Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 6 - College Free Speech, Concealed Carry and Search Warrants


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As we enter the final week of session, we say farewell to the General Assembly Building for the last time.  The building, which dates back to the Taft Administration, was built during an era when asbestos was a preferred insulator.  It will be demolished to make way for a new structure, which will take several years to complete.  

This year broke records for the number of visitors to the Capitol. In the first month alone, we surpassed the number of visitors we received for the entire session last year. Next session, the General Assembly will set up temporary offices in the Pocahontas Building, which is directly across the street from the Capitol's Bank Street entrance.   

Here is an update on bills I'm working on:

I.C.E. Compliance
Last week, I shepherded Delegate Bob Marshall's bill through the Senate.  HB1468 prohibits those in charge of jails from releasing an incarcerated alien who is under federal detainer order, except to transfer them into the custody of ICE.  This bill passed the House and Senate on a party-line vote and is expected to be vetoed by the Governor.  However, if we elect a Republican Governor next year, this bill and my bill holding Sanctuary Cities accountable for injuries and property damaged caused by illegals will be signed into law making Virginia a safer place to live (click hereto listen to my WMAL interview).

College Free Speech
I fought for Del. Steve Landes' House Bill 1401  in the Senate. This bill requires Virginia's colleges and universities to protect the freedom of speech for any individual, faculty and invited guests speaking on campus.  We must return to the days when colleges encouraged the free exchange of ideas rather than suppressing them.  Virginia should lead the way in ridding its campuses of "safe spaces," where students retreat into a bubble to protect them from people who hold a different world view.  The real world does not make accommodations for people who require that they never be offended. Virginia's students should expand their knowledge by listening to various points of view while gaining the confidence to articulate their beliefs.  The only way to have a cohesive country is for its citizens to communicate effectively. 

Search Warrants
There is currently a void in Virginia's search and seizure law that does not authorize police to enter a building to arrest a suspect, even when they have an arrest warrant. As long as the suspect remains inside the building, there is nothing the police can do.

It is hard to believe that no one discovered this problem until now.  The Crime Commission studied my bill proposal for a year, gathering analysis from Virginia's Magistrates, Commonwealth Attorneys and Public Defenders, who reviewed the bill and were stunned to discover this loophole exists.  My bill passed the House and Senate unanimously and has been sent to the Governor for his signature.

Military Personnel Don't Need Concealed Carry Permits
My bill, SB1362, will allow active duty military personnel to carry concealed without a special permit.  This bill was hotly debated but passed the Senate by a vote of 22 to 18.  This bill is up for a vote in the House early this week and I expect it to pass.  

I introduced SB1061 to correct a loophole in our law.  Currently, the law says that if you are under criminal investigation you cannot FOIA State, City or Town Police regarding the facts of your case during an open case. However, Sheriffs were inadvertently left out of these exemptions.  My bill will correct that loophole.    

Female Genital Mutilation
SB1060, which makes female genital mutilation a crime, is up for a vote of the full House this week.  This bill has garnered a lot of attention this session.  This barbaric custom has become a problem in some immigrant communities where they cut up their little girls in a misguided attempt to ensure their daughter will never stray from a marriage, by rendering her unable feel pleasure. This bill will give the victim standing to sue her parents for brutalizing her as a young girl, which will become a deterrent for parents trying to skirt the law by taking the girl out of state.

Do Not Call List
Businesses have created new ways to get around the "Do Not Call List" by hiring a third-party to make the calls.  My bill, SB 1264, will hold companies liable for skirting the "Do Not Call List." It passed the Senate but has not passed the House yet.  If Delegates vote to send it back to committee, it will be a vote to kill the bill.  

Build Roads Faster
Sen. Favola and I introduced similar legislation improving the time it takes to build roads.  It lifts the requirement for public hearings when utilities for a road are brought onto land owned by the government.  This bi-partisan legislation will cut 3 – 6 months off every road project in Virginia. 

Dyslexia Advisor
I introduced SB1516 to require every School Board to employ a dyslexia advisor.  Del. Cline introduced the companion bill in the House of Delegates and both are still moving through the legislative process. My bill passed the Senate and House unanimously.

You can see a full list of my legislation here.

If you are visiting Virginia's historic Capitol between now and February 25th, please remember to stop by my office and say hello.  We're in office 311 of the General Assembly Building.  If you have any issues of particular concern to you, I welcome your comments at or a letter to Senate of Virginia, P.O. Box 396, Richmond VA 23218 or you can call my office at 804-698-7513.

Warm Regards,

Richard H. Black
Senator of Virginia, 13th District


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