • SB 1284 Abortion; prohibited, exceptions, penalty.
  • SB 1483 Abortion; viability, treatment of nonviable pregnancy.

LGBT

Constitutional

Criminal

  • HB 2288 "Assault" firearms; age 21 requirement for purchase, penalty.

Real Estate

Judges

Lawyer Ethics and Discipline


Gambling problems and senior citizens: Family lawyers should be alert

I'm posting this because family law attorneys need to know about it, or more to the point, need to THINK about it even though we already know it. But it's something that everyone should be concerned about.

"Problem gambling among vulnerable older women is strongly linked to the proliferation of the modern slot-machine-dominated casino. 

"Simply put, the new slot machine is engineered to addict people. It produces a mesmerizing experience of sound, lights and repetitive motion that makes both time and money vanish. Players talk of “disappearing” into the machine and getting into a zone.

"Seniors, who may suffer from physical, mental and emotional health problems, are especially at risk of succumbing to computerized slots. Medication, cognitive impairment, depression and just plain sadness can interfere with judgment and decision-making. And the casino itself – dark, smoky, and filled with incessant noise, pulsating light and dizzying carpet patterns and layout — can contribute to mental confusion and disorientation. It is not uncommon for older people to suffer sudden heart attacks while playing the slots."

From:

Amy Ziettlow, Seniors in Casino Land: Tough Luck for Older Americans

and

"The Harmful, Even Deadly — Effects of Casino Gambling" By Amy Ziettlow, Tampa Tribune 2/23/14

 


Women gain in economic power, but many fear they'll be bag ladies

"Six in 10 women describe themselves as the primary breadwinners in their households, and 54% manage the family finances, according to the poll by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. Even so, 49% fear becoming a bag lady ..." This includes 27% of women earning more than $200,000 a year"and 43% of married women.

More: "Almost half of American women fear becoming bag ladies, study says" - By Walter Hamilton, L.A. Times

 


Change to federal regulation denying credit cards to stay-home parents

CFPB Finally Fixes the “Anti-Housewife” Rule


". . . On Monday, the CFPB updated existing regulations so it will be easier for stay-at-home spouses to get credit cards. . . . At a Congressional hearing last June, Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), chair of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit challenged the CFPB and said the rule was a threat to women in abusive relationships and could create an added burden on those who are divorced or widowed, or who don’t work while their spouse is serving in the military."