On Friday, May 17, Governor Youngkin finally took action on the bills from the 2024 General Assembly session that were on his desk. He vetoed a total of 201 bills from this session, including important reproductive freedom legislation we support such as the Right to Contraception Act (SB237/HB609) and the Contraception Equity Act (SB238/HB819).   

Despite the Governor’s record-breaking vetoes, many bills that seek to help incarcerated people and their families made headway this session and were signed into law.  

Click on each issue area below for more detail on the bills that were vetoed or signed into law. Unless otherwise specified, all the bills that were signed into law are expected to take effect on July 1, 2024. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • VICTORY!  On July 1, 2024, a new biennial budget will take effect, which finally allows full implementation of the enhanced earned sentence credit program. Previous legislation expanded this program, but since 2022, language in VADOC's budget has blocked its implementation. Now, thanks to the removal of that language from the 2024-2025 budget, thousands of people will finally receive the credits they've worked for years to earn while in prison.
    See our full statement here.
  • Three bills that seek to help incarcerated people & their families were signed into law!  
    • HB555 / SB456 will create an independent office to oversee VADOC 
    • HB801 will cut communications costs between people in prison & their families  
    • HB912 will restrict sheriffs' jail profiteering 
  • HB174/SB101 to affirm the right to marriage was signed into law! 
  • Gov. Youngkin vetoed the Right to Contraception Act (SB237/HB609) and Contraception Equity Act (SB238/HB819). His action reinforced the need for Virginia to pass a state constitutional amendment on reproductive freedom.
    See our full statement here.


Reproductive Freedom

Every person in Virginia should be able to decide if, and when to start a family—free from government interference.

burgundy background with abortion pills and a sign that says "so grateful for my safe abortion"

We’ll work to expand abortion access and promote reproductive freedom in Virginia, the last abortion access state in the South.  
Alongside the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance and partners like Planned Parenthood of Virginia, we’re raising awareness about the need for a constitutional amendment that would guarantee reproductive freedom for every person in Virginia. Traditionally, constitutional amendments are introduced on odd number years preceding a House of Delegates election, such as 2025.  

The stakes for this one couldn’t be higher: Virginia is the last state in the South without a post-Dobbs restriction on abortion. Until the Commonwealth has an amendment enshrining it in our constitution, Virginians’ access to reproductive healthcare will depend on the whims of politicians. We’re deeply committed to working to make a constitutional amendment for reproductive freedom a reality in order to eventually put power back into Virginians’ hands on the 2026 ballot. 
In addition, we seek to strengthen protections for those accessing reproductive healthcare and providers.

We’re ready to defeat any bill that takes away a person’s right to decide what to do with their reproductive freedom. 

Bills we support: 

  • SB16/ HB78: protects menstrual health data from search warrants (SIGNED INTO LAW) 

  • HB935/SB118: provides health insurance coverage for doula services (SIGNED INTO LAW)

  • HB609/ SB237: establishes and protects the right to contraception (VETOED) 

  • SB238/HB819: provides insurance coverage for contraception (VETOED) 

  • SB35: requires unconscious bias and cultural competency training for healthcare providers and medical professionals (VETOED) 

  • SB15: prohibits extradition for providing reproductive health care services within Virginia (VETOED) 

  • HB1539: prohibits extradition for providing  reproductive health care services and prohibits businesses from disclosing reproductive or sexual health data without the consent of a consumer (VETOED) 

  • HB819: requires insurance carriers to provide coverage for contraception (VETOED) 


LGBTQ+ Rights

LGBTQ+ Virginians, especially trans & nonbinary youth, deserve to live openly without discrimination and enjoy equal rights. 

A banner reading "Protect trans kids"

We’ll continue to push for legislation and policy changes that make our Commonwealth a place where LGBTQ+ people can live freely as their authentic selves.  

Alongside our partners, we’re continuing our effort to repeal the outdated, regressive ban on same-sex marriage — a stain on our state constitution. Traditionally, constitutional amendments are introduced on odd number years preceding a House of Delegates election, such as 2025. We will continue to work to put a constitutional amendment for marriage equality on the 2026’s ballot for Virginians to decide. 
The Youngkin administration seems to be focused on violating the rights and even trying to erase the existence of LGBTQ+ people, especially young people. We defeated all anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the 2023 General Assembly session, and we will do so again this year. Legislation that will result in harm or discrimination against LGBTQ+ people has no place in Virginia. 

Bills we support: 

  • HB174/SB101: affirms the right to marriage, regardless of sex, gender, or race (SIGNED INTO LAW) 

  • HB224: requires school teachers and other personnel to take mental health awareness training that focuses on at-risk youth, including LGBTQ+ youth (VETOED)

  • HB536: clarifies and expands current anti-bullying law to include enumerated classifications, including sexual orientation and gender identity (VETOED) 

Criminal Legal Reform

Virginia locks up too many people for way too long. It’s time to address the root causes of crime and incarceration in Virginia.

