Bill Would Have Teen Drivers Hang Up Cell Phone Measure Prompted by Fatalities
The Virginia Senate's Transportation Committee approved a bill that would prohibit teenage drivers from using cell phones.
The proposal, backed by several Northern Virginia senators, would require teenagers to pull over before making calls -- even if they plan to use a hands-free device.
Sen. James K. "Jay" O'Brien Jr. (R-Fairfax), who is sponsoring the measure along with Sen. William C. Mims (R-Loudoun), said that in light of the numerous recent accidents on Virginia roads involving teenage drivers, the two decided to reexamine state laws for potential improvements.
State Wants Exemptions to 'No Child' Law Hinders SOL Program, Officials Say
The Virginia Board of Education voted to request exemptions from parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law to give the state more flexibility in improving student performance.
Republicans in the General Assembly have introduced bills that would direct the board to request such exemptions. The lawmakers say the federal act interferes with the state's Standards of Learning testing program, put into place in the 1990s.
The board voted to request that the U.S. Education Department exempt Virginia from 10 areas of the law.
Arlington Assessments Up 24 Percent Increase in Line With Other Nearby Counties
Home assessments in Arlington County have risen sharply, increasing by 24 percent this year, the county announced.
The average assessed value of a single-family home increased from $369,600 to $458,200 this year. That brings the total jump in the past three years to 70 percent.
The increase is in line with residential home values in other affluent counties close to Washington, such as Montgomery, which also saw residential values jump nearly 70 percent in the past three years. Loudoun County home values are up 20 percent over last year, and similar increases are expected in Alexandria and Fairfax County when assessments are mailed next month.
Kilgore to Quit, Focus on Campaign Attorney General's Deputy Likely Successor
Virginia Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore (R) has decided to resign effective Feb. 1 to campaign full time for governor.
Kilgore's resignation during the 2005 General Assembly session means the Republican-controlled legislature would appoint his replacement. Senior Republican lawmakers and other GOP sources said Kilgore deputy, Judith W. Jagdmann, who heads the civil division, is the leading candidate.
The last two Republican gubernatorial candidates, Mark L. Earley and James S. Gilmore III, also resigned as attorney general to concentrate on their election campaigns.
General Assembly Rejects 2 Judges Democrats Cry Cronyism in Selection Process
Republicans in the General Assembly blocked the selection of two Northern Virginia judges last week.
The House and Senate rejected Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge R. Terrence Ney, the choice of a bipartisan group of Northern Virginia legislators, for a seat on the state Court of Appeals. House delegates declined to reappoint Alexandria Circuit Court Judge Lisa B. Kemler, tapped by Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) last year to serve on the bench.
Virginia is one of only a few states that give legislatures control over choosing judges. The General Assembly's choice for the Fairfax seat, James W. Haley Jr. of Stafford, was a law school roommate of House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford).