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2017-2-8

B.A. Students to be featured in The America Library of Poetry Publication

Mrs. Cheryl Bowen, B.A. Head of School, Emma Jones, and Natalie Hall

Brunswick Academy is pleased to announce that two students' poems were chosen to be published in The America Library of Poetry's special book, Imagine.  Mrs. Betty Carraway, a 4th Grade teacher at B.A., submitted Natalie Hall's and Emma Jones' poems for The America Library of Poetry 2016 Winter Student Poetry Contest.  Natalie's poem, "Happiness" and Emma's poem, "Halloween and Leaves", were both chosen for publication.  We congratulate both of these girls on such a wonderful accomplishment.  A copy of the book will be available in the Brunswick Academy library soon.  Natalie is in 5th Grade and is the daughter of Dawn Hall of Lawrenceville and Charles Hall of Brodnax.  Emma is in 4th Grade and is the daughter of Greg and Julia Jones of Gasburg.

Democrat Jeff Bourne is elected to Virginia House

 

By Tyler Hammel, Capital News Service

 

 

 RICHMOND – Jeff Bourne, a member of the Richmond School Board, easily won a special election Tuesday for the Virginia House of Delegates. Bourne, the Democratic nominee in the race, will represent the 71st House District, which includes parts of Richmond and Henrico County.

 

 

With all precincts reporting, Bourne received 3,708 votes, almost 90 percent of the ballots cast. The second-place candidate, Libertarian John W. Barclay, got about 7 percent. Regie Ford, an independent candidate, received about 3 percent.

 

 

Bourne fill the seat vacated by a fellow Democrat, Jennifer McClellan, who was elected to the state Senate last month.

 

 

At an election party at Southern Kitchen in Shockoe Bottom, Bourne thanked God. He also thanked Attorney General Mark Herring, among others, for their support, and he expressed gratitude to his wife and children.

 

 

Bourne said his children inspired him to run. He said his goal is to help children who don’t have the same parental engagement his children are lucky enough to have.

 

 

“It is incumbent on us as public servants and as leaders of our community to make sure that they have every opportunity to succeed,” Bourne said. “And so that’s what’s going to be my focus – public education and finding common-sense solutions.”

 

 

As a member of the Richmond School Board for the past five years, Bourne campaigned on a promise of supporting education.

 

 

“It really is a way to address some of the most systemic issues,” Bourne said. “We have some of the most significantly concentrated poverty in our city, and education could help break that up.”

 

 

House Democratic Leader David Toscano of Charlottesville congratulated Bourne on his win. Bourne will be decidedly in the minority in the House of Delegates: Republicans hold 66 seats; Democrats, 34.

 

 

“Republicans this session killed Democratic bills that would have raised the minimum wage, established paid family leave and helped borrowers refinance student loan debt. Meanwhile, the Republican Caucus focused its efforts on divisive social issues that target women and other marginalized populations,” Toscano said. “Jeff’s voice will provide a much-needed breath of fresh air, and I look forward to working with him as he joins us for the remainder of the session.”

 

 

Del. Charniele Herring of Alexandria, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, also congratulated Bourne.

 

 

“Jeff is a respected community leader who has honorably served as a deputy attorney general and as a member of the Richmond School Board,” Del. Herring said. “He is committed to expanding economic opportunity for all Virginians, and his service to Richmond’s public schools is testament to that commitment. I congratulate Jeff on his win, and I look forward to working alongside him in the House.”

 

 

Bourne will serve the remainder of McClellan’s term, until January 2018. The seat will be up for election again in November.

 

 

The 71st House District stretches from Bryan Park, Scott’s Addition, the Fan and the Virginia Commonwealth University campus on the west, to Church Hill, Fulton Hill, Richmond’s East End and the Ratcliffe area of Henrico County.

House OKs letting women buy a year’s worth of birth control

By Amelia Heymann, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – The House of Delegates on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed legislation allowing pharmacists to provide women a full year of birth control pills at once if prescribed by a doctor.

The House voted 94-1 in favor of HB 2267, sponsored by Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Springfield. The bill, titled the Birth Control Access Act, now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Women’s right activists praised the measure’s passage. Current insurance policies in Virginia generally limit women to a 90-day supply of birth control pills.

