Hope introduced a bill earlier this year to ban the practice. The bill was defeated but supporters were able to pressure the department to change its internal policies without the need for legislation.
Here’s the press release from Hope’s office announcing the planned change in policy.
The Virginia Department of Corrections is planning to implement regulations to prohibit the shackling of pregnant inmates in Virginia’s prisons. The regulation is modeled after legislation (HB 1488) introduced by Delegate Patrick A. Hope (D-Arlington) in the 2011 legislative session and supported by the following organizations: the American Medical Association, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Virginia Chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Legal Aid Justice Center, ACLU of Virginia, NARAL Pro-Choice-Virginia, Planned Parenthood-Virginia, VA CURE, and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
Specifically, the regulations prohibit the use of restraints on pregnant inmates during labor, delivery, or post-partum recovery. Front-end handcuffs may be used but only during transport. Additional restraints may be used if a determination is made that the inmate poses a danger to herself or others. The regulations take the additional step in requiring documentation when additional restraints are used.
Delegate Hope worked with Virginia Department of Corrections Director, Harold Clarke, for several months on this in-depth policy and offered high praise saying, “Director Clarke recognized the importance of spelling out a policy that protects the health of the mother and her unborn child. He deserves a lot of credit for taking this significant, bold step.” Delegate Hope continued, “This policy sets the tone for other correctional facilities such as our county and regional jails to follow suit. I hope they will also spell out similar regulations.” The Department of Corrections only has jurisdiction over Virginia’s prisons.
With this regulation, Virginia’s prison system joins ten other states — California, Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia – who have banned the practice. The Federal Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshals Service also have policies that block the shackling of inmates during childbirth.
Hope is running for reelection to the House of Delegates this year. He faces Independent Green Party candidate Jennifer Stanley.
Few details about the event were revealed ahead of time, but with the announcement featuring remarks by County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman and local lawmaker Del. Patrick Hope, one could reasonably assume that the bulk of the new event was to take place in Arlington, right?
The “Dominion Trail Mix” Labor Day community event will largely take place in Loudoun County, as it turns out. “The Great Skedaddle” — a bike, run, walk event along the W&OD Trail — and “TrailFest” — an outdoor festival featuring pop-country group Gloriana — will both take place at Farmwell Station Middle School in Ashburn.
A third Trail Mix event — the “Hail the Trail” clean-up event — will take place at
eight nine different stations along the trail on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 3. According to the newly-updated Trail Mix web site, the station closest to Arlington will be located at Veterans Common at 507 Little Falls Street in Falls Church. The event will encourage volunteers to pick up trash, perform kiosk maintenance, weed and plant along the trail.
Among those on hand for this morning’s announcement were Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell, Dominion CEO Paul Koonce and Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority Executive Director Paul Gilbert.
“Having stated in the early weeks of March that I would only make a decision after having an opportunity to actually see the newly drawn 31st Senate District lines, I have reluctantly decided, at this time, not to run for the open Senate seat,” Hope said in a statement. “I intend to seek re-election to the House. Running an effective campaign with the geographical diversity of the new district would take me away from spending quality time with my young family.”
“I’m humbled by the literally hundreds of voters living in the new 31st District who pledged support and encouraged me to run, but my first obligation must be to my family,” he continued. “Spending the time it would take to be victorious in a competitive primary and general election is too high a price for me to have to pay; however, I will not rule out a run for higher office at a future date.”
The redrawn 31st state Senate district, if approved by Gov. Bob McDonnell and the U.S. Department of Justice, will extend from North Arlington up into Fairfax and Loudoun counties, with the Potomac River as an eastern border. Currently, County Board member Barbara Favola is the only Democrat to announce her candidacy for the seat, which was vacated by the retiring Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple.
Hope’s decision, however, clears a path for another potential candidate to enter the race. Political consultant and blogger Ben Tribbett, who has been flirting with the idea of running for public office, issued a statement today that stopped short of announcing himself as a candidate, but suggested that he’s at least seriously considering it.
In his first term in office, Patrick Hope has established an outstanding record of progressive activism. I was very much looking forward to being one of Patrick’s strongest supporters if he had decided to seek the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s 31st Senate District. I look forward to an opportunity in the future to support Hope for higher office.
Now that Patrick Hope has decided not to seek this Senate nomination, a large number of his supporters and other Virginia Democrats have urged me to run. The voters in this Senate district deserve a strong progressive voice in the Virginia Senate, and they also deserve someone who will address local community concerns in all three counties within this district. If I decide to run, I am confident I will provide them with that voice.
