General Assembly Report by Rob Bell
Each year, I receive numerous ideas from constituents, and this year is no exception. With so many smart people in our community, I usually have more proposals than I can reasonably carry.
This year’s bills include:
Safety for Female Students
In 2007, a criminal went around the University of Virginia, using a digital camera to take pictures up the skirts of female students. He was arrested and sentenced. After his release, he promptly did it again. Female students were especially concerned because these photos can be easily posted onto the Internet. University of Virginia Police detective Christopher Easton has proposed an increased penalty for repeat offenders, which I agree is an excellent idea.
Community College Scholarships
The Piedmont Virginia Community College Board has asked for additional scholarship funding for lower-income students. Chuck Gross, chairman of the PVCC board, suggested that Virginia taxpayers be allowed to use a state tax-refund checkoff for the Community College Incentive Scholarship Fund. The Finance Committee has already approved this bill.
Bond for Confiscated Animals
The Albemarle-Charlottesville SPCA has asked me for a new law allowing a judge to require a bond for boarding costs for dogs owned by those charged with dogfighting or puppy-mill violations. Fighting dogs are especially difficult, since they often need to be segregated from other animals. This can lead to overcrowding and can make it harder for shelters to board other animals. The bond will help ensure that the costs of boarding fighting dogs are borne by the criminal defendant, not the animal shelter.
Transferable Development Rights
Charlottesville-area landowners have complained that the current law for transferable development rights is unworkable. A working TDR system would enable a landowner in a rural area to sell any development rights for his property to someone who wants to build in a growth area. This would enable a locality to direct growth through voluntary transfers, without taking away property rights. Our bill this year would enable TDRs to be severed from the property, which would make it much easier for an actual market to develop.
I can be reached at the General Assembly Building, P.O. Box 406, Richmond, Va. 23218 – 804.698.1058. [email protected].
Rob Bell represents the 58th House District in the Virginia General Assembly.