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.

Give caregivers training they need, supporters say


Advocates for people who take care of elderly parents and other family members are urging the General Assembly to provide support for family caregivers.

Robert Blancato, national coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition, said two bills before the assembly would do that: HB 1413, sponsored by Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax Station, and SB 851, introduced by Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington.

Under those measures, hospitals would have to provide a family member or other designated individual with information and instructions about follow-up care or treatment when a patient is being discharged.

Panel kills car title, payday loan regulations


Car title and payday loan vendors will face no new hurdles this year, after a House committee killed seven bills that would have further regulated or even banned such businesses.

The House Committee on Commerce and Labor voted down the bills on Tuesday.

Payday and car title loans are perennially under fire from both sides of the aisle for what critics call predatory lending practices and outrageously high interest rates.

Bills would remove a FOIA exemption


Two legislators from Northern Virginia are teaming up to eliminate wording in a state law that exempts the working papers and correspondence of public university presidents from public disclosure.

Republican Del. David I. Ramadan of Loudoun and Prince William counties and Democratic Sen. J. Chapman Petersen of Fairfax have filed bills that aim to delete that exemption from Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act..

Ramadan is the chief patron of House Bill 1722, and Petersen is the chief patron of Senate Bill 893. They are co-sponsoring each other’s bills.

New report about dementia now available


Virginia should prepare for an increase in the number of residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, state officials say.

Helping such individuals is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue, but an issue for all citizens, said Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave.

“All of us have family members or friends or neighbors who have been impacted by Alzheimer’s or dementia,” Landes said. “And as we have an aging population, more and more of us are going to face these challenges the older we get.”

Panel kills marijuana decriminalization bill


The Senate Courts of Justice Committee on Wednesday killed a bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The committee voted 10-4 to “pass by indefinitely,” meaning Senate Bill 686, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, is dead for this legislative session.

The vote came after 12 people spoke in support of the bill and eight spoke against it. The committee chairman, Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, limited speakers to five minutes.

Don’t start school before Labor Day, group says


Virginia schools should not be allowed to start classes before Labor Day, a coalition of state legislators and tourism officials said Wednesday. They voiced support for the current law requiring schools to begin after Labor Day, the traditional end of the tourism season, unless they get permission from the state.

A half-dozen bills before the General Assembly seek to eliminate the so-called “King’s Dominion law” and give school boards the authority to begin classes before Labor Day. The bills’ proponents say a pre-Labor Day start of the school calendar would boost students’ academic performance.

But officials from tourist destinations like Virginia Beach and Williamsburg disputed the alleged benefits of starting school before Labor Day and said it would be a bad idea.

Bill would ‘ban the box’ on job applications


A Senate committee on Monday narrowly approved a bill that would prohibit state agencies from asking job applicants if they have a criminal history on employment applications.

The Senate General Laws and Technology Committee voted 8-7 in favor of Senate Bill 1017, sponsored by Sen. Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg. It would remove the box from applications that prospective employees must check if they’ve been convicted of a crime.

#SaveJosh campaign inspires legislation


Josh Hardy, a Fredericksburg boy battling a rare disease, has inspired state Sen. Bryce Reeves to sponsor legislation making it easier for terminally ill patients to obtain investigational drugs that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Reeves, who represents Fredericksburg and areas west of the city, filed Senate Bill 1222 as a result of the Hardy family’s successful social media campaign to gain access to brincidofovir, an experimental antiviral drug. About 17,500 people signed an online petition supporting the campaign.

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