Va. General Assembly: Where bills stand at ‘crossover’
By Laura Vozzella,
RICHMOND — This year’s General Assembly session hit its midpoint, called “crossover,” Tuesday night, marking the day when bills must pass one house or the other or die for the session.
Here’s how some of the legislation fared this session.
Uranium mining: Called for lifting the state’s 30-year moratorium on mining the radioactive element in Southside, a rural part of the state near the North Carolina border.
Gun show loophole: Would have required all gun show vendors, including private sellers, to conduct criminal background checks on buyers. Currently, only federally licensed dealers must perform the checks.
Armed teachers: Would have required schools to designate at least one teacher or other staffer to carry a concealed weapon on campus to protect against potential intruders.
Ultrasound repeal: Several bills would have repealed or softened a 2012 law requiring women to get an ultrasound before an abortion.
Contraception coverage: Meant to thwart a provision of the Affordable Care Act, several bills would have provided that group insurance plans need not cover contraception, sterilization or abortion-inducing drugs.
Electoral College changes: Would have made Virginia one of few states to switch to system that picks winners by congressional district, not popular vote. Measure was proposed in several battlegrounds states that voted for President Obama but are controlled by Republicans at the state level.
Transportation: Calls for revamping the way Virginia pays for road construction and repairs, as well as mass transit.
Education: Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s education reform plan extends the probationary period for new teachers and ties their annual evaluations to students’ academic progress. Another measure rates schools with letter grades and creates a statewide entity to take over failing schools.
Gubernatorial terms: Constitutional amendment would allow governors to serve consecutive terms.
Felon voting rights: Constitutional amendment would restore voting rights to ex-felons who have paid their debt to society.
“Tebow Bill”: Allows home-schooled students to play on public school sports teams. Named for quarterback Tim Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner who was home-schooled but allowed to play on his local high school team.
Cohabitation: Repeals a 19th century law that makes it a misdemeanor for unmarried couples to live together.
Tanning: Prohibits youths younger than 15 from using tanning booths. Teens, ages 15 to 17, would need written parental consent. Under current law, teenagers younger than 15 are allowed to tan with parental consent.
Smoking: Separate bills would prohibit smoking in a car with a child present and allow localities to ban smoking in public parks and beaches.
UVA reappointment: Confirms McDonnell’s reappointment of Helen E. Dragas, the University of Virginia rector who led an unsuccessful bid to out President Teresa Sullivan, to the school’s governing board.
Judicial confirmation: Confirms the reappointment of an openly gay judge, Tracy Thorne-Begland, to a six-year term on Richmond’s General District Court. City Circuit Court judges had appointed him to the bench temporarily after the House had rejected him in 2012.