General Assembly addressing some of biggest stories of 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — The 2014 General Assembly session kicked off Wednesday and early indications suggest much of the agenda will focus on some of the biggest stories from 2013 – including Governor Bob McDonnell’s gift scandal, Senator Deeds’ stabbing and Brendon Mackey’s death.

The Deeds’ stabbing of course is unique in the fact Deeds himself will be part of discussion.

He was back in action Wednesday, showing what appears to be scar from the ordeal on his face. His office however said he is still declining interviews, saying he is requesting privacy at this time.

It has been reported that Deeds was stabbed by his son before his son took his own life.
It has also been reported that Deeds’ son was released from an emergency custody order the day before the tragedy because of a lack of beds.

Several bills from multiple legislators have emerged aimed at addressing the circumstances that surrounded the Deeds event.

Included in that are bills from Deeds himself, as well as Republicans like Delegate Rob Bell.

Bell wants a bill that if a bed can not be found before the six hour time limit is up, the individual, who has already been issued a court order by a judge, is automatically sent to a State Mental Health hospital.

“You can’t have somebody — who has been ordered sick by a judge – not have a place to go,” Bell told CBS 6.

In regards to the scandal involving “gift-gate” and a possible indictment of Governor Bob McDonnell over gifts from former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, the House announced Monday a bipartisan compromise that would ban gifts over $250.

However, the bill does not address unlimited campaign contributions.

As for Brendon Mackey, the 7-year-old Chesterfield boy who was killed by celebratory gun shot bullet on the Fourth of July, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus addressed the issue Wednesday.

St. Sen Henry Marsh wants increased penalties for those who fire guns in a celebratory manner.

Not surprisingly, gun rights activists are weary, fearing it could infringe on second amendment rights.

Marsh addressed this by saying that his law encourages gun ownership, but would prohibit gun owners from using their firearms in a celebratory manner.

“I don’t have anything against guns, but we don’t want guns used in a way to kill innocent people,” Marsh said.

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