RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Virginia State Crime Commission meets Wednesday and could make several key recommendations to lawmakers for the upcoming General Assembly session.
First up - black market smokes. Our investigations uncovered widespread cigarette smuggling.
Virginia cigarette taxes are among the lowest in the nation - people are coming here to get the cigarettes to sell up north.
Recent arrest reports from Chesterfield Police show several people accused of trafficking cigarettes in just the last few days.
It's a big business, more profitable than selling drugs. The smugglers bring with them organized crime and violence.
The State Crime Commission will decide whether to stiffen the penalties for smugglers.
Also on the agenda is synthetic marijuana. We went undercover this year, tracking stores still selling spice - despite lawmaker attempts to ban it.
The makers of spice keep changing the chemicals used to make the product, skirting the law.
The State Crime Commission could recommend adding even more chemicals to lists of banned products, making it easier for police to stop the sale.
What could be the biggest issue of the session: lawmakers may decide to make texting while driving a reckless driving offense, which is punishable by up to a year in jail.
There's also a push to make texting while driving a primary offense, meaning police could pull you over for it.
An endorsement by the commission does not ensure passage by the General Assembly but it carries great weight with lawmakers. The General Assembly session starts in January.
The State Crime Commission meets at 10 a.m. in Senate Room A of the General Assembly building.