VA News Digest 1/20 to 1/26/20

Weekly Digest – 1/13 to 1/19/20 1

Summary

Clockwise from upper left:
“One day after the big gun rally, House Democrats wipe out GOP firearm bills” –  Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Virginia Senate passes red flag gun law after tightening due process protections” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Va. Senate votes to prohibit conversion therapy, create transgender school policy, repeal gay marriage ban” – Ned Oliver,Virginia Mercury

“My students will not be silenced on climate change — or anything else” – Christine Hirsh-Putnam

Article summaries inside this post.

Issues

Gun laws

One day after the big gun rally, House Democrats wipe out GOP firearm bills
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – January 21, 2020

The pro-gun masses had their day at the Virginia Capitol Monday. But mathematical reality quickly set in Tuesday morning as a Democratic-led House of Delegates panel easily dispatched nearly a dozen Republican-sponsored gun bills.

The proposals would have made it easier to carry guns in places of worship, allowed concealed carry without a permit, limited gun-free zones and strengthened mandatory sentencing rules for gun crimes. They hit a legislative buzzsaw in a public safety subcommittee, just as Democratic-sponsored gun-control bills did when Republicans controlled the General Assembly.

Virginia Senate passes red flag gun law after tightening due process protections
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – January 22, 2020

As a Virginia Senate committee debated how to craft a policy allowing police to take guns away from people deemed dangerous, one Republican made an ominous warning about what could happen if the state starts sending officers up “Ruby Ridge Drive” to bang on the door.

“When they don’t answer the door,” said Sen. Ben Chafin, R-Russell,  “… is this committee asking that that door be knocked down to find out what’s on the other side?”

It’s not clear how many of Chafin’s colleagues share his concern about the bill’s potential to create more armed standoffs between homeowners and police. But Democratic lawmakers spent a significant amount of time over the last week fine-tuning the process of how police will interact with people who are subject to court orders temporarily stripping their gun rights.

LGBQ

Va. Senate votes to prohibit conversion therapy, create transgender school policy, repeal gay marriage ban
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – January 21, 2020

A suite of LGBT-friendly legislation cleared the Virginia Senate on Tuesday.

Lawmakers voted to:

  • ban health professionals like counselors and psychologists from performing conversion therapy on anyone under age 18,
  • create uniform policies for transgender students attending public schools,
  • make it easier for transgender people to change the gender on their birth certificates and
  • remove language from the state code banning gay marriage.

The gay marriage ban has already been invalidated by a 2015 Supreme Court ruling and advocates said the state code should reflect that.

Climate Change

My students will not be silenced on climate change — or anything else
By: Christine Hirsh-Putnam
January 24, 2020

Young people usually don’t have a say in the laws we all must obey. They are deemed too young and/or naïve to make sound political choices. Yet they are passionate about major political issues because they will be affected by these issues throughout their entire lives.

Recently, young people have answered the call to act on climate change, energizing the climate movement. If our country remains stagnant and refuses to address this issue, their generation will be left with serious problems long after today’s lawmakers are gone.

I see the potential in students to effectively participate in the political process. Each year my 7th grade students from Tandem Friends School near Charlottesville travel to Washington to meet with their representatives about climate solutions. It is an eye-opening experience meeting with a member of Congress that most citizens will never experience. If we teach our children how to engage in the democratic process during these formidable years, the lesson will stick with them for years to come.

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