General Assembly

Republicans, Democrats ready to race to fill open House seat


When Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico, announced on March 18 that he would not run for re-election, local Republicans and Democrats prepared for a fight, ready for the race to fill his seat.

Massie, who said in his announcement on Facebook that his time in the House of Delegates had been “the greatest honor of (his) professional life,” had served the 72nd House district since 2008. He said he prayed before making a difficult decision.

Eddie Whitlock, the chairman of the Henrico County Republican Party, praised Massie’s record in the House.

VanValkenburg to seek 72nd District seat


Democrat Schuyler VanValkenburg recently announced his intention to seek the party nomination for the 72nd District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. VanValkenburg is a government and civics teacher at Glen Allen High School and has worked in the school system for 12 years. He is a University of Richmond graduate.

The 72nd District seat has been held by Republican Jimmie Massie since 2008.

Legislators designate Suicide Prevention Week


Joshua Alburger grew up in a large, supportive family in Goochland, Virginia, says his sister, Marcie Allen. “We were nurtured, loved, respected and made to feel safe.”

Their parents had five children of their own while raising an additional five, Allen said. She said that later in life, Alburger developed a mental illness and struggled with suicidal thoughts. In 2013, at age 32, he died by suicide, leaving behind a wife of 10 years and three children.

“Joshua’s death broke my heart,” said Allen, who now works to raise awareness about how to prevent suicide.

Assembly passes bill to allow sale of 151-proof liquor


The General Assembly has given final approval to a bill that would allow the sale of 151-proof liquor in Virginia – a choice available in almost all other states, but one some fear could increase binge drinking and other problems on college campuses.

“I am glad to see Virginia join the ranks of 48 other states that have legalized clear, 151-proof alcohol. The law banning the legislation is a law left over from the days of Prohibition,” said Del. Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach, who sponsored the bill.

Supporters say Planned Parenthood is for everyone


Pink signs, chants, “pussy hats” and a Wednesday afternoon rally served as a reminder to Planned Parenthood supporters that their fight is not over.

About 60 people attended the Stand With Planned Parenthood rally in the Virginia Commonwealth University Student Commons Plaza. The rally came one day after the Senate narrowly passed HB 2264, a bill some see as an effort to defund Planned Parenthood.

“We are bracing ourselves for the attack we are sure to see over the next four years on women’s health care,” said Elizabeth Childress, Richmond City chair of the Young Democrats.

Senate passes bill to defund Planned Parenthood


The Senate on Tuesday narrowly passed a bill to curtail funding for Planned Parenthood and other health centers that perform abortions.

The Senate voted 20-19 along party lines in favor of HB 2264, sponsored by Del. Benjamin Cline, R-Amherst.

The bill states that the Virginia Department of Health “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.”

Assembly passes bill to prevent identity theft


A bill that seeks to protect Virginians from losing their income tax refunds to identity thieves won final approval Wednesday in the General Assembly.

The bill’s sponsor, Del. Mark Keam, D-Vienna, said thieves can steal information from the payroll system of an employer or payroll service and use it to claim a state income tax refund before the real taxpayer files a legitimate return.

“Incidents of cyber hacking and data breach are becoming way too common, and criminals are using every opportunity to prey on innocent Virginians,” Keam said.

Small businesses may get break on tax penalties


New small businesses that fall behind on their state taxes would get a break under a bill passed by the House of Delegates on Wednesday.

SB 793 would waive the penalties for small businesses that are in arrears in paying their taxes during their first two years in operation.

The legislation was introduced by Republican Sens. Glen Sturtevant and Amanda Chase, both of Chesterfield. It would waive any penalties related to taxes administered by the Virginia Department of Taxation as long as the small business has signed an installment agreement to complete payment of its taxes.

Senate approval sends ‘Tebow Bill’ to McAuliffe


The Virginia Senate narrowly approved a bill Monday that would allow home-schooled students across the commonwealth to play high school sports.

HB 1578, commonly known as the “Tebow Bill,” would eliminate a statewide ban prohibiting home-schooled students from participating in high school athletics and other interscholastic activities.

The Senate voted 22-18 in favor of the measure. Democratic Sen. Lynwood Lewis of Accomac joined the 21 Republican senators in voting for the bill, which had been approved by the House last month.

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Regency Square Mall will host the arrival of the Easter Bunny with breakfast in the spring garden from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Ages 10 and under. Seating is limited. To register, call 740-1518. The Easter Bunny will remain until Apr. 15. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday (with half-hour breaks at 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.) and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday (with a break from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.). Visits are free; photo packages vary in price. For details, visit http://www.shopregencysqmall.com. Full text

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