Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Lawmaker working on revamped bill
Va. board: Skating needs no regulation
Earlier this year, a bill passed in Virginia's legislature that would have required rink owners to stock helmets.
By KEISHA STEWART
THE ROANOKE TIMES
A state board tagged to study roller-skating safety has determined that the roller-skating industry does not need regulation.
The Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation issued a report earlier this month saying that the roller-skating industry needs no regulation, but recommended that the legislature set minimum safety standards.
Jim Anderson, owner of FunQuest roller-skating center in Lynchburg, was pleased with the board's conclusion.
Many rink operators adhere to standards set by the industry's trade organization, the Roller Skating Association, Anderson said.
"We already follow them on a voluntary basis," he said.
Sen. Marty Williams, R-Newport News, who introduced the initial bill, plans to introduce a new safety bill during the next legislative session, said Emily Swenson, his legislative aide.
The new bill, which is in draft form, would not require rink operators to provide helmets for skaters or make owners train floor guards to give emergency care. The bill also sets a higher ratio for floor guards, establishing one for every 200 skaters, Swenson said.
"It's totally friendly with the roller-skating industry now," Swenson said. "It has a lot less regulations. It's more suggestive."
The board made its decision after three public hearings in Virginia, including one in Roanoke in October.
The contentious issue surfaced this year, as a bill rolled through Virginia's legislature that required rink owners to have helmets for skaters.
The parents of 5-year-old Clark Guye inspired the bill. Clark Guye died in February 2001 while skating at the Peninsula Family Skating Center in Newport News. He fell and struck the back of his head, which medical examiners said caused his death.
When Clark's parents, Dawn and Gary Guye, learned there were no roller-skating safety laws in Virginia, the couple began pushing for change. Their focus has been to require children to wear helmets while skating.
Williams introduced the Roller Skating Safety Act, or Clark's Law, earlier this year. Clark's Law, which passed in the Senate and the House, required rink owners to make helmets available, train floor guards in emergency first aid, and provide one floor guard for every 100 skaters. But the legislature put brakes on the bill, directing it to the board to study the "feasibility and appropriateness" of regulating roller-skating rinks.
Most rink operators complained about the bill's helmet requirement.
Virginia doesn't require bike riders to wear helmets, they said. Also, outdoor skating caused more injuries and deaths than indoor skating, they said. The bill only focused on indoor skating.
Helmets would also cost operators too much, some said. They preferred that parents bring helmets for their children.
Buying helmets would have cost Dan McCarty, owner of Star City Skate and Play in Roanoke, nearly $15,000, he wrote the board.
The helmet requirement would have been "devastating" to an industry already facing a decline in business, McCarty said in a written statement to the board.
Dawn Guye worked with Williams' aides and a few skating rink owners to draft the new bill.
Guye hopes the bill makes people aware of the need for helmet use while skating, she said. A helmet might have saved Clark's life.
Since this thread is doubling as a Virginia General Assembly Agenda thread, I'm posting other articles relating to GA issues. We gotta watch them or they'll pass more nanny-state regulations.
Mud, since the Virginia General Assembly is convening January 8, would you mind using your Virginia ping list and let's get everyone aware of pending legislation via this thread? Muchisimas gracias por todo.
Bills and Resolutions: http://leg1.state.va.us/031/bil.htm
(hundreds, if not thousands of them!)
4 N.Va. Delegates Make Strong Push to Right
Outer-Suburb Republicans Generate High Bill Volume
By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 3, 2003; Page B05
RICHMOND, Jan. 2 -- Four members of the House of Delegates from Northern Virginia's outer suburbs are aggressively pursuing an agenda for the upcoming General Assembly session that includes further restrictions on abortion, lower taxes, easier and cheaper access to concealed weapon permits and changes in transportation financing. [bravo!]
The four Republican delegates -- Mark L. Cole of Fredericksburg, Richard H. Black of Loudoun County and Robert G. Marshall and L. Scott Lingamfelter of Prince William County -- are the chief patrons of about one-fourth of the bills filed so far by the 100 House members. The deadline for filing bills is still two weeks away, and all four delegates say they are busy printing more legislation. [conservatives working to roll back decades of liberal excess...]
~ snip ~
The four lawmakers, two veterans and two relative newcomers, represent the surge in conservatism in Virginia's legislature. The GOP took control of both chambers in 1999 and has steadily added to its ranks since. [and they've done it by pursuing an unapoligetically conservative agenda] In special elections last year to fill vacancies in the 40-member Senate, Northern Virginia replaced a moderate Republican and a Democrat with two conservative Republicans. [pinching myself...]
~ snip ~
But Moran acknowledged that Democrats are outnumbered in the House, where Republicans and independents who caucus with them hold an edge of 66 to 34. Abortion restrictions and gun rights legislation have passed easily in the House. The Senate has been less friendly to such bills in recent years.
"The House over the last few years has become very receptive to a conservative social agenda," Moran said. "We would hope the Senate would use good judgment." [wiping smirk off my face...]
Republicans say the Senate elections of Ken Cuccinelli and James K. "Jay" O'Brien Jr. of Fairfax give the GOP agenda the edge there as well. [Finally!]
~ snip ~
Lots more Dem gnashing of teeth here:
Re: your #22.
For crying out loud! Gimme a freakin' break. It's dangerous to walk across the street too. When are people going to start taking responsibility for themselves instead of whining for the government to hold thier little hands? I'm sorry that kid died after cracking his head open but helmets have been available for years. Why didn't those parents slap a helmet on the kid themselves instead of asking the government to do it for them???!!!
I'm not fussing at you, of course. Just the ludicrous nature of this whole thing.