Senate passes ‘ban the box’ bill for employment

The Virginia Senate on Friday voted 23-16 to pass “ban the box” legislation governing public employment.

It would bar state agencies and localities from including on an employment application a question about whether the prospective employee has ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of a crime, with certain exceptions.

A prospective employee could not be asked if he has been convicted of a crime unless he has received a conditional offer of employment. The offer could be withdrawn if the worker has a conviction that directly relates to the position’s duties.

“This is about second chances,” said Sen. Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg, sponsor of Senate Bill 252. “Those who have paid their debts to society should be given the opportunity to be a productive member of society.”

Legislature carries over bill on ‘three-time loser’ law

A bill to fix what’s known as a “three-time loser” law in Virginia will be carried over to 2019 to be examined by the Virginia Parole Board.

The 1982 law relates to inmates convicted of three separate murders, rapes or robberies — or any combination of the three — involving deadly weapons. The law affects about 260 inmates who committed crimes between 1982 and 1995, before Virginia abolished parole. They can be stripped of parole eligibility if the offenses were not part of “a common act, transaction or scheme.”

The law has led to many inmates serving long sentences for minor robbery offenses, said Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, who sponsored Senate Bill 93.

The Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee voted Friday, at Surovell’s request, to continue the bill until next year. That will give the parole board time to examine which inmates have been affected by the law, he said.

Politicians aim to prevent bidding war on new stadium

Three politicians in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia are teaming up across partisan lines to try to prevent their governments from waging a bidding war with public money to build a new stadium for the Washington Redskins.

The liberal Democrat in Maryland, conservative Republican in Virginia and left-leaning independent District of Columbia Council member have introduced legislation to set up an interstate compact barring any public spending on incentives for a new stadium.

The idea is to prevent the jurisdictions from competing against each other with lucrative offers of public assistance for the new facility. The team’s current lease at FedEx Field in suburban Maryland ends in 2027 and it is exploring new potential locations.

“By taking money off the table, it would be better for all three of us,” said Del. Michael Webert, R-Fauquier. He said Virginia, Maryland and the District still could compete with each other through other means, such as streamlined business regulations.

Maryland Del. David Moon, a progressive Democrat and a former season ticket holder, said a similar interstate compact might not work with other businesses because they could just choose a different region altogether. But a franchise with the word “Washington” in its name and a strong local fan base has limited options, he said.

Joining them is District Council member David Grosso, a political independent who said last year that “a football team worth over $1 billion should not need to rely on special government assistance to fund their facilities.”

Team spokesman Tony Wyllie declined to comment.

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— From staff and wire reports

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