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RICHMOND – State government could not ask most job seekers criminal history questions on employment applications under a bill passed last week by the Virginia Senate.

The Senate approved the “ban the box” bill Friday on a 23-16 vote. All of the Democrats in the Senate voted for SB 252; they were joined by four Republicans.

Until recently, job application forms used by state agencies included a box that asked whether the applicant had ever been arrested, charged or convicted of a crime.

THE EARLY governors in Virginia were chosen by the General Assembly, and not by the commonwealth’s voters. It wasn’t until after the Constitution of 1851 that the legislature turned over that duty to residents.

Even then, the General Assembly’s loosening of the reins only went so far — the governor’s tenure was limited to a single four-year term.

The Virginia Senate’s General Laws Committee on Monday approved two bills that would ban discrimination in public employment and housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The committee approved Senate Bill 202,which would ban discrimination against LGBT state employees, by a 12-3 vote margin. Senate Bill 423, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Virginia Fair Housing Law, passed by the same margin.

Gov. Ralph Northam made a pitch for gun control at a Capitol Square rally Monday afternoon, but much of his firearm agenda had died Monday morning in a Republican-controlled Senate committee.

A Democratic bill to require universal background checks for gun purchases — a key component of Northam’s gun agenda — was defeated in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. Another Northam-backed bill to allow localities to ban firearms at permitted events, which arose from the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville last year, also failed to get through the committee.

Senator Adam Ebbin’s (D-Alexandria) SB 5 instituting universal background checks failed to report on a party line 9-6 vote on Monday.

 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just released a report on noise complaints coming from Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in 2016. According to the noise report, DCA received 9,094 complaints from Virginia. The majority of individuals submitted only one complaint. The Alexandria portion of Fairfax County accounted for 6,473 of Virginia’s 9,094 total complaints. There are just too many planes flying over our homes, too often, at too low an altitude.

With their competing versions of the budget adopted, the House of Delegates and state Senate now prepare for direct combat over the revenues available and how best to spend them.The biggest partisan fight in the Senate came over the decision to strip almost $4 million in new funding that McAuliffe had proposed for the Department of Elections in response to an outcry by Republicans before the election last fall about the shortcomings of the state voter registration system, VERIS. “This is a drastic cut that will undermine the department in its mission to ensure the integrity of the election process,” said Sen. Adam P. Ebbin, D-Alexandria, who also warned that without the proposed funding “the functionality of our system is at risk.”

The Senate of Virginia voted 26-13 on Friday to defeat a measure that would have given judges discretion to direct that legal notices be posted on an electronic medium in lieu of in a print newspaper.Sen. Adam P. Ebbin, D-Alexandria, who opposed the bill, said the issue “is not about keeping newspapers in business. This is about the public’s right to know.”

A proposal by state Sen. Adam Ebbin giving localities slightly more leeway in providing public notice of tax increases has made it through the Senate and been forwarded to the House of Delegates.

Ebbin (D-30th) proposed changing from 30 days in advance to 25 days in advance the minimum time that a locality must have notice of an effective tax increase published in a newspaper.

The rye whiskey developed by George Washington at Mount Vernon in the late 1700s would be designated Virginia’s official “state spirit” under legislation that has passed the state Senate and been sent to the House of Delegates. The measure, patroned by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30th), would add the whiskey to Virginia’s long list of official emblems and designations...

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