In memoriam at the General Assembly: Regulations for hemp products, sweet treats, campaign contribution restrictions

In memoriam at the General Assembly: Regulations for hemp products, sweet treats, campaign contribution restrictions
Lawmakers continue to debate several bills during this year's General Assembly session. (Source: NBC12)

Like a school of fish in a sea of predators, many of the hundreds of bills filed during every General Assembly session fail to advance to even a floor vote, never mind the governor’s desk.

Every week, Virginia Mercury will bring you a sampling of the legislation left on the cutting room floor, either failing to report or done in by other genteel euphemisms of the legislature: “gently laid on the table” or “passed by indefinitely.”

Regulating hemp

Sen. David Marsden, D-Fairfax, is concerned that there are few regulations over hemp products like oils, creams and additives that have found their way onto wellness store shelves.

“There are really no controls over what’s in the final product,” he told a Senate Education and Health subcommittee last week.

But his fellow senators didn’t agree after an outpouring of opposition from farmers and entrepreneurs. The committee voted down his proposed regulatory legislation on an 11-4 vote.

Definition of sweet treats not needed, lawmakers decide

For at least one more year, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority won’t have clarity on what a “confectionery” is. Del. Chris Peace, R-Hanover, wanted to add a definition to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, which includes definitions of various places and alcoholic beverages.

Peace wanted to add a definition of confectionery to mean sweet foods, like baked goods, candies, jams, jellies, puddings, ice creams, sorbets and yogurts.

A General Laws subcommittee agreed unanimously to lay it on the table.

Campaign finance and election bills fall

Sen. George Barker, D-Alexandria, wanted to loosen some voter ID requirements and allow an expired driver’s license be considered an acceptable form of identification when voting. It was passed by indefinitely along party lines in the Senate Privileges and Elections committee.

And in the realm of campaign finance, two proposals from Sen. Chap Peterson, D-Fairfax, failed in committee. One would have banned politicians from accepting or soliciting donations from a public service corporation, like a utility, which comes as Dominion Energy’s influence on Virginia’s politics is under mounting scrutiny.

Another would have capped campaign contributions at $10,000 per candidate over the course of a given primary and general election cycle. That one was endorsed by Gov. Ralph Northam and failed 11-3.

The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.