Voters, qualified; definition of violent felony. (HB1407)

Introduced By

Del. Greg Habeeb (R-Salem) with support from 7 copatrons, whose average partisan position is:

Those copatrons are Del. Terry Austin (R-Buchanan), Del. Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach), Del. Peter Farrell (R-Henrico), Del. Danny Marshall (R-Danville), Del. Jimmie Massie (R-Richmond), Del. John O'Bannon (R-Richmond), Del. Lee Ware (R-Powhatan)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Qualified voters; definition of violent felony. Defines the term "violent felony" to be used in determining a person's eligibility for restoration of his civil rights. The bill has an effective date of January 1, 2019, contingent upon voter approval of amendments to Article II, Section 1 and Article V, Section 12 of the Constitution of Virginia at the November 2018 general election. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


09/16/2016Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/17 17100566D
09/16/2016Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/19/2017Impact statement from DPB (HB1407)
01/23/2017Assigned Courts sub: Criminal Law
02/01/2017Subcommittee recommends striking from docket
02/07/2017Left in Courts of Justice


Safer Virginia writes:

The overwhelming majority of states either 1) restore voting rights automatically upon release from prison or 2) restore voting rights automatically upon completion of sentence, including prison, parole, and probation. The General Assembly has placed our Commonwealth in the embarrassing minority of states that disenfranchise their citizens.

In the process of finally doing the right thing in Virginia, I strongly encourage the General Assembly to reevaluate its definitions of violent offenses. About 80% of registered sex offenders are listed publicly for life as violent based on the crime committed, not on any risk assessment. Over 90% of sex offenses are committed by the victim's family, friends and acquaintances, not by registered sex offenders. While listed for life as violent, these citizens are free to live and work among us, trying to remain productive while publicly stigmatized by the Commonwealth for life. And they can't vote.

The General Assembly should seriously consider modifying § 9.1-902. Offenses requiring registration. It may be adequately written for attorneys, but not for the general public. Below is an example of how convoluted the law has become as the General Assembly creates more and more offense categories and attempts to avoid ex post facto challenges. (By the way, that same convoluted situation exists at § 18.2-370.3. Sex offenses prohibiting residing in proximity to children; penalty. Citizens convicted of the same offense have different residence restrictions based on the date of conviction. Residence restrictions have been proven to have no effect on reoffending and should be rescinded.)

B. The offenses included under this subsection include any violation of, attempted violation of, or conspiracy to violate:

1. § 18.2-63 unless registration is required pursuant to subdivision E 1; § 18.2-64.1; former § 18.2-67.2:1; § 18.2-90 with the intent to commit rape; former § 18.1-88 with the intent to commit rape; any felony violation of § 18.2-346; any violation of subdivision (4) of § 18.2-355; any violation of subsection C of § 18.2-357.1; subsection B or C of § 18.2-374.1:1; former subsection D of § 18.2-374.1:1 as it was in effect from July 1, 1994, through June 30, 2007; former clause (iv) of subsection B of § 18.2-374.3 as it was in effect on June 30, 2007; subsection B, C, or D of § 18.2-374.3; or a third or subsequent conviction of (i) § 18.2-67.4, (ii) § 18.2-67.4:2, (iii) subsection C of § 18.2-67.5, or (iv) § 18.2-386.1.

Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are representing The People should be enacting laws that ensure individual freedoms, not restricting civil rights after sentence completion or publicly branding citizens for life because of a specific category of offense. Each year, the General Assembly appears to act as a punitive body, not one that protects civil rights, often disregarding research when passing more legislation that punishes our citizens.

By the way, here's another bill to consider to ensure we maintain our part-time legislature and give it adequate time to debate the bills before it -

A member of the Senate of Virginia or Virginia House of Delegates is permitted to introduce one bill during the current session for every two bills that member introduced and that were enacted during the previous session that eliminated sections or subsections of the Code of Virginia.

ACLU-VA Voting Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virgninia opposes this bill and supports the automatic restoration of rights of indivividuals convicted of a felony.

James Townsend writes:

Biblically speaking all this punishment's for most all of these sex crimes, including these internet sting crimes goes against the love thy neighbor principal, if the united states still holds to that policy. judging unfairly and depriving others of inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is very inconsiderate of the USA.

While Donald Trump our president wants to clean up the carnage those that damper with these outlandish laws seem to want to protect those they no nothing about. Are they predicting evil or hindering one's liberty to live a normal life or their pursuit of happiness?