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Capitol Events

Capitol Events

Capitol Events features news from the Richmond State Capitol during the General Assembly Session – examining the issues of the day, tracking important legislation, and shedding light on the political process.

Capitol Events: February 27, 2015

Lawmakers are working to complete their business for the 2015 General Assembly session by Saturday’s deadline.

So far the House and Senate have approved compromise deals on many high profile bills including changes to the investigation procedures for incidents of campus sexual assault. Now every felony incident will be reported either to local law enforcement or commonwealth’s attorney.

Capitol Events: February 26, 2015

The General Assembly has approved a budget and has adjusted their schedule to leave town tomorrow, one day ahead of their scheduled adjournment.

The spending plan includes a 1.5 percent pay raise for teachers, a 2 percent raise for other state workers and a much needed 130 million dollar deposit to the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Thou the budget does not expand the state’s Medicaid program to an additional 400,000 Virginians as envisioned by Governor McAuliffe, it does include new health benefits for over 20,000 of the state’s most mentally ill.

Capitol Events: February 25, 2015

The General Assembly has passed a bill that would allow prosecutors to prevent internet service providers from contacting suspected pedophiles when their personal information is subpoenaed.

Child pornographers and rapists are typically caught after law enforcement can trace their videos and images back to their point of origin.

Once law enforcement obtains a subpoena, they must do additional investigation to obtain a search warrant. Only then can officers enter the suspects home, rescue child victims and seize evidence.

Capitol Events: February 24, 2015

Today (2/24/15) the House of Delegates voted 56 to 42 to defeat a bill that would allow the state to keep the manufacturers of drugs used in lethal injections secret.

One of the standard drugs used in executions is manufactured in Europe. The European Union has prohibited the sale of this drug to the U.S. because of it’s use in executions.

The legislation would also have exempted Virginia pharmacies who compound the drug from the Freedom of Information Act.

Capitol Events: February 23, 2015

Bills are advancing through the House and Senate that would make it easier for seriously ill patients to try experimental drugs for compassionate use.

Currently new medications can take 5-15 years to reach the market and advocates ultimately want to speed up the FDA approval process.

8-year-old Josh Hardy is a 4-time cancer survivor. He was critically ill after his immune system was compromised following a recent bone marrow transplant. At the recommendation of his doctor they requested compassionate use of an experimental drug. The pharmaceutical company said no.

Capitol Events: February 20, 2015

The General Assembly has passed a bill that would prohibit local governments from requiring contractors to provide compensation or benefits above the state or federal minimum wage.

Democrats objected tried to adjust the bill to require a $10.10 minimum wage for public procurements, though Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam ruled the amendments not germane to the original bill.

Republicans say the bill prevents the artificial inflation of the price of business contracts.

Capitol Events: February 19, 2015

The Senate has rejected a bill that would authorize animal control officers to capture and confine companion animals that are not subject to licensure, if a landowner files a complaint about the animal trespassing on their property.

The legislation was introduced at the request of the animal control association.

Critics of the bill say it is unnecessary as many animal control officers already have the authority to collect such animals.

The bill failed on a vote of 29 to 8.

Craig Carper reports.

Capitol Events: February 18, 2015

Both the House and Senate have passed a bill that would exempt concealed carry permit holders from local bans on carrying loaded shotguns in cars.

Supporters of the bill say it brings uniformity to the state code as gun owners travel between localities.

Republicans rejected an amendment to require gun owners to keep their concealed carry permit with them if carrying a loaded shotgun…despite objections from Democrats.

The bill passed the House 62 to 34.

Capitol Events: February 17, 2015

The House and Senate have approved a bill that would prohibit the sharing of information on those with concealed carry permits in the Virginia Criminal Information Network with law enforcement in states who do not have reciprocity agreements with Virginia for carrying a concealed weapon.

The bill’s patron Delegate Scott Lingamfelter says it would encourage concealed carry reciprocity agreements with other states.

The bill was approved in the House today on a largely party line vote 66 to 33.

Capitol Events: February 16, 2015

The General Assembly is considering requiring retailers who sell tobacco products, be licensed by the ABC.

It’s an effort to curb the growing problem of cigarette trafficking where smugglers purchase large amounts of cigarettes in Virginia, where taxes are some of the lowest in the country and sell them in New York, where they are the highest.

Senator Bryce Reeves, a former undercover narcotics detective says some of those profits are going to terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbolah.


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