Richmond Digest: Bill to End Bad-Driver Fees Advances in the Senate

Del. Dwight Clinton Jones is the caucus's chairman.
Del. Dwight Clinton Jones is the caucus's chairman. (Bob Brown - AP)
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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Senate took a first step yesterday toward repealing the controversial high fees for bad driving.

The Courts of Justice Committee voted unanimously to send a bill that would eliminate the fees to the Finance Committee for further review. The fees, which range from $750 to $3,000, are assessed for drunken driving and reckless driving.

-- Sandhya Somashekhar

Workers in Payday Lending Lobby Against Strict Rules

About 150 Virginians who work in the payday loan industry lobbied members of the General Assembly yesterday to implement some restrictions on their business but not enact legislation that would force them out of the state.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and some legislators say they want to bolster regulations for payday lenders, who lend people cash advances against their paychecks. This year, the legislature will consider a number of bills that would impose restrictions, including a cap on interest rates.

On Tuesday, about 100 people from the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy urged lawmakers to tighten regulations.

-- Anita Kumar

Voting Access and Gun Control Among Black Caucus Priorities

Black legislators in the General Assembly unveiled a list of priorities yesterday that includes reforming the payday lending industry, making voting more accessible, increasing gun control, expanding health insurance for low-income residents and adding money for training on racial-profiling awareness.

Members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, who now lead four Senate committees and have gained seats on the assembly's two powerful fiscal committees, announced their goals at a news conference. Their top budget request was money for a proton beam cancer treatment center in Hampton Roads.

Del. Dwight Clinton Jones (D-Richmond), the caucus's chairman, said the group will try to voice the legislative concerns of people of color and other historically underrepresented groups.

-- Anita Kumar

Panel Votes to Take the Word 'Retarded' Out of State Laws

State lawmakers have taken a step toward doing away with the word "retarded."

Legislation to replace all references in state law to the "mentally retarded" and "mental retardation" with "intellectually disabled" and "intellectual disability" has been passed unanimously by a House committee. Advocates said the word "retarded" hurts the self-esteem of those with mental disabilities.

Del. C. Charles Caputo (D-Fairfax) said it would cost the state about $75,000 to make the change.

-- Associated Press

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