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Child Advocacy Group to Grade Judicial Nominees

Today (12/12) the House and Senate Courts of Justice Committees will interview 20 judicial nominees. The national child advocacy group PROTECT will be there to grade several of the circuit court judges up for reappointment on their sentencing records on crimes against children. PROTECT wants prosecutors and judges to take child pornography and sexual exploitation more seriously.

Last year the Virginia Sentencing Commission attempted to downgrade sentencing for child pornography only to be stopped by emergency legislation passed by the General Assembly.

House GOP Proposes $100 Gift Ban for Lawmakers

The House of Delegates Republican Caucus has proposed a $100 gift ban for both tangible and intangible gifts. When he first took office Governor McAuliffe signed an executive order placing a $100 gift ban on himself, his family and his staff. His bipartisan commission on ethics reform recently recommended a $250 cap for all other elected leaders. House Republican Majority Leader Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights says the Caucus felt they should exceed that recommendation, matching the ban the Governor had set for himself.

Bill Would Clarify Tenants Rights

A bill from Democratic Delegate Alfonso Lopez of Arlington would clarify that landlords cannot evict tenants as retaliation for filing a complaint. Under current law tenants have a very hard time disputing eviction notices on month-to-month leases. In some cases renters are evicted shortly after making complaints. Retaliatory eviction is unlawful but hard to prove.

State Workforce Development Programs Fall Short

A new study from the state’s legislative oversight commission, JLARC, shows that Virginia’s high schools and community colleges and other workforce training programs are failing to prepare students for in-demand skills. JLARC Analyst Tracey Smith says companies complain that the program is overly complex and difficult to use and improperly emphasizes low-demand skills.

Community College Spokesman Jeff Kraus says Virginia needs to invest in greater capacity for high-demand workforce credentials.

State Board Of Health Votes To Revisit Abortion Clinic Regulations

The State Board of Health has voted to revisit Virginia’s hotly debated abortion clinic regulations. A new Governor and a newly aligned board have resulted in the vote to revisit regulations that took effect last year that opponents say targeted abortion clinics with requirements that would shut them down.

Hundreds of people attended yesterday’s (12/4) meeting and dozens spoke before the board voted 13-2 to begin a regulatory process that could take up to two years.

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