The Senate has killed a bill that would have allowed Virginia’s attorney general to prosecute some local crimes

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The Virginia Senate rejected a bill that would have given the attorney general the power to prosecute certain violent crimes against children. for the second straight year.

The initiative was supported by Attorney General Jason Miyares (R), revived by Mr. Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Hanover) with a few changes from last year’s proposal.

The 2022 bill would expand the power of the AG’s office to prosecute certain sex crimes involving children following a formal request from local law enforcement.

This year, Sen. McDougle shorten the request to allow the Attorney General’s office to prosecute domestic cases involving illegal sexual assault and trafficking.

One of the state’s attorneys, Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney Justin Griffith, and a representative from Miyares’ office, Nicole Wittmann, spoke in support of the practice at the Senate Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Wittmann told the panel that the bill is an effort by the AG’s office to “support local attorneys,” local police and victims, adding that the intent is not extortion. force of the country’s lawyers.

Griffith faced questions from members of the committee on how prosecutors would give power to the attorney general under the proposal, and indicated that there were opportunities to question the Office of the Attorney General. the Attorney General for assistance in such cases.

The Pulaski County attorney responded that he supports giving the victims access, even if it would give the Attorney General’s office the authority to take cases without permission of his office.

A representative the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys – a group representing 120 locally elected attorneys in the Commonwealth – said the association opposed the law on Wednesday.

Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) has seen legislative efforts to expand the AG’s authority over domestic affairs for the last “four or five sessions.”

“And every time the attorney general’s office has asked for additional prosecution authority, we’ve denied that, under two attorneys general, the first and the second,” Sen said. . Surovell. “And I think we should maintain that policy.”

Moments later, the panel voted 8-7 to pass the bill “in addition,” a step that effectively kills the measure in this General Assembly. Just like last year, the state Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) was with Republicans hoping to extend the bill.

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