Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Recent legislation requires radiologists to notify patients if they have dense breast tissue, which can sometimes hide cancer.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
By Leah Small Capital News Service Beginning July 1 women getting mammograms will learn whether they have dense breast tissue that could hide cancer, thanks to recent legislation that addresses the test’s failure to detect certain cancers in women with dense breast tissue. Under the new law, if radiologists conducting mammograms find dense breast tissue, they must send the patient a letter noting that fact—and that dense breast tissue can hide cancer. The letter will urge women to talk to their physicians about the matter. The new “patient inform” law resulted from efforts by a breast cancer survivor, Cathryn Tatusko of Fairfax County, with support from an aptly named national awareness organization called Are You Dense. JoAnn Pushkin, …
Friday, April 27, 2012
Tell us: Should Virginia continue to operate under Dillon Rule or should lawmakers leave more room for local governments to set their own course?
RICHMOND (Capital News Service) — During a session marked by debates over big issues like the state budget and abortion rights, Virginia legislators spent a surprising amount of time dealing with mundane matters — like telling slackers in Prince George County, the city of Hopewell and the towns of Ashland and Chincoteague to mow their lawns. In Virginia, it takes a state law for local governments to order residents to cut their grass or remove trash from their property. That’s because Virginia follows a legal doctrine called the Dillon Rule. Under that principle, localities have only powers granted to them by the state. As a result, every year local officials must go hat in hand to the Capitol and ask the General Assembly for permission to…
Monday, April 2, 2012
Sen. Janet Howell writes about the pushback pro-gun legislation received from lawmakers
Virginians want politicians who support strong gun laws, state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd District) wrote in an opinion for The Washington Post. "Citizens across the commonwealth want responsible gun laws and will support, not punish, politicians who work to reduce trafficking," she wrote. Howell writes about how the General Assembly may have repealed the one-gun-a-month law during this year's legislative session, but it does not mean advocates of stricter gun laws should lose all optimism. "First, while plenty of pundits thought that the gun lobby would have carte blanche in Virginia this session, there was a remarkable level of pushback from both sides of the aisle," she wrote, noting bills that would have allowed guns on college campuses…
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Gov. Bob McDonnell is expected to sign into law a bill that would allow state-funded private child-placement agencies the right to deny services based on their religious or moral beliefs.
Greg Greeley grew up in a large family and knew that one day he would want to start his own. "When I decided to start a family, and began reaching out to adopt, I was a single father," said Greeley, who moved to Virginia in 1987. He was in the Air Force and stationed at the Pentagon. As a single, gay man, Greeley faced many challenges before successfully navigating the state's adoption process. He started the process in 2001. A year later, after locating a progressive child-placement agency in Virginia, he adopted his first child from Ukraine. "It was a hard process and I was lucky," said Greeley, who lives in Arlington and now has a second adopted son from El Salvador. "The first question I asked each agency was, 'Do you work with single …
Monday, March 5, 2012
Tell us: Were riot police, SWAT teams necessary for safety around Richmond or was it an overreaction?
At Monday's Virginia Senate session, Sens. Janet Howell (D-32nd) and Chap Petersen (D-34th) denounced the use of riot police, SWAT teams carrying automatic weapons, police dogs and helicopters in response to what they called peaceful protests in Capitol Square. Protest groups have gathered several times at the square this session in the wake of legislation aimed at limiting abortion rights. On Saturday, 31 protesters were arrested — mostly for trespassing or unlawful assembly — on the state capitol steps following a women's rights rally. Prior to some of the arrests, protesters were monitored by a fully armored police SWAT team carrying automatic weapons, riot police, and police dogs, the senators said. "They were chanting, 'Tell me what …
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Opponents of repealing the requirement say it is necessary preventive care for girls, but tell us: Is the General Assembly infringing on parental rights?
State senators postponed a bill Monday that would have repealed the law requiring sixth-grade girls to be immunized from the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The Senate voted 22-17, with two Republicans joining 20 Democrats, to send the bill back to the Education and Health Committee for consideration in 2013. House Bill 1112, sponsored by Del. Kathy Byron (R-22nd District), passed the Republican-heavy House of Delegates 62-34 on Jan. 27. Byron also submitted a similar bill in the 2011 session, which the Democrat-controlled Senate rejected. "I am extraordinarily glad that the Commonwealth will continue to immunize young people against this deadly disease," Del. Barbara Favola said in a statement. "The best way to eradicate cervical cancer is …
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Gov. Bob McDonnell retreats from past statements, says mandating invasive procedure "is not a proper role for the state." Tell us: Is the amended bill better?
Republican lawmakers and the governor backed down from supporting a bill Wednesday that may have required women seeking an abortion to undergo an invasive ultrasound. After previously indicating his support for legislation that called for ultrasounds to determine the gestational age, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said he would not sign a bill that would require women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound if it could not be obtained through an external one. "Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state," McDonnell said in a statement. "No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure." With the …
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Howell hopes to see fair Senate rules emerge from the confusion over a split chamber
When Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd District) is sworn in for her sixth General Assembly session on Jan. 11, she said she is prepared to play defense if the Senate chamber rules end up working heavily against the Democrats. With a 20-20 split between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate Chamber, the limits to Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's powers are unclear. If Bolling (R) overreaches, at least in the Democrats' view, the issue could wind up in the courts. But Howell would prefer otherwise. "I would like it to be decided rather quickly because we have a lot of work to do," she said. "It's likely to be a real brouhaha the first day over the rules." She added she would be pleased if the Senate decided its rules in the same way it did when it faced a…