Youngkin Signs Carolina Squat Vehicle Modification Ban

Glenn Youngkin

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed a ban on the Carolina Squat vehicle modification while visiting Lynchburg on Monday. State Senator Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg) pushed the bill through the General Assembly at the last minute after a driver in a truck with the modification hit and killed Jody ‘BJ’ Upton Jr. in February.

“I’m honored today to be here with BJ’s family, the public servants who acted quickly to move legislation to my desk to address the problem, and the law enforcement heroes who will enforce this new law and keep our roads and highways safer,” Youngkin said in a press release. “Nothing can bring BJ back, but with faith, time, and love, we can begin to heal from the pain of losing him. But the spirit of Virginia is strong, and when Virginians see a problem they come together and act.”

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Despite Virginia Republican Control of House and the Governor’s Mansion, Most Pro-Life Legislation Hits Senate Democrat Brick Wall

man's hand holding an infants head

With Republicans in control of the House of Delegates and the governorship, and with a pro-life Democrat in the Senate who could offer ties to the Republican lieutenant governor, there were high hopes for pro-life policy when the 2022 General Assembly session began. But with the session approaching its March 12 adjournment, only a few lower-profile pieces of pro-life legislation will make it to the governor’s desk.

“In many ways, it was very much what we expected. We expected the Senate to be nothing but a giant roadblock to any rational or reasonable legislation that would have truly moved the ball forward for protecting unborn children and their mothers. And they did exactly that,” Virginia Society for Human Life President Olivia Gans Turner told The Virginia Star.

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Virginia Senate Fast-Tracking Ban on ‘Carolina Squat’

squated red truck

Virginia legislators are fast-tracking Senator Mark Peake’s (R-Lynchburg) new bill to ban a type of vehicle modification called the “Carolina Squat.” Trucks with the modification have their front end dramatically higher than the back. In February, a driver in a similarly-modified truck allegedly killed a man in Mecklenberg County, according to ABC8.

“He was coming up a hill, he couldn’t see the double-yellow line,” Peake told The Virginia Star on Wednesday. “He crosses over and smashes into another vehicle head-on, destroyed it, and killed the guy.”

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State Sen. Chase Presents Data About 2020 Election to Virginia Attorney General Miyares’ Office; Republicans and Democrats Kill Her Effort to Fund a Full Forensic Audit of the Election

Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) told senators Thursday that she had delivered information about the 2020 election to Attorney General Jason Miyares’ office on Tuesday. She pushed several budget amendment that would have spent millions of dollars on investigations both into the 2020 election and on future elections, but her amendments received vigorous opposition from Democrats and feeble support from Republicans.

“We presented quite a bit of data and information, our team did, to the attorney general’s office the day before yesterday, and one of their comments was that they need more time and more resources to do that investigation,” Chase said during debate over budget amendments.

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Senate Committee Kills Republican Election Integrity Reforms, Obenshain-Chase Conflict Resurfaces, Surovell Criticizes Miyares for Firing 30 Attorneys

RICHMOND, Virginia — The Virginia Senate Privileges and Elections killed several Republican- sponsored elections integrity bills on Tuesday afternoon, including photo voter identification bills and a bill to repeal same-day voter registration. The committee also killed campaign finance reform bills from Senators Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) and Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax.)

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New Virginia Gov. Youngkin Announces More Transition Officials

Glenn Youngkin announced a 113-member list of legislators, law enforcement, business owners, and Republican Party of Virginia officials that will be part of his transition “landing teams” — separate from the transition steering committee he announced earlier in November. The teams will coordinate with Governor Ralph Northam’s cabinet.

“In order to change the trajectory of our great Commonwealth, our transition team is utilizing the vast experience of business owners, law enforcement officials, veterans, healthcare providers, industry experts, and—most importantly—parents to determine how government can begin to serve Virginians better and start delivering on our Day One promises of better schools, safer streets, a lower cost of living, and more jobs,” Youngkin said in a Wednesday press release.

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Virginia House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee Shoots Down Two VDH Sex-Ed Hotline Bans

The Virginia House of Delegates killed legislation that would have banned the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) staff from reaching out to minors about topics including sex, family matters, and unwanted pregnancy without parents’ permission. On Thursday, the Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee voted to table SB 1235 after it passed in the Senate with narrow bipartisan support.

“This a parental rights [bill],” SB 1235 sponsor Senator Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg) said in subcommittee on January 28. “It just says that before anyone can contact our children anonymously, that they have to get parents permission.”

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Bill Allowing Religious Exemptions for COVID-19 Vaccines to be Considered Again by General Assembly

With multiple COVID-19 vaccines now being distributed and administered across the Commonwealth of Virginia, a Republican state Senator is looking to revisit the topic of religious exemptions to immunizations when the General Assembly convenes for its regular session in ten days.

Senator Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg) has introduced and pre-filed Senate Bill 1116, which would allow for a parent or guardian to object to the vaccination of a child on the grounds that immunization conflicts with their religious practices or tenets, even during an emergency declared by the state board of health.

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Virginia Undocumented Immigrants Allowed to Legally Drive in 2021 Under New Law

Beginning January 2nd, 2021, undocumented immigrants living in Virginia will be able to apply for official driving credentials, called a driver privilege card, with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), allowing non-citizens to lawfully drive within the Commonwealth for the first time.

The change in the state code stems from legislation the Democratic-controlled General Assembly passed earlier this year during the 2020 regular session and signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam.

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Virginia Senate Gives Governor Power to Oust Police Officers

The Criminal Justice Services Board (CJSB) will have the responsibility of decertifying officers engaged in misconduct or criminally charged and implementing statewide conduct standards for law enforcement, if the Senate’s omnibus policing and reform legislation is signed into law.

Last Friday, the president of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Delegates both signed the legislation, and on Wednesday the bill was communicated to Governor Ralph Northam for final approval.

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