Archive for January, 2015

Most Virginians Say Bullying Is Serious

Friday, January 30th, 2015

By Kevin Lata
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Half of Virginians view bullying and harassment as a “very serious problem” at school, and another third think it is “somewhat serious,” according to a statewide poll.

The Commonwealth Education Poll, conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University, found that most respondents think the problem is worse today than when they were younger.

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FOIA Lawsuit Against City Can Proceed

Friday, January 30th, 2015

By Cameron Vigliano
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A lawsuit against the City of Richmond seeking to unearth documents under the state’s Freedom of Information Act about the departure of the former chief administrative officer Byron Marshall will still be considered in Richmond Circuit Court.

In a hearing Thursday morning at the John Marshall Courthouse, attorneys representing the city sought to have the lawsuit thrown out. They argued that documents detailing an employee dispute – in this case, Marshall – are exempt from public disclosure.

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Majority Leader’s Priorities: Veterans, Higher Ed

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

By Cort Olsen
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – House Majority Leader Kirk Cox’s top priorities for the 2015 legislative session are supporting military veterans and reducing the cost of higher education.

Cox has seven pieces of legislation up for approval in the General Assembly, but he is especially focused on bills to build two veterans care centers and to rein in spending on intercollegiate athletics.

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Legislators Want Police to Wear Body Cameras

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

By Noura Bayoumi and Janeal Downs
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Two state lawmakers urged the General Assembly on Tuesday to pass a bill that would require police officers in some localities to wear body cameras.

Sen. Donald McEachin, D-Richmond, and Del. Michael Futrell, D-Woodbridge, said House Bill 2393 would restore confidence between police officers and citizens.

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Caucus Discusses Education at Weekly Meeting

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

By Janeal Downs
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – During their time away from the Chesapeake Bay, the beaches and the military facilities of their home region, Hampton Roads legislators meet for conversation and coffee every Thursday morning at the General Assembly Building.

Members of the Hampton Roads Caucus – both Republicans and Democrats – sit around a long oval table in the Speaker’s Conference Room on the building’s sixth floor. Reporters and other guests occupy chairs along the wall.

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Bill Would ‘Ban the Box’ on Job Applications

Monday, January 26th, 2015

By Ali Mislowsky
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A Senate committee on Monday narrowly approved a bill that would prohibit state agencies from asking job applicants if they have a criminal history on employment applications.

The Senate General Laws and Technology Committee voted 8-7 in favor of Senate Bill 1017, sponsored by Sen. Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg. It would remove the box from applications that prospective employees must check if they’ve been convicted of a crime.

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#SaveJosh Campaign Inspires Legislation

Monday, January 26th, 2015

By Morgan White
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Josh Hardy, a Fredericksburg boy battling a rare disease, has inspired state Sen. Bryce Reeves to sponsor legislation making it easier for terminally ill patients to obtain investigational drugs that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Reeves, who represents Fredericksburg and areas west of the city, filed Senate Bill 1222 as a result of the Hardy family’s successful social media campaign to gain access to brincidofovir, an experimental antiviral drug. About 17,500 people signed an online petition supporting the campaign. (more…)

Families Testify for Medical Marijuana

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

By Victoria Zawitkowski
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Haley Smith, 14, suffers from a rare disorder called Dravet syndrome, similar to epilepsy. In the middle of a hearing being conducted by the Senate Committee for Education and Health, she suffered a mild seizure in her sleep. Her mother, Lisa Smith, stroked the girl’s forehead until it stopped.

Minutes later, Smith addressed legislators: “This is normal for me. This is Haley for me.” Smith went on to ask senators to provide relief to Haley and other Virginians suffering from various diseases — by approving a law authorizing the medical use of marijuana.

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Senator Calls for Marijuana Decriminalization

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

By Stefani Zenteno Rivadineira
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A senator from Northern Virginia is urging the General Assembly to decriminalize marijuana possession, as about 20 other states have done.

Currently, Virginians arrested with a small amount of marijuana face a misdemeanor charge, a $500 criminal fine and a 30-day jail sentence. Senate Bill 686, introduced by Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, would make simple possession a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine.

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Senate Bill Targets Sex Trafficking

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

By Sarah Drury
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A bill introduced by Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, would create new laws against sex trafficking in Virginia, Republican officials said Wednesday.

Senate Bill 1188 would clearly define the offense of sex trafficking and establish the crime of sex trafficking involving a minor. Additionally, it states that when the victim is a minor, prosecutors wouldn’t have to prove that the trafficker used force, fraud or coercion.

The bill, which has been assigned to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, will be co-sponsored by Republican Dels. Rob Bell of Charlottesville and Todd Gilbert of Shenandoah.
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