The three state senators and four delegates that represent Arlington in the Virginia General Assembly have sent a letter to state Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne in support of the Columbia Pike streetcar project.
The letter calls out County Board members Libby Garvey and John Vihstadt for their continued opposition to the project. On Friday, Garvey laid out alternative uses for the hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local transportation funding that are being directed toward the streetcar.
“We strongly disagree with the efforts of Libby Garvey and John Vihstadt to deprive Arlington of those state funds dedicated to the streetcar project,” the letter states.
The letter also cites the return on investment study the county funded that predicted more than $3 billion in economic impact in the first 30 years of the streetcar system. It refers to the support the streetcar has already received from state officials, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
The letter was signed by state Sens. Janet Howell, Adam Ebbin and Barbara Favola and Dels. Alfonso Lopez, Patrick Hope, Rob Krupicka and Rip Sullivan.
The full letter is posted, after the jump. (more…)
The following letter to the editor was submitted by state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31) and Del. Kaye Kory (D-38), the chairs of the Reproductive Health Caucuses in the Senate and House of Delegates, respectively.
Our health care system is neither healthy nor accessible for many women, but Richmond lawmakers have an opportunity to make improvements. They need to stop playing politics with people’s lives and begin to start governing.
In large swaths of Virginia, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, women are suffering. This suffering affects the well being of all of us, not just the children and communities that are directly affected.
You probably didn’t know that childless, uninsured women are not eligible for Medicaid in Virginia even if they are planning to have children. Moreover, for many mothers who are eligible, they lose their Medicaid coverage 60 days after giving birth because they exceed the very low income requirements to qualify for Virginia’s sparse Medicaid program. This exacerbates an already stressful period in a mother’s life.
In fact, mothers in most parts of Virginia qualify for Medicaid only if they earn less than 40 percent of the federal poverty line. This means that a single mother in Richmond cannot receive Medicaid if she makes $6,100 a year or more. But if Virginia participated in Medicaid Expansion, a program for which we are already sending tax dollars ($5 million per day) to Washington, hard working individuals, including women, earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line would gain insurance coverage. Virginia’s tax dollars are supporting Medicaid Expansion in 29 other States but not here at home!
Medicaid expansion may not be perfect, but the cost of not going forward is astronomical. We all know that maternal health is critically important for the healthy development of a child. This means that prospective moms can only achieve a healthy state if they have access to care before pregnancy as well as access to pre- and post-natal care. Preventing low-birth weight babies and developmentally delayed babies is something we must embrace. Virginia cannot afford to wait; we must pass Medicaid Expansion now.
Here is Democrat Richard “Rip” Sullivan’s unedited response:
The election on August 19th is not just about the candidates. It’s about the values of this District’s voters and our shared vision of a more welcoming, innovative, forward-looking society.
I’m running to be your next Delegate because I share the core values of 48th District voters — opportunity, inclusiveness, and equality. I’m running because I refuse to sit back as 400,000 Virginians are denied healthcare services. I’m running so that our children inherit a clean environment. I’m running because voters of the 48th district deserve a Delegate who will passionately fight for their values, not minimize the importance of those values for the sake of winning an election.
The Washington Post endorsed my candidacy last week, noting that I’ve taken “forthright stances” and that “voters would know what they are getting with Mr. Sullivan.” Throughout this campaign, I’ve made clear where I stand and how I will vote on all the issues of importance to the 48th District.
- On Medicaid, I unequivocally support expansion immediately.
- On gun control reform, I support reinstating the one-gun-a-month law, universal background checks, limits to high capacity magazines, banning assault weapons, and closing the gun show loophole.
- On women’s reproductive health, I believe those decisions should be between a woman and her doctor. I will fight to protect a woman’s right to choose.
- On LGBT issues, I fully support marriage equality and ending workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- On the environment, I’ve shown how we can create a 21st century economy, with Virginia as a leader in creating jobs through clean technology and energy innovation.
In telling voters who I am, I have not tried to reposition myself or suggest that this is a single-issue election, because voters in the 48th District should base their vote on the many issues that will come before the General Assembly.
This is in stark contrast to my Republican opponent, Dave Foster, who is on the wrong side of so many issues. After interviewing him, the Washington Post concluded that Mr. Foster is a “shape-shifter,” saying “he has scrambled to rebrand himself… by taking vague, wait-and-see stands on several key issues.” The Editorial Board went on to highlight that his campaign strategy is “designed to mainly shift attention away from tough votes.”
