General Assembly

House OKs bill to ease rule on concealed gun permits


The Virginia House of Delegates approved a bill Wednesday to allow members of the military to obtain concealed handgun permits at age 18HB 1582, introduced by Del. Jeff Campbell, R-Marion, passed by a vote of 78-19. It will now go to the Senate for consideration.

The bill would allow active-duty military personnel and those with an honorable discharge between the ages of 18 and 20 to receive concealed handgun permits, provided they have completed basic training. The current minimum age for a concealed handgun permit is 21.

‘Eli’s Law’ would publicize child abusers


A Hanover County mother, whose son suffered brain damage and other injuries when he was abused by a man in 2010, urged state lawmakers Monday to expand who must be listed on Virginia’s Sex Offender and Crimes against Minors Registry. A legislative subcommittee appeared receptive to the idea.

Courtney Maddox told the panel about her son Elijah’s harrowing ordeal: “My son suffered a brain injury, a stroke and was left paralyzed and with two broken legs” after he was abused by a family friend. The abuser was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison. But under the state’s current laws, his name won’t be on the public registry when he is released.

That is why Maddox is pushing for House Bill 672, also known as Eli’s Law.

Elections Board removes GOP’s ‘loyalty oath’


State officials agreed Thursday to honor the Republican Party of Virginia’s request to remove a requirement that voters sign a “loyalty oath” before voting in the March 1 presidential primary. The State Board of Elections voted 2-0 to remove the requirement despite objections from the Virginia branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Much as we decry and dispute the original decision to implement an affirmation requirement, simply said, two wrongs don’t make a right,” Hope Amezquita, staff attorney and legislative counsel at ACLU-VA, told the board.

Attorney General targets patent trolls


Matthew Osenga, an attorney who specializes in intellectual property and patent prosecution, said that in all his years of practicing law, he has had only one case in which somebody came to him fearing a lawsuit about a fraudulent patent claim. What happened? “We chose to not do anything, and nothing came of it,” Osenga said Monday from his office at the Richmond law firm of Goodman, Allen and Donnelly.

But some experts say fraudulent claims filed by so-called “patent trolls” are a major problem. That’s why Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring recently created a “Patent Troll Unit” to go after people who try to extort money by fraudulently claiming that someone has stolen their patent.

McAuliffe touts ‘new Virginia economy’


Gov. Terry McAuliffe told an optimistic story about the state of Virginia’s economy, while emphasizing the need to improve education, before a crowd of more than 275 business people from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

McAuliffe said more Virginians today have better-paying jobs than before he was elected. Some statistics he quoted implied that the state’s economy is stronger than it has ever been. He said:

• 568 new economic development projects have occurred during his tenure.

• $9.34 billion in new capital has come to the state in that time – nearly double the amount under any other governor in Virginia history.

Massie’s bill seeks to enhance colleges’ responses to sexual assaults


A bill proposed by Henrico Republican Del. James P. Massie III would increase the number of school officials required to respond to college sexual assaults and exclude some information about such assaults from public records.

“We are just trying to improve the communications between the universities and the local law enforcement: the more communication, the better,” Massie said.

Massie’s bill, HB 1016, would exclude the records of a sexual assault response team from required public disclosure and require additional college officials on that team.

House Republicans outline education agenda


House Republicans outlined their agenda for education on Tuesday, saying they want to expand early education and charter schools and give parents more options on where to send their children to school.

Speaking before the House, Del. Steve Landes, R-Augusta, lauded his colleagues for a successful bipartisan effort in 2015 that brought “more money into the classroom.”

Landes, who chairs the House Education Committee, said he hopes to continue to work across the aisle to improve what Education Week ranked as the fourth best public education system in the nation.

Here’s a bill beer-drinkers might celebrate


Do you have an expensive bottle of wine you’ve been holding onto – one that you’d love to uncork at your favorite restaurant on a special occasion? What about a special case of beer or cider?

In 2011, the General Assembly passed a law allowing Virginians to bring a bottle of wine into a restaurant and have it uncorked to be served with their meal, usually for a fee at the restaurateur’s discretion. Now legislators are considering a bill to expand the corkage law to beer and cider.

Bill would remove sales tax on tampons


Virginia’s sales tax covers almost everything you buy, from athletic socks to zippers. But it doesn’t apply to medicine, contact lenses and certain other personal health items. Now, the General Assembly is considering adding feminine hygiene products to the list of exemptions.

Del. Mark Keam, D-Vienna, introduced House Bill 952, which seeks to remove the sales tax on tampons and sanitary napkins in Virginia. Currently these items are taxed at the standard rate, like most other items: 6 percent in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, and 5.3 percent in the rest of the state..

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The Richmond Ostomy Association, a support group for individuals who have had or are contemplating ostomy surgery, meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital-Forest Campus, Williamsburg A conference room. Gabriella Pepe, a post-doctoral pharmacy intern, will speak about specific vitamin deficiencies ostomates need to be aware of. For details, contact Mike Rollston at 232-1916 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Full text

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