In brief: Richmond watch, a local avenger, new rules and more

AR-15-style assault rifle outfitted with a bump stock AR-15-style assault rifle outfitted with a bump stock

As the General Assembly finished its fourth week in this year’s session, most of the 3,000 or so bills legislators filed will die in subcommittee, but some are inching toward the governor’s desk for signature into law.

Killed bills:

Danger zone

After a bill to ban the devices used in the Las Vegas concert slaughter passed a Senate Courts of Justice Committee, a Senate Finance subcommittee killed the measure. Other gun safety bills have met a similar fate.

Tebow down for the count

The 13th time was not the charm for Delegate Rob Bell’s bill to allow homeschooled kids to play in public school sports. The past few years it’s made it to the governor’s desk, where it was vetoed, but this year, it died in committee.

Local statue option

A House of Delegates subcommittee smothered several bills January 31 that would have allowed cities like Charlottesville to decide what to do with their Confederate monuments, including one carried by House Minority Leader David Toscano. The Senate had already nixed letting localities determine the fate of their monuments.

Staying alive:

Child porn hearings closed

Toscano’s bill to close child pornography preliminary hearings to protect victims passed the House of Delegates 98-0, but raises freedom of the press issues. A Fluvanna deputy suggested the measure when he realized those sitting in the balcony of a courthouse could have seen images of victims, a scenario not likely in balcony-less Charlottesville and Albemarle courts, where the public was eager to learn details in cases such as that of former CHS teacher Richard Wellbeloved-Stone.

Let doctors decide pot prescriptions

The Senate unanimously passed a bill February 5 that allows physicians to prescribe  cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil for any condition, not just intractable epilepsy, which is already on the books. The House passed its own version of the bill February 2. TBD: where patients with prescriptions actually buy the approved marijuana products.

Kings Dominion overthrow

Two bills that would allow localities to determine if schools open before Labor Day and that rescind the Kings Dominion law passed the House.


Quote of the Week: It’s a movement where 30 people with cheap tiki torches can seem like an army in the echo chamber of social media, where white men claim to be the real victims and where a weekend warrior can pass himself off as a disillusioned veteran of war.How an Alt-right Leader Lied to Climb the Ranks, a New York Times documentary on Eli Mosley


SUP with West2nd

City Council denied a special use permit at its February 5 meeting for developer Keith Woodard to add a 10th floor to his multimillion-dollar mixed-use project called West2nd.

Council changes

Meetings will now begin half an hour earlier at 6:30pm, and community members will be permitted to speak more than once at each session. Speakers will not be able to give their allotted time to another person, but they may now share it. As for the kill switch? Council is now required to livestream on public access TV through any disruption.

Oath of office

Katrina Callsen. Contributed photo

Katrina Callsen, the Albemarle County School Board member whose campaign drew controversy last year because of her association with Teach for America and massive donations from its affiliates, was one of several women featured on the cover of a January issue of Time magazine. The article, called “The Avengers,” highlighted the trend of women running for office since Donald Trump’s election.

Lambeth lives

After mass opposition, UVA’s Board of Visitors will no longer consider historic Lambeth Field as a location for its proposed softball stadium, university officials announced at the January 29 BOV meeting. Three alternate locations include the Park, which is located on North Grounds, a soccer practice field near Klockner Stadium and a parking lot at University Hall.

Friends of Harvey

A new women’s group goes after UVA alum/mega-donor/billionaire Paul Tudor Jones for supporting Harvey Weinstein and for saying childbearing is a focus “killer” for women traders and investors. Women United collected signatures to remove his name from UVA buildings at the January 31 men’s basketball game at John Paul Jones Arena, named for Jones’ father.

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