Civic Circle: July Updates


Virginia’s new laws went into effect 7/1/2020:

  • Reproductive Health Protection Act 
    • RHPA repeals medically-unnecessary restrictions on women’s healthcare.
    • Women seeking an abortion in Virginia will no longer have to wait 24 hours, get an ultrasound, or receive counseling materials before undergoing the procedure.
  • Confederate Monuments Removal
    • Local governments can make decisions on whether to move, remove, or add context to statues and monuments in their communities.
  • Drivers License Suspension
    • Starting last year, Virginia stopped suspending driver’s licenses as a punishment for residents who had unpaid court fees and fines. Anyone who already had their license suspended for that reason will automatically have their driving privileges restored, with no reinstatement fee, on July 1, 2020.
  • Gun Control
    • Requires background checks on all gun sales. One-handgun-a-month law is implemented. 
    • Gun owners must report missing or stolen firearms to police within 48 hours or face a civil penalty.
    • Increase the penalty for leaving firearms within the access of children to a class 1 misdemeanor.
    • Localities also will have the power to regulate guns in public buildings, recreation centers, and during events.
  • In-State Tuition Regardless of Citizenship Status 
    • Undocumented students who meet residency standards can get in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in Virginia. 
  • Late Payment Fees on Rent
    • Landlords cannot charge late payment more than 10 percent of the remaining balance owed by the tenant.
    • Landlords cannot charge late fees unless specifically listed in a written rental agreement.
  • LGBTQ Protections
    • The Virginia Values Act bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment, and healthcare.
    • Conversion therapy for minors is banned.
    • A person can change their name and gender on a birth certificate.
    • The Department of Education must create and implement policies concerning the treatment of transgender students in public schools.
  • Marijuana Decriminalization
    • Simple marijuana possession will no longer carry criminal penalties. Possessing up to 1 ounce of marijuana becomes punishable by a $25 fine. 
    • Anyone caught with marijuana won’t be arrested and the infraction won’t go on a criminal record. Criminal records of previous simple possession convictions will no longer be made public.
  • Parole Changes
    • Certain offenders sentenced to prison between 1995 and 2000 could be eligible for parole.
    • Juvenile offenders sentenced to prison terms of 20 years or more are eligible for parole.
  • Clean Economy Act
    • New measures to promote energy efficiency, sets a schedule for closing old fossil fuel power plants, and requires electricity to come from 100 percent renewable sources such as solar or wind. 
  • State Holiday
    • Election Day is now a state holiday. It replaces the Lee-Jackson holiday, which honored Confederate generals. 
  • Voting
    • The state repealed a requirement that voters show a photo ID at the polls. Voters will still need a proof of address, such as an ID, an official mail, or voter registration documents. An expired driver’s license is also acceptable.
    • Voters who wish to cast an absentee ballot no longer have to provide a reason, and can start voting early 45 days before an election.

Job Opportunities

NAKASEC VA is seeking a Community Organizer
NAKASEC VA is hiring a Korean-speaking Community Organizer who will work with the other organizers and the DC Area Director to develop and inspire community leadership and activism related to economic, racial, and social justice; build partnerships; and design and implement organizing campaigns. The Community Organizer reports to the Community Health Manager. Learn more and apply here.

TWU is Hiring a Community Organizer
Tenants and Workers United seeks a full-time Community Organizer to join their dynamic team of organizers to help build community power and advance social justice in Virginia! The Community organizer will work on education justice issues with Woodbridge youth and social justice issues with community members in northern Virginia. Learn more and apply here

Civic Engagement Manager at State Voices
State Voices seeks a Civic Engagement Manager to provide general oversight of the organization’s 2020 multi-state voter registration program in communities of color. This candidate will support state staff to reach program goals in 5 of our 11 states. The Civic Engagement Manager will focus specifically on field and online voter registration (OVR) programs, using reports to analyze needs and provide gap-filling support to in-state partners. This position will report to the Deputy Director of Civic Engagement and will help the department meet its annual strategic goals in service to the states. Learn more and apply here.

Upcoming Events

RISE for Youth Virtual Justice Parade

July (all month) – RISE for Youth invites you to “Go the Extra Mile for Youth Parade!” They aren’t able to host an in-person parade this year, so they are inviting you, anytime throughout the whole month of July to walk one mile. Whether alone or with friends, walk a mile to show your solidarity with RISE for Youth, our young people and our fight for youth justice transformation in Virginia! Follow this LINK to create your fundraising page now! With your help, together we can build Healthy communities, free from over-policing, and over-representation of youth of color in Virginia’s justice system.

Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook screening & discussion

July 9 – Join Virginia Interfaith Center of Public Policy’s movie night with a mission! What would happen if political operatives tried to subvert the sacred American principle of “one person, one vote?” What if they hatched and pursued that plan for years before anyone noticed what they were doing? That is the frightening tale told in Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook. Narrated by Jeffrey Wright, the documentary identifies, chronicles, and unpacks a decade of dirty tricks of a shrewd ten-part strategy to undercut the right to vote. The deadline to register to join the discussion is Thursday, July 9th at noon. After you register, a confirmation email containing the URL to join the screening room will be automatically sent to the email address you entered. Register here.

Zoom: Writing for Advocacy

July 14 – Chesapeake Climate Action Network uses multiple routes of written advocacy to motivate change. Blog posts, public comments, and letters to the editor (LTEs) are all powerful ways to draw attention to an issue and engage grassroots voices. Join CCAN Communications Director, Denise Robbins, to sharpen your writing skills and learn how to be a confident creator of written advocacy content. RSVP here.

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