General Assembly

Assembly sustains all of McAuliffe’s vetoes


The General Assembly failed Wednesday to override any of Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s vetoes of legislation championed by Republicans, including bills to defund Planned Parenthood and let home-schoolers participate in public-school sports.

Overriding a veto requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate. That was doable in the House, where there are 66 Republicans and 34 Democrats. But it proved impossible in the Senate, where Democrats hold 19 of the 40 seats.

Assembly bypasses Richmond airport parking dispute


A legislative subcommittee has shelved a bill that would have limited how much Richmond International Airport could charge ground transportation providers such as Park ’N Go.

House Bill 1889, introduced by Delegate Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, stated that “Any charges on ground transportation providers imposed by the governing body of Richmond International Airport: 1. Shall be assessed in the same manner as charges imposed on other providers of ground transportation; and 2. Shall not be based on the gross receipts of the ground transportation provider.”

One of the bill’s chief proponents had been Park ’N Go, a business that offers parking and shuttle service to and from the Richmond airport. Park ’N Go has a long-standing dispute with the airport.

Senate OKs bill to regulate restraint, seclusion


Restraint and seclusion of students in public schools would be more carefully regulated under a bill that has cleared the Senate and is now before the House of Delegates.

Senate Bill 782, proposed by Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, passed the Senate, 35-4, last week. It calls for the Virginia Board of Education to adopt regulations governing the use of seclusion and restraint in public schools. The regulations would cover training, parental notification and reporting requirements. Among other things, teachers would learn de-escalation techniques, with the goal of calming a student before physical restraining becomes necessary.

Glen Allen student interns for McDougle

Glen Allen resident and Randolph Macon College senior Christopher Pierce Colley is interning for Virginia State Senator Ryan McDougle during this year’s General Assembly session.

Pierce (pictured, center, with McDougle at left and RMC President Robert Lindgren at right), is studying political science. He previously interned for U.S. Congressman Dave Bratt’s campaign last fall.

“Pierce has been a great asset to our office this January and I have enjoyed working with and getting to know him,” said McDougle.

State may legalize sales of ninja stars, daggers


Worried collectors of ninja stars and ballistic knifes in Virginia could soon feel relieved that their hobby won’t land them in trouble. A bill to legalize the sale of those weapons and others like it won a committee’s endorsement Wednesday, making way for the legislation to be heard on the Senate floor.

Under current law, it’s allowed to possess blackjacks, brass knuckles, ninja stars, switchblades, bowie knives, stilettos, ballistic knives and daggers. But selling those items is illegal and punishable as a class 4 misdemeanor.

Bill to change local rezoning processes shelved by subcommittee


The Virginia Association of Counties received its wish when a bill to change local governments’ rezoning process was killed in a House subcommittee last week.

House Bill 2262, proposed by Del. Rick L. Morris, R-Carrollton, would have required the staff of the local planning commission to advise rezoning applicants about the feasibility of their requests and possibly grant preliminary approval.

On Wednesday, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns voted to table the bill for this legislative session.

Uber, Lyft soon will be legal in Virginia


After a yearlong ban, Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride-sharing services soon will have a law allowing them to operate legally in Virginia.

The House of Delegates on Friday joined the Senate in passing a bill that would set licensing requirements for such services’ drivers. The legislation is similar to an interim agreement approved by state officials last August after the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles sent cease-and-desist letters banning the taxicab-like service from the state.

The House voted 67-28 in favor of HB 1662, sponsored by Del. Tom Rust, R-Herndon.

Senate panel OKs bill that would freeze electric rates


A Senate committee on Monday approved a bill that would exempt Dominion Virginia Power from financial regulation and freeze electric rates until 2023.

The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee voted 14-1 in favor of Senate Bill 1349. It now will be considered by the full Senate.

The bill enjoyed bipartisan support from committee members: 10 Republicans – including the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Frank Wagner, of Virginia Beach – and four Democrats voted for it; Sen. Stephen Newman, R-Forest, voted against it.

Panel won’t restrict death penalty


To the dismay of Catholic advocacy groups, a Senate committee has killed a bill to restrict capital punishment in Virginia.

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 10-3 last Wednesday to “pass by indefinitely” Senate Bill 1296, sponsored by Sen. Donald McEachin, D-Richmond. The bill would have allowed the death sentence only when the conviction was supported by DNA or other biological evidence or when a video “conclusively connects the defendant to the offense” – for example, with a “voluntary interrogation and confession.”

The next day, members of the Virginia Catholic Charter, representing church members from throughout the state, gathered in Richmond for Catholic Advocacy Day, an annual summit addressing key issues before the General Assembly.

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