Week 4: Here’s What Happened Last Week

Here is what you missed last week.

The Virginia House approved a new sexual harassment policy after a heated two-day debate. The new policy would require mandatory sexual harassment training for General Assembly members and their staffers. The House voted 88-10, with some Democrats voting against the bill in protest after a senior female lawmaker criticized the policy, calling it an inadequate response to the seriousness of the #MeToo movement.

The House Education Subcommittee killed a bill that would have made residents of any U.S. territory hit by a major disaster – like Puerto Rico – eligible for in-state tuition at Virginia public colleges and universities.

Work requirements are now part of the discussion of Medicaid expansion. Speaker of the House Kirk Cox signaled in a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam that he would be willing to discuss Medicaid expansion but that it wouldn’t pass in the Republican-controlled legislature without a work requirement provision.

A push to ban the personal use of political campaign funds has a little chance of success. Virginia has one of the least regulated campaign finance systems in the country. Officials in both parties have called for changes but a Senate panel signaled that there aren’t likely enough votes to pass the measure.

The state Senate approved a redistricting reform bill, 22-17, that would require state legislative districts and congressional districts to be continuous and compact. Members of the General Assembly draw their own district lines as well as those of the congressional districts. The party in power generally draws lines to benefit itself. Senate bill 106 would ensure districts cannot be “oddly shaped or have irregular or contorted boundaries”