Public Safety in Virginia

Strengthening public safety will be one of Governor McDonnell’s top priorities this legislative session.  The Governor, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and several lawmakers have outlined an aggressive plan to toughen penalties for violent sex offenders, repeat drug dealing convictions, juvenile offenders who commit violent crimes, and more.

The Governor and his team aren’t only proposing tougher laws, but they’re seeking extra funding for law enforcement and additional officers.  McDonnell also says the state must provide more resources to help ex-prisoners and prevent them from becoming repeat offenders.  But if they do, he says the state will come down even harder on criminals—and 11-million dollars to confront drug dealers will help do that.

“First, that the legislation set a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for a second time drug dealer, and that excludes marijuana but all the other scheduled substances, and then a mandatory 10-year punishment for a third time or other repeat drug dealer. We know they’re dangerous–we know there’s usually weapons associated with this. And so, if you’re going to deal drugs in Virginia, be on notice, you’re going to prison for a lot longer period of time,” he said.

The bills would strengthen anti-bullying efforts—and impose tougher penalties for financially exploiting elderly or incapacitated adults, and using electronic messaging for criminal gang recruitment.  They also broaden the focus for cracking down on cyber crimes, Medicaid and other fraud, and drunk driving.

–Tommie McNeil

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