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Dooring Bill Clears “Courts” Subcommittee, Full Committee Hearing This Wed.

SB117, the Dooring bill, was listed for hearing in the House Courts of Justice Criminal Law SubCommittee today, 1/2 hour after Adjournment of the House, and immediately after the Ethics SubComm heard the 3 bills on its docket. Since all bills being heard were Senate bills and the Senate session was running long, the SubComm assembled but waited about an hour before the Senators who were patroning the bills began to appear.

Our Patron, Sen. Petersen, appeared about 2:45 and began to present the bill when Del. Albo (the Chair of Courts of Justice, who was sitting as a member of the Criminal SubComm) realized that he had assigned the bill to the wrong SubComm, when he had intended to assign it to the Civil Laws SubComm.

Stopping Sen. Petersen in mid presentation, and collecting copies of the bill from all the Criminal SubComm members, he said “We’re going across the hall” and led our small entourage over to where the Civil SubComm was meeting. Excusing himself to Sen. Black of Leesburg, who was presenting a bill, Del. Albo went up to Chairman Habeeb, who was conducting the meeting, handed him the copies of the bill, told him “you are going to handle this one over here” and went back across the hall to the Criminal SubComm. The SubComm members all got a big kick out of this, but soon settled back to let Sen. Black continue with his bill. As soon as it was finished, and unhappily for him, laid on the table, Sen. Petersen started over again with the Dooring bill.

Never having seen anything quite like it in 15 years of doing this, I wasn’t quite sure what kind of reception we were going to get, but there were mostly familiar faces up there on the SubCom who seemed to be in a good mood. Sen. Petersen did a nice job of presenting, which was well received. I was first speaking in support, followed by Champe Burnley, and then Lisa Guthrie representing the Transit Assn.

Some discussion followed regarding how much of a fine the infraction should carry and some legal technicalities, before it was Moved to Report and Seconded by two of the Democrats (which caused me some brief concern that it might be treated as a partisan issue). It was not, however, as the three D’s (McClellan, Toscano, & Krizek) were joined by Chairman Habeeb and Loupassi, Minchew, and Miyares to carry by a 7-3 vote, with only Kilgore, Leftwich, & Campbell opposed. Now its on to the Full Courts of Justice Committee on Wednesday, a half hour after House Adjournment, where I’m cautiously optimistic we can get reported out to the House floor for final passage.

It would be helpful if the RABA folks could thank deljmcclellan@house.virginia.gov & delmloupassi@house.virginia.gov for their support, while the Northern VA folks do the same for delrminchew@house.virginia.gov and delpkrizek@house.virginia.gov the western folks for delghabeeb@house.virginia.gov and deldtoscano@house.virginia.gov and the Tidewater people for deljmiyares@house.virginia.gov

I know they will appreciate hearing that someone appreciates their support of the bill and hopes that they will continue to do so in the Full Committee on Wednesday and hopefully, on the floor shortly after.

Thanks to everybody who has helped so far! We’re getting close. Let’s see if we can get it across the finish line.

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