And Mr. Foster acknowledges as much. At our most recent debate, Mr. Foster – again – refused to reveal to voters what his positions are on choice, gun control, marriage equality, or climate change. He sheepishly concluded to the audience that “I don’t talk about gun control and abortion… as I campaign for this because I know one has to establish priorities.”
Those are issues Dave will have to vote on in Richmond, and they are priorities to the voters. Voters are entitled to know where he stands before they cast their vote. (more…)
Here is Republican Dave Foster’s unedited response:
I have demonstrated as a two-term chairman of the Arlington School Board and President of the state board of education that my problem-solving, consensus-building style gets results for our citizens. We need effective bipartisan representation in Richmond to address the Arlington streetcar, Medicaid, schools, the state’s economy, and the many other pressing issues we face. I will be that voice for the citizens of the 48th District.
I have been married for 33 years to Martha Tyahla Foster, of McLean. Our two children attended Arlington and Fairfax public schools and graduated from Virginia universities. I was President of the Arlington County Civic Federation and involved in numerous other community nonprofits, advisory committees, and PTA’s. It is my concern for the welfare of our community that led me to seek the office of Arlington School Board and the same concern motivates me to seek the office of House of Delegates.
I am concerned, as you are, about having a balanced, rational approach to transportation issues in our area. Unlike my opponent, I oppose the Arlington Streetcar proposal because it is neither practical nor affordable and will consume up to $164 million in state transportation funds that could be better used elsewhere. Roads and Metro, schools and tax relief are far more important to Northern Virginians than this ill-considered project, which will not only require an initial investment of over $500 million but also an annual operating subsidy of several million dollars. If elected, I will introduce legislation to create a public referendum on the streetcar proposal so that taxpayers can have a voice in this decision just as they do on local bond proposals.
As a two-term Chairman of the Arlington School Board and former President of the Virginia Board of Education, I have worked for lower class sizes, improved school safety, enhanced foreign language offerings (Mandarin and Arabic), Virginia’s “No Child Left Behind” waiver, improved Standards of Learning (SOLs), and many other shared priorities. I would like to continue to my work to strengthen our public schools as your Delegate in Richmond. We must protect the cost-of-competing adjustment to state funding that recognizes the higher cost of providing high-quality education in Northern Virginia. We should also give our school boards increased local control over public school calendars and budgets. I know from leading both the Arlington School Board and the state board how critical adequate funding and local decision making are to our schools.
We must once again make Virginia the best place to start, expand, or relocate a business. I will protect our right to work law and oppose mandatory project agreements of the kind that almost derailed the Silver Line Metrorail. I will also resist the imposition of costly and unwarranted state regulatory mandates that duplicate federal mandates. Building upon the transportation package passed by the last General Assembly, with a focus on projects that reduce congestion, improve safety, and spur economic development, is also a priority.
Because I am the most experienced and effective candidate, I ask for your vote on August 19th.
Seven candidates were on the ballot for the hastily-scheduled “firehouse” primary. Sullivan was listed as voters’ first choice for the 48th District seat on 905 of the 2,126 ballots cast on Sunday at two locations: Yorktown and McLean High Schools. Voters were asked to rank their preference of candidate and, during the instant runoff process, the candidates with the lowest number of votes were eliminated one-by-one — and their votes reassigned — until one candidate received a majority of votes.
In the fifth round of ballot counts, Sullivan secured the nomination with 1,111 votes, ahead of Paul Holland’s 523 and Andrew Schneider’s 444 votes. In the first ballots cast, David Boling received 209 votes, Atima Omara-Alwala received 159, Yasmine Taeb received 77 and Jackie Wilson received 58.
Brink officially retired from the House of Delegates on June 30 to become Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Deputy Commissioner for Aging Services. Brink had served as delegate for 17 years, and most recently was re-elected last fall after running unopposed. House of Delegates Speaker William Howell announced the special election would be held Aug. 19, making the election filing deadline today at 5:00 p.m.
“Speaker Howell threw all he had at us, but Arlington and Fairfax Democrats demonstrated their firm commitment to the democratic process, which is why turnout far exceeded expectations,” Sullivan said in a press release. “Republicans in the House of Delegates continue to refuse to expand health care to hundreds of thousands of Virginias, refuse to accept the reality behind climate science, and continue impose limits on women’s reproductive health. These are not my values, and these are not the values of the 48th district.”
