General Assembly

No post session per diems, last-minute deals, and burning of the midnight oil this year. While the votes were not unanimous, Senate and House lawmakers have passed a state budget that includes pay raises for state employees, college faculty, state police, and teachers.

House Minority Leader David Toscano argued that law enforcement, school faculty, and other employees are still without the support they need.

"The budget doesn't go far enough, but it is a process and we'll continue to make it---push to make it better, not just this year, but in years ahead."

Recent tragedies where children have died under the care of unlicensed daycare providers have prompted the General Assembly to pass measures to strengthen Virginia’s licensing guidelines.

Delegate Bob Orrock's bill would require licensed home daycare providers to be fingerprinted and undergo a background check. His bill also lowers the requirement for licensure from 6 children to 5. A Senate version leaves it at 6, but counts the provider's own children.  Orrock says some proposals have been far-reaching.

Creative Commons,

Sales of dogs and cats in Virginia would be governed by tougher restrictions under legislation that has passed both houses of the General Assembly.  The bill limits pet shops to selling dogs that were obtained from humane societies, public or private animal shelters, and qualified breeders. One goal is to close the loopholes in state law that have allowed puppy mills some latitude to sell in the Commonwealth.

Patients with a terminal illness would have expanded access to investigational drugs under Senate legislation that has been given preliminary approval by the House of Delegates. 

The bill would allow manufacturers to supply the medicine when all other treatment options have been exhausted. The legislation—which has been dubbed the “Right to Try” bill—was inspired by a young boy in the Commonwealth who fought for access to an investigational drug last year.

Rallying the Lawmakers

Feb 22, 2015

During the General Assembly session in Richmond, lawmakers are rallied to the Capitol each day by two different bell towers that ring in coordination with each other.

Each day the General Assembly is in session, Capitol Police screener Larry Toomer climbs the steps of the bell tower in Capitol Square and waits to hear the chimes from another bell tower across the street at St. Paul's Episcopal Church 

"One they start ringing, we ring right in between. When they ring, we ring. We ring. When they ring again we ring again."