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Posted January 8, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Legislation sponsored by local politicians

Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-27)

SB 927: Management of Confederate cemetery. Authorizes the disbursement of funds to the Mount Hebron Cemetery for management of the Confederate gravesites at the Stonewall Confederate Section of the cemetery. Current law authorizes the Stonewall Confederate Memorial Association to receive funds for management of the gravesites.

SB 928: Mental health assessments for certain juveniles. Requires the juvenile and domestic relations court, when the attorney for the commonwealth is seeking commitment of a juvenile, to order that an interdisciplinary team evaluate the service needs of a juvenile who has (i) been placed in a secure facility, (ii) had a mental health assessment completed by the secure facility that has identified a mental health need or mental illness, and (iii) been adjudicated delinquent and found eligible for commitment. A report of the evaluation must be filed with the clerk. The bill requires the court to consider the report when determining whether the juvenile will be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice and to state in its order for commitment the basis for its findings.

SB 929: Department of State Police; variable housing allowance. Provides a housing allowance for full-time, sworn State Police officers, based upon pay grade and geographical location, from funds that are appropriated for such purpose. The rates of the variable allowance shall be based on suggested rates developed and annually updated by the Department of Human Resource Management. The allowance would not be considered taxable income for state income tax purposes.

SB 930: Charitable gaming; network bingo. Authorizes the conduct of a new charitable game known as network bingo. The bill sets out the terms and conditions under which network bingo may be conducted, provides for the licensing of network bingo providers, and sets the maximum prize amount for network bingo. The bill defines the terms "network bingo," "pari-mutuel play," and "network bingo provider." With the exception of the provision requiring the Board of Charitable Gaming to establish regulations, the bill has a delayed effective date of July1, 2014. The bill also contains technical amendments.

SB 931: Disposition of unclaimed dead bodies. Establishes a time by which a person must claim a dead body and provides that in cases in which no person claims the body of a deceased person within 90 days of the death or notification of the next of kin of the deceased person, the sheriff or other person or institution having custody of the body may make arrangements for the disposition of the body. The bill also provides immunity from civil liability for sheriffs for acts, decisions, and omissions related to acceptance and disposition of dead bodies.

SB 932: Tax credit for participating landlords; eligible housing area. Allows participating landlords in any census tract in the commonwealth in which less than 10 percent of the residents live below the poverty level to be eligible for a tax credit for renting a dwelling to a tenant participating in a housing choice voucher program. Currently, the program is confined to the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical area.

SB 933: Movable Soccer Goal Safety Act created. Requires every organization that owns and controls a movable soccer goal to establish a soccer goal safety and education policy that outlines how the organization will address any safety concern related to movable soccer goals, including the dangers of unanchored or improperly anchored soccer goals tipping over and the care that must be taken to ensure proper installation, setup, maintenance, and transportation of movable soccer goals. The bill prohibits the sale of movable soccer goals that are not tip-resistant beginning July 1, 2014, and instructs the Board of Health to provide technical assistance for improving soccer goal safety.

SJ 299: Study; JLARC to study VDOT efficiency; report. Directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study the efficiency of the Virginia Department of Transportation.

SJ 300: Recognition of the Appalachian Cherokee Nation. Recognizes the existence of the Appalachian Cherokee Nation within the commonwealth.

Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-26)

SB 934: Charter schools; personnel. Allows public charter schools to designate in its application whether their employees will participate in the Virginia Retirement System. The bill directs the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Retirement System to develop procedures allowing school boards that approve such applications to exempt the charter school employees from participation. The bill also (i) requires at least 75 percent of public charter elementary school teachers to be licensed and at least 50 percent of public charter middle and high school teachers to be licensed, and (ii) specifies that all teachers otherwise be "highly qualified," as defined by the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

SB 935: Public schools; teacher contract and evaluation policies. Makes several changes to the processes by which teachers and certain administrators are evaluated and retained. Teachers, assistant principals, principals, and supervisors who have not achieved continuing contract status prior to the 2014-2015 school year may be eligible for three-year term contracts. Under the bill, five years of service is required to attain term contract status. Teachers, assistant principals, and principals with term contract status will be evaluated in the third year of their term contract and will be informally evaluated at least once during each of their first two years. Teachers, assistant principals, and principals who have achieved continuing contract status prior to the 2014-2015 school year will retain their continuing contract status. Teachers, assistant principals, and principals with continuing contract status will be formally evaluated every three years, and evaluated informally at least once each year in which they are not formally evaluated. The bill also defines the standard 10-month contract as 200 days, of which a minimum must be 180 days of instructional time. The bill has a delayed effective date of July 1, 2014.

