The two top contenders to be governor of Virginia talked about the weather last week while a Republican delegate decided he’d seen enough of politics. Both those stories were among the most clicked on Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link at vpap.org Fred Echols reports.
Over the last few weeks, Governor McDonnell has been scrutinizing 812 bills sent to him by the General Assembly. Among them is a package of legislation to penalize “possession with the intent to distribute” a legal product. Its goal is to stop the traffickers of contraband cigarettes, who’ve made millions of dollars while the Commonwealth loses revenue.
The federal government’s role in the use of drones inside the U.S. may be expanding, but state lawmakers have put the brakes on deploying them within Virginia’s borders. Legislation that’s now under review by Governor McDonnell would place a moratorium on state and local use of drones. The unmanned aircraft could not be deployed for two years—while parameters and safeguards are studied.
Concerns that drones could violate rights and invade privacy prompted an alliance between the state ACLU and lawmakers to put drone deployments on hold—at least temporarily.
Prosecutors and public defenders in Virginia are paid by the state, but on average, lawyers who work for the Commonwealth’s Attorney make 25% more than lawyers who defend the poor. Now that one public defender is asking for a raise, and others may follow suit.