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Legislative Update #10, Feb. 13, 2017

First up on the Docket in House Transportation SubCommittee 1 at 7:02 this morning was Sen. Scott Surovell and his bills. SB 1338, to prevent Motor Vehicles from passing another Motor Vehicle while driving in a bike lane, received a full discussion before being voted down 4 -3 with Plum, Ward, & LeMunyon voting to report, while Rich Anderson surprisingly joined Garrett, Adams, and Pilion in voting against.

SB 1339, the Vulnerable Road User bill, was then heard. Even more discussion on this one, as the subcommittee members seemed to agree that the absence of any charge beneath Reckless Driving when a motorist hits a pedestrian or cyclist was an omission in the code that needs to be addressed. The only opposition to the bill was expressed by Commonwealth’s Atty David Ledbetter from Waynesboro, representing the CA’s Assn. this week, who felt that such an incident clearly warranted a Reckless Driving charge, and that a new level of lesser infraction was unnecessary. Despite his testimony, the subcomm felt that the bill should receive further consideration so it was unanimously voted to refer it to the Courts Committee, which meets M, W, & F a half hr. after House Adjournment. Sen. Surovell feels that it might be heard on Wednesday, but I will be surprised if it is not assigned to their Criminal SubComm which meets on Mondays after Adjournment. We’ll see how it is handled, but in any case contacts to members of the House Courts Committee are now in order.

In the Richmond area this would be Loupassi and newly elected Jeff Bourne, who replaces Jennifer McClellan.

Also on Wednesday, although no docket is yet posted, we expect to see Villanueva’s HB 2023/ Maintenance Reimbursement for Travel Lanes Converted to Bike Lanes & HB 1806/ No Handheld Communication Devices in Work Zones bills in Senate Transportation, where constituent contacts to their Senators are in order (which would be Chase & McClellan in the Richmond area).

Buddy Fowler’s two House bills aimed at getting unsafe drivers off the road are closing in on the finish line, as HB 1504, increasing the Field of Vision requirement for new driver’s license applicants is on the Senate floor awaiting final passage, while Sen. Dunnavant’s identical SB 1229 is on the House floor in about the same status.

The two identical bills providing Immunity from Civil Liability for Health Professionals who report patients with conditions that make them unsafe drivers are taking a little longer route, as Fowler’s HB 1514 was referred to Courts Committee in the Senate and then re-referred to Education & Health, which next meets on Thursday a.m.; Dunnavant’s SB 1024 was sent to the Courts Committee and then to its Civil SubComm, which meets this afternoon.

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