Sullivan, a Fairfax County resident, will be joined on the ballot by former Arlington School Board Chairman Dave Foster, who was announced as the 48th District Republicans’ nominee hours before the Democratic caucus’ votes were counted. Before Sunday afternoon, no Republican had publicly expressed interest in running for the open seat in the Democrat-heavy district.
Foster, an Arlington native who has also served as the President of the Virginia Board of Education, said if elected he plans to introduce legislation to bring a referendum on the Columbia Pike streetcar to the General Assembly, calling the streetcar “impractical and unaffordable.”
“Roads and Metro, schools, and tax relief are far more important to Northern Virginians than a half-billion dollar trolley,” Foster said in a press release. He added he would fight for more local control over school decisions. “I know from leading both the Arlington School Board and the state board how critical adequate funding and local decision making are to our schools.”
Brink will retire as of June 30. His 48th District includes Crystal City and parts of north Arlington and McLean.
Brink said in a statement that being able to serve in the Virginia legislature, which counts founding fathers Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Patrick Henry among its former members, made him feel like “the luckiest guy on earth.”
It is “very likely” that Brink will be replaced in a special election in August, according to Arlington County General Registrar Linda Lindberg. The final order will come from the speaker of the House of Delegates.
Brink was reelected to a new two-year term this past November. He ran unopposed. He is leaving the legislature after accepting a position as Deputy Commissioner for Aging Services, Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office announced this afternoon.
Brink’s office issued the following press release this afternoon.
Delegate Bob Brink (D-Arlington/McLean), who has represented the 48th District in the Virginia House of Delegates for the past 17 years, announced Friday that he will retire from the House effective June 30.
“I’ve been honored beyond words to serve my fellow citizens as a member of the House,” Delegate Brink said. “But, ‘To every thing there is a season.’ It’s time for a new person to have this privilege, and it’s time for me to move on to new challenges.”
First elected in 1997, Delegate Brink is 13th in seniority in the 100-member House. He is the Dean of Arlington’s General Assembly delegation.
The 48th District includes north Arlington, Crystal City, and part of McLean in Fairfax County.
A member of the House Appropriations Committee and its Health Subcommittee, Delegate Brink cited as some of his proudest achievements in office his work on the FAMIS program which provides health coverage to children of the working poor, as well as efforts to maintain the health care safety net of services to vulnerable Virginians. The ranking Democrat on the House Privileges and Elections Committee, he has advocated for reform of the redistricting process and expansion of access to the vote for all eligible citizens. He also serves on the Education and Transportation Committees as well as on numerous legislative study commissions.
Delegate Brink has received recognition from a variety of groups for his service in the General Assembly. In 2013 the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia presented its Commonwealth Award to him for his efforts on behalf of blind and vision-impaired students. The Virginia League of Conservation Voters has consistently commended him for his legislative record on environmental issues. He headed the Virginia YMCA’s Model General Assembly Program board for a number of years and received the YMCA’s Service to Youth Award in 2001. He is a board member and former chair of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and also serves on the board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils.
Delegate Brink concluded, “On a personal note: A few weeks before I was sworn into office in 1998, I was in Richmond for freshman orientation. One night I took a walk around the Capitol and I stopped outside the House chamber. The curtains were open and the lights were on, and for the first time I saw the vote board with my name on it.
“I’ve looked up at that board thousands of times since that night. Some days it seemed like the only vote where I was in the majority was the quorum call. But every day, the knowledge that I’m one of a handful of Virginians whose numbers include Jefferson, Madison, and Patrick Henry made me think that I must be the luckiest guy on earth.”
Fellow Arlington delegate Alfonso Lopez issued the following statement about Brink’s retirement.
Delegate Brink has lead an extraordinary career in public service. Having served our community for over sixteen years in the House of Delegates, he has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience that has helped him fight for Arlington’s values and priorities in Richmond. As a friend, mentor, and leader in the Arlington delegation, Delegate Brink’s presence in the General Assembly will be sorely missed.
State Sen. Adam Ebbin also released a statement about Brink’s retirement.
