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Craig Carper

Craig Carper's picture

WCVE Public Radio political contributor.

Articles by Craig Carper

Va. Legislature Restricts Information Sharing on Concealed-Carry Gun Permits

The General Assembly approved bills yesterday that would restrict information that out of state law enforcement can receive about Virginians with concealed carry permits and another that would allow the sale of certain weapons like blackjacks or brass knuckles.

The House and Senate have approved a bill that would prohibit the sharing of information on those with concealed carry permits in the Virginia Criminal Information Network with law enforcement in states who do not have reciprocity agreements with Virginia for carrying a concealed weapon.

Virginia Legislature to Limit Police Use of Drones and License Plate Readers

The General Assembly is poised to pass legislation that would prevent law enforcement officials from using drones to gather evidence without a warrant.

Republican Delegate Todd Gilbert of Shenandoah says determining when and where drones and other technology may be used in an investigation is a careful balancing act between the individual’s right to personal privacy and law enforcement’s duty to catch bad actors.  

Similar legislation has advanced to ban the use of license plate readers without a specific purpose in an active investigation.  

Virginia House And Senate Pass Budgets

The House and Senate debated and passed their amended budgets yesterday(Feb. 12).

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

Both spending plans 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.  

Redistricting Reform Bills Face Long Odds in Virginia House

The state Senate has passed several bills this session taking different approaches to change the way Virginia draws its state legislative and congressional districts to an independent or bipartisan process.

Currently, the state constitution gives the General Assembly the power to draw its own districts, as well as those for Virginia's 11 congressional seats.

The issue is political, but not along the typical partisan breakdown. Members of both parties use the system to their own advantage when they hold a majority.

Virginia House and Senate Pass Ethics Reform

The House of Delegates and state Senate have passed omnibus ethics reform bills that would cap gifts to lawmakers and their families at 100 dollars, with additional limits for gifts to the Governor.

While lawmakers acknowledge they must pass something to regain the public’s trust after the Bob McDonnell trial in the Senate at least, they’re not very happy with the bill they passed yesterday.

Assembly Passes Bills to Expand DNA Database to Certain Misdemeanors

The House and Senate have passed bills that will add those convicted of certain misdemeanors to the state’s DNA database.

Those convicted of sex crimes, indecent exposure and other misdemeanors that show a high correlation with subsequent felonies would be added to the DNA database.

Republican Delegate Rob Bell of Albemarle is the bill’s patron.

The Virginia ACLU has expressed concerns about the bill, citing privacy issues.

Medical Marijuana Bills Pass In General Assembly

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.

Teresa Elder has a son with a serious epileptic condition. He’s been put on life support several times due to complications from seizures.

Virginia Senate Kills Bills to Limit Dominion’s Right to Survey on Private Land

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.

Critics call the current law gives utility companies a “right to trespass.”

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

House and Senate Include State Worker Pay Raises in Budget

The House of Delegates and state Senate have presented their amendments to the state budget, adding pay raises for state workers and eliminating new fees proposed by Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Over the last year lawmakers had to carve $2.8 billion out of the budget due to declining revenues brought on by decreases in defense spending, but this year collections are up, giving lawmakers $162 million dollars in additional funds to work with.

Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Extracts for Epilepsy

A bill legalizing two marijuana extracts to treat epilepsy were passed by the Virginia Senate yesterday (2/5) by an overwhelming majority.

Democratic Senator Dave Marsden of Fairfax introduced the bill that would allow doctors to legally prescribe and dispense Cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil, the derivatives used to control epileptic seizures.

In a dramatic event two weeks ago during the bills infancy, a young girl had a seizure during the bill’s presentation in committee while she and her mother waited to speak in favor of the legislation.

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