From voting to education, Virginia lawmakers propose ideas ahead of session

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — From voting to education, bills proposed by lawmakers in this year's General Assembly session cover a range of issues which impact millions of Virginians.

We've broken down some of the more notable proposals:

Voting

— A few Democratic lawmakers have authored bills (HB 1794, HB 1959, SB 1026) which would allow all voters to cast a ballot ahead of Election Day. Right now, you must have an acceptable reason to vote absentee (i.e., attending college away from home or having a disability).
— One proposal (HB 1658) would develop a pilot program to conduct an election by mail

Education

— Del. Steve Landes (R-25th District) would require school counselors to spend at least 80 percent of his or her time directly counseling students. The idea was pitched during by a school safety committee Landes was a part of commissioned last year
— House Bill 1695 would increase the fine for passing a stopped school bus from $250 to $500
— A Senate bill (SB 1056) would require school boards to develop a policy to prohibit the use of nicotine vapor products
— SB 1141 would add human trafficking prevention to the family life curriculum

Gun control
— SB 1163 would prohibit the manufacture, sale or possession of a bump-fire device, or "bump stock." The Trump administration previously announced the Department of Justice would ban bump-stocks on the national level.
— Under one senator's proposal (SB 1096), anyone found guilty of leaving a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner to endanger a child under the age of 18 would be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

Other bills which have gained attention include SB 997, which would decriminalize simple marijuana possession and HJ 577 — introduced by Del. Sam Rasoul (D-11th District) — which would certify the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia.