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A display of peppers at a local farmers market (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax County is gearing up for the return of its 10 farmers’ markets this spring, with some locations set to return later this month and others in May.

The 2024 season starts on April 17 with the McCutcheon/Mount Vernon Farmers Market outside the Sherwood Regional Library (2501 Sherwood Hall Lane), the Fairfax County Park Authority announced last week.

Farmers and producers are only allowed to sell what they raise on their farms or make from scratch and come from within a 125-mile radius of Fairfax County, with a few exceptions for hard-to-find products, according to the county website.

“This year, you can expect to find locally grown produce, delicious baked goods, and prepared foods at our farmers markets,” the Fairfax County Park Authority said in a news release. “Additionally, enjoy a variety of family-friendly activities from musical performances, games — and don’t forget to bring your food scraps to support our community composting efforts.”

A list of vendors can be found on each market’s webpage, and SNAP will be accepted at the Mount Vernon, Annandale, Lorton, Reston and Wakefield locations.

Three farmers markets are coming back later in April, all operating from 8 a.m. to noon:

  • April 17: McCutcheon/Mount Vernon on Wednesdays
  • April 20: Burke at Burke Centre Field (5671 Roberts Parkway) on Saturdays
  • April 27: Reston at Lake Anne Plaza (1608 Washington Plaza North) on Saturdays

The seven remaining farmers markets will open in May:

  • May 1: Oakton at the recently renamed Oakmont Rec Center (3200 Jermantown Road) on Wednesdays 8 a.m.-noon, Wakefield at the Audrey Moore Rec Center (8100 Braddock Road) in Annandale on Wednesdays 2-6 p.m.
  • May 2: Annandale at Mason District Park (6621 Columbia Pike) and Herndon outside the Herndon Municipal Center (765 Lynn Street) on Thursdays 8 a.m.-noon
  • May 3: McLean at Lewinsville Park (1659 Chain Bridge Road) on Fridays 8 a.m.-noon, Kingstowne (5844-5862 Kingstowne Center) on Fridays 3-7 p.m.
  • May 5: Lorton at Lorton Station Town Center (8994 Potomac Bend) on Sundays 8 a.m.-noon
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Fairfax County has 18 permanent supportive housing units at its emergency shelter in Bailey’s Crossroads (via Fairfax County)

Fairfax County is taking steps to make affordable housing more accessible to people dealing with serious mental illness.

The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) will implement a major increase in rental assistance for people with serious mental illness, thanks to a $20 million agreement approved earlier this month with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS).

“The additional funding is expected to help prevent homelessness among individuals with serious mental illness, as well as reduce census at state psychiatric hospitals,” the FCRHA announced on March 15 reads.

Starting in May, the approved agreement will fund 300 new supportive rental assistance vouchers for Fairfax County residents over three years and three new staff positions to manage the program.

“The new Fairfax County program supports an identified need for permanent supportive housing as noted in the Fairfax County Countywide Strategic Plan,” FCRHA spokesperson Allyson Pearce told FFXnow, adding that funding needs will be evaluated over time.

Details on how the 300 recipients will be chosen are still coming together, Pearce said, but the program will prioritize:

  • Individuals experiencing long-term or repeated episodes of homelessness
  • Individuals and those whose housing instability frequently leads to crisis, hospital visits, or contact with criminal justice systems
  • Individuals leaving state psychiatric hospitals
  • People residing in congregate care settings with a high concentration of individuals with serious mental illness

The Fairfax County Community Services Board (CSB) will coordinate referrals from “various stakeholders,” such as state hospitals and the federal Continuum of Care program, according to the FCRHA release.

A separate partnership with the nonprofit Pathways Homes will allow the 300 participants to receive additional supportive services. Fifty of the participants will also have access to services like psychiatry and case management as well as funds for the expenses needed to lease a housing unit.

“The remaining 250 participants will be coupled with two Supportive Housing Teams under a separate contract,” the release states.

Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development Director Tom Fleetwood said in the release that increasing access to affordable housing reduces homelessness, and is essential in getting a person back on their feet.

“That is why this funding is so important,” Fleetwood said. “It provides critical support services along with rental assistance needed for people to be successful in their new home.”

Photo via Fairfax County

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Spaces reserved for people with disabilities in a Centreville parking lot (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

After updating its parking standards last fall, Fairfax County is conducting an online survey seeking feedback from the community on its current supply of accessible/ADA parking spaces.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted new parking standards last September for the first time in 35 years through its Parking Reimagined initiative. Among other changes, the amendment created a tiered system for parking requirements based on a development’s density and proximity to transit.

A spokesperson with the county’s Land Development Services (LDS) says discussions about the potential impacts of the updated requirements on the supply of accessible parking prompted the board to approve a review of the standards.

“The county is analyzing whether a higher requirement to compensate for the change in baseline parking rates is appropriate and implementable,” the spokesperson told FFXnow.

Currently, accessible parking requirements are based on the overall number of spaces provided for a use, such as an apartment building, retail store or restaurant. The rates are based on federal Americans with Disabilities Act requirements as well as Virginia’s state requirements.

“Text was already added to the new requirements to preserve a stable amount of accessible parking even when general parking supply is reduced either with new parking rates or parking adjustments,” the LDS spokesperson said. “However, there was some concern that our new baseline rates would create a gap that requires less accessible parking.”

Potential changes could be broadly applied or targeted to certain circumstances. Additionally, there could be recommendations on the management of accessible spaces, such as standards for additional signage.

The online survey will be “essential in helping the department develop recommendations,” the LDS spokesperson said.

“The survey was created to get a better understanding of accessible parking experiences from those who need and use it,” they said. “From that, we can determine how we should look at potential changes to parking requirements.”

The survey is available until April 15.

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EVgo electric vehicle chargers (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

To further its environmental goals, Fairfax County’s to-do list should include building an electric vehicle charging network, addressing “critical” staff shortages, and addressing development pressure, the Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC) says in a new report.

An employee compensation policy update to attract and retain workers in departments such as wastewater and solid waste was the top recommendation in the 2023 Annual Report on the Environment (ARE), EQAC Chair Larry Zaragoza told the Board of Supervisors during its environmental committee meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 29).

“If you had a problem in a facility or in operations that caused some other issues, the consequences could require a lot of corrective action, or they could be publicly undesirable,” he said.

Although it has seen some progress, Zaragoza said the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES), in particular, is seeing higher vacancy rates of 16 to 22%. In some “major functions,” rates have climbed as high as 32%, according to the presentation.

Zaragoza acknowledged that the recommendation to develop a network of charging stations for electric vehicles would be challenging to implement, but necessary.

“This seems to be an issue that is challenging the nation with respect to the conversion to EVs,” Zaragoza said. “People have a fear that they won’t have options for charging their vehicles.”

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said that, while it’s true more EV charging stations are needed, the biggest issue is maintenance, speculating that, on a typical day, about 50% of chargers don’t seem to work.

He advised the council to look into ways to address the maintenance issues, including potential legislative measures.

“The EV charging people are racing to get as much federal money as they can to install these and then don’t have anybody to come back and repair them,” McKay said. “And to me, that’s a huge threat to EV utilization because [when] you see them on a map, you expect them to be working.”

Reiterating a recommendation made last year, the report calls for the county to provide more funding for its stormwater program through either one of two options:

  • An increase in the Stormwater Service District tax in 2024 by at least one-quarter penny, from 3.25 cents to 3.5 cents per $100 of assessed real estate value
  • A change in the base property tax rate

Mason District Supervisor Andres Jimenez asked the council to keep equity and low-income residents in mind when considering these adjustments.

“I would hope that there will be something in place to ensure that the cost increases are equitable and do not disproportionately affect low-income residents,” Jimenez said.

The report also highlights a need to address pressure from development while preserving trees and minimizing ecological degradation.

“As you have development, you often have the loss of trees, you often have loss of habitat, and to the extent that it’s possible, it’s good to try to preserve as much as you can in this process,” Zaragoza said.

McKay agreed with the need to minimize environmental damage but said the council should also carefully consider how that priority intersects with the “oldest parts of the county that are in desperate need of revitalization.”

According to the report, proposed topics that the EQAC will review this year include the impacts of data centers, flood risks, and water security.

County staff have been developing guidelines for regulating noise, water pollution, power usage and other issues raised by data centers. In a new ARE recommendation, EQAC suggests that the county collect energy consumption data on its current and planned data centers, including the extent to which they utilize green energy.

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Fairfax County Public Schools bus on the road (file photo)

The Fairfax County School Board is moving ahead with its plan to change middle school start times.

According to Fairfax County Public Schools, research has shown that later start times could positively influence student academic performance and mental and emotional well-being.

Last September, the school system awarded consulting firm Prismatic Services a contract to develop a plan for changing middle school start times to 8 a.m. or later. The goal is to make these changes without changing high school start times or impacting the FCPS budget.

Currently, all middle schools start at 7:30 a.m. FCPS moved high school start times to around 8 a.m. in fall 2015 through its Blueprint for Change adoption. At the time, the then-superintendent said revisions to middle school start times would be considered at a later date.

At a meeting last Thursday (Feb. 22), the school board received an update on the plan from Prismatic Services President Dr. Tatia Prieto, who said the goal is to recommend start times to the board in January 2025 with the intent to implement changes by 2026, if the board adopts them.

“To get there, we have a number of milestone activities,” Prieto said. “The background report, which we’re currently engaged in, [covers] the history of efforts in Fairfax around this issue. We’re also developing a number of case studies with a few large school districts to look at lessons learned from their implementation.”

The firm will also conduct on-site observations at selected middle schools.

“This is going to include observing bus observations at selected middle schools in order to get a good feel for things,” Prieto said.

The plan also includes a total of eight public information sessions for the community — four in the spring and four in the fall.

“The spring ones are going to be more informational in nature,” Prieto said. “We’ll communicate about sleep research, and let participants discuss how later school start times could be beneficial and could be implemented. And then the fall ones will present two to four alternatives for input.”

Additionally, the firm will conduct online surveys and forums. One major concern in changing school start times is transportation constraints, which Prieto said would be covered in the information sessions.

“Analyzing the potential impact of moving middle school start times on both the number of drivers needed, and on all the special programs will be part of our work on this project,” Prieto added.

Mount Vernon District School Board Representative Mateo Dunne questioned how a possible time change would affect extracurricular activities like sports, particularly in the fall and winter when the sun goes down earlier.

Prieto pointed to Anne Arundel County Public Schools, which also hired Prismatic Services to help change its school start times.

“All of their middle schools start at 9:15. They shifted their sports program — which is much more extensive than what you currently have — to the after hours, and are not experiencing any problems,” she said.

Dunne also asked how a change in the start time would affect staff and teachers working at middle schools. Prieto said they propose surveying teachers to find out if they foresee any potential issues.

“I will add that we did develop, as one of the initial documents for this, a list of the key stakeholders we need to talk to,” she said.

Springfield District Representative Sandy Anderson requested more information on how later start times has affected attendance at other schools.

“I have an eighth grader. I can’t imagine having him have to get to school on his own at 9:40, so that is terrifying to me,” Anderson said.

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Traffic on Route 50 (Arlington Blvd) facing Seven Corners (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax County is continuing talks on a proposal that could allow some residents to better access their homes in areas with certain traffic restrictions.

Cut-through mitigation restrictions prohibit turns into neighborhoods from major transit corridors during rush hour. While the restrictions aim to prevent local roads from getting jammed by drivers trying to evade traffic, it can make it challenging for residents to legally access their homes on those streets.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is proposing a residential cut-through permit zone that would exempt residents in affected neighborhoods from the restrictions by providing permits for their vehicle. Signs that restrict turns would be changed to say “resident permit required.”

After first proposing the permit program in early 2023, FCDOT presented an update to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at a transportation committee meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 15).

Currently, the county is considering introducing the program in three areas with existing cut-through restrictions.

  • Carolyn Drive and Nicholson Street in Lake Barcroft
  • Oxford Street and Downing Street in Annandale
  • Thomas Avenue in Great Falls

“There are approximately 350 addresses that are impacted, and that could initially seek impairments if this program were implemented,” county transportation planner Henri Stein McCartney said.

Another seven communities are in the process of implementing cut-through restrictions.

“If all seven projects were implemented, we would expect to have approximately 1,300 addresses county-wide that could participate in the program,” McCartney said.

Fairfax County currently has seven communities requesting cut-through traffic restrictions (via FCDOT)

In January, the Board of Supervisors directed FCDOT to work with the Department of Tax Administration on revenue collection options for the program.

“In those conversations, tax administration recommended that we speak with the vendor that they currently have under contract for the county’s parking enforcement software,” McCartney said. “We are very early in our conversations with this vendor.”

FCDOT will return to the committee in June with additional information on using the vendor, she added.

The department is proposing a $25 permit fee for residents participating in the program. If the permits are implemented for all of the areas that have or are currently considering cut-through traffic restrictions, the county could collect an estimated $33,000 to $99,000 in gross revenue.

Chairman Jeff McKay questioned how the program would be enforced, saying it could put law enforcement in “awkward positions.”

“I don’t think we want our police checking every car that comes down the street during a certain period of time to verify residency,” he said. “I mean, to me…there’s a whole lot of problems with that.”

In its presentation, FCDOT noted that some neighboring jurisdictions, including Fairfax City, Vienna and Alexandria, have turn restrictions but don’t require permits for residents to legally access local roads. The only jurisdiction that does offer residents permits to get around turn restrictions is Falls Church City.

“Why did they decide to not offer permits and then how do they do enforcement? Because to me, that’s a really critical question here,” McKay said.

An officer with the Fairfax County Police Department conceded “it would probably be difficult to enforce,” adding that he couldn’t speak to what other localities are doing.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn asked county staff to look into automated enforcement as an option.

McCartney said she was unaware of any other jurisdictions currently using automated enforcement, but the vendor they’re working with offers it.

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Fairfax County Animal Protection Police officers recently attended the release of a bald eagle they found injured in Fairfax Station (via FCPD)

A plan to consolidate the duties of Fairfax County’s Department of Animal Sheltering (DAS) and Animal Protection Police (APP) is drawing some pushback from the local police union.

Last month, county staff proposed to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors that DAS take charge of both animal care services and enforcement of animal protection laws, which would be carried out by animal control officers (ACOs). The recommendation came from both DAS and Fairfax County Police Department leaders.

However, the county’s chapter of the Southern States Police Benevolent Association (SSPBA), the elected union for the FCPD, argues the planned consolidation would have substantial negative impacts on the department’s existing animal protection police officers (APPOs), the community, pets, and wildlife.

“ACOs have different authorities and are not considered law enforcement officers under Virginia code, which would be a fundamental change to the position as it has been historically implemented in Fairfax County,” SSPBA Fairfax County President Steve Monahan told FFXnow.

Under the proposal, animal control officers would have a similar scope of authority as APPOs and handle all calls for service, including investigations of animal cruelty, search warrants, and rabies vaccinations. Currently, the FCPD’s Animal Protection Police unit handles encounters between humans and animals, including potential criminal situations.

ACOs would still get required training through the Commonwealth of Virginia, but they wouldn’t go through the police academy as APPOs do. The FCPD would continue to assist with criminal investigations.

“The proposed reduction of legal authority of ACOs within DAS’s model would inevitably result in FCPD patrol officers being tasked with additional animal-related responsibilities despite not having the same level of animal-related training as our current, fully sworn APPOs,” Monahan said.

The SSPBA says ACOs elsewhere in the state regularly fight for better pay, benefits, and training. The union believes Fairfax County’s proposal would exploit officers by requiring the same work with less pay.

“The county is proposing to replace the current structure with one that includes positions with less enforcement authority, less training, and fewer employee benefits and protections than their predecessors,” Monahan said. “Typically, whenever employees are asked to do the same work with less protections and benefits, this results in a high turnover rate and significant difficulty in filling vacancies.”

According to the staff presentation on Jan. 30, the county’s decision to split animal care and control functions between the DAS and the police department in 2016 didn’t “result in a successful integration of two separate departments working together to provide animal services.”

DAS currently manages two public animal shelters, one on West Ox Road in the Fairfax area and a second campus that opened in Lorton last October.

DAS Director Reasa Currier told FFXnow that having animal care and control services run by two departments with different missions is expensive and ineffective.

“Uniting animal care and control services under one department and utilizing Animal Control Officers will bring our county in alignment with surrounding jurisdictions and industry best practices, allow us to expand service delivery to our community, and reduce costs,” Currier said.

Additionally, she expressed confidence that ACOs can fully enforce animal protection laws, investigate cruelty and neglect, and rescue and transport wildlife.

DAS is also working closely with the SSPBA to ensure that APPOs aren’t negatively affected by the change and that their pay and retirement stay the same, according to Currier.

“This proposed model positions the county to meet the diverse needs of our residents and has worked successfully for decades in Alexandria, Arlington County, Prince William County, Loudoun County, the District of Columbia, Montgomery County and in jurisdictions nationwide,” Currier said.

If the proposal is included in the county executive’s advertised budget for fiscal year 2025, which will be presented on Feb. 20, the Board of Supervisors can then decide whether to adopt it.

Photo via FCPD

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The Fairfax County Animal Shelter (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Fairfax County wants to consolidate the duties of its Department of Animal Sheltering (DAS) and Animal Protection Police (APP).

Under the new arrangement, DAS would oversee both animal care services and enforcement of animal protection laws, which would be carried out by animal control officers (ACO), according to the recommendation from DAS and the Fairfax County Police Department.

Staff presented the proposed changes to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at a safety and security committee meeting on Tuesday (Jan. 30).

In 2016, the county chose to split animal care and control functions between the DAS and the police department, a decision that did not “result in a successful integration of two separate departments working together to provide animal services,” the proposal says.

DAS currently manages two public animal shelters, one on West Ox Road in the Fairfax area and a second campus that opened in Lorton last October. The FCPD’s Animal Protection Police unit deals with encounters between humans and animals, including wildlife and potential criminal situations involving pets.

Under the proposed changes, ACOs would have “nearly the same” scope of authority as Animal Protection Police Officers (APPO) and would handle all calls for service, including for:

  • Issuing a summons, obtaining search and arrest warrants
  • Investigation of animal cruelty and neglect
  • Investigation of animal fighting
  • Investigation of animal bites
  • Response to sick, injured, or stray companion animals
  • Rabies vaccination and dog license enforcement

FCPD would continue to assist with criminal investigations, and ACOs would still get required training through the Commonwealth of Virginia, but they wouldn’t go through the police academy as APPOs do.

DAS Director Reasa Currier said having the two separate services has presented challenges for decades, and other jurisdictions that have consolidated their departments are seeing success.

“Jurisdictions that have recently moved to a consolidated model report significant benefits, including increased compliance rates, decreased shelter intake and a trusting community,” she said.

Describing animal services as a “highly specialized and technical field,” Currier said providing those services through one department “ensures we’re embracing industry best practices.”

She said the proposal would also enhance the health and safety of the community, and it’s in direct alignment with the county’s One Fairfax policy and equity goals.

In addition to their law enforcement duties, ACOs would connect pet owners with several services, such as free pet food and supplies as well as free and low-cost veterinary care.

“It is important to note that this proposed model does not replace enforcement for animal cruelty and neglect,” Currier added.

Deputy Chief of Police Lt. Robert Blakely said the changes would allow police officers to focus more on enforcing the law and would have very little impact on animals and people in the community.

“An animal control officer can enforce all of Virginia’s animal control laws as it pertains to domesticated animals running at-large and rabies vaccinations and county ordinances,” Blakely said.

Police Chief Kevin Davis said the people calling for service would see a similar process. For example, residents would still call the Department of Public Safety Communications through 911 or the non-emergency number, and the department would still dispatch animal control officers to respond to the scene.

“In the very few cases that police were needed to assist, police would then be added to that call, just as we are today,” Davis said.

The proposal could be included in the county executive’s advertised budget for fiscal year 2025, which will be presented on Feb. 20. The Board of Supervisors will then decide whether to adopt the reorganization.

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A rehabilitation center in Burke wants to expand, and it’s asking Fairfax County to approve its plan.

In an effort to “improve its ability to serve the Northern Virginia area,” the Burke Health and Rehabilitation Center submitted an application to the county on Jan. 16 requesting a rezoning and an amendment that would allow an addition, a statement of justification reads.

The 120-bed facility at 9640 Burke Lake Road offers short and long-term post-surgery care, cardiac and stroke care, and other nursing services. The proposal calls for a roughly 25,000-square-foot addition to the existing facility to accommodate 68 more beds.

