State legislators pass additional COVID-19 response legislation, policies

The House of Delegates on Thursday passed legislation that will increase support for the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response, as well as advance critical policing and criminal justice reforms.

Among the measures is legislation to combat price gouging on essential goods and services, protect the credit of tenants impacted by COVID-19 and grant the Governor flexibility in enforcing executive orders through civil penalty, rather than a Class 1 misdemeanor. The House also approved proposals that would increase accountability, transparency and diversity in policing through the establishment of Citizen Review Panels across the Commonwealth and the promotion of improved diversity on the Criminal Justice Services Board.

“This legislation will protect financial security of Virginians facing economic hardship, as well as provide important tools for the Administration to manage the spread of COVID-19 and help protect vital access to PPE for essential workers,” House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn said. “We are also taking critical steps to improve policing and our criminal justice system. The legislation that the House passed today will provide critical transparency and accountability – an important step toward achieving a Commonwealth that is safer and more equitable for all Virginians.”

Bills passed in the House Thursday included:

COVID-19 Relief:

HB 5047, Combating price gouging for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

HB 5093, Granting flexibility in enforcing executive orders through civil penalty. Under current law, the only penalty for such a violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

HB 5106, Protecting the credit of tenants negatively impacted by COVID-19.

HB 5055, Strengthening laws related to Citizen Review Panels.

HB 5108, Diversifying the Department of Criminal Justice Services’ Committee on Training.

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