For 17 years Delegate Bob Brink has brought Arlington’s values to Richmond in an outspoken, yet gentlemanly, way.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Bob has played a key role in the financial stewardship of the Commonwealth. He was an early and effective advocate of Virginia’s Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). He is responsible for easing enrollment, expanding outreach and the increased enrollment of underprivileged Virginia children in insurance, improving health outcomes. Thousands of blind and visually impaired children have benefited from Delegate Brink’s work securing funds for specialized teaching assistance.
On a personal level, Bob has been a great friend and taught me a lot about being a legislator.
Though the people of Virginia will benefit from his services as he assumes the position of Deputy Commissioner for Aging Services in the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services, he will certainly be missed in the General Assembly.
Another Flash Flood Watch — It’s Friday the 13th and Arlington is under another Flash Flood Watch today. The watch is in effect from noon through 10:00 p.m. Forecasters say an approaching cold front will spawn scattered showers and thunderstorms, some of which will be strong and result in very heavy rain. [National Weather Service]
Library to Launch Tool Lending – Arlington residents will soon be able to use their library cards to borrow garden tools from Arlington Central Library. The library is currently looking for volunteers to run and maintain its new “tool library,” which was established after being set as a priority by the county’s Urban Agriculture Task Force last year. [Arlington Public Library]
Va. Lawmakers Pass Budget After Impasse — Republicans in the Virginia Senate passed a budget Thursday night that thwarts an expansion of Medicaid, which had been sought by Democrats. Republicans were able to pass the budget after a Democratic lawmaker resigned and shifted the balance of power in the Senate to the GOP. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
‘KidicalMass’ Bike Ride Sunday — For Father’s Day, a group of parents and their kids will be taking part in a “KidicalMass” bike ride from Hayes Park to Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream in Clarendon Sunday evening. [Blogspot]
Blues Fest Road Closures — The annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival will be held Saturday and several road closures, including the closure of Walter Reed Drive north of Columbia Pike, are planned as a result. The road closures will be in effect from about 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
County Relies on Tips for Snow Violations — All recent snow-removal ordinance violation notices sent out by Arlington County were sent as the result of tips from residents, not a proactive enforcement effort. [Sun Gazette]
Sewage Spill in Spout Run — Arlington residents and their pets are advised to avoid Spout Run south of Lee Highway for the next day or so due to a “minor sewage spill.” [Arlington Alert]
Yorktown Senior Is Top B-Ball Prospect — Yorktown High School senior Mikayla Venson is one of the top-ranked girls’ basketball players in Virginia. However, due to injuries she hasn’t played for the Patriots since 2011. She will be attending the University of Virginia in the fall. [Yahoo! Sports]
Historic Fraber House’s New Owners — Last year, a large oak tree fell on the Fraber House in Cherrydale, just days before the county-owned home was set to receive a local historic designation. Nonetheless, the county was able to fix up the 1913 home and sell it to a local couple. The pair, Charu and Colin McDermott, work in the building trades and are thus well-suited to help maintain the historic home. [Preservation Arlington]
Lawmakers Honor Arlington Notables – The Virginia General Assembly has passed resolutions honoring a number of notable Arlington residents and institutions. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
The bill, SB 260, establishes a psychiatric bed registry, extends the maximum duration of temporary custody from four to 24 hours and establishes and “clarifies procedures for placement of those subject to an involuntary temporary detention order,” according to a Senate Democrats press release.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath County), who police say was stabbed by his son, Austin, in the face and chest before Austin Deeds shot himself in November. Austin Deeds had undergone a psychiatric evaluation but was not admitted to a hospital because no bed was available.
Sen. Barbara Favola (D) was a co-patron of the bill, and announced its 38-0 passage Monday with a press release, below:
Senate Bill 260, of which Senator Favola is a co-patron, has passed the Senate today, providing a safety net for individuals suffering from mental illnesses. When an individual is evaluated under an emergency protection order and a determination is made that a temporary detention order (TDO) is needed, the bill ensures that a psychiatric bed will be available.
The bill will protect Virginia residents from the potential threats associated with mental health patients by providing sufficient time to determine the degree to which they are a threat to themselves and to others. The psychiatric bed registry will benefit these patients by guaranteeing them secure facilities in which they can be detained and will facilitate efficiency in law enforcement and crisis response services.
Furthermore, the liberty given to local community services boards to determine alternative facilities for such patients will also ensure their personalized, and therefore improved, treatment. This is filling an important hole in the mental health safety net.
