RICHMOND — Virginia lawmakers plowed through dozens of bills Tuesday ahead of a crucial midnight deadline, giving some legislative stragglers a last-minute push to the other side of the Capitol while leaving others behind.
Tuesday was the last day for most legislation to move out of one chamber and into the other. Crossover, as the day is known, marks the midway point of the 60-day legislative session and represents a do-or-die moment for any measures still stuck in the chamber where they began when the General Assembly session opened in January.
There were a few exceptions, including budget bills, which have until next week to clear their respective chambers.
The deadline also did not apply to judges, something the legislature can — and often does — wrestle with right up to the final moments of any given session. That leaves a bitter Supreme Court nomination battle, currently at a stalemate, free to resurface at any time.
Below is a sampling of how bills on a variety of topics have fared so far this session.
●Guns: All of the gun-policy bills that were part of a compromise Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) struck with Republican lawmakers appear destined for the governor’s signature, despite criticism from gun-control activists.
The deal would expand the rights of concealed-carry handgun permit holders in Virginia and around the country in exchange for tighter restrictions on domestic abusers and voluntary background checks at gun shows.
The House and Senate passed slightly different versions of three bills, which both chambers have said they will reconcile and send to McAuliffe’s desk.
Apart from the deal, the Senate passed a bill that would strip the attorney general of authority to establish concealed-carry agreements with other states, giving it to the General Assembly instead.
●Right to work: The House and Senate have passed resolutions to enshrine the state’s right-to-work laws in the Virginia Constitution. If approved by voters in November, the measures would ban making union membership a condition of employment — a practice already prohibited under state law.
●Charter schools: A resolution to amend the state Constitution to promote charter schools passed the House but died in the Senate.
If the Senate has a change of heart and approves the House resolution, the proposed amendment would go before voters in a ballot question in November. It would allow the State Board of Education to approve charter schools. That authority now rests with local school boards, which have been so resistant that Virginia has only nine charter schools statewide.
●Airbnb: The House and Senate both passed bills meant to pave the way for short-term home-rental sites such as Airbnb to start paying the same taxes that hotels pay. The legislation easily passed the House. But the Senate version barely squeaked out of that chamber Tuesday on a 20-to-19 vote amid last-minute questions about whether the bill strips localities of certain zoning rights without guaranteeing tax revenue.
The Senate measure prohibits localities from banning the use of primary homes as Airbnb rentals. Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Fauquier) said it would let Virginia reap the benefits of the new “sharing economy,” paving the way for the state and localities to receive tax revenue they currently forfeit. Critics noted that the measure does not dictate that the online-booking site pay taxes; the language says it “may” pay taxes rather than “shall.”
The prolonged debate could draw more scrutiny to the issue as the House and Senate take up each other’s bills, putting the outcome in doubt.
●Abortion: A House panel postponed until next year a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill targeted a small percentage of late-term abortions that now take place in hospitals — not in the state’s abortion clinics.
But the House did pass a bill sponsored by Del. Ben L. Cline (R-Rockbridge) to defund Planned Parenthood clinics in Virginia.
●Structured settlements: The House and Senate unanimously passed bills intended to reform an industry that critics say has made millions of dollars off people in financial distress.
The industry offers cash upfront to people in exchange for money bound up in structured settlements. Lawyers often recommend structured settlements, in which cash from lawsuits is paid in installments over years, to protect vulnerable people from spending a large payout at once.
Del. Terry G. Kilgore (R-Scott) and Sen. William M. Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin) sponsored bills that would make a raft of changes to laws governing the sales of such settlements — the focus of a Washington Post investigation last year.
The bills would require cases to be filed and heard in the jurisdiction where the seller lives and require the seller to appear in person at the hearing.
●Go Virginia: Both chambers passed a package of bills establishing Go Virginia, a regional grant program backed by leaders in business, education and government, despite some opposition from a few lawmakers troubled by what they described as free-market meddling.
One bill would set up a state board to establish regional councils that can apply for money for projects, such as job-training centers. A second bill would give cities and counties that work together up to half of the income tax revenue from new jobs they have a hand in creating. Business leaders would run the board and councils, but board members from the Senate, the House and the governor’s Cabinet would have veto power.
McAuliffe supports the program, which his two-year budget proposal would fund with nearly $40 million.