Gov. Youngkin signs 12 bills into law: Judicial privacy, parole board transparency and more

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Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed 12 bills into law this week, including one increasing privacy protections for judges and another requiring users to submit identification before accessing websites with nudity or sexual content.

The General Assembly, which completed its legislative session in February, reconvened for a day in April to consider bills amended by Youngkin. Legislators approved or rejected his amendments and then sent the bills back to the governor’s desk.

“I was pleased that the General Assembly approved nearly all my recommendations during the Reconvene Session,” Youngkin said in a Friday statement.

Youngkin previously signed 738 bills from the regular legislative session.

Here’s a few of the bills that received a signature this week:

Judges privacy

Youngkin signed a bill making it a Class 6 felony to publish the identification and personal information of a federal or state justice, judge, or magistrate with the intent to harass or intimidate.

The measure further prohibits the state from publishing this information online if, for any reason, the judge, justice or magistrate has requested in writing to have personal information withheld.

Additionally, it adds magistrates to the list of officials whose public voter registration records can contain a post office box instead of a residential street address.


User identification

Internet users in Virginia will soon need to submit identification before accessing websites with material deemed “harmful to minors.”

Youngkin signed a bipartisan bill requiring commercial entities that knowingly publish such materials to verify that users are 18 or older. Those in violation would not face criminal penalties but would be subject to civil liabilities.

The bill defines material as “harmful as minors” if it includes descriptions or representations of nudity, sexual conduct or sexual excitement, or if it appeals to the “prurient, shameful, or morbid” interest of minors and lacks serious literary or scientific value.

The Free Speech Coalition recently filed a lawsuit in Utah after a similar law went into effect. The coalition, which advocates on behalf of the adult entertainment industry, is arguing the law violates the privacy rights of individuals who want to view legal sexual content online.

A representative from the coalition previously told The Virginian-Pilot the organization would consider similar action in Virginia if the bill became law.


Parole Board

Youngkin signed a measure that will enact various changes for the state Parole Board.

Among other provisions, the legislation requires the board to convene a public meeting, either virtual or in person, when conducting the final deliberation and vote regarding whether parole will be granted to a prisoner. It requires certain information to be shared with prisoners who are denied parole.

Additionally, it will remove the board’s Freedom of Information Act exemptions.

Virginia Parole Board Chairman Chadwick Dotson, who was appointed by the governor, has strongly pushed for more public scrutiny.

“We must embrace an over-the-top level of transparency, so the public can see what (the Virginia Parole Board) is doing and trust that decisions are being made fairly, with full justification, and with proper consideration for public safety and the rights of victims,” Dotson wrote in a January report to Youngkin.



In his Friday statement, Youngkin further urged legislators to continue working on the budget.

A two-year state budget was signed into law last summer, but legislators are now debating some significant amendments that could impact a range of issues. A particular point of contention is tax cuts.

“The legislative work is not complete, I strongly urge the Senate Democrats to work with me to pass a budget that provides (tax relief),” Youngkin said.

The governor and Republicans are pushing to build on last year’s tax cuts by increasing the standard income tax deduction for individuals and couples and lowering the corporate tax rate from 6 to 5%. Democrats, however, have voiced strong opposition to corporate tax cuts.

A budget conference committee is privately handling the negotiations and has indicated it could take until June to reach an agreement.

Katie King,