Senator Favola said “Ensuring the availability of a psychiatric bed is crucial to providing much needed care.”
Under the current system, if a bed is not available a judge will not issue a TDO even if the individual needs a more comprehensive evaluation and a treatment plan.
Resolution Honors Arlington’s First Female Judge — The Virginia House of Delegates has passed a resolution honoring Eleanor Spence Dobson, Arlington’s first female judge. Dobson served in the General District Court from 1982 to 1997. She passed away on September 18, 2013. The resolution honoring Dobson was sponsored by Del. Patrick Hope (D). Another Hope-sponsored resolution, honoring the late Arlington civic activist Robert Atkins, is scheduled to come to the House floor on Friday. [Sun Gazette]
Chick-fil-A ‘Date Knight’ Returns — Missed your chance to go on a medieval-themed fast food date with your mom last year? Good news: Chick-fil-A is once again holding its Mother-Son Date Knight at Ballston Common Mall (4238 Wilson Blvd). The food court eatery is one of the participating Chick-fil-A locations nationwide that are hosting the whimsical event. As of last night there were still a dozen reservations available for the event, which is being held the evening of Monday, Feb. 10. The Crystal City Chick-fil-A location has already sold out of its Date Knight reservations. [Chick-fil-A]
Starr Hill Brewing Tasting Tonight — Virginia brewery Starr Hill will be holding a complimentary tasting tonight. The event is scheduled from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Copperwood Tavern (4021 Campbell Ave). Reservations are required. [Shirlington Village Blog Spot]
The legislation, introduced by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30), passed the state Senate Jan. 20 by a unanimous 38-0 vote — the Senate is missing two votes until new Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General’s Mark Herring’s seats are filled via special election — and is waiting to be considered by the House of Delegates Finance Committee.
As of January 2013, the state started only doling out tax rebates via direct deposit or a debit card, which comes with associated costs, like ATM and transaction fees. The Senate Finance Committee voted to abolish the debit card option altogether if the bill is signed into law.
“Taxpayers deserve the convenience of receiving their refunds in the form they prefer,” Ebbin said in a press release after the bill passed the Senate. “By contrast, the debit card system was fraught with fees and was not consumer-friendly. Taxpayers were even charged for withdrawing funds from an in-network ATM. I’m glad the Senate recognizes the need for reform.”
The bill states that, if the taxpayer doesn’t indicate which payment method he prefers between direct deposit and a mailed check, a check will be mailed to the provided address. If the bill passes, it would go into effect for taxes collected this year, meaning taxes filed by April 15, 2015.
Williamsburg Zumba Studio Featured on ‘GMA’ — FITLoose Health and Fitness in the Williamsburg neighborhood was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America. The segment highlighted the studio’s Zumbini classes — a variation of Zumba for children 0-3 years old and their parents. [Yahoo! News]
Hybrid Tax Repeal Passes — Legislation to repeal Virginia’s $64 annual tax on hybrid vehicles has passed both houses of the General Assembly. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) says he will sign the bill, which was introduced in the state Senate by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D). [Virginian-Pilot]
Herring Announces Run for Moran’s Seat — Virginia Democratic Party Chair Charneile Herring is stepping down to run for the Congressional seat of the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D). Herring, who has represented Alexandria in the House of Delegates, is considered a party “rising star,” and was Virginia’s first African-American Democratic party chair. [NBC Washington]
Arlington’s Shopping Scene Profiled — “Shopping in Arlington is always a bit of an adventure,” writes the Washington Post’s Jura Koncius. “As you dodge auto body shops, towering corporate headquarters, tanning parlors and trendy eateries, you’ll discover stores that stock just about everything you need for your home. But you might find yourself lost in the process. Hop over a bridge from the city and you’ll roll through slick shopping centers punctuated by shops nestled in funky farmhouses that represent the disappearing Arlington of old.” [Washington Post]
Eads Street Was a Former Canal — Crystal City residents might not realize it, but most of S. Eads Street, a main thoroughfare, used to be a canal. The street was built above the old Alexandria Canal, which connected Alexandria to Georgetown by way of an aqueduct bridge.
