‘Dumler Bill’ Passes House, Heads to Senate

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Chris Dumler's ability to hang onto his job as an Albemarle County supervisor, despite pleading guilty to criminal charges and constant requests for him to step down by both his constituents and his fellow board members, is now a matter before state legislators - in the so-called “Dumler Bill.”

Delegate Rob Bell’s bill has seen no changes and no opposition at all so far. It passed the House unanimously Wednesday, but it still faces a test in the Senate.

In the months since he walked out of jail, and left the Albemarle Board of Supervisors, Dumler's fate has faded into obscurity. But the fallen former leader is far from forgotten in the state capitol. Last year, Dumler pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor sexual battery, but when a judge was set to decide whether he should be removed from office, she had no grounds to remove him under current law.

“The current law says it's for felonies and certain misdemeanors, but not sex crime misdemeanors,” Bell said.

That's where Bell wants to make some changes. His bill would allow a circuit court judge, upon petition, to remove a local elected or appointed leader from office for a variety of misdemeanor sex crimes - including flashing, being a peeping Tom, and sexual battery.

So far, the bill’s seen no opposition.

“I think it's just it's never come up. In other words, if someone simply resigned it would not be an issue that would reach us. This may be the first time we've had someone charged with those kind of charges who did not choose to resign,” Bell said.

When asked about the bill, Charlottesville Delegate David Toscano called it a "nothing bill," later clarifying he believes it is a non-controversial piece of legislation. It now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

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