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Craig Carper

Craig Carper's picture

WCVE Public Radio political contributor.

Articles by Craig Carper

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.

GA Eliminates Local Option for Minimum Wage Floor in Public Procurements

The General Assembly has passed a bill that would prohibit local governments from requiring contractors to provide compensation or benefits above the state or federal minimum wage.

Democrats tried to adjust the bill to require a $10.10 minimum wage for public procurements, though Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam ruled the amendments not germane to the original bill.

Republicans say the bill prevents the artificial inflation of the price of business contracts.

Virginia Legislature Approves Loaded Shotguns in Cars, Reverses "Brass Knuckle" Vote

Both the House and Senate have passed a bill that would exempt concealed carry permit holders from local bans on carrying loaded shotguns in cars.

Supporters of the bill say it brings uniformity to the state code as gun owners travel between localities.

Republican Senator Tom Garrett of Buckingham is the bill’s patron.

Republicans rejected an amendment to require gun owners to keep their concealed carry permit with them if carrying a loaded shotgun, despite objections from Democrats.

The bill passed the House 62 to 34.

McAuliffe Signs "Uber" Bill

Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed into law a new regulatory system for Transportation Network Companies such as Uber and Lyft.

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.

The legislation requires TNCs to screen drivers, including criminal background checks as well as driving history and status on the sex offender registry. The bill mandates that all TNC drivers be covered with a specific liability insurance policy.

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.

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