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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10 responses to “Limit On Emergency Powers is First Bill”

  1. WayneS Avatar

    “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.”

    Remove the word “perhaps” from that sentence and I am in 100% agreement.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    Actually, I support any legislation that ends up with a super-majority and better than that – I’d support a general referenda also.

    Instead of dragging this out in a never-ending partisan stink… let’s get it addressed and move on… we’re so deep into beating dead horses these days, the stink is overwhelming.

    1. WayneS Avatar

      Which of the bills listed above are you referring to?

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        Any of them that challenge the current power and authority of the Governor. If a super majority votes that way and are accountable to voters, so be it. If the courts throw it out – go back and re-write to be Constitutional and do super-majority again or do a referendum process to get it done.

        I have zero problems with following the true will of the people – as opposed to what some minorities claim…

        1. Matt Hurt Avatar
          Matt Hurt

          I also generally agree, but I have seen some stinkers go through almost unanimously, such as HR 3162 – USA Patriot Act of 2001.

        2. WayneS Avatar

          Excellent. At first it looked like maybe you wanted to require a super-majority for ALL legislation – which, of course would mean that no laws would ever get passed.

          …but then again, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad.


  3. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    Supermajority on budgets and taxes would be good as it would force both parties toward the middle on important decisions. Of course, the editorial board at the Post would opine that it be given final say over all fiscal decisions. I’ve always thought that, if we could tax stupidity, the media could supply more than half of each state’s budget.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      So do you think for a referenda that a majority would favor restricting the Governors powers in an emergency?

      1. WayneS Avatar

        I would hope so – at some level.

        As I have said before, I’d support a 90 day limit on declared emergencies without legislative ratification – I could probably even be talked into supporting 60 days. I think 30 days may be a little too restrictive.

  4. James Wyatt Whitehead V Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead V

    The School Nurse Bill is interesting. A number of non emergency medical duties usually performed by teachers are now delegated to the school nurse. School teachers can now refuse to perform non emergency medical duties and not have to sweat losing their job or being punished.

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