By Ashley Jordan and Stefani Zenteno Rivadineira, Capital News Service 05/12/2015 General AssemblyGeneral Assembly 2015
Married couples are not the only ones affected by domestic violence. A nationwide trend of dating violence is on the rise. Dating violence can take many forms, including psychological, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. This is something Morgan Carey of Richmond knows firsthand.
Carey said the dating abuse she suffered was primarily emotional but started to take a more dangerous turn. So through Meetup.com, she started a support group for women in similar situations.
Starting the group had an unexpected benefit, Carey said. It helped her heal while it provided support for others.
Electronic cigarettes could be banned from the hands of minors as Virginia legislators in the House and Senate push for regulation.
In response to the growing number of young people experimenting with smokeless tobacco products, Virginia lawmakers have introduced House Bill 1111, House Bill 26, House Bill 218, Senate Bill 96 and Senate Bill 17 to prohibit people under the age of 18 from purchasing or possessing e-cigarettes.
A bill that would give Virginia police power to search private computers without a secondary search warrant was tabled after a committee determined the bill’s language failed to protect Fourth Amendment rights.
According to Delegate Mike Webert, R-Marshall, who is chief patron of the bill, the purpose of the bill “is not more money and power.”
Webert said his bill was meant to "streamline the process" of searching through a citizen's computer, by eliminating the need for two warrants.
State legislators have returned to Richmond for a 60-day session of the General Assembly, during which they’ll vote on a new biennial budget. Among the topics expected to generate the most attention during the session, which began last week: mental health reform, Medicaid, education, ethics reform and transportation. Legislators also will be working with a new governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
The Henrico Citizen invited each delegate and state senator whose district encompasses a portion of Henrico to provide their thoughts about the 2014 session. The answers of those who responded appear below.
Some local governments want the General Assembly to delay the July 1, 2014 deadline for establishing local stormwater runoff programs by one year.
Delegate Brenda Pogge, R-Williamsburg, said she would support the delay because many localities are not prepared to establish stormwater programs by July.
“My heart goes out to the plight of some of these smaller localities because they only have one option,” Pogge said. “And that is to increase taxes on all their population in order to do this (introduce storm-water programs) as quickly as they’re being mandated to.”
A proposed joint subcommittee stands at the center of a clearly defined focus on mental health services in Virginia less than two months after tragedy shook the state capital.
Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, D-25, whose son was treated for bipolar tendencies before ultimately stabbing his father and killing himself, is the chief patron of Senate Joint Resolution 47, which seeks to establish a nine-person subcommittee to study the mental health services in the commonwealth.
Tight security and steady rain Saturday did not dampen the spirit or the campaign promises of Democrat Terry McAuliffe as he became Virginia’s 72nd governor.
McAuliffe, who has never held elected office, won this past November’s nationally watched election against conservative, Tea Party-endorsed Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli. McAuliffe succeeds Republican Bob McDonnell as governor.
Virginia’s multibillion-dollar transportation funding package will put a heavier burden on lower-income households than on more affluent families, according to a Richmond-based think tank.
“The tax increases in the package would require low- and moderate-income Virginians to pay a bigger share of their earnings for transportation than wealthier households,” the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis said in a recent analysis of House Bill 2313.
During the General Assembly’s 2013 session, state legislators debated how much to spend on public education. But has education funding been going up or down? It depends on whom you ask. Democratic politicians and the Virginia Education Association say funding for the commonwealth’s public schools is at its lowest level since 2008.
Gov. Bob McDonnell disputes that.
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