General Assembly

72nd District Republican Primary – Ernesto Sampson, Edward Whitlock


In preparation for Tuesday's primary elections, the Henrico Citizen invited the candidates for every race that impacts Henrico County to answer several questions about themselves. The responses of those in this election who replied appear below:
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Home-schooling booms in Virginia


Thomas Burgess begged his mother to be home-schooled with his sister Gina, who as a kindergartner severely struggled with school anxiety. At 5, Gina dreaded going to the communal bathroom shared by three other classrooms. She hated the stares from her peers, so she waited to use the bathroom until after school.

From second to eight grade, Thomas was home-schooled, too.

“When we first moved to Roanoke, we did this satellite TV home-schooling program,” said Burgess, now a freelance writer and editor in Richmond.
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House panel blocks Equal Rights Amendment


A handful of men and women who want Virginia to ratify the federal Equal Rights Amendment rallied outside a committee meeting room at the General Assembly, holding signs that read “Equal Means Equal” and “ERA.”

But the House Privileges and Elections Committee decided to shelve the ERA, which would guarantee women and men equal rights, for another year.

“This is the fifth year in a row we have passed [the amendment] with bipartisan support in the Senate. And on crossover, you see that it’s not only ignored but completely obstructed,” said Eileen Davis, co-founder of the group Women Matter. “At what point are you simply obstructing the democratic process? We’re not giving up.”
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Senate panel OKs bill to defund planned parenthood


In an 8-7 vote along party lines, a Senate committee on Thursday approved a bill to prohibit the Virginia Department of Health from funding Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide abortions. The full Senate is expected to vote on the bill Monday. The eight Republicans on the Senate Committee on Education and Health voted in favor of House Bill 1090; the panel’s seven Democratic members voted against it.

HB 1090 states that the Health Department “shall not enter into a contract with, or make a grant to, any entity that performs abortions that are not federally qualified abortions or maintains or operates a facility where non-federally qualified abortions are performed.”
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Rape survivors may find solace in legislation


Many rape survivors are still waiting for the test results of their rape kit. Not only are survivors often denied swift justice, but having untested rape kits sitting on shelves fails to protect other women.

Someone who commits rape is likely to do it again, said Sen. Richard H. Black, a Republican representing Loudoun and Prince William counties, told a meeting of the Women’s Roundtable and League of Women Voters on Wednesday at the General Assembly.

He said 2,300 rape kits in Virginia have yet to be tested. It’s crazy, Black said, to have a woman endure the invasive procedure and then making her wait years for the test results.
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Virginia House passes dead-body bill


After amendments from Henrico Del. John O’Bannon’s subcommittee, the Virginia House unanimously passed a bill Monday that requires institutions to refrigerate dead bodies that will be stored for more than 48 hours.

Sen. Kenneth Alexander’s bill, SB 595, unanimously passed the Senate as well, despite initial opposition from home funeral advocates. O’Bannon, R-73, voted in favor of the bill in the House subcommittee on health, welfare and institutions after the amendments were made to accommodate those concerns.

The bill originally required “any person or institution” to refrigerate bodies at less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but the amendments eliminated all language pertaining to people to focus only on institutions.
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Panel kills bill to keep officers’ names secret


After nearly an hour of debate, a legislative panel killed a bill that would have exempted law enforcement officers’ names and training records from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

A subcommittee of the House General Laws Committee tabled Senate Bill 552 for the General Assembly’s current session. State officials plan to study the issue as part of a review of the state’s FOIA law.

FOIA allows any citizen to gain access to government documents, including names and salaries of public employees. Currently, personal information such as health records, home addresses, Social Security numbers and bank account information is exempt.
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Conference committee to draft final state budget


A conference committee of House and Senate members is working to hash out the differences between the state budget proposals passed by the two chambers.

The committee’s decisions will affect government spending for the next two years. Neither proposed budget includes new taxes or tax increases. Both increase funding for K-12 education, higher education, economic development and health care – but without expanding Medicaid, which serves low-income residents.

“I am confident our conferees will do an outstanding job of advocating this plan when we meet with our House counterparts,” said Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta, co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a member of the conference committee.
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Poll: Virginians think prisons cost too much


Most Virginians agree that the prison population costs too much money, according to a recent poll by the Charles Koch Institute, an educational public-policy organization, and Prison Fellowship, a Christian nonprofit that advocates for criminal justice reform.

On Wednesday, the two groups hosted a panel of experts to discuss the poll results and fiscally responsible ways to both reform the prison system and make communities safer.

“In Virginia, there are actions that can be taken in the short run to dramatically improve our current justice system,” said Vikrant Reddy, senior research fellow at the Koch Institute. “We can improve public safety, reduce costs and respect each individual’s dignity.”
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September 2017
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Triad will perform at 8 p.m. at The Tin Pan, 8982 Quioccasin Rd. Triad brings signature vocal arrangements to the classic songs of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Spending nearly 30 years in the Virginia music community, Dave Pollard, Dale Payne and Vickie Payne have played in various other bands – Triad marks their first collaborative performance group. Tickets are $10. Doors open at 6 p.m. For details, call 447-8189 or visit http://www.tinpanrva.com. Full text

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