The latest round of bills signed into law in Richmond range from changes that could jump start stalled developments in Northern Virginia, to allowing naloxone in schools, to granting permission to shoot certain animals from a car.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed the Senate version of the changes to 2016 proffer restrictions this week in an effort to restart some development in parts of Northern Virginia, such as Loudoun County and areas of Fairfax County far from Metro stations.
Among other changes, it amends wording that some people interpreted as blocking discussions between county leaders and developers about projects, and allows flexibility in what developers can offer — such as covering some costs of roads or schools — to offset some of the future costs to the government tied to the development.
School-related bills signed this week include a requirement for all school systems to provide easy access to online and paper forms for free and reduced price lunches for low-income families in the wake of outrage over some students being blocked from getting lunch due to outstanding bills.
Northam also signed a bill adding school nurses, local health department employees assigned to public schools and other school employees to a list of individuals who can possess and administer opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone after going through a training program. A separate bill signed a few weeks ago added regional jail employees to the list as well.
Also this week, Northam signed a couple of animal-related bills.
One allows a court to defer designating a dog as dangerous while still putting special conditions on the owner. Dangerous dogs must generally be registered, tagged, insured and kept in a locked structure, and are at risk of being taken away if there are incidents.
Another bill will now allow the shooting of nuisance animals on private property from inside of a car, as long as the vehicle is stopped. Nuisance species include blackbirds, coyotes, crows, wild hogs, starlings and other animals that are threatening crops, livestock or other property.
Northam has a few more weeks to sign, veto or offer amendments to bills.
The only amendment he has offered so far is to clarify a bill allowing special state ID cards to be issued without a photograph for people whose religion prevents a photo from being taken.
The General Assembly will consider amendments and vetoes at a one-day reconvened session April 3.
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