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Governor Northam proposed and signed the law abolishing the death penalty in Virginia —becoming the first Southern state to end capital punishment.

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Governor Northam signed landmark legislation to legalize possession of marijuana and seal the records of
prior convictions

  • The law creates a new Cannabis Control Authority, establishing a regulatory and licensing structure for a safe and equitable marijuana industry.

  • The law takes effect three years earlier than originally proposed, and includes provisions to protect public health and safety, as well as the rights of people working in the new industry.

Governor Northam led Virginia’s efforts to prevent violence and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

These include:

  • Becoming the first state in the country to ban no-knock search warrants (Breonna’s Law).

  • Requiring universal training on de-escalation techniques for law enforcement officers.

  • Limiting the circumstances under which law enforcement can use deadly force, including neck restraints (choke-holds) — and requiring officers to intervene if they witness another officer using excessive force.

  • Creating a statewide “Marcus Alert” system for responding to mental health crises.

  • Advancing Community Policing — requiring law enforcement officers to collect demographic information during all traffic and investigatory stops.

  • Virginia gave one-time bonuses of $3,000 to $5,000 to public safety officials in 2021, in addition to a one-time bonus of $500 in 2020. Governor Northam’s final budget proposes more than $223 million in pay increases for State Troopers, correctional officers, deputy sheriffs and regional jail officers, building on his record of law enforcement pay raises over the past four years.

Under Governor Northam’s leadership, Virginia:

  • Worked across the aisle to increase the ‘felony larceny threshold’ to $1,000. It had been just $200 — the lowest level in the nation — since 1980.

  • Maintained one of the lowest rates of recidivism in the country at 23.9%, thanks to investments in re-entry programs in the Department of Corrections.

  • Provided bonuses of up to $5,000 for the Virginia State Police, Sheriff’s Deputies, and Jail Officers.

  • Ended the oppressive suspension of driver’s licenses for nonpayment of court costs, benefiting up to 600,000 Virginians.

  • Increased safety on Virginia roads and improved the lives of undocumented immigrants and their families by issuing more than 39,000 driver privilege cards. Non-citizens, who are Virginia residents, can now drive safely and legally on Virginia roads.

  • Vetoed legislation to expand mandatory minimum sentencing, and pledged to veto all future legislation to expand mandatory minimums in Virginia.

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