“Expanding access to birth control just makes sense, and we are thrilled that the House has passed this bill,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of the advocacy group Progress Virginia. “Women lead busy lives, and there’s no medical reason to make them go back and forth to the pharmacy every month to get the medication they need.”

Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William, cast the only vote against the bill. Four Republicans – Dels. Matthew Fariss of Campbell County, Nicholas Freitas of Campbell County, James Morefield of Tazewell County and Charles Poindexter of Franklin County – did not vote.

The legislation states, “Any health benefit plan that is amended, renewed, or delivered on or after January 1, 2018, that provides coverage for hormonal contraceptives shall cover up to a 12-month supply of hormonal contraceptives when dispensed or furnished at one time for a covered person by a provider or pharmacy or at a location licensed or otherwise authorized to dispense drugs or supplies.”

Doug Gray, executive director of the Virginia Association of Health Plans, said current insurance policies allow 90 days’ worth of prescription to be mailed at a time. People can check an “automatic refill” box and automatically receive a refill as a prescription starts to run out.

The existing law for prescription contraceptives does not specify the amount that can be prescribed at one time. Filler-Corn’s bill would solve that vagueness.

“We applaud the bipartisan vote,” said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “It’s a rare moment in Richmond when a pro-choice, proactive women’s health bill is advanced on a bipartisan basis.”

Research has shown that women who receive a one-year supply of oral contraceptives are more likely to continuously and consistently use contraceptives than women who get only a one- or three-month supply.

Studies also show that unintended pregnancy is reduced by 30 percent and abortion is reduced by 46 percent when women have access to a full year’s supply of birth control, according to Progress Virginia.

The group noted that the average cost to an insurer of birth control for one year is $160-$600. A birth can cost an insurer between $18,000 and $28,000.

Environmentally minded businesses may get tax breaks

By SaraRose Martin, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Businesses that operate in energy-efficient buildings or make products that benefit the environment could receive tax incentives under a bill headed toward approval in the General Assembly.

The House has already passed HB 1565, and the Senate Finance Committee unanimously endorsed the measure on Tuesday.

The bill’s sponsor, Del. Michael Webert, R-Fauquier, said it was requested by economic development officials in his district to attract green businesses.

“The bill would authorize local governing bodies to create by ordinance one or more green development zones inside which localities would be permitted to grant tax incentives and provide certain regulatory flexibility to attract green businesses,” Webert said.

A “green development business” would be defined as a business “engaged primarily in the design, development or production of materials, components or equipment used to reduce negative impact on the environment.”

As incentives, local governments could offer such businesses a reduction in permit fees, user fees and gross receipts taxes.

In addition, localities would be authorized to provide regulatory flexibility within a green development zone. That could mean special zoning, faster permit processing and exemption from certain ordinances. Localities could offer these incentives for up to 10 years.

The bill would expand on Virginia’s existing Enterprise Zone Grant Program. That program allows localities to apply for grants from the Department of Housing and Community Development for an enterprise zone designation that also offers tax and regulatory incentives.

Webert’s bill would apply the same ideas to green development zones. Under the program, as the value of real estate, machinery and tools within a zone increases, a percentage of the rising tax revenues would be used for grants aimed at attracting businesses or enhancing governmental services within the zone.

The legislation is part of a “green agenda” that Republican legislators touted at a news conference last week.

“The word ‘conservation’ and the word ‘conservative’ comes from the same piece of Latin,” said Del. J. Randall Minchew, R-Loudoun. “No conservative should ever be disappointed to call themselves a conservationist.”

Pet lifetime license bill passes in General Assembly

Ashley Luck, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A bill allowing local governments to provide lifetime licenses for cats and dogs has been approved unanimously by the General Assembly.

House Bill 1477, by Del. Robert Orrock, R-Caroline County, would add the lifetime licensing provision to existing state law on dog and cat licenses.

The Senate approved the bill 40-0 on Tuesday, after a nearly identical version cleared the House of Delegates on a 98-0 vote on Jan. 30. The two chambers still must work out minor differences before the legislation can go to Gov. Terry McAuliffe to be signed into law.