In the battle of endorsements, the current divisions among Democratic candidates are quite clear. Del. Adam Ebbin has the support of fellow state delegates. Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka has the support of fellow Alexandria officials. And Arlington School Board Chair Libby Garvey has the endorsement of Ticer herself.
Ebbin officially announced the endorsement of ten members of the House of Delegates from Northern Virginia this morning. Those supporting him include local Dels. Bob Brink and Patrick Hope.
“Adam Ebbin is ready to be the next Senator from District 30,” Brink said today in a statement. “With his experience in the House, he will be prepared to hit the ground running on day one.”
“A founding member of the Progressive Caucus, Adam Ebbin has a record that speaks for itself,” said Hope. “He’s a leader Northern Virginians will be able to count on in the Senate.”
The primary is scheduled for Aug. 23.
Del. Bob Brink, who has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the state Senate seat of the retiring Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, announced this morning that he will not be seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat.
Brink released the following statement regarding his decision this morning.
In the days since Senator Mary Margaret Whipple announced her intention to retire from the General Assembly, I have been weighing the possibility of running for the seat she has held with such distinction since 1996. I am gratified that many people have encouraged me to seek the Senate nomination, and it would be a tremendous honor to succeed Mary Margaret in the Senate. However, I have decided that I can best serve Arlingtonians by remaining in the House of Delegates.
This has been a tough year for Arlington in Richmond. Despite the unified efforts of Arlington’s General Assembly delegation, important measures that were aimed at bolstering the County’s economy, protecting its interests, and upholding its values, met a hostile reception. Next year the entire Arlington delegation, including the new Senator from the 31st District, must be prepared to work at restoring the trust and respect for the County that it deserves and that so many have sought to achieve.
Eyes now turn to Del. Patrick Hope, another possible candidate who was expected to defer to Brink should he have decided to run. Hope would face county board member Barbara Favola in the Democratic primary.
Dels. Bob Brink, Adam Ebbin, David Englin and Patrick Hope are all listed as members of the group.
“Progressive values are Virginia values,” Hope said in a press release announcing the caucus’ formation. “The Progressive Caucus serves to fight for the interests of the average citizen and to educate the public on Progressive issues.”
“While Virginia can be slow to change, we have to keep pace with the times when it comes to issues like stem cell research, global warming and society’s attitudes towards gays and lesbians,” said Ebbin. “As progressives, it is important that we stand together as we work to move Virginia forward.”
“It’s time for progressive legislators to organize and work together to advance the progressive values that we share, so we can keep our Commonwealth moving toward that day when every person – including the poor, the elderly, the week, the dispossessed – has a fair shake and an equal shot at the American dream,” Englin said.
Conspicuously absent from the group is Arlington’s state senator, Mary Margaret Whipple.
(Updated at 8:00 a.m. on 2/9/11) A bill that would have prohibited the shackling of pregnant inmates during labor and postpartum recovery has failed in a Virginia House of Delegates committee.
The legislation, proposed by Arlington’s Del. Patrick Hope (D), had the support of medical, civil rights and religious groups. It would have prevented the restraint of pregnant prisoners during labor and recovery, except in cases where jail administrators felt the prisoner posed a flight risk or a danger to herself or others.
There may be a silver lining for bill supporters, however.
According to Hope, the chairwoman of the Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee, Del. Beverly Sherwood (R), will be writing a letter to the Virginia Department of Corrections requesting they look into whether the department should change the policy on restraining pregnant inmates. Such a change could accomplish what Hope wanted to achieve without the need for legislation.
“If you ultimately get the [Department of Corrections] to act, it’s a win to me, so I’m very pleased,” Hope said. “I don’t judge my success by the number of bills I get passed into law.”
As expected, the renewal of a hotel tax surcharge that is responsible for generating Arlington’s nearly $1 million per year tourism promotion budget was all-but-killed in a House subcommittee this morning. The bill, introduced by Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D), was passed by indefinitely — meaning the House version dead unless a member who voted against it changes his or her mind.
An identical bill introduced by Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple passed the Senate last week, however, meaning that the tax renewal will get another shot in House committee. It’s yet to be seen whether the outcome will be any different.
Other bills by Arlington lawmakers have met with mixed results.
Two bills introduced by Del. Brink have managed to pass the Republican-controlled House, however. The bills “address the irregularities discovered during the signature gathering process” for last year’s failed effort to change Arlington’s form of government.
One bill, HB 1646, calls for the name and address of a petition signature gatherer to be present on both sides of the petition form. The other bill, HB 1670, says that “a notary shall not perform any notarial act… that presents a conflict between his personal interest and his official duty.”
