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Votes

Local Legislators Pursue Local Concerns in Richmond

From tattoo parlors to vending machines in schools legislators try to find remedies in law.

With all the legislation that senators and delegates attempt to push through the General Assembly, there are usually several bills that are lesser-known to constituents. Below are some of those offerings, as listed by the Virginia Legislative Information System Web site (http://leg1.state.va.us/):

Sen. Leslie Byrne (D-34th)

*SB 923, Restrictions on vending machines in public elementary schools.

This bill, passed indefinitely by the Committee on Education and Health, would have restricted public elementary schools from using vending machines that dispensed to children soft drinks or solid foods "having empty calories, high fat, high sodium or caffeine content." The schools could have used the vending machine to dispense healthy food.

*SB 927, Self-employed writers; license tax rate limitation.

This bill, currently referred to the Committee on Finance, would limit the license tax rate for self-employed writers providing services from their homes. The license tax would not exceed $10 per year in jurisdictions with populations of 2,000 or less, or $30 per year in jurisdictions with populations greater than 2,000.

Del. Jeannemarie Devolites (R-35th)

*HB 2286, Regulation of parking.

HB 2286 passed the House unanimously and now awaits decision in the Senate. It allows Fairfax and Prince William counties to regulate or prohibit the parking of trailers, semitrailers and other commercial motor vehicles.

*HB 2293, Good conduct allowance; mandatory functional literacy requirement.

This bill, left in the Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions by a vote of 22-0, would have provided good conduct allowance for prisoners, measurable at four levels of escalating credits. Prisoners with exemplary behavior who are also working toward their GED would have earned the highest level of 50-percent credit.

Del. J. Chapman Petersen (D-37th)

*HB 1676, Local limitation; number of tattoo parlors and body-piercing salons.

This bill allowed localities to limit the number of tattoo parlors and body-piercing salons that operate within their limits. A similar authority limits the number of pawnshops existing in a locality. HB 1676 was referred to the Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns, where it was later stricken at the request of the patron.

*HB 2028, Covenant marriage.

HB 2028 would have authorized couples to obtain premarital counseling and recite and sign a declaration of intent before entering into a covenant marriage, which is a form of marriage. Grounds for divorce would remain the same. Existing marriages could redesignate their marriage as a covenant marriage, provided that they undergo counseling and sign a declaration of intent.