News & Views | December 2020

Tuesday, December 01, 2020 8:34 PM | Anonymous

Judy Ratliff and Wayne Martin, Co-Chairs, VA Legislation and Advocacy Committee

Hot off the Press! As of November 4, with 2556 precincts out of 2585 reporting, the Constitutional Amendment described as follows did pass, with 65.85% voting "Yes" and 34.15% voting "No".

The question was: "Should the Constitution of Virginia be amended to establish a redistricting commission, consisting of eight members of the General Assembly (4 Republicans and 4 Democrats) and eight citizens of the Commonwealth, that is responsible for drawing the congressional and state legislative districts that will be subsequently voted on, but not changed by the General Assembly and enacted without the Governor's involvement and to give the responsibility of drawing districts to the Supreme Court of Virginia, if the redistricting commission fails to draw districts or the General Assembly fails to enact districts by certain deadlines."


The laws:

PROHIBIT law enforcement officers from seeking or executing a no-knock search warrant.

REDUCE the militarization of police by prohibiting law enforcement from obtaining or using specified equipment, including grenades, weaponized aircraft and high-caliber firearms However, law enforcement will be able to seek a waiver to use restricted equipment for search and rescue missions.

CREATE statewide minimum training standards for law enforcement officers, including training on awareness of racism, the potential for biased profiling and de-escalation techniques.

MANDATE law enforcement agencies and jails to request the prior employment and disciplinary history of new hires.

EXPAND AND DIVERSIFY the Criminal Justice services Board (CJSB) ensuring that the perspectives of social justice leaders, people of color and mental health providers are represented in the state's criminal justice policymaking.

STRENGTHEN the process by which law enforcement officers can be decertified and allow the CJSB to initiate decertification proceedings.

LIMIT circumstances in which law enforcement officers can use neck restraints.

REQUIRE law enforcement officers to intervene when they witness another officer engaging or attempting to engage in the use of excessive force.

EMPOWER localities to create civilian review boards and to give these boards the authority to issue subpoenas and make binding disciplinary decisions. Five pilot programs have been designated, with one located in Alexandria, VA. (Fairfax County already has an oversight committee.)

MANDATE the creation of minimum crisis intervention training standards and require law enforcement officers to  complete crisis intervention training. Please note that crisis intervention systems have already been set up in our jurisdictions and that money has been appropriated. Mental health professionals will be included in response teams.

The 2021 Legislative Session will begin on January 13 and will last for 45 days. Bills are now being introduced.

Judy Ratliff, LCSW, (recently retired from work but not from GWSCSW or from life). She is the Co-Chair, VA Legislation and Advocacy Committee.
PO Box 711 | Garrisonville, VA  22463 | 202-478-7638 |

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