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Bills Aim to Tighten Regulations for Daycares Following Midlothian Fire Death

Over 20 bills have been introduced this session to increase regulation for child-care providers following a high profile incident last year in which a toddler from Midlothian lost his life.

Sixty children have died in Virginia daycares over the past decade, 40 of those were in unlicensed facilities.

Virginia does not require daycare providers be licensed unless they provide care for 6 or more children. Several bills would lower that threshold to 3 or 1.

Another bill would require fingerprint background checks for those who provide childcare.

Schapiro: Morrissey's New Charges; McAuliffe Out of Hospital; US 460 Deal Blasted

Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist and WCVE analyst Jeff Schapiro discusses the latest charges against Del. Joe Morrissey, the Governor's injuries, the legislative attack on the McDonnell administration's transportation policies, and the General Assembly's narrow refusal to ban in-state tuition for certain undocumented immigrants.

Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana Faces Uphill Climb

A bill to decriminalize marijuana faces an uphill climb at the General Assembly. The bill would reduce the penalty for simple possession from a misdemeanor charge to a civil penalty of $100 and adult users would no longer lose their driver’s licenses if convicted of marijuana possession.

Democratic Senator Adam Ebbin of Alexandria is the bill’s patron.

The bill has been reintroduced for years only to be killed before it ever reaches the floor.

Virginia arrests 20,000 citizens per year for cannabis possession.

Morrissey Indicted on New Charges of Perjury and Forgery, Surrenders to Sheriff

Embattled Delegate Joe Morrissey has surrendered to the Henrico Sheriff’s office and was released on a $10,000 bond following his indictment yesterday on 4 new felony charges of perjury and forgery.

The new charges all stem from Morrissey’s plea deal last month, which sent him to jail for six months for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Morrissey avoided a lengthier sentence for more serious charges through this plea but prosecutors now say some of the documents the delegate provided in that process were forged.

General Assembly Targets Human Traffickers

The General Assembly will consider legislation this year to streamline the state code to make cases of human trafficking easier to prosecute.

Virginia has been strengthening laws related to human trafficking for several years now. The commonwealth has gone from having some of the weakest laws in the country to some of the strongest. Though these changes are spread throughout different sections of the state code and can be difficult to navigate.

Puckett’s Daughter Appointed To Judgeship

The General Assembly made several key judicial appointments yesterday, including the daughter of ex-Democratic Senator Phil Puckett.

Martha Ketron was confirmed for a full term as a juvenile court judge in Southwest Virginia after months of political fallout following her father’s resignation from the state Senate.

Puckett’s resignation before his term expired triggered a Republican takeover of the upper chamber and a now abandoned federal investigation into the circumstances surrounding it.

Bill to Ban Immigrant Students from Receiving In State Tuition Fails in Senate

Yesterday the state Senate rejected a bill that would prevent students with some types of deferred status from paying in state tuition rates.

The bill failed on a mostly party line vote of 19 to 20. All 19 Democrats opposed the bill while 19 of the Senate’s 21 Republicans supported it.

Republican Senator Jill Vogel of Fauquier did not cast a vote when the bill was called and outgoing moderate Republican Senator John Watkins of Powhatan crossed the aisle to vote with Democrats.

Lawmakers say 81 deferred-action status students currently receive in state tuition.


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