One bill passed unanimously, the other passed with only one ‘no’ vote. They will now be taken up by the Democratic-controlled state Senate.
Another Fairfax County Republican is taking a legislative swipe at Arlington.
Del. Dave Albo has introduced a bill, HB 1421, that would prevent Virginia localities from restricting “the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.” Any locality that does not comply with the order would risk losing state funding.
Ablo admitted that the bill is “directly targeted at Arlington,” according to a quote attributed to Arlington Del. Patrick Hope (D) by the Blue Virginia blog. Last year Arlington attempted, unsuccessfully, to opt-out of the federal Secure Communities immigration program.
Both bills have been approved in subcommittee and are now up for a vote by the full Courts of Justice Committee. Hope is a member of the committee and voted against the immigration bills in subcommittee last week.
“These proposals basically fall into two categories: bills that will add an undue burden and unfunded mandate on business and law enforcement, and the rest are just a meaningless restatement of federal immigration law,” Hope said in a statement this morning. “But what they all have in common is they are message bills. And that message is very simple: if you are an illegal immigrant, we don’t want you in Virginia.”
“The politics of blame is on full display this week in Virginia’s Capitol. Immigrants are to blame for Virginia’s poor economy, high unemployment, overcrowding in schools, and every other problem facing our Commonwealth,” Hope added. “I’m surprised they didn’t blame immigrants for last week’s snowfall. It’s a ridiculous blame game and is just plain wrong.”
Update at 4:05 p.m. – In a brief phone interview this afternoon, Albo refused to say that his bill is “targeting” Arlington, but he did say that Arlington’s effort to opt out of the Secure Communities program motivated him to introduce HB 1421.
Albo added that his goal is to expel every illegal alien from the state.
“In a perfect world, I would like to be able to kick out every single person who’s an illegal alien in Virginia,” Albo said, adding that doing so is difficult because “you can’t do it in a way that affects citizens and legal immigrants.”
Hope says that his bill has the support of medical organizations, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, among others. Ten other states have passed similar legislation.
“Shackling pregnant women is dangerous and inhumane. Excessively restraining prisoners and detainees during pregnancy increases their chances of accidentally tripping or falling, and harming their pregnancies,” Hope said in a statement. “During labor and postpartum recovery, shackling can interfere with appropriate medical care and can be detrimental to the health of the woman and her newborn child.”
The bill, HB 1488, is set to be considered by a House of Delegates subcommittee today.
See the press release from Hope’s office after the jump.
Del. Patrick Hope (D), who represents part of Arlington in the Virginia House of Delegates, has proposed a bill that would raise taxes on tobacco products to fill several gaps in the state’s Medicaid budget.
The bill would raise the tax on cigarettes from the current $0.015 per cigarette to the national average of $0.0725 per cigarette, or $1.45 per pack. Virginia currently has the lowest cigarette tax in the U.S.
The bill would also raise the tax on snuff and other tobacco products. Cigars would be taxed at 50 percent of the wholesale price, up from 10 percent.
Hope’s legislation would direct 52 percent of the additional tax revenue (estimated at about $250 million) to fund Medicare waivers for intellectual and developmental disabilities. Forty percent of the revenue (about $150 million) would go to Medicaid reimbursement for physicians and hospitals. And 8 percent (about $30 million) would be split among the state tobacco quitline and a youth tobacco prevention program.
“Virginia’s Medicaid budget is on an unsustainable course,” Hope said in a statement. “Cuts to Medicaid only result in higher costs down the road. The sick end up in the hospital and ERs for costly medical procedures and avoidable hospitalizations; and individuals with disabilities wind up in institutions rather than being served in their communities for a fraction of the cost. This proposal will take a significant step in preserving and protecting the Medicaid program for future generations and will fulfill a promise to Virginia’s families.”
What do you think?
Virginia has traditionally been one of the more tobacco-friendly states in the country, making consideration and passage of such a bill an uphill battle. Hope has received public words of encouragement, however, from a number of influential health-related organizations, like the Medical Society of Virginia, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.
See the press release prepared by Hope’s office, after the jump.
(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) Del. Patrick Hope (D), who represents part of Arlington in the Virginia House of Delegates, announced that he will introduce legislation today that would ban firearms in Virginia’s Capitol building and the General Assembly Building.
“The tragedy this weekend in Tucson should cause all public officials to re-examine the safety and security of themselves, their staff, and visitors,” Hope said in a statement. “Every day we put our personal lives, the lives of our staff, and the lives of the general public at risk by allowing firearms in the GAB and the Capitol.”
