Assembly 2011: Lawmakers crack down on illegal immigration and childhood obesity
A number of controversial bills targeting illegal immigration are making their way from the House to the Senate…and a bill requiring that all schools grades k-8 teach 30 minutes of physical education a day has now passed both chambers. Craig Carper reports.
The House of Delegates has passed a host of bills aiming to crack down on illegal immigration in the Commonwealth, including one that would require police officers to check the immigration status of any individual under arrest, another that would ban illegals from Virginia colleges and universities, and one that would require public schools to count how many illegal immigrants they have enrolled.
Republican Delegate Scott Lingamfelter of Prince William.
Lingamfelter: This bill, and others like it, have in mind the rule of law and it’s unpleasant and it doesn’t make us happy that this issue is before this body and 49 other states, but make no mistake about it, if the Congress of the United States did their job, we might not be dealing with this, but they are not dealing with the problem and it is at our footstep.
Democratic Delegate Joe Morrissey of Henrico.
Morrissey: Let's take a step back and look at these immigration bills. Why is it being done? We must have had 10 or 11 bills in one form or another dealing with illegal immigrants. With all that we have to do in the General Assembly, the reason you ask yourself, why are we focusing on this? And the answer is simple, because there’s folks on the other side that are trying to get ready for primaries and they want to show to a prospective primary challenger, “look how tough I am, therefore don’t challenge me in a primary.”
The Republican-led House of Delegates has been pushing for tougher state laws on illegal immigration for years. While these bills have traditionally passed their chamber overwhelmingly, they've just as quickly been killed in the Democratic-controlled Senate. However, this year both chambers have passed legislation that would require all employers to use the E-verify system to determine legal status for all employees.
In other news, despite pressure from education groups who say it would take time and resources away from other crucial programs, a bill has passed both the House and Senate that would mandate 30 minutes a day, or a total of 150 hours a week, of physical education in grades Kindergarten through eighth.
Republican Delegate John O’Bannon of Henrico is the bill’s patron.
O'Bannon: In the last ten years the rate of stroke in people 15-34 has gone up 50 percent. We are now seeing the actual effects of childhood obesity.
Craig Carper, WCVE News, Capitol Square