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 10th Annual Filipino Festival will be held Aug. 7-8 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 8200 Woodman Rd., beginning with opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. Friday and continuing with live entertainment, food and exhibits until 10 p.m. On Saturday the festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a full schedule of performances featuring traditional Filipino dance, music and song.
Filipino cuisine, including BBQ, pansit, lumpia, adobo, halo-halo, lechon, empanada and leche flan, will be available for purchase. The festival will also feature a children's area, church tours, exhibits, and health screenings. > Read more.
The Children’s Museum of Richmond last week opened its new Short Pump location at Short Pump Town Center, to the delight of children who attended a sneak preview of the location July 10. The new facility, located under the forthcoming LL Bean store (formerly the food court) is 8,500 square feet in size – much larger than CMoR’s former Short Pump location at West Broad Village, which opened in 2010. The new space includes The CarMax Foundation Service Station, the Silver Diner, a grocery store, a performance stage and an art studio, as well as a giant Light Bright Wall. > Read more.
Spinoff is predictably silly, devoid of plot
In Minions, those jibberjabbering little corncob things from Despicable Me have finally earned their own feature film. Specifically, three of them: Kevin (tall), Stuart (plays the ukulele) and Bob (loves his teddy bear), all voiced by co-director Pierre Coffin.
After tracing the evolution of Minionkind – we don’t know what they are, but we know they’re hardwired to serve the baddest villain around – our three Minion heroes set off upon a quest to save their species and find the newest, nastiest villain overlord. > Read more.
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