The lifetime license would be valid if the animal’s owner resides in the locality and keeps up the animal’s rabies vaccinations. The bill also states that local ordinances can require an animal to have an identifying microchip.

The bill would remove the minimum annual tax for a dog or cat, making it no more than $10 each year or a maximum tax of $50 for a lifetime license.

In addition, if an animal’s tag is lost, destroyed or stolen, the legislation sets a $1 fee for getting a duplicate tag. To get another tag for the animal, an owner must apply to the treasurer or agent who issued the original license and show the original license receipt. With an affidavit from the owner, the treasurer can then issue another license tag that the owner must immediately put on the animal’s collar.

The time for an owner to pay the required license tax would be changed from before Feb. 1 for the year to within one month after the due date. If the owner fails to pay, the court can order confiscation and disposition of the animal.

Owners must start paying the tax no later than 30 days after their animal has aged four months, or no later than 30 days after they adopt an animal 4 months old or older. The tax is then paid each year during the animal’s life.

Owners with trained guide dogs or service dogs that serve disabled people continue to be exempt from paying the license tax.

Local ordinances may establish different tax amounts for owners with spayed or neutered dogs or cats versus animals that aren’t spayed or neutered. With the amendment, ordinances can’t tax more than $10 a year on either.

House amends description of ‘dangerous dog’

By Ashley Luck, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – The House has unanimously approved a bill to change the description of a “dangerous dog” in a way that could put fewer animals on a state registry.

Del. Matthew Farris, R-Rustburg, wants to give a dog the benefit of the doubt if it bites a person or another animal. So he introduced HB 2381, which would give animal control officers the option of determining whether a dog should be considered dangerous just because it inflicts a nip, scratch or minor injury on someone, or on another pet.

The House voted 97-0 on Monday to approve the legislation. It now goes to the Senate.

Current law requires the animal control officer to summon the offending dog’s owner to appear in General District Court to explain why his or her animal should not be considered dangerous.

If a court finds a dog is dangerous, the bill would give its owner 30 days to obtain a dangerous-dog certificate, which carries a $150 fee and places the animal on a state registry. Current law allows the owner a 45-day wait.

When HB 2381 was heard by the House Agriculture subcommittee last week, Virginia Newsome, a Loudoun County animal control officer, said that she and a group of fellow officers support the bill because they see minor accidents frequently with non-dangerous dogs.

“The intent of this bill was never for animal control officers to have to go out and get summons for every dog that bites,” said Newsome, who represented the Virginia Animal Control Association.

“There are certainly injuries that occur when you’re playing with your puppy,” she said.

“You can accidentally get bit by your puppy; that doesn’t make it a dangerous animal. We want to be able to give officers that discretion to look at the entire totality of each individual situation. There are certainly animals out there that do bite, and are dangerous. Those types of situations do deserve to go in front of a court and have a judge make a decision,” Newsome said.

“There are a lot of animals in a lot of situations that are simply just accidents. This bill will give us the ability to have clarification, for the officers and the courts. I also think it gives a much better relationship between animal control officers and the public and to be able to teach the public what the actual criteria is for a dog bite.”

Bill seeks to ban outdoor smoking at performances

By Mary Lee Clark, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginians may have to put out their cigarettes before entering an outdoor performance because of a bill that emerged from the state Senate on a tiebreaker vote Tuesday.

Senate Bill 938would allow local governments to designate nonsmoking areas in an outdoor amphitheater or concert venue. It cleared the Senate on the last day bills could be approved in the chamber where they originated.

The bill, proposed by Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, met opposition and split the Senate, 20-20. Sen. Emmett Hanger, a Republican from Augusta County, joined the 19 Democrats in voting for the legislation. The other 20 Republican senators voted against it.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a physician, then cast the deciding vote to pass the bill.

Edwards said he introduced the legislation on behalf of Roanoke city officials who received complaints from parents about people smoking near children in Roanoke’s outdoor amphitheater, Elmwood Park.

The bill originally would have applied to any outdoor public area, including parks and greenways. But the Senate Local Government Committee amended it last week to restrict its reach to outdoor amphitheaters or venues owned by local governments.

Sen. John Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake, spoke against the bill, saying it would open the door for more anti-smoking laws.

