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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 13, 2015

The General Assembly reached their procedural midpoint this week as both houses completed work on their own legislation.

Gone are bills that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks in a pregnancy, as well as legislation to impose further restrictions on gun purchases for those convicted of violent or predatory misdemeanors and efforts to limit the sale of high capacity magazines.

Capitol Events: February 12, 2015

The House and Senate debated and passed their amended budgets today.

While revenue collections are slightly up in recent weeks, overall budget spending is down over a billion dollars since the two-year budget was enacted in 2014.

Both budgets add pay raises for state workers and eliminate new and increased business fees proposed by Governor Terry McAuliffe.

House leaders say instead of creating new programs they chose to reinvest in core functions of government. Democrats say the budget does not do enough to advance kitchen table issues.

Capitol Events: February 10, 2015

The House and Senate have both passed bills that would decriminalize the use of cannabidiol oil or CBD, an extract of marijuana for the treatment of epilepsy. The oil has no intoxicating properties but has proven an effective method of preventing seizures in some patients.

The legislation does not allow for the development or distribution of the drug, but would prohibit the prosecution of those who possess it.

Capitol Events: February 9, 2015

Environmental and property rights advocates are pushing back on a law that allows utility companies to survey on private land without the landowner’s permission.

Last year 127 landowners in Nelson County refused to let Dominion Virginia Power survey their property for the new Atlantic Coast Natural Gas Pipeline. Dominion has since filed suit to gain access to the properties.

The planned pipeline would pump natural gas produced in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia 550 miles further down the East Coast through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

Capitol Events: February 6, 2015

The House and Senate money committees are finishing work on their budgets, which they will unveil Sunday afternoon (2/8).

After over a year of revenue reductions tied to federal sequestration, tax collections are up, giving lawmakers 162 million dollars in additional funds to work with.

Some of that is likely to go to a small pay raise for state employees, including state police and teachers.

Capitol Events: February 5, 2015

House Republicans have introduced an alternative proposal to the Governor’s Access Plan for the state’s most severely mentally ill.

The GOP says Governor McAuliffe did not have the authority to create a new benefits program on his own without legislative approval. They say their 124 million dollar plan will benefit 30,000 Virginians, 10,000 more than the Governor’s.

It would provide targeted behavioral health and substance abuse treatment with case management and care coordination through existing provider networks as well as prescription drug benefits.

Capitol Events: February 4, 2015

Bills to reform state universities policies on campus sexual assault response are advancing through House and Senate committees today.

One bill would require universities to identify students expelled or suspended for violations of the schools code of conduct.

Another bill would require university police to immediately inform the local prosecutor once a sexual assault investigation begins and regularly inform them of their progress. However the victim''s name would be withheld if she does not give her consent.

Capitol Events: February 3, 2015

A bill that would ban child labor in tobacco fields has been killed by the House Commerce and Labor committee this afternoon.

According to a report by the group Human Rights Watch, children as young as 7 are working in tobacco fields in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, where 90 percent of U.S. tobacco is grown.

Virginia’s current laws do not prevent children ages 14-17 from working on a tobacco farm though those under 14 are required to have parental consent.

Capitol Events: February 2, 2015

The House of Delegates has passed a bill to expand crowdfunding options for entrepreneurs seeking capitol for their startup business.

Established crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Go-Fund-Me and Indie-Go-Go are currently successfully raising money in Virginia.

The legislation would open up opportunities for equity crowdfunding, allowing investors to own a small stake in a Virginia startup businesses.

Craig Carper reports.

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