Lawmakers negotiate behind closed doors on how to curb police use of chokeholds.
When lawmakers began their special session on criminal justice reform in August, hopes were high that the General Assembly would send the governor a bill that banned police from using chokeholds. But now that the protesters have gone home and the lawmakers have moved behind closed doors to negotiate in a secret closed-door conference committee, advocates for criminal-justice reform are worried about what will emerge in the conference report that will be presented to the House and Senate.
Voters to determine how redistricting works next year.
When Republicans were in charge of drawing political boundaries for the General Assembly and Congress, Democrats supported an amendment to the Virginia Constitution creating a new mapmaking commission. The idea was to take the power of political gerrymandering out of the hands of the majority and hand it over to a group that wouldn’t be quite so focused on screwing the opposition. But then Democrats seized control of the General Assembly, and most House Democrats flip flopped on the issue.
Trustee Rosenthal apologies for ‘wrong words’ and retains board seat.
Fran Millhouser, Chair of Fairfax County Library Board, said she received "many emails voicing public concern" for statements made by Trustees Phil Rosenthal (Springfield District) and Darren Ewing (Dranesville District) during the previous board meeting in late July.
After effort for paid sick days falters, lawmakers move toward paid quarantine leave.
The fight for paid sick days is on hold for now, and advocates have moved to a fallback position for the special session of the Virginia General Assembly: quarantine leave.
Trustee Rosenthal apologizes for disruption.
Two members of the Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees, Phil Rosenthal, Springfield District Representative and Darren Ewing, Dranesville District Representative, made statements during the July 29 public meeting of the Fairfax County Library Board Trustees that caused the public, organizations, and top County leaders to voice concern.
On Friday, Aug. 28, the Virginia General Assembly Senate and House of Delegates passed budget bills supporting safe elections during the pandemic.
Lawmakers to consider automatic expungements for misdemeanors.
Virginia is one of 10 states that offers almost no way for people convicted of misdemeanors to expunge their records, creating roadblocks for people trying to get a job or rent an apartment. Even when a jury finds defendants in Virginia not guilty or when prosecutors dropped charges, allegations remain on records as a stain that can cause problems for years to come. That’s why lawmakers are about to consider a proposal from the Virginia Crime Commission on automatic expungement, which is expected to be released early next week.
Virtual ceremony held
In a signing ceremony, held virtually, and streamed from his State Capitol office, Governor Ralph Northam officially signed stronger protections for tethered dogs into law on Aug. 17.
Lawmakers consider sweeping set of proposals to change policing in Virginia.
Only a few hours into a special session of the General Assembly earlier this week, members of a Senate panel passed a sweeping bill on policing reform that does everything from banning no-knock warrants and limiting chokeholds to creating use-of-force standards and requiring de-escalation training.
Lawmakers to slash the state budget and consider criminal-justice reforms.
The threadbare Franklin and Armfield office on Duke Street stands at the crossroads between racial injustice and economic crisis. It’s a ramshackle building now, but it was once the headquarters for the largest domestic slave trading firm in the United States, present at the creation of the systemic racism that plagues Virginia cops and courts. It’s also the city’s latest acquisition, and the state budget was to include $2.5 million to help transform it into the Freedom House Museum. But then the pandemic hit, and the governor hit the pause button on that line item as well as all the other spending priorities of the new Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.
Calls for police reform intensify in the days since Fairfax County officer charged with assault for tasing man in Gum Springs.
The institution of policing dates back to the institution of slavery. “It has to be acknowledged as such. What happened 400 years ago is actually manifesting itself in practice today,” said Fairfax County Chief Equity Officer Karla Bruce.
Highlights of May 12 Board of Supervisors meeting.
Some of the first words Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay Fairfax County Board of Supervisors said at the May 12 Board of Supervisors meeting were for county families; in particular, those who lost loved ones or had family members hospitalized with the coronavirus. "If we could keep them and their entire families in our thoughts and prayers," McKay said. "As a reminder, our County flag continues to fly at half-staff, throughout the County at our facilities, in honor of the residents who sadly died as a result of COVID-19 and in recognition of our many essential workers who are responding to the pandemic," he said.
New tethering restrictions go into effect July 1.
Lawmakers crack down on predatory lending, although reform won’t happen for eight months.
The LoanMax on Mount Vernon Avenue in Arlandria is open for business during the pandemic, and colorful signs in the windows announce in English and Spanish that the car-title lender remains open during a stay-at-home order — offering loans at 200 percent annual interest during a time when unemployment claims in Alexandria are skyrocketing. Those kinds of interest rates will be illegal under the Fairness in Lending Act, which Gov. Ralph Northam signed last week after lawmakers signed off on some last-minute changes. But the ban on such high-interest lending won’t take effect until New Years Day 2021, which means high-interest lenders have eight months to engage in an unprecedented lending spree during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
County responds to NOVA Equity Agenda Coalition initiative.