Thursday, 5 April 2007

Lawmakers return to the Capitol to consider Kaine's changes

April 4, 2007
Lawmakers return to the Capitol to consider Kaine's changes

Virginia lawmakers returned to the Capitol building today for the first time in two years. They're in Richmond to consider Governor Tim Kaine's changes to their bills. Kaine amended more than 100 proposed laws. He also vetoed ten.

Lawmakers spent several hours this afternoon paying tribute to retiring members from our area, Delegate Allen Dudley and Senator Charles Hawkins.

Once they got down to business, Delegates delivered a blow to three of Governor Kaine's vetoes. Kaine's vetoes of three bills expanding the crimes punishable by death in Virginia were easily overridden in the House.

Delegates also voted to override vetoes on two of Gilbert's bills. One eliminates the so-called triggerman rule, allowing accomplices of certain crimes to be put to death. The second allows the same punishment for those who murder witnesses in a criminal case.

Delegate Robert Hurt celebrated a similar victory. His bill allows the death penalty for the murder of a judge.

Delegates also stomped out the governor's amendments to the smoking bill. Kaine amended Delegate Morgan Griffith's bill to ban smoking in all restaurants. Griffith warned Kaine's amendments go too far, stretching to outdoor festivals, street venders, and catered facilities. He told delegates they'd have a hard time explaining to members of Moose Clubs why they can't light up in their private facilities. Governor Kaine says he'll veto the bill.

Meanwhile, the Senate still has to take up the House's death penalty bills before they can be returned to Governor Kaine.

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