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Virginia Committee Kills Child Labor Tobacco Farming Bill

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

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.

Virginia Senate Defeats Guns in Schools After Hours

The state Senate defeated a bill that would allow guns on school buses and grounds after school hours.

Bill patron Sen. Thomas Garrett says gun-free school zones don’t make schools safer, but leave them defenseless.

Critics say the bill would make it difficult for gun-owners to know when they can carry on school property, because some after hours activities are sanctioned by the school and others aren’t.

The bill failed on a vote of 20-18 with several Republicans voting with Democrats against the measure.

House Passes Equity Crowd Funding Bill

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

Established crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Go-Fund-Me and Indie-Go-Go are currently successfully raising money in Virginia. Under that model investors donate capital to startups or receive some of the companies new product.

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

GA Will Authorize Uber and Lift to be Licensed and Regulated

Bills that would allow Transportation Network Companies or TNCs like Uber and Lyft to be licensed by the DMV has passed both the House and Senate.

Users of smartphone apps like Uber and Lyft can enter their location and find a ride from an authorized driver in a matter of minutes in heavily traveled areas.

Cab companies say the lack of regulation of these new businesses has put them at a competitive disadvantage.

Lawmakers have been negotiating the language of the bill with TNCs, traditional cab companies and trial lawyers for months.

Senate Committee Votes Legal Use Of Marijuana Derivative To Treat Epileptic Seizures

A proposal to legalize two marijuana derivatives for treating epilepsy has cleared its first hurdle in the General Assembly.

The legislation was offered by Senator David Marsden, a Fairfax County Democrat, to allow the legal possession of an oil derivative of marijuana when a doctor determines that a patient has a debilitating epileptic condition, even though a state police spokesman testified it couild put Virginia in conflict with federal law.

Mayor Jones Says Richmond Is Resurgent, Calls For End To Infighting In Annual Address

Mayor Dwight Jones called Richmond a “resurgent city,” in his annual State of the City address last night (1/29). 

The major listed among the city’s biggest wins in 2014, the successful campaign to lure Stone Brewing company to town.

The mayor also talked about a 25 million dollar federal transportation grant for rapid transit bus service from Henrico to downtown.

He did not name a new police chief, saying that announcement would come next week, nor did he say anything about baseball, promising an update on that when “the time is right.”

Dominion Wants End To Biennial Rate Review By SCC Through 2020

Dominion Virginia Power wants fewer state controls over what it charges customers and says it would be better for everybody.

Dominion says the move will actually help protect its customers from possible steep increases in their electric bills, brought on by federal efforts to curb carbon emissions, and that it would help avoid the premature closing of several coal-powered plants.

Critics say it would hurt consumers and amount to a giveaway to Dominion.

Convention of States Resolution Passes House and Senate Committees

A joint resolution that would ask congress to call a convention of the states to propose new amendments to the U.S. Constitution has passed both the House and Senate Rules Committees.

Supporters of the convention held a rally at the Capitol this week.

The proposal has picked up high profile support from conservative lawmakers such as Speaker of the House Bill Howell.

House Rules Committee Passes Resolution Calling For US Constitutional Convention

There is a move in the General Assembly to call a constitutional convention to reduce both the federal deficit and federal powers over the states.

The House rules committee passed two resolutions backed by conservative republicans, libertarians and constitutionalists.

It would take a minimum of 34 states to petition congress. So far only Alaska, Florida, and Georgia are looking at similar proposals.

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