Parole reform among bills signed into law by Gov. Northam

virginia general assembly

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Gov. Ralph Northam today signed 16 pieces of legislation into law, including a bill to reform parole eligibility for certain juvenile offenders.

House Bill 35, sponsored by Del. Joseph Lindsey, D-Norfolk, reforms parole by making people eligible for parole after serving 20 years of a sentence for crimes committed as juveniles and for which they received lengthy sentences.

“Criminal justice reform includes reforming parole,” Northam said. “This is about simple justice and fairness.”

The measure complements Northam criminal justice reform package, which continues to move through the legislative process. The package funds public defenders, supports returning citizens, and further reforms parole.

“House Bill 35 is a landmark piece of legislation that gives an opportunity for youths who have committed serious crimes and repented, a future opportunity for social redemption,” Lindsey said.

Additional bills signed into law:

  • House Bill 585, which requires certain Virginia cities and counties to consider incorporating into their comprehensive plans strategies to focus development around transit, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through coordination of transportation, housing, and land use planning.
  • House Bill 94: Adoption; proper notice of proceeding to legal custodian.
  • House Bill 106: Numbering on buildings; civil penalty.
  • House Bill 150: Derelict residential buildings; civil penalty.
  • House Bill 278: Home/electronic incarceration program; payment to defray costs.
  • House Bill 369: Furloughs from local work release programs; furlough approved by local sheriff.
  • House Bill 370: Board of zoning appeals; dual office holding.
  • House Bill 406: Local government revenues and expenditures; comparative report, filing date.
  • House Bill 515: Urban county executive form of government; board of social services.
  • House Bill 549: Overgrown vegetation; local authority.
  • House Bill 598: Alcoholic beverage control; creates annual mixed beverage performing arts facility license.
  • House Bill 778: Family assessments; increases timeline for completion.
  • House Bill 949: Alcoholic beverage control; privileges of local special events licensees.
  • House Bill 1006: Human trafficking; assessments by local departments.
  • House Bill 1137: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Virginia Initiative for Education and Work; hardship exception.

These measures become law on July 1, 2020, unless otherwise noted.

Until the session’s final week, the Constitution of Virginia requires the governor to act on legislation within seven days.

The General Assembly session is scheduled to adjourn on March 8.

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