“To accomplish this, a rezoning to the R-3 District is requested as the proposed floor area ratio (FAR) is slightly over 0.2,” the statement reads, referring to the size of the new building compared to the size of the lot. “Additionally, the existing special exception approval from 2008 will have to be amended to accommodate the proposed site changes.”

According to the application filed by 9640 Burke Lake Road LLC, the property is governed by a special exception initially approved in 1985 and amended in 1987 and 2008. Currently, the 46,143-square-foot building is zoned for the county’s R-1 district and occupies 7.65 acres with two-story and one-story sections.

The proposed building would be tucked into the “L” formed by the existing building, the statement reads. The rehab center is also seeking 10 additional parking spaces south of the addition.

The center would keep an existing recreational area west of the building, which has a gazebo, a picnic table, benches and trails. Additionally, areas that are in a floodplain, resource protection areas and Environmental Quality Corridors will not be disturbed, according to the application.

The statement of justification also describes the center’s relationship with the adjacent Heatherwood Retirement Community as symbiotic.

“In addition to providing much needed medical and rehab services to the retirement community residents, as needed, the center is also accessed through the retirement community property,” the statement reads.

Next steps include referring the special exception application to the Health Care Advisory Board for a recommendation and report, which will then be given to the Fairfax County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

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A speed camera on Kirby Road outside Chesterbrook Elementary School (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

As the Virginia General Assembly reaches its deadline for legislators to file bills for the 2024 session, Fairfax County’s representatives hope to pass bills on rent gouging, campaign finance reform and opioid prevention in schools.

The General Assembly convened in Richmond last Wednesday (Jan. 10) for a 60-day session ending March 9. With Democrats controlling the House of Delegates and the Senate, lawmakers could see at least some of their proposals become law. Here are some notable measures put forward:

Local anti-rent gouging authority: SB 366 would allow any locality to adopt provisions that prevent landlords from significantly raising rents and require them to notify tenants two months before an increase. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-33), would require notice and a public hearing prior to adopting any legislation.

Transportation

  • Expanding the use of speed cameras: The identical bills HB 20 and HB 905 would allow local governments to install speed cameras in “any location deemed necessary.” Introduced by Del. Mike Jones (D-77) and Irene Shin (D-8), the legislation would allow for penalties up to $100.
  • Funding for electric vehicle charging stations: Introduced by Sen. David Marsden (D-37), SB 457 would create a Driving Decarbonization Program and Fund to help developers cover some costs associated with installing electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Towing fee regulations: SB 450, also from Marsden, tells the State Corporation Commission to analyze current regulations of towing fees “and identify policy options for the commission to assume all or part of such regulation.” The proposal requires the SCC to report its findings to the General Assembly by Nov. 30, 2024.

Special grand juries: Sponsored by Del. Karen Keys-Gamarra (D-7), HB 167 requires a circuit court to impanel a special grand jury when a law enforcement or correctional officer kills an unarmed person. The bill also directs the court to appoint a special prosecutor who can be present during an investigation and interrogate witnesses if requested by the special grand jury. Last year, a special grand jury indicted the Fairfax County police officer who fatally shot Timothy Johnson in Tysons.

Prohibited personal use of campaign funds: HB 40 “prohibits any person from converting contributions to a candidate or his campaign committee to personal use.” The bill from Del. Marcus Simon (D-53) lets any individual subject to the ban request an advisory opinion from the State Board of Elections. It advanced out of a subcommittee on Wednesday (Jan. 17) with amendments.

Education 

  • Tax to support schools: Sponsored by Sen. Jeremy McPike (D-29), SB 14 would authorize all counties and cities to impose an additional local sales and use tax of no more than 1% to fund the construction and renovations of schools.
  • Naloxone policies and requirements: SB 387, sponsored by Sen. Stella Pekarsky (D-36), requires each local school board to develop plans and policies for every public elementary and secondary school relating to opioid overdose prevention and reversal.

Invasive plants: HB 47 would require all retail sellers to provide signage identifying invasive plant species. The bill, sponsored by Del. Holly Seibold (D-35), would require the signs to say, “Plant with caution: invasive plant species. May cause environmental harm. Ask about alternatives.”

The deadline for state legislators to file bills with the clerk is 3 p.m. today (Friday).

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