General Assembly

Exotic Weapons Ban Debated in General Assembly

Feb 18, 2015

In Richmond, lawmakers are taking action to overturn a longstanding ban on selling blackjacks, brass knuckles, throwing stars and ballistic knives. 

Opponents of the effort say the law was originally created to undermine gang activity in Virginia, and they wonder who would want such exotic weapons.

"This bill is straight out of a Victorian crime novel."

That's Arlington Delegate Alfonso Lopez, a Democrat, who was one of the 42 votes against the bill.

Creative Commons,

Virginia schools could hold numerous fundraisers per year selling food that doesn’t meet nutritional guidelines under legislation that has passed both houses of the General Assembly.  The bill requires the Board of Education to craft regulations that would be more permissive than current state policy, and permit the sale of what some call “junk food” during school hours.  The Senate made its decision only after lengthy debate about what’s really best for the students. 

One of every 68 children in this country has now been diagnosed with some degree of autism – a disability that makes it difficult for them to communicate and learn.  Virginia requires insurance companies to pay for an intensive treatment called Applied Behavior Analysis until the age of seven, but parents say care should be available for as long as a child needs it, and a bill making its way through the legislature could lift the age limit.

Lawmakers Debate Stun Guns & Pepper Spray in School

Feb 16, 2015

Virginia’s House has approved a bill designed to prevent school shootings, and state senators begin debating the measure today.  Sponsored by Fredericksburg Delegate Mark Cole, it  allows local school boards to arm security officers with batons, pepper spray and stun guns.

“These are school employees.  They are not law enforcement officers.  They don’t have training to use batons, stun weapons and spray devices.”  

When a special needs child is a bit fussy or has a history of violent outbursts in a classroom setting, who has the right to restrain them or put them into seclusion—and who decides when that goes too far?  In Virginia, that’s not clear.  But  a bill that's sailed through both chambers of the General Assembly will soon change that.