New Laws on Wages, Vaccines and Slavery

Dels. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg), left, John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake) and Lacey Putney (I-Bedford) vote during debate on the photo-red legislation in February.
Dels. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg), left, John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake) and Lacey Putney (I-Bedford) vote during debate on the photo-red legislation in February. (By Steve Helber -- Associated Press)
Thursday, April 12, 2007

Abortion: Senators killed House-passed bills that would have placed further restrictions on abortion.

Booster seats: Lawmakers approved a proposal that will require children 8 years old and younger to be in booster seats while riding in a vehicle.

Chesapeake Bay cleanup: Lawmakers agreed to a proposal by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) to borrow $250 million to reduce pollution in the bay, which would help to put the state on track to meet its goal of reducing nutrient and nitrogen runoff originating from human and animal waste.

Cockfighting: A measure that would have increased the penalty for participating in cockfighting was left in a House committee.

Death penalty: Senators and delegates tried to expand capital punishment guidelines by proposing to make accomplices and killers of judges eligible for execution. Kaine vetoed the bills. The House and Senate overrode the vetoes on judge killers. The House overrode the veto on accomplices, but the Senate agreed with Kaine that accomplices should not be put to death, so the bill will not become law.

Education: Lawmakers agreed to boost teacher pay by 3 percent, expand publicly funded preschool -- though not as much as Kaine had proposed -- and add money to help students struggling with reading.

Energy re-regulation: Legislation backed by Dominion Resources and approved by the Senate and House will end utility deregulation by establishing a "hybrid" form of regulation. Critics have warned of higher rates.

Ethics: Senators tried unsuccessfully to halt a proposal by the Virginia State Bar that would allow lawmakers to work at firms that employ people who lobby the General Assembly.

Gambling: The Senate approved but the House rejected a plan to allow customers at Colonial Downs to wager on instant horse-racing video machines, which would have been the largest expansion of gambling in a decade.

Growth: Lawmakers gave fast-growing localities more tools to manage development. They created "urban development areas," where priorities would be placed on open space, walking trails and access to public transportation and commercial development. They also gave local governments in fast-growing areas such as Northern Virginia the right to assess impact fees on developers to pay for transportation improvements.

Gun ban: A bill promoted by Fairfax County to ban the carrying of guns into certain areas of police stations and other law enforcement buildings died.

Hospital patients' rights: A measure championed by gay men and lesbians that will give hospital patients, not their relatives, explicit authority to choose their visitors was approved.

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