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VA GOP Blocks Bill Seeking to Bar Insurrectionists From Positions of Power

The Republican-led House of Delegates tabled the measure without assigning it to a committee for further consideration.

Trump supporters rally inside the U.S. Capitol after breaching security on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Republican lawmakers in the Virginia House of Delegates have killed a bill submitted by a Democratic delegate that would have barred people convicted of engaging in insurrection from holding “positions of public trust.”

The proposal, submitted by Del. Dan Helmer (D), sought to bar individuals convicted of insurrection from holding public office, as well as positions that are funded or heavily regulated by the state government, including teachers, law enforcement, firefighters, health care positions and more.

The bill would have applied to people who have been convicted of crimes related to the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol building, following former President Donald Trump’s loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Republicans tabled the bill after it was submitted, however, effectively blocking any consideration of the bill for the remainder of the state legislative session.

Leadership in the Republican caucus of the House of Delegates claimed to be ignorant of the bill when questioned by local media. “You’d have to tell me more about it; I don’t really know much about it,” said Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R).

Helmer said that Republicans’ decision to table the measure without assigning it to a committee is proof that the party is “continuing to seek to appeal to an extremist base.”

Some Republicans have noted that people who have state felony convictions on their record are already barred from holding such positions. However, Helmer’s bill would have amended the current law to apply to people who have been convicted of insurrection in federal court or in another state’s judicial system. People who have been sentenced for their roles in the Capitol attack are not currently barred from various positions of public trust under Virginia law because they were convicted in federal courts.

More than 480 people have pleaded guilty to charges relating to the January 6 attack, with 351 people convicted and sentenced so far. Close to 1,000 people have been charged with crimes related to the attack, meaning that more convictions are likely yet to come.

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