General Assembly at a Glance

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Bill Restricting Sex Offenders Receives Support
A bill aiming to expand restrictions of convicted sex offenders on school property continues to work its way through the General Assembly. Currently, convicted sex-offenders only are banned from school property during school hours. The bills sponsor, Delegate Anne Crockett-Stark, R-Wytheville, says most attacks occur during after-school hours activities. If the new bill passes, offenders only would be allowed on school property if given permission by the school and the commonwealths attorney or if the offender is enrolled at the school.

Abuse Victim Fights for Funds to Catch Sex Predators
College sophomore Alicia Kozakiewicz, an abuse victim at age 13, is supporting House Bill 1189 along with the bills sponsor, Delegate Brian J. Moran, D-Alexandria. The bill would grant $32 million in funding to fight child exploitation in Virginia. Although the bill missed this years crossover deadline, Kozakiewicz is working to receive partial funding from the House Appropriations Committee.

House, Senate Join to Combat Recidivism
Because the rate of recidivism — or relapse in criminal behavior — is increasing in Virginias prisons, Delegate Thomas C. Wright, R-Victoria, and Sen. Linda T. Toddy Puller, R-Mount Vernon, are introducing House Bill 651 and Senate Bill 200 to combat the increased need for more prisons in the next five years. These two bills would offer more extensive re-entry plans that include mentoring and therapeutic programs on top of current assessments. Treatment plans also would becompiled for each prisoner by the Department of Corrections.

Through Rain or Snow, Virginians Vote
Although weather conditions might have altered their schedules, Virginians found a way to make it to the polls to cast their vote for the presidential primary election this past Tuesday. By absentee ballot or in person, nearly 1.5 million voters submitted their choices for the Republican and Democratic nominations. Arizona Sen. John McCain won the Republican primary with nearly 50 percent of the vote, and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama won the Democratic primary with 64 percent of the vote.

Million Pound Goal for Food Competition
Law firms across the commonwealth will be competing from March 31 to April 11 to win top prize at the second annual Virginia Legal Food Frenzy, a competition to see which firm can raise the most food in relation to their size. This competition aims to raise hunger awareness in the legal community, since all the food raised will be donated to Virginias food banks. The food will circulate to the homeless and to poverty-stricken homes.

House Republicans Oppose Kaines Budget Proposal
Although Gov. Tim Kaine hopes to revive the commonwealths revenue by cutting $220 million from the general fund, House Republicans argue that funding for local school divisions would be cut, as well. Legislators are convinced this budget cut brings a slew of problems, such as postponing school construction. However, Kaines position is the economy will continue to pitfall into 2010 if changes are not made.

Alcohol-spiked Foods on the Horizon
Bars and restaurants will be able to serve alcohol-spiked foods and desserts as long as the customer is the proper drinking age, if a House Bill 1075passes. Although the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control prohibits the sale of alcoholic foods under the current law, the VDABC has yet to take a stance on the proposed bill. Some delegates say if the law continues to restrict alcoholic foods, the accepted ban of beersicles might also impact other commonly served alcoholic foods, such as tiramisu.

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