“It’s just going to have a rolling effect if we allow this to happen,” Cosgrove said.

Any person violating the proposed law would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $25. It would go into the Virginia Health Care Fund, which assists the state’s uninsured and medically underserved residents.

“The American Lung Association in Virginia is pleased that the Senate has voted to take the first step in protecting the public’s health from tobacco smoke,” said Deborah P. Brown, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic.

According to State of Tobacco Control, a report issued by the association, $3.1 billion is spent annually on health care costs associated with tobacco use in Virginia.

Edwards’ legislation does not apply to vapes or electronic cigarettes. The Code of Virginia defines “smoke” and “smoking” by “carrying or holding of any lighted pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind, or any other lighted smoking equipment.”

The bill will now be considered by the House of Delegates.

How they voted

Here is how the Senate votedTuesday on SB 938 (“Smoking in outdoor public place; locality regulation”).

Floor: 02/07/17 Senate: Passed Senate (20-Y 20-N)

YEAS – Barker, Dance, Deeds, Ebbin, Edwards, Favola, Hanger, Howell, Lewis, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, Mason, McClellan, McPike, Petersen, Saslaw, Spruill, Surovell, Wexton – 20.

NAYS – Black, Carrico, Chafin, Chase, Cosgrove, DeSteph, Dunnavant, McDougle, Newman, Norment, Obenshain, Peake, Reeves, Ruff, Stanley, Stuart, Sturtevant, Suetterlein, Vogel, Wagner – 20.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam: Yea

Virginia Senators React to Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education

KAINE REACTS TO BETSY DEVOS CONFIRMATION VOTE ON FACEBOOK LIVE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine reacted to a Senate vote confirming Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education on Facebook Live today shortly after leaving the Senate floor. Kaine, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, offered thanks to the tens of thousands of Virginia constituents who called his office, wrote letters and sent emails through his Senate website to express their deep concern about the DeVos nomination over the past few weeks.

“I do want to thank all of you. More people contacted my office about her nomination than any other topic in my four years in the Senate,” Kaine said. “The stories that you shared and your energy will help us in the HELP Committee on oversight to make sure she doesn’t do things that will harm our kids.”

You can watch Kaine’s Facebook video here.

STATEMENT OF U.S. SEN. MARK R. WARNER 

~ On confirmation of Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education ~

WASHINGTON— U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the below statement after Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate to confirm Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education. Yesterday, Senator Warner spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate in opposition to the nomination. Video of that speech is available here.Audio is available here.

“The Senate voted today by the most narrow margin in its history to confirm a Secretary of Education who does not demonstrate a firm grasp on even the most basic education policy principles.

“Since Ms. DeVos’ nomination, tens of thousands of my constituents have expressed serious concerns about her focus on charter schools and voucherizing federal education dollars. Educators and parents of students with special needs are rightfully concerned, as am I, about Ms. DeVos’ lack of understanding or even awareness of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

“During her confirmation hearing, she demonstrated a similar lack of awareness of federal education policies related to campus sexual assault and school safety.

“While I did not support Ms. DeVos’ confirmation, I intend to hold her accountable for serving our students’, teachers’, parents’, and school leaders’ best interests, and I look forward to looking for areas of agreement where possible.”

Sen. Warner previously announced he will vote against Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, Health & Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Price, Treasury Secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin, and OMB Director nominee Mick Mulvaney.

Northam on SJ 223: “Reintroducing These Measures Is Disingenuous, Unfair, And A Cynical Attempt To Gain A Political Advantage.”

Richmond, VA - Today, the Virginia Senate passed a constitutional amendment, SJ 223, which threatens to permanently disenfranchise voters who have been convicted of "violent" felonies. The amendment passed on a party-line vote, 21-19.

Lieutenant Governor Northam issued the following statement in response to the amendment:

“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. Disallowing a person who has paid their debt to society and is law abiding from ever voting again goes against our founding principles. This amendment reintroduces new burdens that will prevent Virginians from exercising their rights.

“We should be doing everything in our power to make voting easier, not harder. Reintroducing these measures is disingenuous, unfair, and a cynical attempt to gain a political advantage.”

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