General Assembly

Gov. McAuliffe keeps a perfect veto record


Terry McAuliffe not only set a record for the number of bills vetoed by a Virginia governor. He also has a perfect record for the number of vetoes sustained.

Republicans in the General Assembly failed to override any of the 40 vetoes that the Democratic governor issued on bills passed during this year’s legislative session, including measures that sought to increase voting requirements and make it easier to carry concealed weapons.

During his four years in office, McAuliffe has vetoed a total of 111 bills – more than any of his predecessors.

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.

House OKs sale of 151-proof liquor


Virginians would be able to buy liquor with almost 50 percent more alcohol than is currently available under a bill passed Wednesday by the House of Delegates.

The legislation would raise the limit on the alcohol content of neutral grain spirits – alcohol that is “without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color” – sold at state-controlled liquor stores from 101 proof (50.5 percent alcohol) to 151 proof (75.5 percent alcohol).

The bill passed with a bipartisan vote of 83-14.

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The Glen Allen Ruritan Community Foundation will host the Sixth Annual Healy Gala from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. The Healy Gala is held to raise funds to endow the Mike Healy Scholarship. Healy was a local businessman and community leader who died suddenly in 2011. The scholarship is awarded each year to a graduating senior at Glen Allen HS. The theme for this year’s Gala is “Spring Towards Higher Education” with both a live and silent auction with more than 100 items. There will be light hors d'oeuvres, beer, wine, a raffle, and music by Summerhaus. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door; admission includes one drink ticket. For details, visit http://www.healygala.org. Full text

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