Panel kills bills to restore felons’ voting tights


Gov. Bob McDonnell and other key Republicans, as well as Democratic legislators, say they are disappointed that a House subcommittee Jan. 14 killed proposals to automatically restore the voting rights of nonviolent felons who have served their prison sentences.

“I am very disappointed in today’s vote against these constitutional amendments. Once individuals have served their time and paid their fines, restitution and other costs, they should have the opportunity to rejoin society as fully contributing members,” McDonnell said.

The constitutional amendments subcommittee of the House Privileges and Elections Committee considered eight proposals introduced by delegates to restore the civil rights of felons who have completed their prison terms.

All of the proposed constitutional amendments were folded into one – House Joint Resolution 535, sponsored by Delegate Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria.

The subcommittee, made up of five Republicans and two Democrats, then voted 6-1 to recommend that Herring’s amendment be “passed by indefinitely.” That means those proposals probably won’t be considered again this legislative session. Only Delegate Algie T. Howell, D-Norfolk, voted against the motion.

The vote took place less than a week after McDonnell, in his State of the Commonwealth address, urged the General Assembly to support the restoration of voting rights for nonviolent felons.

“I believe strongly, as a matter of conscience, in protecting the constitutional rights of our citizens. And I believe that it is time for Virginia to join the overwhelming majority of states in eliminating our bureaucratic restoration process and creating a clear predictable constitutional and statutory process,” McDonnell said in his address last week.

Herring also expressed her frustration over the subcommittee’s decision.

“The House Republicans’ actions speak louder than words,” she said. “Instead of finding common ground on an issue like the restoration of voting rights, they are working to make it harder to vote while they think no one is watching.”

The restoration of voting rights has been on the Democrats’ agenda for years, but key Republicans now support the issue as well.

Republican Delegate Greg Habeeb of Salem sponsored one of the constitutional amendments that had been incorporated into Herring’s proposal. He still hopes that the General Assembly will approve the idea.

“I am disappointed in the outcome this morning. However, our work does not end here, and I am optimistic about the future of this legislation. In the years ahead, I will continue to push for a more efficient and less burdensome re-entry process in the commonwealth,” he said.

Habeeb’s proposal would have automatically restored rights to nonviolent felony offenders after the completion of their sentence, including the payment of any fines or restitution.

Although the House subcommittee voted down the proposals, the idea isn’t completely dead.

Four constitutional amendments to restore felons’ civil rights are pending in the Senate. If the Senate approves such a proposal, it will come back to the House for consideration.

Both McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a fellow Republican, said they will continue to push for voting rights restoration.

"Though I am disappointed with this morning's outcome, I will continue to keep up the fight on this important issue,” said Cuccinelli, who is running for governor this year.

“I would welcome the opportunity to testify before members of the Senate in an effort to underscore the importance of the restoration of civil rights to these individuals. I encourage other members of the General Assembly to join me in this important fight.”

How they voted

Here is how the constitutional amendments subcommittee of the House Privileges and Elections Committee voted today on House Joint Resolution 535, a package of constitutional amendments to automatically restore the civil rights of people convicted of nonviolent felonies.

The subcommittee voted on a motion to recommend that HJ 535 be “passed by indefinitely” – meaning postponed for this session. That motion passed, 6-1.

All five Republicans on the subcommittee voted for the motion. They are Delegates Jackson Miller of Manassas, David Ramadan of Dulles, Timothy Hugo Centreville, Israel O’Quinn of Bristol, and Mark Cole of Fredericksburg. Democratic Delegate Johnny Joannou of Portsmouth also supported the motion.

Voting against the motion to kill the resolution was Delegate Algie T. Howell, a Democrat from Norfolk.

To track or comment on HJ 535, visit the Richmond Sunlight website: http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2013/hj535/
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Rolls-Royce supplier lands in Henrico


A United Kingdom-based supplier for Rolls-Royce has established an office and manufacturing center at the Byrd Industrial Park in Eastern Henrico, the Greater Richmond Partnership announced July 18.

Erodex Ltd., a graphite products maker, recently signed a five-year agreement with Rolls-Royce to supply goods to the automotive company's Crosspointe campus in Prince George, Va. Erodex invested $2 million and hired four to quickly ramp up production for its client. > Read more.

New Walmart opens in Eastern Henrico


JULY 19, 7 A.M. – Eastern Henrico's first Walmart Supercenter opens to the public today at 5001 Nine Mile Road. The store, which occupies about 190,000 square feet and employs about 300 people, is located at the site of the former Fairfield Commons Mall, which is now known as Eastgate Town Center. > Read more.

Unattended oily rags cause fire in commercial building near Richmond Raceway


Unattended oily rags that spontaneously combusted caused an early morning two-alarm fire Tuesday in a commercial building in the 3800 block of Carolina Avenue, across from Richmond Raceway.

Henrico firefighters were called at about 5:10 to respond to reports of smoke coming from the building. Once they arrived five minutes later, they found thick smoke pushing from the rood on two sides of a warehouse whose tenant specializes in woodworking and hardwood floors. > Read more.

Crime Stoppers’ Crime of the Week: July 17-23, 2017


Crime Stoppers needs your help to solve a Hit & Run in the City of Richmond.

The crime occurred in the Carver neighborhood at the intersection of West Broad and Goshen Streets, around 6:45 p.m. on Sunday, May 7. Officers were told the victim was on his motorcycle and traveling westbound on West Broad Street. > Read more.

Henrico County property transactions, July 3-9


A sample of property transactions during this period appear below:

5304 Coxson Rd. – $126,500, 1,819 SF (built in 1953), from Madeline M. Weaver to Kyle and Aja O. Powers.

2451 Yarnell Rd. – $140,700, 1,196 SF (built in 1972), from Albert C. and Mary E. Nolan to Albert C. Nolan Jr.

909 Bowitch Ct. – $194,500, 1,824 SF (built in 2001), from Agnes H. Jones to Mark A. Dawkins. > Read more.

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July 2017
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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will offer the themed walk “Seeing the Garden Like a Honeybee” from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The Garden Guide will introduce you to some of the most popular honey bee plants and end your tour where the bees do at the Apiary (bee hives) installed in 2016. Gain a whole new understanding of pollination and how a home gardener can help provide honey bees with better nutrition. Cost is $17 for nonmembers; free for members. To register, visit http://www.lewisginter.org. Full text

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