General Assembly

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.

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Both the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate today overwhelmingly approved their respective versions of the state’s spending plan.  Budget day at the Virginia State Capitol typically reveals how lawmakers really feel about the state of the Commonwealth and how dire things are.

A lot weighs heavily on the House budget, and Appropriations Chair Chris Jones insists that it has much of what Virginia needs-including pay raises for state employees, teachers, and state police, and no cuts to K-12 education.

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Virginia’s two big electric companies will escape state regulation of their base rates for up to eight years under a bill which caught opponents by surprise – a measure just approved by the Virginia House.   Its sponsor promised a rate freeze for consumers, but your bill could still be going up.

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Faced with a budget shortfall, state legislators are eyeing a very large piggy bank - the unclaimed cash of Virginia residents being held by the Treasury. About $1.7 billion dollars - that’s billion with a B - is awaiting a call from the rightful owners. 

Benjamin Jarvela looks nothing like Santa Claus, but he hopes to give Virginians lots of presents this year.  As spokesman for the state’s treasury, he says one in four people has a forgotten utility deposit or some other money in Richmond, waiting to be claimed.