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Bills on the Hill

Thanksgiving. Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. New Year’s Eve.

All great holidays and cause for celebration. But the party really gets going in mid-January when the General Assembly returns to Richmond for the 2016 session.

Already delegates and senators are lining up to pre-file bills, some of the thousands of pieces of legislation that members will try to absorb, then vote on.

Here is a preview of coming attractions, a sample of what’s been put in the hopper so far.

GIFT CERTIFICATES. Has your kid ever gotten a gift card for a particular store for the holidays and not had a chance to get to that store before going back to school? Have you given him the 25 bucks, figuring he’ll get the benefit of his gift and that you will put the card to good use because you like that store and will spend $25 there? Have you found the card a year later, then made the special trip to that store, only to find out your $25 gift card expired? Have you decided you no longer like that store?

No, we don’t know anyone this has happened to either. No sir, not at all. But should it happen, House Bill 11 will fix this pox on paying your kid so he gets the benefit of his gift card. The bill would prohibit any merchant from issuing a gift certificate that automatically expires or from charging a maintenance or inactivity fee on a gift certificate. Good idea.

ANIMAL RESCUE. Ever walk through a mall parking lot on a hot summer day and see a dog in a car with the windows rolled up? Most animal owners know how to handle their pets, but if you see a dog in distress and smash the window to save the pooch, you would have civil immunity under HB 38.

The catch: Before smashing you have to attempt to contact a police officer, an animal control officer or other emergency services personnel.

Another bill, HB 37, would prohibit a tow truck driver from towing a vehicle with a “companion animal” inside.

HATS OFF TO CHESTERTON. British author Gilbert Keith “G.K.” Chesterton was the toast of English literature at the turn of the 20th century. He was prolific, penning more than 80 books in his career, including all the Father Brown mysteries.

For those of you who are ‘Frasier” fans and always wondered where the character “Gil Chesterton” got his name, there you go.

Chesterton the author died in 1936. So it makes sense that the Virginia General Assembly would commemorate his death, right?

House Resolution 3 would salute the 80th anniversary of G.K.’s passing.

A copy would be presented to Fr. Ian Boyd, C.S.B., the founding editor of The Chesterton Review and a professor of English literature at Seton Hall University, when he visits Richmond to offer his reflections for “An Evening of G.K. Chesterton.”

HR 3 has constituent favor written all over it, and you don’t need Father Brown to solve that mystery.

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