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State Senate Subcommittee Says Regulations For School Restraint Needed

A state Senate subcommittee has unanimously approved a proposal to develop statewide regulations governor the use of restraint and seclusion in Virginia public schools.

The panel heard from a series of speakers who said techniques for controlling students unruly behavior are being abused in some school divisions.

One nine year old boy told of being sent to a crisis room so often he was traumatized by the experience and didn’t want to go to school anymore.

Herring Introduces Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse Bills

Attorney General Mark Herring today announced a legislative package aimed at combating the growing epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse.

Herring’s office has been working on a strategy of prevention and education, prosecution of dealers and professional accountability for prescribers. But they’ve also made legislative recommendations and lawmakers in both parties are carrying bills to attack the problem head on.

Senate Committee Kills Minimum Wage Raise

The state Senate Commerce and Labor Committee has killed a bill that would raise Virginia’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 over 2 years.

The legislation was rejected on a party line vote with 3 Democrats in support and 11 Republicans against.

Another bill that would increase the minimum wage to $8 per hour was pulled at the request of the patron after the results of the first vote.

Both bill’s would have raised the minimum pay rate for tipped workers to half the minimum wage.

Virginia’s minimum wage is currently equal to the federal rate.

Gun Debate Again Takes Center Stage at Capitol for MLK Day

Thousands of citizen advocates off from work for Martin Luther King Day came to the Capitol to lobby their representatives for various issues. As always, two of the largest groups came to share their views on opposite ends of the gun debate. 

Two competing rallies were held today (Jan. 19), one protesting acts of gun violence and calling for additional rule and another for those who oppose further regulations on gun ownership.

Legislature to Consider Changes to Campus Sexual Assault Policy

On Friday, the House Courts of Justice and Education Committees heard presentations on campus sexual assault policy as lawmakers prepare to address the issue following a string of high profile incidents.

Republican Delegate Rob Bell of Albemarle has introduced a bill that would create a mandatory requirement for any campus administrator or faculty member who discovers evidence of a violent offense on campus to report it to local law enforcement immediately.

In-State Tuition Ban For Undocumented Immigrants Passes Senate Committee

The state Senate Education and Health Committee has passed a bill on an 8-7 party line vote that would deny in state tuition for undocumented immigrants with Deferred Action Status.

Attorney General Mark Herring issued an opinion last April that existing state and federal law allows those with certain types of temporary status to establish domicile in Virginia and collect in-state tuition, like any other student.

The bill’s patron, Republican Senator Dick Black of Loudon, says that subjects Virginia to unforeseen problems.  

Morrissey Removed From Committees

Speaker of the House Bill Howell has removed embattled Democratic-turned-independent Delegate Joe Morrissey from all of his committee assignments and says further disciplinary action will come soon.

Morrissey was sworn into office again Wednesday, now as an independent. He was shut out by his party following his conviction last month of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Speaker Howell said Morrissey’s actions required consequences.

McAuliffe Pushes for Economic Development and Some Long-Shot Democratic Priorities

Governor Terry McAuliffe delivered his first State of the Commonwealth address last night (1/14). He asked the General Assembly for help growing the economy and made appeals for several high priority Democratic causes with little Republican support.

Governor McAuliffe warns that defense cuts brought on by sequestration already hurting the Virginia economy will only get worse and that the state must grow new business opportunities in other areas, not dependent on federal spending.

State of the Commonwealth 2015 - Part 1

Earlier tonight (January 14, 2015), Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe delivered his State of the Commonwealth address to the General Assembly on the first day of the 2015 legislative session. The Democratic governor's address in the House of Delegates chamber at the State Capitol was followed by a response from Republican leaders.

Listen to Part 2 here.

Listen to the Republican Response here.

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