, 2014

General Assembly convenes

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Sen. Richard H. Stuart
General Assembly Building, Room 305
Capitol Square
Richmond, VA 23219

Del. Margaret B. Ransone
General Assembly Building, Room 809
Capitol Square
Richmond, VA 23219

RICHMOND—The 2013 General Assembly convened yesterday, January 9, at the State Capitol. The session continues through February 23 and will reconvene April 3 to consider bills vetoed by the governor, or bills returned with recommendations or amendments.

As anticipated, District 99 Del. Margaret B. Ransone of Kinsale pre-filed a bill to amend and update the Kilmarnock Town Charter of 1952. Among the amendments, the bill clarifies the duties of the town manager, mayor and council members.

According to Legislative Information Services, Del. Ransone also pre-filed a bill reorganizing, clarifying and renaming the oyster replenishment tax system as a system of oyster resource user fees. Among the changes, the bill replaces the former price-based replenishment tax with a volume-based oyster resource user fee.

She also pre-filed legislation increasing the penalty for constructing, using, placing, or sending a hoax explosive device from a Class 6 to a Class 5 felony. District 28 Sen. Richard H. Stuart pre-filed a similar bill.

The penalty for a Class 5 felony is a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both. For a Class 6 felony, the term of imprisonment can not be more than five years.

Sen. Stuart also pre-filed a bill regarding vehicles used by commercial watermen. The bill provides that a commercial fishermen who transports boats or other equipment used in his work no more than 100 miles between his residence or business and the seashore and waters shall not be required to obtain a registration certificate, license plates and decals, or pay a registration fee for the boat trailer. The same would apply for transporting harvested seafood from where it is first brought ashore and his place of business, or first point of sale. Currently the exemption applies only if the distance from the shore to a business or first place of sale is no more than 30 miles.

He also pre-filed a measure requiring every school district in the Commonwealth to coordinate with local law enforcement agencies to provide at least one school resource officer for every public elementary, middle and high school within the district. Funding would be provided through the state general appropriation act and not by a locality or school board.

Sen. Stuart also pre-filed a resolution commending Lilian Lumber Company Inc. of Northumberland County for 100 years of service.

Other pre-filed legislation of local interest includes a bill to reduce the membership of the Rappahannock River Basin Commission from 34 to 32 members, due to redistricting in 2012.

A resolution also has been pre-filed calling for a Constitutional amendment to permit the governor elected in 2017 and thereafter to succeed himself in office. The proposal would allow a governor to serve two four-year terms, either in succession or not, and prohibit a third term.

Several bills have been pre-filed to eliminate requirements for local governments to post public notices regarding meetings and bid proposals in newspapers.

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