Cuccinelli backs human trafficking legislation


Legislation to curtail human trafficking in Virginia has gathered bipartisan support early in the General Assembly’s 2013 session.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli called the offense one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises in the country. He said Tuesday that Virginia was feeling the effect.

“Traffickers profit from the control and exploitation of children and adults – taking victims by threat, force, or coercion to exploit them for forced labor or sexual servitude. And it is happening right here in our commonwealth,” Cuccinelli said at a press conference.

Additionally, Cuccinelli announced a series of two-day training sessions for law enforcement and prosecutors across the state over the next six months. The first session starts today (Wednesday) in Northern Virginia.

The attorney general has a history of supporting measures to curb human trafficking. He introduced bills to combat the crime during his stint as a state senator and served on a human trafficking advisory group.

Cuccinelli pledged his support to the four bills and urged legislators to pass them:

HB 1606, sponsored by Delegate Timothy Hugo, R-Fairfax, and Senate Bill 1015, by Sen. Janet Howell, D-Reston: These measures would increase the penalty for soliciting prostitution from a minor from a misdemeanor to a Class 5 or Class 6 felony, depending on the victim’s age.

HB 1870, sponsored by Delegate Robert Bell, R-Charlottesville: This bill would alter Virginia’s basic human trafficking statute to include “receiving money for procuring a person” as an offense punishable by a multijurisdictional grand jury. Jurisdiction would not be an issue in prosecuting human traffickers operating across county lines.

HB 1826, sponsored by Delegate Ronald Villanueva, R-Virginia Beach: This measure would also address issues in jurisdiction when investigating human trafficking. It would allow officers to keep pursuing an investigation into human trafficking outside of their own jurisdiction.

Both Republicans and Democrats joined Cuccinelli to express support for the legislation. They included Howell, Hugo and Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Kelly.
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Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
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State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
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Norfolk man arrested at RIC after TSA catches him with gun

A Norfolk man was arrested at Richmond International Airport May 18 after Transportation Security Administration officers detected a loaded semi-automatic handgun in the traveler’s carry-on bag.

A TSA officer detected the .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun inside the man’s carry-on bag as it passed through the security checkpoint X-ray machine. The handgun was loaded with 13 bullets.
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Police release photo of hoax bomb

Henrico Police have released a photo of the clock that resembled a bomb that led to the arrest of a Richmond woman in Shot Pump earlier this week.

The device, which the woman told police she purchased at a yard sale, was visible in her car at the Whole Foods at West Broad Village May 19, and a passerby called police, fearing it was a real bomb. Police responded as they would have had the device been real, they said, because they weren't sure if it was real or not.
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Henrico school buses with compliance issue to be fixed this summer


The 176 Henrico school buses that have been purchased since March 2011 will be fixed during the summer, Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks told the Citizen. The bus manufacturers will retrofit the buses at no cost to the school division, he said.

The brake interlock device is required on all automatic transmission buses in Virginia that were purchased after March 2011, which is when the device was added to the state Board of Education's requirements for school buses. As many as 4,000 school buses in the state may be affected, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
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Full Circle Grief Center will host Round Up the Family 5K and Fun Run at 8:30 a.m. at Deep Run Park. The event includes field games, crafts, music from DJ Tony T, live performances and character visits from Studio Performance Academy, raffles and more. Registration fees are $10 for the Fun Run and $20 for the 5K. For details, visit http://www.runsignup.com/roundup. Full text

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