Two Virginia delegates want to increase the cigarette tax by six times its current amount and ban the sales of flavored tobacco products in the commonwealth.
Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th) and Del. Cliff Hayes (D-77th) hosted a Tobacco Control Policy Press Conference in Richmond Thursday outlining three tobacco-related bills: raising the cigarette tax to $1.80 (HB1120), creating a statewide retail licensing system (HB1283), and banning the sales of flavored tobacco products (HB1119).
Two Democratic state legislators recommend changing the State Crime Commission into the “Virginia Justice Commission.”
Legislation introduced by Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Mount Vernon, and Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, would broaden the commission’s focus from solely crime and punishment to include diversion, rehabilitation, collateral consequences of convictions, firearm violence prevention, equity and fairness in the criminal legal system and prisoner re-entry.
A House committee voted unanimously Friday to require reports on solitary confinement in prisons across Virginia.
House Bill 1642 would require the Virginia Department of Corrections to submit semiannual reports to the General Assembly and governor detailing the DOC's use of solitary confinement.
The House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety approved the bill, 21-0.
Could Arlington County Board elections in 2019 be held under a new type of voting scheme?
That would be the case if legislation similar to that proposed in the 2018 General Assembly session again heads down to Richmond and makes it into law.
Last year, Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th) patroned legislation that would have allowed to “instant-runoff” voting in Arlington County Board (and only Arlington County Board) races, both for primaries and general elections.
A local member of the House of Delegates is hoping 2019 will be the year colleagues push for release of more statistical information on the use of solitary confinement in Virginia’s prisons. Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th) has introduced legislation that would required the state Department of Corrections to submit
Del. Patrick Hope has been selected by House Speaker Kirk Cox to serve on the Virginia Substance Abuse Services Council. Hope (D-47th) fills one of two House of Delegates slots on the 30-member body, which advises the executive and legislative branches on public and private efforts to control and address substance abuse in the Old Dominion.
Janet Howell has been in the Virginia state Senate for nearly 30 years. But with the political and economic gaps between regions of the commonwealth still significant, she has devised a way to try and bridge the chasms.
A road trip.
Howell (D-32nd) and her husband are planning a 10-day summer excursion through Southwest Virginia, aiming to try and bring together regions of the state that, on the surface, would seem to have little in common.
Members of the Arlington legislative delegation say they expect a deal on Virginia’s biennial budget to be hammered out. But nailing lawmakers down on when that might happen is proving more elusive.
“We sit and sit at home. We don’t meet, we make no progress,” sighed state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd), who serves as one of the Senate’s budget negotiators and who, for weeks, has been frustrated by a lack of movement.
As state lawmakers pack for a return to Richmond in an effort to finalize a budget deal, one of the key players in the process is decidedly downbeat on prospects.
“We are nowhere. Quite literally, nowhere. It’s really a serious and sad situation – we’re spinning our wheels,” said state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd) at the April 4 meeting of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.
The Virginia General Assembly will reconvene next month to carve out a budget, an act that will have major impact on education in the state.
The House of Delegates version of the budget, which includes Medicaid expansion, allocates more state funding per student than the Senate’s, with a salary increase taking effect July 1, 2019. Teachers in Virginia continue to make below the national average of teacher salaries.