Bill would exempt firefighters from jury duty
Because they perform such a vital public service, Virginia law exempts police officers from jury duty. But what about firefighters?
They’d be exempt too under a bill proposed by state Delegate James E. Edmunds II, R-South Boston, and endorsed last week by a House subcommittee.
House Bill 1527 also would apply to emergency medical technicians, rescue squad members and arson investigators. Along with firefighters, they would be exempt from jury duty if they so request.
Firefighters and other emergency personnel often are stretched thin; in a fire department, only a handful may be licensed to drive a fire truck. Requiring them to serve on juries puts more stress on first responders and can undermine public safety, Edmunds said.
“A lot of departments only have one or two who have the license to drive a truck,” Edmunds said.
“You can imagine if they were on vacation and there’s no substitute, and you have to call somebody from a different department. It could potentially be a life-saving issue.”
The issue was brought to Edmunds’ attention by the Virginia State Firefighters Association.
On Wednesday, a subcommittee of the House Courts of Justice Committee voted 11-0 in favor of HB 1527. The measure now goes to the full committee for consideration this week.
During the subcommittee’s review, one concern raised about the bill was whether some citizens might try to dodge jury duty by falsely claiming they volunteer at a local fire department.
Edmunds assured the panel that such claims could easily be disproved by simply calling the department.
He said the bill is a fitting recognition for public servants: “It’s a small token of appreciation for those who serve.”
To follow or comment on House Bill 1527, visit http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2011/hb1527
The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.
Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.
The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.
Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.
The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.
An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown. > Read more.
A Henrico native will appear on the third episode of the Travel Channel's new grilling competition series “American Grilled.”
The episode, filmed in Charlottesville, will premier July 16 at 9 p.m. and feature Glen Allen-native Rex Holmes, a patent lawyer who operates http://SavoryReviews.com a blo,g centered around tasty recipes and BBQ.
The show features hardcore grilling enthusiasts from across the country going head-to-head for a chance to compete for a $10,000 cash prize and bragging rights when they are crowned the ultimate “grill master.” > Read more.
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