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General Assembly Will Discuss UVA, Exploitation of Elderly, More - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

General Assembly Will Discuss UVA, Exploitation of Elderly and More

Posted: Updated: Jan 2, 2013 03:47 PM EST

State lawmakers will return to Richmond one week from Wednesday for what promises to be a busy 2013 General Assembly session.   

Discussions about big issues such as transportation funding and education, are expected. Many lawmakers also have their own specific goals in mind.     

This year's General Assembly session is what they call a "short session," meaning it lasts until the end of February rather than mid-March. This leaves a little bit of time to get a lot done.   

In the House of Delegates, Albemarle Delegate Rob Bell (R) 58th District is hoping to strengthen penalties for the financial exploitation of the elderly or mentally incapacitated.  

Others, like Delegate Dickie Bell (R) 20th District and Senator Bryce Reeves (R) 17th District, want a bill that would preserve secret ballots in union elections, which would also make it more difficult to form unions.

"Workers' rights and their abilities to make a free decision on who they want to be in leadership with regards to unions," said Reeves.

But one issue expected to get a lot of attention is focused around last summer's leadership debacle at the University of Virginia. Delegate Steve Landes (R) 25th District, along with democrats David Toscano (D) 57th District and Creigh Deeds (D) 25th District, are ready to tackle problems raised at UVA.

Lawmakers in both houses are planning a bipartisan package of legislation. "Kind of a package, or one or two pieces of legislation. All of these would apply not just to the university, but to all universities and colleges that are state supported," said Landes.

"The board of visitors issue is really big, and so one of the first things out of the box will be whether or not to vote to reappoint Rector Dragas," said Toscano.

Landes wants to address issues of transparency by requiring boards of visitors to undergo training. A separate bill would explore options for more faculty and student representation on boards of visitors.

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