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New Public Safety Laws Pertain to DNA Collection, Sexual Violence

Among the new state public safety laws that have taken effect are those that get tougher on sexual violence and other sex crimes – as well as laws that pertain to DNA collection, alcohol and drug abuse, and licensed day care centers. 

Virginia now imposes new felony charges for commercial sex traffickers. Colleges and universities have new reporting requirements for sexual assaults on campus. And as a result of several recent tragedies, a law sponsored by Senator Mark Obenshain now requires the collection of DNA from those convicted of criminal misdemeanors.

"Offenses that were are adding have a high level of correlation to violent felony offenses in the future, and if we expand the database in this fashion,  we're going to be preventing crime."

The misdemeanors include violation of a stalking or protective order, indecent exposure, and infected sexual battery. Obenshain also sponsored a new law that allows first responders and police to administer a drug to reverse an opiate overdose. A related bill protects people from prosecution if they seek emergency medical attention for themselves or others involved in a drug or alcohol overdose.

Another new law requires fingerprint-based national criminal history background checks for all who work at licensed child day centers and family day homes. The law lowers from five to four the maximum number of children for whom a family day home may provide care without a license.

Tommie McNeil is a State Capitol reporter who has been covering Virginia and Virginia politics for more than a decade. He originally hails from Maryland, and also doubles as the evening anchor for 1140 WRVA in Richmond.
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