RICHMOND, VA—Today, the Virginia House Democratic Caucus celebrated as many of their police reform bills were signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam. These reforms include measures banning no-knock warrants and limiting the use of neck restraints by law enforcement, requiring law enforcement officers to intervene or report when they see wrongdoing from colleagues, and banning sexual relations between officers and justice-involved individuals.

This legislation enacts parts of the House Democrats’ Special Session priorities, which were outlined before the start of Special Session. 

In addition to signing legislation into law, the Governor’s Office also announced recommendations of clarifying and technical amendments to two reforms introduced by House Democrats, as well as an amendment to change the effective date of another. 

Virginia Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn and House Democratic Majority Leader Charniele Herring released the following statements in response:

“From the start of the Special Session, we have worked to make our neighborhoods safer, and build stronger relationships between our communities and those who have sworn to serve and protect them,” said Speaker Filler-Corn. “I applaud the Governor for signing these important policing and criminal justice reforms passed by the legislature, making Virginia a national leader in this effort.”

“The progress made today comes after months and years of work by House Democrats who strive to move Virginia forward,” said Leader Herring. “These police reform measures aim to make important changes that will help to restore confidence and trust in law enforcement. As a result, the Commonwealth will be a safer place for more Virginians.”

Here is a summary of the bills which the governor signed today:

  • HB 5029 (McQuinn) Mandating the duty of one officer to intervene to stop use of excessive force by another officer.
  • HB 5045 (Delaney) Banning sexual relations between officers and justice-involved individuals, from arrest or detention through post-trial or post-incarceration supervision.
  • HB 5051 (Simon) Requiring decertification of a law enforcement officer who is terminated or resigns for violation of law, serious misconduct in violation of statewide standards of conduct, or during an internal investigation.
  • HB 5055 (Herring) Strengthening laws related to Citizen Review Panels.
  • HB 5069 (Carroll Foy) Banning the use of neck restraints by law enforcement except if immediately necessary to protect the officer or another person.
  • HB 5099 (Aird) Prohibiting no-knock search warrants.
  • HB 5104 (Price) Strengthening the assessments and review of prior law-enforcement employment records required before hiring law enforcement officers.
  • HB 5108 (Guzman) Diversifying the Department of Criminal Justice Services’ Committee on Training.

The Governor’s office made amendments to the following bills:

  • HB 5049 (Helmer) Demilitarizing police departments by prohibiting the acquisition and use of certain weapons and military equipment by law enforcement agencies.
  • HB 5109 (Hope) Standardizing and enhancing training by criminal justice academies and establishing required in-service training standards for law enforcement officers.
  • HB 5148 (Scott) Increasing earned sentence credits.
Categories: Press Release