Fixing Virginia, one strange bill at a time [with audio]

Fixing Virginia, one strange bill at a time [with audio]

Quick, name Virginia’s state song.

If you think you know it, you’re wrong. Since 1997, when “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” was officially “retired,” Virginny…er…Virginia has been a state sans song. But there are bills raring to go in Richmond that will fix this—and a myriad other pressing problems on which senators and delegates have seen fit to get their legislation on.

If HB1544 is passed, leave your piece behind when you go boozing: It prohibits a person carrying a concealed weapon from consuming alcohol in restaurants or clubs.
Listen to "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny":

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There are four bills in the state General Assembly to get Virginia a new state song—among them “Virginia: Where Heaven Touches Earth,” “Cradle of Liberty” and a revised version of “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” that, the bills states, can be “sung with affection and pride” (if not with cognitive dissonance regarding the Fugitive Slave Act).

But state songs aren’t the only major issues garnering political attention. There’s a bill that would make English the official language of Virginia (note to self: Stop conducting official interviews in Kurdish). There’s another that would provide damages to you if someone used your name in an unauthorized website address. There’s what can only be called the Poltergeist Bill, legislation that requires disclosure of whether property is, or has been, a cemetery.

And then there are the concealed weapons bills. Imagine, if you will, a scenario that goes something like this: You’re a UVA faculty member who’s got a hankering to carry a concealed handgun while teaching. If HB424 passes, you’re in luck: It allows for just that, assuming you have a permit.

But teaching while not being able to legally shoot students could get Prof Doe down, so he ducks into Michael’s Bistro for a quick couple shots of the hard stuff. Well, if HB1544 is passed, no luck: It prohibits a person carrying a concealed weapon from consuming alcohol in restaurants or clubs.

Now let’s say you lose your concealed carry permit. Things happen. People get fired. Tempers flare. And now you have this urge to drive aimlessly around with your gun, by now your only friend. If SB436 passes, you’re in the clear. It would allow for any person who can legally own a handgun (this is Virginia and you haven’t sunk that low yet) to carry it in a car or boat if the gun is locked in a container or compartment. Maybe even someplace nice and handy, like some sort of compartment usually reserved for gloves.

Of course, the parsing of this new legal language becomes unnecessary if, prior to your teaching days, you were a member of the Capitol Police or have just landed a job as an attorney for the Commonwealth. If two other bills pass, neither retired Capitol cops nor state attorneys will need concealed carry permits to pack undercover heat.

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