Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all of today’s Virginia news coming right up.
Be careful there aren’t any police around if you need to spit. While you are now legally able to swear, the Senate decided against repealing a state law banning spitting in public.
Five things you need to know today …
- House passes gun measures— The House passed two gun safety bills from the state Senate, one that would limit handgun purchases to one a month and another repealing the option to take an online version of the gun competency tests required for permits. The one handgun limit was part of Gov. Ralph Northam’s gun control package and may be signed into law by April. The bill passed 53 to 47 with Del. Lee Carter (D-Manassas) and Del. Roslyn Tyler (D-Sussex) joining Republicans to oppose it. –Richmond Times-Dispatch
- The Never-ending Skill Game Saga, Volume 897– After weeks of debate, it appears Virginia lawmakers may be moving to ban electronic “skill games.” There is legislation advancing in both chambers of the General Assembly to classify slot machines as “illegal gambling devices.” Despite their ubiquity, the games are currently unregulated, and the state collects no taxes from them. There had been a lobbying effort by the manufacturers and convenience stores to keep the machines, saying they have helped their businesses. -Bristol Herald Courier
- Police limits on immigration question- A bill banning law enforcement from asking crime witnesses about their immigration status cleared the Senate yesterday. The bill already passed the House and is now headed to Gov. Ralph Northam to be signed into law. Immigration advocates say that the threat of deportation can scare potential witnesses from coming forward with important information about crimes. A separate bill that would eliminate the requirement that authorities check someone’s immigration status when they’re booked in jail is currently being reviewed in the House. -VPM
- Possible train expansion— All aboard! Virginia lawmakers included a $2 million study in the state budget on a possible extension of Metro’s Blue Line into Prince William County. The proposed study would explore the cost, potential ridership, station location and impact on the community of the project. Transit Advocates say that the expansion would help with the congestion on Interstate 95. Even if the study recommends the plan, however, the advocates say construction probably would start for another 10 to 25 years. -The Washington Post
- Progress on prison reform— The Department of Corrections quietly suspended a policy requiring inmates to pay a $5 copay for all non-emergency health visits. While that might not sound like much, inmates are only paid between 27 and 45 cents an hour for work and inmates often couldn’t afford to pay. Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) introduced legislation to make permanently eliminate the requirement. The measure passed the House and is now awaiting a hearing in the Senate. -Virginia Mercury