Marshall sees hope for ‘personhood’ bill

Now that Democrats no longer control the House or the Senate, Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, is hoping the General Assembly will pass his bill defining a human embryo or fetus is a person under the law.

House Bill 1 would provide that “unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth.”

The bill, which is before the House Courts of Justice Committee, says that this “personhood” status starts “from the moment of conception.”
Marshall said HB 1 is significant for several reasons.

“We have a situation in Virginia where a pregnant woman can be shot, and if you kill the baby, it’s feticide. But she can’t recover damages separately in a civil lawsuit,” Marshall said. “That’s kind of an anomaly.”

Democrats have criticized HB 1 as an attempt to revoke a woman’s right to have an abortion. In past years, when Democrats controlled the Virginia Senate, such bills usually died in the Senate Education and Health Committee.

“This committee kills all abortion bills,” Marshall said. “In 21 years, I have seen only one bill go through the Senate Education and Health Committee.”
But Marshall is hopeful this year will be different. The Republicans not only control the House of Delegates, but last fall, they won two previously Democratic seats in the Senate. Now the upper chamber is equally split between the two parties.

That increases the chances that anti-abortion legislation will make it out of the Senate Education and Health Committee and to the Senate floor for a vote.
“Right now, it’s a swing issue.” Marshall said. “There’s a swing vote in that committee, and I can’t predict which way it will go.”

Democratic legislators have been quick to voice opposition to HB 1.

Sen. A. Donald McEachin, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, called the bill “an attack on women’s rights.”

Delegate Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, agreed. She said there is “overwhelming and legitimate concern” because the full ramifications of Marshall’s proposal have not been determined.

“The patron assumes many things with his legislation, in which the language is not consistent with scientific or medical terminology related to the process of becoming pregnant,” Herring said.

Herring said HB 1 could make certain forms of birth control illegal.

“It may outlaw some forms of the birth control which are FDA-approved, which in addition to acting as birth control also has uses such as treatment of endometriosis,” Herring said.

However, HB 1 states that “Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as affecting lawful assisted conception.”

Marshall said his bill is not detrimental to women’s health rights. He says that he doesn’t understand how his critics can say such a thing.

“As far as they know, roughly half of the kids aborted are females. How is saying that a mother can sue for the wrongful death of a female child an attack on women’s rights? They need to explain that.”

You can track or comment on House Bill 1 on the Richmond Sunlight website: http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2012/hb1
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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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American pianist Thomas Pandolfi will perform at 7 p.m. at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. Hear your favorite Burt Bacharach and Barry Manilow songs. Tickets are $30. For details, call 261-ARTS or visit http://www.artsglenallen.com. Full text

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