SB 938: Multijurisdiction grand jury. Adds to the criminal violations that a multijurisdiction grand jury may investigate the following: crimes by mobs, malicious felonious assault and malicious bodily woundings, robbery, carjacking, felonious sexual assault, certain arsons, and RICO crimes.

SB 957: Electoral boards, meetings. Provides that electoral boards need to meet the first week of February only in the year in which terms of officers of election expire and new officers must be appointed. Electoral boards are currently required to meet during the first week of February each year.

SB 958: Voter registration; final day of registration and mail registration application. Provides that the principal office of the registrar and other registration sites shall close for registration purposes at 5 p.m. on the final day for registration before an election. The same deadline shall apply to receiving mail registration, other than applications returned through the United States Postal Service.

SJ 275: Constitutional amendment (first resolution); Transportation Funds. Requires the General Assembly to maintain permanent and separate Transportation Funds to include the Commonwealth Transportation Fund, Transportation Trust Fund, Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund, and other funds established by general law for transportation. All revenues dedicated to Transportation Funds on January 1, 2013, by general law, other than a general appropriation law, shall be deposited to the Transportation Funds, unless the General Assembly by general law, other than a general appropriation law, alters the revenues dedicated to the funds. The amendment limits the use of fund moneys to transportation and related purposes. The General Assembly may borrow from the funds for other purposes only by a vote of two-thirds plus one of the members voting in each house, and the loan must be repaid with reasonable interest within four years.

Del. C. Todd Gilbert (R-15)

HB 1615: Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; disclosure of methamphetamine laboratory. Requires the owner of residential property who has actual knowledge that the residential property was previously used as a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory or that the property previously used as a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory has been cleaned up in accordance with the Department of Health guidelines, to provide a written disclosure when selling the property. Otherwise, the owner is required to provide a written disclosure that he makes no representation as to the presence of a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory on the property. The bill also provides that if residential property formerly used as a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory has been cleaned up in accordance with the guidelines established by the Department of Health, the person or entity performing the cleanup shall file a declaration of the cleanup in the public land records of the locality in which the property located.

HB 1616: Limitations on use of drone aircraft. Provides that no state agency or organization having jurisdiction over criminal law enforcement or regulatory violations, including but not limited to the Department of State Police nor any department of law enforcement of any city, county or town, shall procure a public unmanned aircraft system (drone aircraft) without the approval of the General Assembly or the local governing body, respectively. The bill requires a warrant for use of such an aircraft. The bill also provides that it is not unlawful for any law enforcement officer or other public official to operate a public unmanned aircraft system and disclose personal information from such operation if such officer reasonably determines that an emergency situation exists that involves immediate danger of death or serious physical injury to any person and the situation requires operation of a public unmanned aircraft system before a warrant authorizing such interception can, with due diligence, be obtained and there are grounds upon which such a warrant could be entered to authorize such operation. The bill also provides that it is not unlawful for a public institution of higher education to operate a public unmanned aircraft system solely for research or academic purposes. The bill also contains extensive procedural guarantees against release of personal information and contains reporting requirements by agencies and courts with respect to use of and data collected by such aircraft.

HB 1617: Higher education; student organizations. Prohibits public institutions of higher education that grant recognition of and access to any student organization or group from discriminating against a student organization or group on the basis of the religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the organization or group's speech. The bill authorizes religious or political student organizations or groups to determine that ordering the organization's internal affairs, selecting the organization's leaders and members, defining the organization's doctrines, and resolving the organization's disputes are in furtherance of the organization's religious or political mission and that only persons committed to that mission should conduct those activities. The bill also prohibits public institutions of higher education from denying recognition or any privilege or benefit to any religious or political student organization or group that limits its core functions to persons committed to its mission.

HB 1618: Venue in civil cases; conduct of business activity; change of venue. Eliminates from the list of Category B venue (permissible venue) the forum where the defendant regularly conducts substantial business activity or where such activity was conducted before the defendant's withdrawal from the Commonwealth. The bill also provides that Category B venue exists where a defendant that is a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company has its principal office or place of business. The bill further provides that a court that has Category A venue (preferred venue) over a case may transfer that case to another forum if there is a lack of a practical nexus between the transferring court and the underlying cause of action.

