RICHMOND – House Bill 1303, which classifies parole-board votes as public information and subject to the Freedom of Information Act, originally introduced by Delegate Wren Williams (R – Stuart) on Jan. 19, has passed the Virginia House of Delegates with a 95-5 vote.
Williams submitted this legislation as a response to the series of scandals pertaining to the parole board’s votes and disregard for legal guidelines, which led to convicted murderers and cop killers being released on the street with no notice given to victims’ families. Williams’s bill spearheads the Republican-led effort to make the parole board’s actions more accountable and transparent.
“The Virginia Parole Board is made up of public servants who can have a massive impact on the lives of Virginians,” Williams said. “With a single vote, they can release a dangerous killer into a neighborhood and make victims relive the worst moments of their lives again.
“Before now, votes of the board were shielded from the Freedom Of Information Act. The previous parole board abused this to hide their votes and conceal the fact that they rarely met in person or voted. They corruptly disregarded the rules and the laws.”
“In January, Governor Youngkin fired the corrupt parole board so we could start with a clean slate,” Williams said. “Moving forward, the parole board’s power will come with accountability and transparency. With House Bill 1303’s passage, we are fulfilling the promise we made to Virginians and bringing these votes into the sunlight.”
“Last year the Virginia Parole Board, while ‘drunk with power’ released murderers and cop killers without notifying the victims,” said Attorney General Jason Miyares. “This legislation will make the parole process in Virginia more transparent and ensure parole board members are held accountable to the public so that a scandal like this never happens again.”