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Virginia lawmakers pass new budget amid coronavirus pandemic

Added 10-16-20 09:22:03pm EST - “Virginia lawmakers all but wrapped up a special legislative session Friday by approving a new state budget that gives bonuses to police, pays for a host of new criminal justice reforms, and extends moratoriums on evictions and utility…” - Washingtontimes.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Washingtontimes.com: “Virginia lawmakers pass new budget amid coronavirus pandemic”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia lawmakers all but wrapped up a special legislative session Friday by approving a new state budget that gives bonuses to police, pays for a host of new criminal justice reforms, and extends moratoriums on evictions and utility shutoffs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The budget now goes to Gov. Ralph Northam, who can propose changes before it is finalized. Friday’s budget vote marked the unofficial end of a special legislative session unlike any the General Assembly has seen in its more than 400-year history. The virus upended the regular course of business. The House of Delegates met remotely, often with technical problems. The Senate abandoned the Capitol for a large conference room nearby.

What was initially to be a short session focused on the revenues and spending affected by the virus instead went on for two months and expanded to include police reform and other issues after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Major new criminal justice reform bills passed, including a ban on no-knock search warrants, legislation that enables localities to establish civilian review boards with subpoena power and disciplinary authority, and changes that make it easier to decertify officers who commit misconduct.

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On Friday, lawmakers gave final approval to a bill to establish community care teams around the state to respond to emergency calls involving people with mental health issues. The teams would be led by mental health providers, with police as backup support. The legislation is named after Marcus-David Peters, a teacher who was fatally shot after he charged at a Richmond police officer during a mental health crisis in 2018.

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