‘Trolley Pub’ Bill Fails in Richmond — A bill that would have allowed patrons of Arlington’s Trolley Pub to drink alcohol while on board has been passed over indefinitely in the House of Delegates. Del. Patrick Hope (D-47), who introduced the bill, said there were “too many significant issues” around the bill. [Patch]
Middle School PTA Peeved at Bus Inequality – The Thomas Jefferson Middle School PTA is upset that North Arlington schools appear to be getting preferential treatment when it comes to bus service for students inside the standard 1.5 mile perimeter for secondary schools. The PTA president says S. Glebe Road is dangerous for middle school students to cross and the school system should provide bus service for students who have to cross it. [Sun Gazette]
Settlement to Fund Surveillance Cameras — Arlington will use $55,000 from a federal settlement to fund the purchase of portable digital video surveillance cameras. The cameras will be used “to enhance security at large scale events.” The funds from from the $1.5 billion federal settlement with Abbott Laboratories Inc. in 2012 over unlawful promotion of a prescription drug. [Arlington County]
Freedom Rider Shares Memories — “Freedom Rider” and Arlington resident Joan Trumpauer Mulholland spoke earlier this month about her experience in trying to promote civil rights and racial integration in the deep South in the early 1960s. Mulholland was also the keynote speaker at Arlington’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration on Sunday. [Falls Church News-Press]
Man Survives Key Bridge Plunge in 1929 — A quirky bit of local history: In September 1929 a drunk 26-year-old man fell off the side of the Key Bridge, landing on his side in the water 120 feet below. Miraculously, he was rescued by a police officer and a boat club employee and “appeared none the worse for his experience.” But alas, it wasn’t a completely happy ending: five weeks later the stock market crashed, leading to the Great Depression. [Ghosts of DC]
Photo courtesy @carmstrong07
Proposed legislation in the Virginia General Assembly would allow patrons of Arlington’s Trolley Pub to drink alcohol while on board.
Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) has introduced House Bill 423, which would allow passengers on vehicles with a common carrier — which would include limousines and motor coaches, in addition to the Trolley Pub — to consume alcohol.
The Trolley Pub in Arlington launched last year but has been unable to serve passengers alcoholic beverages, as it does in its original market of Raleigh, N.C. Instead, it stops at bars and restaurants in Clarendon and lets passengers debark to drink.
The Sun Gazette, which first reported on the bill, suggested that Hope’s legislation might not sit well with Arlington County Board members.
“Board members last year blasted the entire concept of the trolley pub, and only calmed down (slightly) when they learned that those using it could not consume alcohol,” the newspaper reported. “But they have remained upset about the human-powered trolley’s impact on traffic in one of Arlington’s most congested areas.”
The Trolley Pub debuted in Arlington in March, and at the time owner Kai Kaapro said he believed the business was “perfectly legal.” That was backed up by a preliminary police review. A ruling in April by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, however, later determined no alcohol could be served on board.
Drinking in a vehicle in Virginia is currently only legal on chartered boats. The bill was assigned to the General Laws committee and is now in subcommittee, according to the General Assembly’s website.
Photo via Facebook
The Virginia law that allows dogs to be shot for attacking chickens could be changed thanks to legislation proposed in the General Assembly.
Del. Jennifer McClellan, a Democrat representing Richmond, says she will introduce a bill that would change the law, intended for chicken farms, for urban chickens, according to Style Weekly. Richmond legalized keeping up to four backyard hens in residential areas last April.
“I think we can agree if we’re in a densely populated urban area that it’s not a good idea to have people killing each other’s pets,” McClellan told the Richmond population. She also said that in areas where “chickens are a luxury, not a livelihood, it isn’t clear that a hen’s right to life trumps that of a hungry dog’s.”
Virginia law section § 3.2-6552 allows for citizens to kill any dog caught in the act of killing or injuring poultry. After the fact, Virginia courts have the power to order animal control officers to kill any dog found to be a “confirmed poultry killer.” McClellan’s bill would allow localities to enact ordinances overruling that provision.
There’s a competing law that may also be introduced strengthening chicken protections, which would remove the cap on the amount of money a chicken owner can recoup if its chicken is killed by a dog. The cap is currently set at $10.
The Arlington County Board has been mulling whether to allow backyard hens in denser urban areas for the better part of a year. In November, County Manager Barbara Donnellan recommended against taking action to allow more hens in the county. A plurality of Arlington’s Urban Agriculture Task Force recommended hens be allowed in larger backyards, one of 27 recommendations the task force made in a presentation in June.