Hope said criticism of his bill is misguided.
“There’s nothing offensive or unconstitutional about asking individuals not to bring firearms into the GAB or the Capitol,” he said. “You can’t walk through an airport with a gun, you can’t enter the US Capitol or Federal Courthouses with a gun. Why should the Virginia Capitol and the GAB be any different?”
In 2006, a lawmaker accidentally fired his gun in the General Assembly Building. The bullet struck a bulletproof vest that was hanging in a closet and no one was hurt, save a small cut on the lawmaker’s hand.
Anyone with a concealed weapon permit is allowed to carry a gun in the Capitol and General Assembly Buildings.
Is the Virginia prison system failing those with mental illnesses? Does the state need to reform its re-entry program? Those were among the topics of discussion Thursday night at a town hall meeting on prison reform, held by local Arlington delegates Adam Ebbin and Patrick Hope.
Helen Trainer of the Legal Aid Justice Center pointed to a story of an inmate who wasn’t allowed to self-medicate in his prison cell. Told to wait in the daily line at the clinic, he ultimately suffered numerous seizures and left the prison as a quadriplegic. Trainer believes the story is not an isolated incident and is indicative of the reform needed throughout the nation’s criminal justice system.
Trainer said prison employees, more often than not, falsely believe that inmates’ behavior stems from a lack of control, rather than from mental health problems. Identifying individuals with mental health issues from the point of intake and diverting them to mental health facilities could help alleviate many of the outbreaks that occur in prisons, she explained.
Scott Richeson of the Virginia Department of Corrections spoke about the department’s new emphasis on prisoner re-entry programs. He said that 13,500 people are released from Virginia’s prisons annually, but only 600-800 are paroled, making Virginia one of the country’s lowest parole-granting states. And of the 13,500 prisoners released, 28.5 percent are incarcerated again within three years.
Aftermath of Fight Outside Clarendon Grill Caught on Video – A late night fight outside Clarendon Grill left a man battered and unconscious in the middle of North Highland Street early Sunday morning. The aftermath of the fight was captured on video. Metro Transit Police, who were the first on scene, could be seen handcuffing two men as a crowd gathered around the victim. The victim eventually regained consciousness and was loaded into an ambulance.
Arlington Tops Parenting Magazine “Best Cities” List — Arlington County was named the country’s “Best City for Families” by Parenting Magazine last week. The methodology of the rankings seems dubious, but hey, we’ll take all the praise Parenting wants to send our way, right? Among the qualities the magazine found appealing: “Fabulous schools, great home values, and an attractive unemployment rate.” Plus “very few registered sex offenders.”
Delegates Ebbin and Hope to Hold Prison Reform Town Hall — Two members of Arlington’s delegation to the Virginia General Assembly will be holding a town hall meeting on prison reform Thursday night. Delegates Adam Ebbin and Patrick Hope, along with Alexandria Delegate Charniele Herring, will discuss the “state of incarceration” with a panel that includes representatives from two non-profit groups and from the offices of Gov. Bob McDonnell and Sen. Jim Webb. The two-hour event will start at 7:00 p.m. at the Walter Reed Community Center (2909 16th Street South).
Happy Flag Day — Today is Flag Day. The holiday commemorates the adoption of the United States flag by the Second Continental Congress in 1777. June 14th also happens to be the birthday of the U.S. Army. Today the Army turns the ripe old age of 235.
Post Writes Up EFC Development Battle — The Washington Post is running a story this morning about the increasingly ugly battle between the East Falls Church Planning Task Force and vocal anti-development residents. The task force and their pro-development allies say that development is inevitable given that East Falls Church will be the transfer station to the new Silver Line. Anti-development forces say they don’t want a nine-story “high-rise” among their “bucolic” bastion of single-family homes. The County Board will discuss the task force’s development plan on Tuesday.
Hope for the Best – Del. Patrick Hope, a member of the Arlington delegation to the Virginia General Assembly, has been named legislator of the year by the Virginia Transit Association. The first-term delegate says he was “honored” to receive the award, which recognizes his work on a transit-related bill. More from the Sun Gazette.
They Live (and Cheer) Among Us – Were you watching the U.S.-England World Cup match at Summers Restaurant in Courthouse over the weekend? Fox News says you might have been rubbing elbows with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA). Nunes frequents Summers, which, according to Fox News, “is known as one of the best soccer pubs in the country.” For other good soccer venues around Arlington, see our World Cup guide.