Archive for January, 2012

Bill Would Let Professors Carry Guns

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

By Brian Hill
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Delegate Bob Marshall of Manassas has proposed a bill that would allow full-time faculty members to carry guns on college campuses.

House Bill 91 would ban policies by public institutions of higher education that prohibit full-time faculty members with Virginia concealed handgun permits from packing heat.

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House Passes Bill Lifting HPV Vaccine Rule

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

By Pia Talwar
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – The Virginia House of Delegates has voted to repeal the law requiring girls to receive the human papillomavirus vaccine before entering the sixth grade.

On a 62-34 vote Friday, delegates passed House Bill 1112, which would rescind the state law mandating the HPV vaccine.

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Officials Fight for Human Trafficking Victims

Monday, January 30th, 2012

By Ryan Murphy
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A bipartisan coalition, including legislators and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, urged the General Assembly on Monday to increase penalties for human trafficking in general and underage sex trafficking in particular.

Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing, if not the fastest growing, criminal activities in the country,” Cuccinelli said. “We’re here today to try to strengthen Virginia’s human trafficking laws so we can try to put an end to these types of tragedies.” (more…)

Bills Would Mandate Drug Tests for Aid Recipients

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

By Mechelle Hankerson
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – If some state lawmakers have their way, Virginians seeking social service benefits may have to submit to mandatory drug tests before receiving public assistance.

A House subcommittee has rolled several similar proposals into House Bill 73, which is sponsored by Delegate Dickie Bell, R-Staunton. It would allow local social services departments to conduct drug tests if they have “probable cause” before allowing an applicant to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Prospective clients who do not pass the mandated drug test would be ineligible for TANF benefits for a year.

The TANF program helps pay for family expenses, with the goal that families gradually become financially independent.

Besides Bell’s legislation, four other House bills proposed drug testing for social service recipients: HB 955, by Delegate Robert Bell, R-Charlottesville; HB 249, by Delegate Benjamin Cline, R-Amherst; HB 598, by Delegate Anne Crockett-Stark, R-Wytheville; and HB 221, by Delegate Chris Head, R-Roanoke.

Last week, the health and human resources subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee combined all of the bills into HB 73.

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Mandatory Ultrasound Bill Reaches Senate Floor

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

By Michael Bodine
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A bill requiring a woman to get an ultrasound before having an abortion has cleared a crucial committee and been sent to the Senate floor for a vote next week.

All eight Republicans on the Senate Education and Health Committee voted in favor of the measure, Senate Bill 484, which was sponsored by Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Winchester. All seven Democrats on the panel voted against it.

After Thursday’s 8-7 vote, the proposal will be considered by the full Senate on Monday.

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Record Turnout for Catholic Advocacy Day

Friday, January 27th, 2012

By Christine Stoddard
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – About 250 members of the Richmond and Arlington dioceses participated Thursday in the Virginia Catholic Conference’s 2012 Catholic Advocacy Day. That was a record turnout for the annual event, said Jeffrey Caruso, the executive director of the VCC.

Caruso said he was “extremely pleased” by the number of participants.

During their talks with Virginia legislators, participants addressed issues involving abortion, stem cell research, criminal and juvenile justice, religious freedom, health care, immigration, education and the economy.

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More Counties May Get Drug Treatment Courts

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Sherese A. Gore
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Drug offenders in Buchanan County may soon have an alternative to a jail sentence under a measure proposed by Sen. Charles Carrico, R-Galax.

Senate Bill 317, which unanimously passed the Senate on Friday, would create drug treatment courts in Buchanan, Russell, Montgomery and Dickensen counties in Southwest Virginia and Goochland County in Central Virginia. Moreover, the legislation would establish a drug treatment court in Wise County that also would serve Scott and Lee counties.

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Senate Approves Lifting Ban on Sunday Hunting

Friday, January 27th, 2012

By Brad Fulton
Capital News Service

 

RICHMOND – Virginians are one step closer to being able to hunt on Sundays. On a 29-11 vote Thursday, the Senate passed a bill that would allow Sunday hunting on private land.

Sen. Ralph Northam, a Democrat from Norfolk, introduced Senate Bill 464. Originally, it would have completely lifted the state’s ban on hunting on Sundays. A committee folded into SB 464 legislation by Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, to permit Sunday hunting “on private property, either as a landowner, the landowner’s spouse or the children of the landowner, or with the written permission of the landowner.”

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Marshall Sees Hope for ‘Personhood’ Bill

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

By Alex Morton
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Now that Democrats no longer control the House or the Senate, Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, is hoping the General Assembly will pass his bill defining a human embryo or fetus is a person under the law.

House Bill 1 would provide that “unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth.”

The bill, which is before the House Courts of Justice Committee, says that this “personhood” status starts “from the moment of conception.”

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Delegates See Budget, Jobs, Transparency as Key Issues

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

By Mason Brown
Capital News Service
RICHMOND – As the General Assembly enters the third week of its 2012 session, the delegates representing the Hopewell-area – Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights, Rosalyn Dance of Petersburg and Riley Ingram of Hopewell – took time to discuss their legislative goals.

Cox, the Republican majority leader in the House of Delegates, said his major focus is simple: passing a state budget for the next two years. But he has other goals, such as ensuring adequate funding for programs such as the Virginia Retirement System.

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