Legislation Strengthening Public Safety in House GOP Agenda Highlighting the continued efforts of House Republicans to crack down on dangerous substance abuse, Delegates Clifford “Clay” Athey, Jr. (R-Warren), Chairman of the Policy Committee of the House Republican Caucus, Delegates John A. Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake), L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William) and Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) presented legislation to protect our neighborhoods and our children in the Commonwealth.
Delegate Christopher K. Peace’s HB 13 provides mandatory minimum sentences for adults convicted of stalking a minor, providing that if at the time of the offense of stalking, the victim is a minor and the offender is 10 or more years older than the victim. The House Courts of Justice Committee approved this policy unanimously and referred the bill to Appropriations for funding local and state jail impacts. In this tight budget year, funding will be scarce. Should the policy be carried over for the year need funds could be secured.
"With law enforcement and local Commonwealth's Attorneys working together, this legislation will help to protect our most vulnerable citizens," stated Delegate Peace. "It is scary to think that approximately one in three predators will be convicted of a new sexual offense within five years and the actual risk of re-offense can approach 100 percent."
Delegate Cosgrove's HB 223 prohibiting adults convicted of an offense prohibiting proximity to children from entering or loitering within 100 feet of a public recreation or community center. Del. Cosgrove commented, "I am proud to be the sponsor of House Bill 223 that will keep predators out of areas that are gathering places for our children. Recreation and community centers need to be kept safe and our children must be protected at all times from those who would harm and abuse them."
Delegate Lingamfelter's HB 1182 would add grand larceny to the list of predicate criminal acts constituting gang-related crimes. "Gangs are out of control," said Delegate Lingamfelter. "Our neighborhoods and way of life are threatened by lawlessness. We need House Bill 1182 to deal effectively with criminal gang activity."