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Brief: House Democrats File First Legislation

Newly-elected Democrats in the General Assembly filed their first bills on Monday focusing on issues ranging from gun control to LGBTQ discrimination.

House Democrats’ first four bills try to make good on their campaign promises. There’s legislation to add universal background checks on guns and prevent discrimination against LGBTQ people looking for housing. The other bills would ratify the national Equal Rights Amendment and allow no-excuse absentee voting.

Democrats say these are proposals that are popular with the public but were held up by Republican leadership.

“Finally, these bills will get the consideration they deserve in the House of Delegates, and we can take our first steps toward improving voting rights, preventing gun violence, and recognizing all Virginians as equal regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation,” said Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), the newly-elected majority leader.

Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock), who was chosen on Sunday to serve as the GOP House Minority Chair next year, said in a statement then that Republicans will work with Democrats when they can, but will draw a contrast when they must.

“The General Assembly has a long history of civility and respect between the majority and minority parties and I look forward to the continuation of that practice,” Gilbert said.

The newly-elected lawmakers will begin their session in January.


Ben Paviour covers state politics for VPM News with a focus on accountability journalism.