Aaaaaaand, they’re off. The first five bills have been filed for consideration by the August 18 Special Session, all introduced by Senate Republicans. As the list of proposals fills in rapidly, you can track it here.
First on the list, surprising no one, is a bill from Senator Steve Newman of the Lynchburg region limiting a governor’s emergency powers by executive order to 30 days, then outlining how the General Assembly may intervene if it chooses (and it may choose not to). This bill may or may not be ruled germane to the session’s purpose, but I’m glad it is bill number one. (Well, five thousand and one.)
SB 5001 Emergency Services and Disaster Law; limitation on duration of executive orders.
Next up, from Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment of Williamsburg, is bill prohibiting police use of choke holds, a practice that has led to far too many injuries and deaths among arrested individuals, including but in no way limited to the notorious case in Minneapolis. This is very much germane to the session’s official call.
SB 5002 Law-enforcement officers; prohibition on the use of neck restraints.
So is Senator Richard Stuart’s proposal for a Commission on Civil Rights and Policing, for a formal dive into these issues. With the House Democrats already holding three public hearings on their ideas, and with the Crime Commission now thoroughly stacked against debate and dissent, this one’s a long shot.
SB 5003 Civil Rights and Policing, Commission on; established, report, sunset provision.
Virginia Beach Senator Jennifer Kiggans is a nurse practitioner, and thus a logical person to carry a bill expanding the mandate for school nurses at all levels in public schools. Again, this is an intelligent response to a health care crisis and will require budget adjustments, so this seems relevant to the limited Special Session.
SB 5004 School nurses; local school boards shall employ nurses for each elementary, middle, and high school.
Finally, Norment is back with a bill to expand Department of Criminal Justice Services oversight of local (and perhaps in some cases privately-run) police training academies. The state should be making sure the training is focused on preventing the incidents which have been too common, and perhaps on identifying individuals who should be seeking another line of work. Norment, I’m sure, will fill in his rationale if given a chance.
SB 5005 Criminal justice training academies; adds to the powers and duties of DCJS regarding academies.
These are five solid legislative proposals, worth taking a look at before the avalanche of more bills buries them. The measure to watch for, and it may not appear for weeks, is the resolution which organizes the Special Session and outlines what can and cannot be introduced.
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