State Government

Legislative Tackle
4:00 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Overdose Epidemic in Virginia

Chesapeake Police Chief Kelvin Wright speaks in support of the bills.

An enormous surge in heroin and prescription-drug overdose deaths in Virginia has prompted the Centers for Disease Control to call it an epidemic.  It’s also why state lawmakers of both parties have joined together to advance a multi-faceted package of bills to tackle the challenge.  They believe it’s both a law enforcement AND a public health problem.

 

Virginia’s Chief Medical Examiner reports that every region of the state has seen a spike in heroin overdose fatalities. Attorney General Mark Herring says the data confirm that.

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Contraception and Abortion
7:50 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Lobbying for Better Access to Contraception

Credit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

  On the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision that legalized abortion, hundreds of women lobbied Virginia lawmakers in person or by e-mail, asking them to increase access to contraception and repeal the state’s mandatory ultrasound law for women seeking an abortion. 

Earlier this week, they lost one important battle when a senate committee failed to vote on a bill that would have required prescription drug insurance to cover birth control.  Janice Craft-Henry is with NARAL-Pro Choice Virginia.

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Students Speak Out
7:38 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Lower Rates for Higher Education

Credit ATW80.com

About two dozen college students gathered in Richmond this week to demand lower rates for higher education.   

Among them, John Maggi, who studies at the University of Virginia. 

“In the United States, privilege is kind of what determines your educational status, especially when it comes to higher education and universities.”

Scott LeCates, an organizer with the teachers’ association in Roanoke, said debt was crippling college graduates – especially those who had chosen careers in education.

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General Assembly 2015
7:20 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Debated in General Assembly

It's a marijuana decriminalization bill - NOT a marijuana legalization bill - that a Northern Virginia lawmaker is fighting for during this General Assembly session. Senator Adam Ebbin contends that there's a significant difference, and the legislation is necessary in order to stop making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens.

Ebbin says many states have already recognized that criminalization of "a plant" in America has failed, and it's time Virginia recognizes that as well.

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Surveillance Legislation
4:37 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Privacy Versus Public Safety

Credit Creative Commons: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Since 9/11, police have been given greater freedom to spy on citizens and to limit civil liberties, presumably to assure public safety, but the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia thinks they’ve gone too far and is fighting back with several bills in Richmond. 

Sitting outside the General Assembly between committee hearings this week, the executive director of Virginia’s Civil Liberties Union lamented what she sees as a dangerous loss of privacy in this country. 

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