Law aims to help domestic violence victims

Victims of domestic violence and abuse would get more protection from defendants under a bill passed unanimously by the Virginia House of Delegates this week.

House Bill 2106 would allow judges to require Virginians who are facing criminal charges, have violated a protective order or are on probation to wear GPS tracking devices.

The tracking devices would alert law enforcement agencies and/or the victim if the defendant comes too close to the complainant or the complainant’s house or workplace, according to the bill’s sponsor, Delegate Ward L. Armstrong, D-Martinsville.

He dubbed HB 2106 the Linda Bostwick Act in memory of a Collinsville resident killed by her estranged husband in 2007.

Bostwick had obtained a protective order against the man, and he had violated the order previously, Armstrong said. He said the estranged husband shot Bostwick to death at her workplace and then killed himself.

Bostwick’s death prompted Jeff and Kim Adkins to ask Armstrong to propose legislation allowing judges to require Virginians who violate protective orders to wear tracking devices.

Jeff Adkins was Bostwick’s employer when she was killed; his wife Kim is the mayor of Martinsville.

“Jeff and Kim came to me and said they had been looking over the Internet where they saw GPS technology being used to track persons in a criminal context, and it would be a good idea if we could implement (the technology) in a protective order situation,” Armstrong said.

If such a law had been in effect in 2007, Armstrong said, “Linda Bostwick could have been given some advanced notice coming to her place of employment – she would have had time to get away.”

Armstrong proposed similar legislation last year, but the bill was referred to the Virginia State Crime Commission for study. The commission reviewed and approved HB 2106 before this session.

Last week, the House Courts of Justice Committee unanimously endorsed the measure. The House followed suit on Tuesday by voting 99-0 in favor of the bill.

Some legislators had concerns about who would pay for the tracking technology. Under HB 2106, the violators of protective orders required to wear the devices will pay for the devices, Armstrong said. He said that’s only fair.

“You’re getting not just someone that has a protective order against them, but it is someone who’s demonstrated a propensity to thumb their nose at the court or the judicial system and not abide by the law,” Armstrong said. “In that situation, they ought to pay for it.”

After the House passed the bill, Armstrong said, “Although this was a terrible tragedy, the death of Linda Bostwick has spurred legislation that will save other victims who find themselves in her situation. My appreciation goes out to Jeff and Kim Adkins for suggesting this important way to fight domestic violence.”

Kim Adkins said the legislation might spare other people from Bostwick’s fate.

“Prior to this legislation, Friends for Linda had been advocating for a new law requiring habitual offenders of protective orders to wear GPS tracking devices,” Kim Adkins said.

“We are convinced this new law will do more to help victims of domestic violence and stalking. Our intent was to put a name and face with the positive impact this law may have on these victims and their families. The Linda Bostwick Act is going to save lives.”

HB 2106 is now under consideration by the Senate.

To track or comment on House Bill 2106, visit: http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2011/hb2106
Bail Bonds Chesterfield VA

Fresh Air Fund seeks host families


The Fresh Air Fund, a program through which nearly 4,000 children from low-income New York City communities spend a summer with host families in communities along the East Coast and in southern Canada, is seeking hosts for the coming summer.

According to the organization, there is no such thing as a “typical” host family. First-time Fresh Air children are boys and girls, from seven to 12 years old. Children who are reinvited by host families may continue with The Fresh Air Fund through age 18 and can enjoy extended trips. > Read more.

Godwin student wins in statewide STEM essay contest

Governor Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia Council on Women announced recently that Morgan Logsdon of Mills E. Godwin High School was one of five statewide winners of the sixth-annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Essay Contest for young women enrolled in their junior or senior year of high school.

The Council on Women established the contest to award scholarships to high school junior and senior young women who plan to pursue STEM careers at institutions of higher education. > Read more.

Varina meeting May 2 to address opioid crisis in Henrico


Varina District Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson will hold a Community Conversations meeting Tuesday, May 2 to discuss the opioid epidemic in Henrico County.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Henrico Theatre, 305 E. Nine Mile Road. Nelson will be joined by County Manager John A. Vithoulkas and members of the Henrico Heroin Task Force for a discussion of heroin and opioid abuse and ways to prevent it. > Read more.

Baker ES to remain closed until fall


Baker Elementary School students will complete the 2016-17 school year at other locations and will return to a restored building in fall 2017, school leaders have decided.

The decision was made in order to provide ample time for repairs to be completed at the fire-damaged school and to avoid additional interruptions to instructional time. > Read more.

Henrico Police arrest 2 Georgia men in connection with January murder


Henrico Police have arrested and charged two Georgia men with first-degree murder in connection with the Jan. 18 murder of 36-year-old Lamont Cornelius Baldwin in the 1200 block of Dominion Townes Terrace.

Antonio Tyrone Johnson (above, left) and Santonio Rodrigus Brown (above, right), both 24 and both of Atlanta, were charged. Johnson also was charged with use of a firearm in commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a felon. > Read more.

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