General Assembly

Governor vetoes Republicans’ ‘educational choice’ legislation


Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Thursday vetoed several bills that Republicans say would have increased school choice but McAuliffe said would have undermined public schools.

Two bills, House Bill 1400 and Senate Bill 1240, would have established the Board of Virginia Virtual School as an agency in the executive branch of state government to oversee online education in kindergarten through high school. Currently, online courses fall under the Virginia Board of Education.

Democrat Jeff Bourne elected to Virginia House


Jeff Bourne, a member of the Richmond School Board, easily won a special election Tuesday for the Virginia House of Delegates. Bourne, the Democratic nominee in the race, will represent the 71st House District, which includes parts of Richmond and Henrico County.

With all precincts reporting, Bourne received 3,708 votes, almost 90 percent of the ballots cast. The second-place candidate, Libertarian John W. Barclay, got about 7 percent. Regie Ford, an independent candidate, received about 3 percent.

Bourne fill the seat vacated by a fellow Democrat, Jennifer McClellan, who was elected to the state Senate last month.

Audience boos as panel rebuffs redistricting advocates


Dozens of people jeered Republicans on a House committee Friday after they declined to revive legislation aimed at changing the way political districts are drawn in Virginia.

More than 100 people gathered for the meeting of the House Privileges and Elections Committee. Some of them yelled “Cowards!” and “Shame on you!” after the panel refused a request by Democrats to reconsider five redistricting proposals that a subcommittee had killed earlier in the week.

During the Friday morning meeting, the committee blew through its agenda and did not take up the proposed constitutional amendments addressing redistricting.

Virginia likely to ease rules on marijuana


Virginia won’t be pulling a Colorado by decriminalizing marijuana this year. But the state might relax its penalties for possessing marijuana and its rules on who can use marijuana products for medical reasons.

Legislators this session introduced more than a dozen marijuana-related proposals. A Senate committee last week killed two bills to decriminalize the substance, and a House bill likely will die this week.

However, lawmakers seem amenable to making marijuana products more available for medical purposes and to being more lenient with Virginians convicted of simple possession of marijuana.

‘Left-lane bandits’ may face $250 fine


The House of Delegates has approved a bill that would impose a mandatory $250 fine for driving too slowly in the left lane on highways. HB 2201 was introduced by Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, and co-sponsored by Democrats Del. Kaye Kory of Falls Church and Sen. Scott Surovell of Fairfax to show bipartisan support for the measure. O’Quinn said this is something that affects all Virginians, regardless of which side of the aisle they align themselves with.

“It doesn’t matter which corner of the commonwealth you come from,” he said when addressing the bill on the House floor Monday. “It doesn’t matter which interstate or four-lane highway that you have going through the districts you represent. I guarantee you are going to encounter this many times, even if you’re on the highways for just a few minutes.”

Immigration advocates win and lose


Virginia colleges won’t be forced to give federal authorities sensitive details about students who may be undocumented immigrants, after a legislative subcommittee killed a bill opposed by immigration advocates.

However, another panel killed legislation that immigration advocates had wanted: It would have allowed eligible undocumented students to pay in-state college tuition.

House passes bill targeting undocumented immigrants


Local law enforcement officials would be required to hold undocumented immigrants in jail past their scheduled release dates under legislation approved this week by the House of Delegates.

Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William, proposed HB 1468, which would prohibit officials from releasing an incarcerated undocumented immigrant until the individual has been received by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement service.

The bill requires law enforcement officials to hold undocumented detainees “in excess of their scheduled release date,” which would mean keeping them in jail for an additional, undetermined period of time until they can be passed over to ICE.

House panel OKs bills targeting opioid crisis


A House committee has approved seven bills aimed at fighting the opioid crisis in Virginia. The legislation would limit the prescription of medications containing opioids, establish guidelines for the use of opioids to treat pain and make opioid overdose reversal drugs more easily available.

The House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee voted unanimously Thursday in favor of the proposals and sent them to the full House of Delegates for consideration.

On an average day, three Virginians die of a drug overdose, according to State Health Commissioner Marissa Levine. In November, she and Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

McAuliffe boasts Virginia employment records


RICHMOND – After giving a report at a meeting of the National Governors Association this week, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he is proud of how well Virginia is doing economically.

“I just gave the State of the State, and I almost feel bad for those other 49 governors. I don’t know what they do every day because we live in the greatest state in the greatest nation on Earth,” McAuliffe said at the Virginia Municipal League Day at the Capitol.

Virginia has reached its highest level of employment in history, with more than 4.2 million workers in the commonwealth, McAuliffe said.

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March 2017
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Calendar

Nineteen of the Richmond region’s most renowned historic sites will offer visitors a “passport” to travel back in time during the weekend of March 11-12. Visitors are invited to discover the area’s treasures, spanning 400 years of fascinating history. This is a special opportunity as some of these sites are not usually open on a regular basis. For a Time Travelers Passport, visit http://tinyurl.com/TTpassport. The following sites are located in Henrico County:

•Clarke-Palmore House – March 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
•Courtney Road Service Station – March 11-12 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
•Dabbs House Museum – March 11-12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
•Historic Deep Run School – March 11-12 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
•Meadow Farm Museum – March 11-12 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
•Virginia Randolph Museum – March 11 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and March 12 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
•Walkerton Tavern – March 11 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
•Wilton House Museum – March 11 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and March 12 from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Full text

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