Graphic of prison door open and two hands in each other to symbolize people coming home from prison

We will continue to push for criminal legal reform in Virginia & work to strengthen our communities by bringing people home.

We went back to the capitol again this year with our partners Sistas in Prison Reform, Nolef Turns, the Humanization Project, and FAMM and had a successful Lobby Day to advocate for Second Look legislation, which would let judges take a second look at people who have received long sentences. Many of those people have done the hard work to transform themselves, but they're stuck behind bars for years – or even decades – on taxpayers' tab. It’s time to change that.   
In addition, we continue to advocate for independent oversight of Virginia’s Department of Corrections, affordable prison communications, more humane prison conditions, and other initiatives that would protect the rights of people who are incarcerated, reunite families, and provide reconciliation and rehabilitation to Virginia. 
We stand ready to defend the progress we’ve made to expand earned sentence credits, end pretextual policing, and treat substance use disorder as a mental health issue rather than a crime.   

Bills we support: 

  • HB6001 (biennial budget bill): a provision within the proposed state budget would fully enact the Expanded Earned Sentence Credits program, as passed in the 2020 Special Session. (SIGNED INTO LAW) 

  • HB555/SB456: codifies independent oversight of VADOC (SIGNED INTO LAW) 

  • HB159: restricts use of patrol canines in prisons and juvenile correctional facilities (SIGNED INTO LAW) 

  • HB1114: exempts incarcerated people from “failure to appear” charges if they were in custody at the time they were required to appear in court (SIGNED INTO LAW) 

  • HB801: requires state correctional facilities to contract for telephone and electronic communications systems at the lowest available rate for  incarcerated people and their families  (SIGNED INTO LAW) 

  • HB161: protects incarcerated people from disciplinary action if they seek help for themselves or for someone else who is overdosing (VETOED) 

  • HB45: provides that time served pretrial can be included in earned sentence credit calculation (VETOED) 

  • HB457/SB80: permits people serving probation for certain offenses to earn credit toward reducing their supervision periods (VETOED) 

First Amendment

Virginia students deserve the freedom to learn and Virginia educators deserve the freedom to teach.

Collage-style graphic of a classroom with blackboard, chairs, tables, dialogue bubbles, and a student wearing backpack with their back to the viewer.

We will bring the full weight of our efforts to advance legislation that protects the freedom to learn for Virginia’s young people. We’ll work hard to keep classrooms a free and open space for learning and growing. 
We will oppose any bills that further censor books or ban the teaching of accurate, inclusive history in our schools. 

Bills we support: 

  • HB571/SB235: clarifies that parental notification and opt-out policies cannot be used to censor books in public schools (VETOED) 

Voting Rights

Voting is the building block of our democracy. Our communities are stronger when more people can participate.

graphic with hands dropping ballots into a box

We will work to advance voting rights and expand Virginians’ access to the ballot box, keeping Virginia among the top states for ease of voting.  
We have been advocating for a constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to vote for every Virginian over the age of 18 for many years, and we have not lost sight of the critical need to end felony disenfranchisement in our state constitution. Traditionally, constitutional amendments are introduced on odd number years preceding a House of Delegates election, such as 2025. We will continue to work to put a Right to Vote constitutional amendment on the 2026’s ballot for Virginians to decide. 
We will be vigilant to defend the progress Virginia has made over the last three years to make voting easier and more accessible. 

Bills we support: 

  • HB1003: requires that notice of changes to precincts and polling places be mailed at least 30 days before election (SIGNED INTO LAW) 

  • SB605/ HB441: makes more voters with disabilities eligible for assistance outside of polling places (SIGNED INTO LAW) 

  • SB606: requires Virginia to re-establish membership in the interstate Electronic Registration Information Center (“ERIC”) (VETOED) 

  • SB428: allows any local or constitutional office to be conducted via ranked-choice voting (VETOED) 

  • HB26: expands accepted forms of voter identification (VETOED) 

  • SB300/HB904: improves Virginia’s voter roll maintenance and strengthens voters’ due process protections against wrongful voter purges (VETOED) 

Privacy and Surveillance

Going about our day-to-day activities shouldn't mean surrendering our privacy protections. 

Graphic with lady justice holding the scale to symbolize criminal legal reform

We are committed to protecting Virginians’ right to privacy, free from government and technological surveillance.  
We are working to strengthen protections against mass surveillance by Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs), which includes greater oversight and transparency on data usage, distribution, and retention. 
We will be vigilant against efforts to infringe on the privacy of people in Virginia.

Bills we support: 

  • HB920/SB539: requires a search warrant for law-enforcement access to automated license plate reader (ALPR) data after 48 hours; authorizes use of ALPRs on state highway rights-of-way (DEAD) 

Bills we oppose:

  • HB 775: authorizes expansion of automated license plate readers (ALPRs) to state highway rights-of-way (CONTINUED TO 2025) 

  • SB 503: authorizes expansion of automated license plate readers (ALPRs) to state highway rights-of-way (DEAD)