Youngkin Announces Operation Bold Blue Line to Address Violent Crime in Virginia

Governor Glenn Youngkin called for increased funding to support law enforcement and partnerships with localities as part of the administration’s Monday announcement of Operation Bold Blue Line. The proposals were the result of his violent crime task force, which he said found Virginia lacks law enforcement officers, prosecutors, programs for at-risk youth, and support for witnesses and victims.

“It’s often said that our law enforcement heroes represent a thin blue line,” he said in a speech outside a City of Norfolk Library alongside Attorney General Jason Miyares and Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears.

“Friends, with nearly 40 percent law enforcement vacancy rates in some cities, with too few prosecutors actually prosecuting, with diminished community engagement and witnesses and victims less willing to come forward, that thin blue line is getting far too thin.”

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Drug Arrests Down, Overall Incidents Down, Violent Crime Up in 2021 Crime in Virginia Report

Drug arrests in Virginia 2021 decreased 46.7 percent in 2021 from 2020, according to the Crime in Virginia 2021 report released Wednesday by the state police. Total incidents reported was also down: 324,558 in 2021 versus 338,784 in 2020, and 375,639 in 2019. Violent crime was up in 2021 with 16,823 incidents compared to 15,713 in 2020, and 17,993 in 2019.

“Drug arrests decreased by nearly half (46.7%) with the largest percentage decrease in arrestees under age 25 (67.6%). The number of reports of drugs seized decreased for nearly all drug types, especially marijuana (67%), due in part to decriminalization of possessing less than 1 ounce of the drug effective July 1, 2020 and Code of Virginia §18.2-250.1 being repealed July 1, 2021,” reported a Virginia State Police release.

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Commentary: San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s Recall Shows How the Criminal Justice Reform Movement Doesn’t Work

Two and a half years ago, pre-COVID and before surging crime and fentanyl overdoses gripped San Francisco, District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s left-wing lineage seemed a perfect fit for the liberal bastion by the bay.

Likewise, California Rep. Karen Bass was a barometer of Los Angeles’ transformation into a sprawling progressive metropolis. A former Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman, Bass was a top contender to become Joe Biden’s running mate in 2020 and was considered a likely contender for a statewide office.

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Despite Calls to Withdraw, Earle-Sears Doubles Down in Speech at NRA Conference

Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears blamed a lack of virtue for the U.S.’ “present-day woes” in a Friday speech at the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum. After the May 24 shooting and mass murder at a Texas school, Earle-Sears faced pressure to withdraw from the speaking commitment, but instead doubled down, publishing her speech in a Friday press release and excerpts on Twitter.

“They did not want me to come, thinking you are monsters, that you are culpable in the murder of the children,” Earle-Sears’ written remarks state.

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In Debate, Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Discuss Gun Violence and the Parole Board

The five Democratic candidates for governor met for the first televised debate on Tuesday evening where they discussed issues including the economic crisis, gun violence, marijuana legalization, the Virginia Parole Board, and vaccine hesitancy. For the most part, the candidates stuck to discussing their own policies, but occasionally turned to attack perceived front-runner McAuliffe.

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Virginia Progressive Prosecutors for Justice Call for More Criminal Justice Reform

A group of Commonwealth’s Attorneys has released a letter to the General Assembly calling for more criminal justice reform. In the letter, the Virginia Progressive Prosecutors for Justice (VPPFJ) call for automated expungement of criminal records, ending mandatory minimum sentences, ending cash bail, abolishing the death penalty, and ending the “three-strikes” felony enhancement for petty larceny.

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Virginia Progressive Prosecutors for Justice Call for More Criminal Justice Reform

A group of Commonwealth’s Attorneys has released a letter to the General Assembly calling for more criminal justice reform. In the letter, the Virginia Progressive Prosecutors for Justice (VPPFJ) call for automated expungement of criminal records, ending mandatory minimum sentences, ending cash bail, abolishing the death penalty, and ending the “three-strikes” felony enhancement for petty larceny.

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Senate Lawmakers Pass Conference Report for Criminal Justice Reform Legislation

During potentially the final day of the lengthy 2020 special session, Senate legislators adopted and passed the conference committee report on a bill that allows judges in certain criminal cases to issue the sentences instead of the jury. 

The conference report that was unanimously agreed upon by the six conferees, two Republicans and two Democrats, passed the Senate by an almost exact party line vote of (Y-22 N-16). 

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Gade: Democrats Will Destroy America as We Know It

At the 41st annual GOP Pig Roast U.S. Senate candidate Daniel Gade warned that American values are at risk if the Democrats gain power.

“The Left in the United States have decided that now is the time when they come after our values. And they’ve openly said what they’re going to do if, God forbid, they win the presidency and if, God forbid, they win and they take the Senate,” Gade said in his speech.

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Virginia House Passes $134B Budget with Rental and Utility Assistance, Justice and Police Reform Funding

The Virginia House of Delegates passed its two-year $134 billion budget on Tuesday with specific funding for rental and utility assistance, public education, internet access, affordable housing, criminal justice and police reform.

The revised budget from the House does not perfectly lineup with the proposed budget Governor Ralph Northam presented to the General Assembly at the beginning of the 2020 special session.

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Virginia House Passes Mental Health, Earned Sentence Credit Reforms

The Virginia House passed four more pieces of criminal justice reform legislation that will be sent to the Senate, including mandatory local mental health teams, more restrictions on police acquiring military surplus weapons and an expansion of the earned sentence credit program.

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Bill to End Mandatory Minimum Sentences Blocked by Virginia Senate Committee

Legislation that would have banned the enforcement of mandatory minimum sentencing in Virginia was killed in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday after some Democrats joined Republicans in their opposition.

Senate Bill 5046, sponsored by Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, effectively would have ended all mandatory minimums in Virginia by halting their enforcement for offenses committed on or after Jan. 1, 2021. Although reforming mandatory minimum laws has bipartisan support, SB 5046 did not provide exemptions for violent crimes, such as murder or rape, which led to it ultimately failing.

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Police, Criminal Justice Reform Advocates Share Some Views Ahead of Legislative Special Session

Police officers and criminal justice reform advocates share some common ground going into Virginia’s special session to address policing reform, but the two groups break apart on some of the more controversial reforms.

“We are as repulsed by bad police officers … as anyone [else],” Wayne Huggins, executive director of the Virginia State Police Association, told Virginia House members Thursday during the last criminal justice reform hearing ahead of the special session, which convenes Aug. 18.

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