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Craig Carper

Craig Carper's picture

WCVE Public Radio political contributor.

Articles by Craig Carper

Lawmakers Authorize Reparations To Eugenics Victims

Lawmakers in Virginia have included $400,000 in their budget to pay restitution to those who were forcibly sterilized under a now defunct eugenics program.

Virginia forcibly sterilized thousands it deemed “feeble minded” or “undesirable” between 1924 and 1979.

In 1927 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law in Buck vs. Bell. Then Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously stated, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

Lewis Reynolds who was among those sterilized, will receive $25,000.

General Assembly Passes Ethics and Campus Sexual Assault Response Reform

The General Assembly completed its work for the 2015 session and adjourned one day ahead of schedule Friday night. Most notably, lawmakers reached last minute compromises on reforms to the state’s ethics code and campus sexual assault procedures and earmarked $400,000 for victims of the state’s now defunct eugenics program.

The ethics reform package will limit gifts to lawmakers at $100 each, with no cumulative cap, but would include travel and meals.  

Elected officials will continue to report gifts valued over $50.  

Virginia General Assembly Passes Budget

The General Assembly has approved a budget and has adjusted its schedule to leave town  one day ahead of the scheduled adjournment.

The spending plan includes a 1.5 percent pay raise for teachers, a 2 percent raise for other state workers and a much needed $130 million dollar deposit to the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Thou the budget does not expand the state’s Medicaid program to an additional 400,000 Virginians as envisioned by Governor McAuliffe, it does include new health benefits for over 20,000 of the state’s most mentally ill.

Governor and GA Reach Agreement on ABC Reform

The Governor and the General Assembly have reached agreement on a bill that would reform the Alcoholic Beverage Control to make them follow standard business practices.

The bill, patroned by Republican Delegate Dave Albo of Fairfax, would change the ABC from an agency to an authority.

There have been multiple attempts to privatize the ABC over the past 3 decades but the state has never been able to make sense of selling it’s liquor monopoly.

G.A. Restricts Internet Provider Warnings to Suspected Pedophiles

The General Assembly has passed a bill that would allow prosecutors to prevent Internet service providers from contacting suspected pedophiles when their personal information is subpoenaed.

Child pornographers and rapists are typically caught after law enforcement can trace their videos and images back to their point of origin.

Once law enforcement obtains a subpoena, they must do additional investigation to obtain a search warrant. Only then can officers enter the suspects home, rescue child victims and seize evidence.

McAuliffe Signs Bill to Freeze Electric Rates

Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed a bill that would freeze Dominion Virginia Power’s base rates until 2020 by exempting them from biennial rate review by the State Corporation Comission. Dominion Virginia Power says the legislation will help it comply with new EPA regulations that require Virginia to bring carbon emissions significantly lower than neighboring states.

Citing the SCC, David Botkins, spokesman for Dominion Virginia Power, says this would require the utility company to pass $5-6 billion in cost on to their customers in the next several years.

Virginia House Kills Bill to Keep Lethal Injection Drugs Secret

Today the House of Delegates voted 56 to 42 to defeat a bill that would allow the state to keep the manufacturers of drugs used in lethal injections secret.

One of the standard drugs used in executions is manufactured in Europe.

The European Union has prohibited the sale of this drug to the U.S. because of its use in executions.  

The legislation would also have exempted Virginia pharmacies who compound the drug from the Freedom of Information Act.  

House and Senate Advance “Right to Try” Bills

Bills are advancing through the House and Senate that would make it easier for seriously ill patients to try experimental drugs for compassionate use.

Currently new medications can take 5-15 years to reach the market and advocates ultimately want to speed up the FDA approval process.

8-year-old Josh Hardy is a 4-time cancer survivor. He was critically ill after his immune system was compromised following a recent bone marrow transplant. At the recommendation of his doctor they requested compassionate use of an experimental drug. The pharmaceutical company said no.

House and Senate Reach Budget Agreement

House and Senate conferees have completed work on the state’s budget and say they could leave town before their scheduled adjournment on Saturday (2/21).

Increased revenue collections in recent months have given lawmakers more money than expected to spend.

The budget will include 1.5 percent pay raises for teachers and 2 percent raises for state employees. $20 million dollars will go to new instate slots at colleges and universities as well as incentives to accept more transfer students.

Equal Rights Amendment Stalls Again in House Committee

The House of Delegates Privileges and Elections Committee has again refused to docket a bill to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, killing it for the year.

Most Americans think the Equal Rights Amendment is already the law, but they’re wrong.

The ERA would guarantee equal rights for women, including pay for equal work.

It was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1972, with a 10 year deadline for ratification. In 1982, 35 states had ratified the amendment, three short of the three forths needed. Virginia is one of the 15 states who have yet to ratify.