HB 1628: Driver training schools. Provides that no DMV regulation shall provide for a minimum distance of separation between driver training schools and DMV facilities in any city or town with a population of 10,000 or less.

HB 1658: Clerk's fees; electronic records; certification of records; etc. Revises various powers and duties of circuit court clerks for certification of records, assessment of fees, etc., such as (i) providing that the use of the term "copy teste," "true copy," or "certified copy" is prima facie evidence that a document is a certified copy of the official record kept in the clerk's office; (ii) providing that a judgment for certain assessments or fees to be paid to the clerk of court shall be recorded as a judgment in favor of the commonwealth if such assessments or fees are not fully paid on the date of sentencing; (iii) requiring the clerk to be reimbursed by the Criminal Fund for the fees associated with providing copies of records to court appointed counsel in a criminal case, (iv) allowing the clerk to charge up to $10 for any service rendered by the clerk that is not part of a court proceeding and for which no specific fee is provided by law; (v) defining "operational expenses," which are funded by certain clerk's fees, to include various technology maintenance and enhancements; (vi) clarifying that a clerk shall forward an abstract of certain convictions to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 18 days after such conviction or, in the case of civil judgments, within 30 days after the judgment has become final (vii) allowing the clerk to maintain records in adoption cases in electronic format; and (viii) repealing the requirement that a clerk verify the accuracy of a record made by him.

HB 1745: Use of communications system to propose sex offenses involving a child. Provides that it shall be unlawful for any person 18 years of age or older to use a communications system, including computers, computer networks, bulletin boards, or any other electronic means, for the purposes of soliciting, with lascivious intent, any person he knows or has reason to believe is a child younger than 15 years of age to knowingly and intentionally propose that any such child feel or fondle his own sexual or genital parts. Currently it is unlawful to, among other things, propose that the child feel or fondle the sexual or genital parts of such person or propose that such person feel or fondle the sexual or genital parts of the child.

HB 1746:
Sentencing guidelines; definition of violent felony. Adds to the list of violent felonies: killing of a fetus, criminal street gang recruitment, strangulation of another, assault and battery when it is a hate crime, felony violation of a protective order, felony infected sexual battery, enticement to bomb, manufacture bombs, hoax explosive devices, etc., willfully discharging a firearm in a public place resulting in bodily injury, brandishing a machete or other bladed weapon near a school, wearing body armor while committing certain crimes, possession of assault or other firearm by aliens, display of grooming video to child, cross burning, burning object with intent to intimidate, placing a swastika with intent to intimidate, displaying noose with intent to intimidate, treason, escape of sexually violent predator, and unauthorized dissemination of fusion center information resulting in death or serious bodily injury. When an offense falls under the definition of violent felony, sentencing ranges are increased, punishment is statutorily enhanced for certain other offenses, eligibility for participation in a drug treatment court is restricted, there is a presumption against bail for persons illegally present in the United States, the definition of victim for the purpose of compensation of crime victims by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund is expanded, registration of tow truck drivers is prohibited, and restoration of voting rights is limited.

HB 1780: RICO; contraband cigarettes; penalties. Adds possession with intent to distribute tax-paid contraband cigarettes as a qualifying offense under the Virginia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act.

HB 1783: Tax-paid contraband cigarettes; penalties. Increases the penalty for possession with intent to distribute more than 25 but fewer than 500 cartons of tax-paid cigarettes by a person other than an authorized holder from a Class 2 to a Class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense and from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony for a second or subsequent offense. The bill also imposes a Class 6 felony for possession, with intent to distribute, of 500 or more cartons of tax-paid cigarettes by a person other than an authorized holder and a Class 5 felony for a second or subsequent offense.

HJ 609: Study; composition of biosolids; report. Directs the Department of Environmental Quality to study the substances contained in biosolids generated from wastewater treatment facilities that are applied to lands for agricultural purposes. Report.

HJ 635: Study; JLARC; amount of federal revenue Virginia receives at the state and local level annually; importance and impact; report. Directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study the amount of federal revenue that Virginia receives at the state and local level annually, by functional area, and determine its importance and impact.

Del. Joe T. May (R-33)

HB 1384: Joint Commission on Transportation Accountability. Removes obsolete provision requiring the commonwealth to provide the commission with "adequate office space."

Del. Beverly Sherwood (R-29)


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