Monday, February 28, 2011

Virginia International Child Abduction Bill Passes Senate and House

Virginia International Child Abduction Bill Passes Senate and House

The Bill which I drafted and submitted to the Virginia legislature with the help of Brandy Bond, has passed both the Senate and the House of Delegates with unanimous votes in both houses.

The President of the Senate and Speaker of the House have both signed off on the International Child Abduction Bill (HB2361) which is now with Virginia Governor McDonnell for signature.

The Bill provides for the seizure and forfeiture of the assets of international child abductors who abduct children both FROM and TO the Commonwealth of Virginia. I understand that Virginia is the very first state to enact legislation which specifically recognizes the plight of children abducted to the US, as opposed to simply being kidnapped from the country.

This makes Virginia a less-than-friendly haven for international child abductors kidnapping children to the state.

There are some aspects I wanted to see in the final Bill, but they didn't make it all the way through the process. These included the creation of a pool of judges to hear these cases, however there were technical issues raised by the VA Supreme Court justices which I hope we can address at the next legislative session.

As Benjamin Franklin said, "Politics is the art of the possible!" and we do what we can with what we've got. I feel it is important to remember that this is a process and not just an end in itself, so I expect to be banging on the doors of representatives again later this year.

I'd like to thank everyone involved, most especially the irrepressible Brandy Bond, Delegate Jennifer McClellan  and State Senators Fred Quinn and Steve Martin for sponsoring the Bill and nursing it through the legislative process.

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