Senator Scott Surovell

36th District

Legislation Summary

2017 Session




       SB 817: Restricted driver's license; purposes - Adds travel to and from a job interview to the list of purposes for the issuance of a restricted driver's license issued after a Driving While Intoxicated conviction. 

       SB 860: Use of handheld personal communications devices while driving; penalty – Prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle with a phone in their hand.  Phone needs to be in “hand’s free” mode.  Also, allows phone to be used for navigation or music if mounted.  

       SB 863: Operating a motor vehicle; obstructed view; secondary offense – Reverses a Supreme Court case that says any driver can be stopped for having a parking pass hanging from their rear view mirror.  Makes obstructed view a secondary offense. 

       SB 1338: Passing in a bicycle lane; penalty – Makes law clear that vehicles cannot use bicycle lanes to pass other vehicles.  

       SB 1339: Careless driving; cause of injury to vulnerable road user – Creates new traffic offense for operating a motor vehicle in a careless or distracted manner when it results in serious physical injury to a pedestrian, cyclists, or other person not in a vehicle. 

       SB 1345: Driver privilege cards -  Creates new class of driver permits for individuals who cannot establish legal presence in the United States if person has paid taxes and can establish Virginia residency.  

Consumer Protection        

     SB 1125: Virginia Consumer Protection Act; open-end credit plans – Closes a loophole that payday lenders have exploited to make repeated high interest loans to distressed borrowers. 

     SB 1126: Consumer finance companies; Internet loans – Empowers the Bureau of Financial Institutions to regulate Native American Tribes and foreign companies who make loans to Virginians over the internet at up to 5,000% interest rates.

     SB 1340: Regulation of towing – Makes clear that Commonwealth’s Attorneys, City/County Attorneys, and private individuals can sue towing companies for violating local towing ordinances to recover damages and attorney’s fees.  


     SB 907: Governing boards of public institutions of higher education; leadership; residency - Requires the Rector and Vice-Rector of the governing boards of all university governing boards to be Virginia residents.

     SB 1335: Access to electronic textbooks and adequate connectivity - Prohibits local school boards from requiring students to use electronic textbooks six through twelfth grade classroom unless students are provided with a computer and the school has adequate internet connectivity. 

     SB 1346: Associate-degree-granting institutions; transfer credit information - Requires colleges and community colleges to collaborate and provide notations in course catalogs specifying which community college classes are guaranteed credit in four-year institutions. 

     SB 1405: Public institutions of higher education; notice of proposed tuition increase- Requires all universities to provide thirty days notice and opportunity for public comment before all tuition increases.

 Criminal Justice Reform 

     SB 816: Grand larceny; threshold- Modernizes larceny prosecution in Virginia; the $200 threshold amount is an out-of-date and has not kept up with inflation. The bill would increase the threshold to $500. 

     SB 862: Driving after forfeiture of license-  Clarifies that person may be charged with Driving on a Revoked License only if they are driving on a highway. 

     SB 1439: Firearm transfers; penalties – Prohibits any firearm transfer from occurring without a background check unless transfer is to immediate family member transfers or temporary transfers for safety reasons.

Civil Justice

     SB 814: Foreign entities; service of summons for witness or subpoena duces tecumReverses the case of Yelp v. Hadeed Carpet Cleaning, Inc. which prohibited Virginia litigants from enforcing Virginia subpoenas against out-of-state companies.

     SB 815: Child support, unpaid; priority of debts to be paid from decedent's assets – Requires unpaid child support to be treated as a priority debt when an estate is distributed. 

     SB 861: Preliminary protective orders; contents of orderRequires applicants for protective orders to provide written affidavit detailing allegations before protective order may be issued.   

     SB 1124: Adultery; civil penalty - Reduces the penalty for adultery from a Class 4 misdemeanor to a civil infraction so persons can no longer assert 5th Amendment rights in divorce and other cases.

     SB 1337: Claims; Davey Reedy - Provides relief in the amount of $1,032,293 an other benefits to Davey Reedy, who was pardoned by Governor McAuliffe, after finding that convictions were not supported forensic evidence that was later rejected by the Virginia Department of Forensic Science.

     SB 1341:  Digital certification of government records – Requires state to develop standards so public records can be authenticated digitally instead of requiring pen and ink signature.

