Virginia House passes dead-body bill

After amendments from Henrico Del. John O’Bannon’s subcommittee, the Virginia House unanimously passed a bill Monday that requires institutions to refrigerate dead bodies that will be stored for more than 48 hours.

Sen. Kenneth Alexander’s bill, SB 595, unanimously passed the Senate as well, despite initial opposition from home funeral advocates. O’Bannon, R-73, voted in favor of the bill in the House subcommittee on health, welfare and institutions after the amendments were made to accommodate those concerns.

The bill originally required “any person or institution” to refrigerate bodies at less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but the amendments eliminated all language pertaining to people to focus only on institutions.

“There was an apparent problem in this bill,” O’Bannon said. “There was opposition initially from a fair number of faith-based people and folks who actually have societal norms that they use on how they deal with the dead.”

The idea for the bill came from an incident in which a death occurred in a hospital on a Friday evening, but the hospital did not have a refrigerated morgue, so Monday’s autopsy was not of much value, O’Bannon said.

Lee Webster, president of the National Home Funeral Alliance, aggressively advocated for changing the original language of the bill. The version of SB 595 that passed the Senate was problematic because it put an unreasonable restriction on families in their homes, Webster said.

“It’s poor legislation because it’s inviting the government in to supervise something that families have the right to do,” Webster said. “That is just bad governing and bad policy.”

Webster also said the refrigeration requirements did not align with studies from the Centers for Disease Control or the World Health Organization.

“Anyone who is going to keep a body home already knows that there are things that have to be done with the body,” Webster said. “This is not, under normal circumstances, a threat of any kind, whatsoever.”

Webster did say that she was not opposed to the bill as it stood with its final amendments, because it did not affect families anymore. O’Bannon echoed his sentiment.

“I think it was a fair compromise and that’s why I supported the bill,” he said.
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Henrico Master Gardener training program accepting applications through Oct. 27


The Henrico County Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension is accepting applications for its next volunteer Master Gardener training program, which provides instruction in all aspects of horticulture.

Applications for the 2018 training program will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 27. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 16 through March 22. > Read more.

Henrico Schools to host Oct. 30 job fair


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The event, to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fairfield branch library, is designed to attract potential full-time and substitute registered nurses, instructional assistants, bus drivers and school nutrition workers. > Read more.

Henrico Police to participate in ‘Tip a Cop’ Oct. 21


Henrico County Police Division and the Virginia Division of Capitol Police are participating in “Tip-A-Cop” to Support the Special Olympics Saturday, Oct. 21.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. that day at Red Robin, 11784 West Broad Street, members of the two agencies will be working for tips as a donation to the Special Olympics. > Read more.

Participants sought for ‘Walk to End Alzheimer’s’


The Richmond Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held Saturday, Nov. 4, at Markel Plaza in Innsbrook, and the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Richmond is seeking participants.

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Fairfield meeting Oct. 25 to focus on cybersecurity


Henrico County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman and Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will hold a constituent meeting Wednesday, Oct. 25 to discuss cybersecurity.

Thornton also has invited candidates who will be seeking election to local offices on Tuesday, Nov. 7 to introduce themselves. > Read more.

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Henrico County, in partnership with GRTC, is conducting a series of three Public Meetings to present recommended changes to transit service in Henrico County and to seek input from the public. Portions of Henrico County’s GRTC service will need to be adjusted to better connect with the upcoming Pulse BRT service and planned changes in the City of Richmond’s transit network. Meetings will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations: Oct. 5 – Libbie Mill Library; Oct. 16 – Eastern Henrico Recreation Center; and Nov. 2 – Tuckahoe Library. All three meetings will be identical in content. Prior to the meeting, you can view the Choices Report for more information about the content of the meetings. Full text

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