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Virginia Is for Pet Lovers, Too

Cosmetics testing, research dogs/cats, dangerous dogs, pet store employees come under scrutiny

The 2021 Virginia General Assembly had only six companion animal-related bills before it this session; a small number compared to the roughly two dozen during the 2020 session, and a dozen in 2019.

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Controlling Gun Violence

After assault weapons stumble, lawmakers limit guns at polling places and government buildings.

Fulfilling their campaign promises to take action against gun violence, Democrats in the General Assembly are sending Gov. Ralph Northam several gun-violence prevention bills.

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Fairfax County Severs Cooperation with ICE

Board adopts Trust Policy barring voluntarily sharing residents' immigrant status

Fairfax County's Board of Supervisors approved in a vote of 9-to1, the Public Trust and Confidentiality Policy (Trust Policy) introduced as a Board Matter on Jan. 26 by Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay and co-sponsored by Supervisors Dalia A. Palchik (D-Providence) and John W. Foust (D-Dranesville).

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Sealing the Record

House and Senate Democrats disagree on how old convictions should be expunged.

For people haunted by a conviction for felony drug possession or misdemeanor disorderly conduct, a debate now happening in the Virginia General Assembly is one that could have dramatic consequences for finding a place to live or landing a job. Lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow those people to seal their criminal record, expunging old convictions and helping them wipe the slate clean. But Democrats are bitterly divided over how to accomplish that goal.

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Fully Baked

Alexandria senator leads effort to legalize marijuana in Virginia.

The so-called "war on drugs" was a failure, locking up generations of Black men and tearing Black families apart. Now lawmakers in Richmond are finally coming around to realizing the damage that the prohibition against marijuana caused in minority communities. Last year members of the General Assembly approved legislation decriminalizing marijuana. This year, they may be on the verge of legalizing recreational use of marijuana — ending the failed war on drugs and adopting new equity measures to address some of the damage it caused.

Upcoming Actions on Enhanced Gun Safety Legislation in Virginia

Del. Patrick Hope (D-47), who chairs the House Public Safety Committee, said after gun safety bills passed subcommittee today, that on Friday the full committee will be taking up legislation to continue to prevent gun violence.

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Killing the Death Penalty

Lawmakers consider bill to abolish capital punishment in Virginia

Virginia has executed people longer than any other state, a tradition that stretches back into colonial days when Captain George Kendall was executed for treason. Over the years, the commonwealth has executed more than 1,300 people. Now, Virginia may be about to join 22 other states that have abolished the death penalty.

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Privatized Incarceration

Alexandria senator leads fight against profiting from prisoners

Housing inmates in Virginia prisons costs the state about $70 a day for each inmate. But the private sector can do it a lot cheaper, about $50 a day. Lawmakers are about to debate whether that's a savings they can afford.

Virginia House Democrats Release Agenda for Upcoming Session

The House legislative agenda will focus on three key areas for the upcoming legislative session: Protecting Families; Keeping Virginia Healthy; Rebuilding Our Economy Stronger

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Essential Leave

Advocates for paid sick days try to build support among Virginia Senate Democrats

Before the pandemic hit, Senate Democrats stopped a proposal requiring businesses to offer paid sick days. During the pandemic, they rejected it again during a special session. Now as lawmakers prepare for the upcoming General Assembly session, advocates are hoping they've finally got a strategy to persuade reluctant Senate Democrats to approve a new law increasing the number of workers in Virginia who have access to paid sick days.

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Appealing Bad Rulings

Lawmakers to consider expanding appeals court, providing new oversight to judges.

Virginia is the only state in the country that does not guarantee a right to appeal, allowing circuit court judges to make decisions with little oversight or scrutiny. Critics have been calling for reform ever since the Court of Appeals was first created in 1985. The Supreme Court of Virginia recommended an appeal of right as a "long term goal" in 2018. Now, Gov. Ralph Northam says he wants lawmakers to add four judges and support staff "to ensure the court can hear more appeals cases in a timely manner under an increasing workload."

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Absurd Leverage

Lawmakers to reconsider mandatory minimum for assaulting law enforcement

Earlier this year, lawmakers rejected a bill that would have ditched the mandatory minimum sentence for assaulting a law-enforcement officer. Now the General Assembly is about to consider the issue again.

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A Look Inside the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Meeting Dec. 1, 2020

Highlights of discussion and actions that impact all who live, work and play in the diverse county

Dec. 1 marked the final Fairfax County Full Board of Supervisors Meeting with Public Comment of 2020.

Drawing the Line

Newly created redistricting commission zooms toward new maps in 2021

Now that voters have approved a constitutional amendment creating a new redistricting commission, the pieces have already started falling into place for how the commission will work and who will serve on it.

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December is Virginia’s Puppy Mill Awareness Month

In February, the 2020 General Assembly unanimously designated December as Virginia’s Puppy Mill Awareness Month.