     SB 1342: District courts; attorney fees - Exempts potential attorney fees from the jurisdictional limit for general district courts and allows amount of an appeal bond to include any amount awarded for attorney fees in the case

     SB 1343: Reimbursement for cost of guardian ad litem – Moves language from the budget to the Code of Virginia that requires litigants to pay for guardians ad litem in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court cases.

     SB 1344: In camera interviews of child; court's discretion to conduct recording or transcript – Requires court to record or make a record of all in camera interviews of children in child custody cases

 Open Government

     SB 1103: Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); closed meeting violations; civil penalty – Requires court to fine a person to incorrectly votes to certify a closed meeting where the public was not notified of everything discussed in the meeting.

     SB 1102:  Virginia Freedom of Information Act; completed unattended death investigations; mandatory disclosure - Requires police to produce investigation records to next of kin in non-criminal cases involving suicide, accidental, or natural death.


     SB 1104: Form of ballot; order of independent candidates - Requires all independent candidates for office to be listed in the order they file complete applications instead of alphabetical order 


     SB 818: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ); combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfalls; Potomac River Watershed -  Requires the City of Alexandria to clean up its raw sewage discharges in to the Potomac River by 2025. 

     SB 906: Introduction of snakehead fish; penalty – Makes moving a snakehead within Virginia a Class 1 Misdemeanor. 

     SB 1383: Coal ash; treatment by utilities; recycling - Requires electric utilities to recycle as much of their stored coal ash as is imported into the Commonwealth each year for use in cement or other building materials. 

     SB 1398: Coal combustion residuals unit; closure permit; assessments required - Prohibits the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) from issuing a draft permit for  the disposal of coal residuals until ot has reviewed an assessment of disposal options, which much include potential recycling options and details potential environmental impacts of storage. 

     SB 1399: Coal combustion by-product impoundments; closure requirements - Directs the Department of Environmental Quality to require the closure of all coal ash ponds, by July 1, 2021. 

Tax Reform

     SB 1336: School supplies and hurricane preparedness sales tax holidays - Adds a sales tax holiday for computers to the Start of School Tax Holiday and removes exemption for portable generators from the Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday.

 Resolutions/Constitutional Amendments 

     SJ 221: United States Constitution; Ratification of Equal Rights Amendment- Ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution that was originally proposed by Congress in 1972. The ERA ensures equality for women and Virginia is one of few states remaining needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. 

     SJ 226: Constitutional amendment (first resolution); registration of voters – Allows General Assembly to only require last four digits of social security number to register to vote instead of entire social security number. 

     SJ 227: Constitutional amendment (first resolution); Governor's term of office – Allows for two-term Governors.


     SJ 291 Study; Virginia State Crime Commission; decrease in driving a motor vehicle while intoxicatedDirects the Virginia State Crime Commission to study the causes of the decrease in convictions for driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated over the past five years.

     SJ 292: Study; SCHEV; financial reserves; report - Requests the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to study the practice of maintaining financial reserves at baccalaureate public universities of higher education.

Budget Amendments

     Item 0 #1s: Expands the tax holiday for school supplies to include computers sold at $700 or less. Lowers the tax exemption for clothing and footwear from $100 to $65. Remove the exemption for portable generators from the Hurricane Preparedness Tax Holiday. 

     Item 42 #1s: Provides $288,822 to fill the vacant Circuit Court seat in Fairfax County. 

     Item 43 #4s: Provides $263,539 to fill the vacant General District Court seat in the 19th District. 

     Item 44 #1s: Removes language from the budget about payments to court-appointed guardians. SB 1343 proposes moving that language to the Code. 

     Item 146 #4s:  Funds the study proposed by SJ 292 regarding the maintaining of financial reserves at 4-year public universities in the Commonwealth. 

     Item 278 #1s: -Provides the additional amount of $55,420 needed for the Davey Reedy wrongful incarceration claim. 

     Item 378 #1s: Provides $130,000 for the removal of the derelict barge in Belmont Bay

     Item-48.10 #3: Funds Phase II of the Widewater State Park bonds in Fiscal Year 2018

     Item 4-6.07 #1s: Forbids discrimination in state employment based on race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth, age marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression and special veteran’s status. 

     Item: 4-9.05 #1s:  Requires all Level II and III Higher Education institutions to add  language in their contracts with vendors about being authorized to do business in the Commonwealth and using their State Corporation ID Number while doing so.