Sunday, April 14, 2013
"No officer, I was just typing directions into my GPS…"
Texting while driving is dangerous, but some people do it anyway. This year, Virginia's General Assembly passed a measure that increased the fine to $125 (it was $20) for the first infraction and $250 for the second. But Virginia legislators did not pass a hands-free measure like they have in the District, and as such enforcing the law could prove difficult. The problem: Using cell phones to dial a number or setting the phone GPS is legal. “Distracted driving is a big problem, but it’s bigger than just phone use,” said Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, to the Washington Post. “Even if a law were successful in stopping phone use and texting, it wouldn’t eliminate distracted driving.” Northern Virginia Del. Scott …
Friday, February 22, 2013
Bill aiming to build consensus around Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to bring $3 billion to transportation projects met with mixed reviews.
Friday, February 22
By Whitney Spicer Capital News Service Critics of the transportation funding compromise reached by legislative negotiators say the plan would place a huge burden on Virginia taxpayers. The Virginia House of Delegates on Friday passed House Bill 2313, which would raise about $900 million a year for transportation and transit projects. The 98-page compromise must win approval the Senate before it can be signed into law by the governor. The legislative session ends Saturday. The new plan, which was hammered out by a 10-member conference committee over the past week, would potentially raise close to $900 million a year in transportation revenue. It could be the first transportation funding overhaul in Virginia since 1986 if it passes. The …
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Bill would impose harsher penalties, make texting while driving a primary offense.
A bill that would impose tougher penalties on those convicted of texting while driving cleared the state Senate on Tuesday and now heads to the desk of Gov. Bob McDonnell. The bill increases the fine to $250 — up from $20 — for the first texting-while-driving offense and $500 for each subsequent conviction. It also makes texting while driving an aggravating circumstance to reckless driving, and so anyone convicted of such would face a mandatory minimum $500 penalty if they were texting while they were driving recklessly. Texting while driving would also become a primary offense, which means police can stop someone on the suspicion that a driver is texting; current law allows police to charge someone with texting while driving only if they'…
Friday, February 15, 2013
Virginia voters wishing to cast an absentee ballot would still be required to give a reason.
A bill designed to alleviate privacy concerns about the absentee voting process could be heard by the full House of Delegates as early as Tuesday. The legislation, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Adam Ebbin, would still require a person to give a valid reason to vote absentee, though certain personal information would no longer be required on the application. "It's important that we not set up artificial roadblocks to voting absentee," Ebbin told Patch in a phone interview. "While some of my colleagues seem to not want to make it easier to vote, I was happy that we are removing an unnecessary roadblock — or, an unnecessary invasion of privacy." Ebbin's bill is a far cry from no-excuse absentee voting, sometimes called early voting, which …
Thursday, February 14, 2013
House subcommittee rejects proposal to allow Virginia governors to serve two consecutive terms.
Thursday, February 14
By Shelby Mertens Capital News Service Virginia governors will not be able to serve two consecutive terms starting in 2017, as a House of Delegates subcommittee has rejected the Senate's proposed constitutional amendment that would have allowed it. Sen. Thomas Garrett, R-Lynchburg, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 276. The amendment passed in the Senate late last month with a 25-15 bipartisan vote: 16 Democrats and nine Republicans voted for it, while 11 Republicans and four Democrats opposed it. When the Senate resolution crossed over to the House this week, however, it ran into trouble. The proposed amendment was assigned to the House Committee on Privileges and Elections. This week, that panel’s Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee…
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Both lawmakers represent part of Arlington in the Virginia General Assembly.
State Del. Rob Krupicka and Sen. Adam Ebbin will host a town hall from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Charles Houston Recreation Center in Old Town Alexandria to discuss this winter's General Assembly session. The two Democrats are based in Alexandria but their legislative districts include parts of Arlington. They will take comments and questions during the 90-minute session. No RSVP is necessary. Krupicka, a former member of the Alexandria City Council and the Virginia Board of Education, was elected to the House of Delegates in a special election in September 2012. Visit Richmond Sunlight for a detailed look at the bills Krupicka has worked on this session. Ebbin is in his first term as senator, winning election to the office in …
Monday, February 11, 2013
Legislation in Virginia's General Assembly would also require older teens to get parental permission before using a tanning salon.
Monday, February 11
By Allison Landry Capital News Service Children under 15 would no longer be able to use indoor tanning salons under legislation moving through the Virginia General Assembly. The state Senate recently approved Senate Bill 1274, which would prohibit individuals 14 and younger from using a tanning device at a tanning facility. It would also require most 15- to 17-year-olds to get their parent or guardian's consent before visiting a tanning parlor. The bill could become law, pending the outcome of a House vote. It is waiting to be reviewed in the House Committee on Commerce and Labor. “The goal is to try to reduce incidents of cancer, which is a significant issue particularly for children and adolescents who use tanning beds,” said Sen. …
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The “Reduce Gun Danger Act, “Mental Health First Aid“ proposal and “Flexible School Security Act” are designed to curb gun violence and offer protection to schools and families.
Delegate Rob Krupicka (D-45) has introduced three bills designed to curb gun violence and protect Virginia families. The package of bills “offer a coordinated first step toward addressing the current problem with gun violence, particularly in our schools,” according to a statement from Krupicka. “They give new tools and flexibility to communities so that they can better protect themselves from dangerous situations,” he said. “I am looking forward to working with colleagues from both parties on these and other measures to keep our schools and communities safe.” Bryan Porter, assistant commonwealth’s attorney for the City of Alexandria, said he supports the measures, calling the Reduce Gun Danger Act and Flexible School Security Act “common…
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Arlington delegates support bill, which would elevate penalty for texting while driving to include possible jail time and up to $2,500 fine.
A bill introduced in the Virginia General Assembly would make texting while driving a more serious offense — and the penalties upon conviction would be up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. It's not the first time such a measure has been proposed. But advocates say a recent court ruling that differentiates texting while driving from reckless driving should give them the support they need to get the bill through the General Assembly this year. "There's usually about 10 texting bills a year, and they usually all get killed," said state Del. Scott Surovell, D-Mount Vernon. "This year, something's going to change." The House bill, which all four Arlington delegates have signed on to support, would essentially elevate texting while …
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Lawmakers gather at Capitol.
RICHMOND — The Virginia General Assembly convened Wednesday for its 2013 session, which likely will feature lots of hot-button issues — transportation, school security, gun laws and uranium mining, among them. As lawmakers arrived, several hundred demonstrators on both sides of the abortion debate protested outside of the Capitol. According to Richmond Sunlight, the 100 members of the House of Delegates have filed 1,153 bills and the 40 members of the Senate have filed 597. The 140 elected representatives are from an equal number of constituent districts across the commonwealth. The House of Delegates is presided over by Speaker Bill Howell. The Senate is presided over by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. The Republican Party currently holds the …