January Update from the 2020 General Assembly
This year’s General Assembly is entering its fourth week, and there is much to report and support. This will be the first of a few posts to break down a few bills we are following with biking and walking implications. It is not an exhaustive list because it’s difficult to share all the details in a format like this, but reach out to us if you have any questions or thoughts.
Hands Free Driving:
New for 2020, now the third year we’ve supported the Hands Free bill, Richmond Delegate Jeff Bourne is carrying the House version – HB 874.
The Senate version, SB160, has already passed the full Senate, and Bourne’s version goes to the full House on Wednesday Feb 5. Use the link above to send a note to your delegate to get it the support it needs!
Automated Speed Photo Enforcement:
Speeding in VA accounts for 40% of our traffic fatalities, a percentage that’s 29% higher than the national average. People biking and walking, children, and seniors are the most vulnerable to that speeding and account for 1 in 6 fatalities in the Commonwealth. Reducing speeds just a fraction can mean the different between life and death, so let’s support Henrico Delegate Rodney Willett’s bill that was joined with Norfolk Delegate Jay Jones’s bill HB 1442 and would allow for photo speed enforcement in school and work zones.
This bill has passed through subcommittee and committee and will go before the full House Wednesday Feb 5.
Regional Transportation Funding:
House Transportation Chair, Delores McQuinn (of South Richmond / Chesterfield / Charles City / Henrico) is carrying an exciting bill to establish regional transportation funding in Central Virginia.
HB 1541 will provide the nine partnering localities in our region dedicated funding that could be expected to implement portions of the Ashland to Petersburg Trail! It will also have some dedicated transit funding and allow for both new construction and maintenance projects to help build or fix multi-use trails, roads, streets, bridges, and bike lanes and sidewalks. This is a big step for funding major biking and walking projects built on extensive regional collaboration, but it still needs to pass the General Assembly.
Let your delegate know this is important to you!
Governor’s Safety Omnibus bill:
Governor Northam’s transportation safety bill is expansive and includes a variety of elements. We are most excited to see components expected to save “120-160 lives each year”, according to the administration’s analyses, such as prohibiting open containers of alcohol, primary seatbelt law, allowing slower speeds in residential districts, and a backup Hands Free bill in case anything happens to HB 874.
This bill, HB 1414 carried by Speaker Filler-Corn, has passed through some committees and has a few meetings still to go.
Two bills, Del. Plum’s HB 1644 and Del. Kory’s HB 1705, support stopping for pedestrians and requiring to stop at a crosswalk if another vehicle is stopped for a pedestrian. These bills passed through subcommittee Monday afternoon and will be working through the house process over the coming days.
The next step in the process is crossover.
After bills have succeeded in passing their house of origin, they cross over to the other house. House bills go to the Senate and vice versa. This happens February 11.
At that point, watch for us to send an update about which bills have survived and need help going through the second half of the process.
Director of Outreach, Bike Walk RVA