Delegate Mark Keam - Virginia's 35th House District

Delegate Keam's Bills Approved by Courts Subcommittee


MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                         Contact: Julia Kim Thursday, January 20, 2011                                                                         Phone: (703) 350-3911

Two of Delegate Mark Keam's Bills Unanimously Approved in Subcommittee

RICHMOND, VA — Yesterday, the Criminal Subcommittee of the Virginia House of Delegates' Courts of Justice Committee unanimously approved two bills by Delegate Mark Keam (D-Vienna). HB 2272 and HB 2276 were the first two bills heard by any House Committee out of the 15 bills that Keam introduced in this session.

"I'm pleased that we were already able to make some progress on my legislative agenda this early in the session," said Keam.

House Bill 2272 would extend the statute of limitations to allow local authorities to initiate an investigation of professional license violations. This bill is designed to protect consumers who may discover after the fact that a contractor who performed shoddy home improvement project on their property was actually not properly licensed by the county or state. Unfortunately, under current law, the victimized consumer has only one year to initiate an investigation. Keam's bill would extend that period to five years to provide the consumer with more protection.

The origin of this bill came from a heartbreaking story told by a Vienna resident who was victimized by an unlicensed contractor, who had no recourse under current state law. HB 2272 was unanimously voted out of Subcommittee, so the full Courts Committee will consider the measure in the coming days.

House Bill 2276 would increase the lead time, from 28 days to 60 days, within which the Department of Juvenile Justice is required to notify local Departments of Social Services prior to release from parole of a juvenile offender who was in foster care prior to commitment. This bill would assist local jurisdictions with monitoring and facilitating successful reintegration of juvenile offenders into society.

Keam's bill was drafted with the policy team of the Virginia Prisoner and Juvenile Re-Entry Council. Governor Bob McDonnell appointed Keam in May 2011 to serve on this interagency task force which was charged with improving and coordinating multiple state and local agencies' efforts to safely and efficiently transition ex-criminals back into society.

At the Subcommittee today, Keam's bill was combined with House Bill 2036, sponsored by Delegate Chris Peace (R-Hanover), which would extend the lead time to 90 days. At the suggestion of Department of Juvenile Justice staff, the Subcommittee agreed to use the bill with the longer lead time as the underlying legislative vehicle for this law change.

"One of goals of the Governor's Prisoner and Juvenile Re-Entry Council is to find ways to reduce recidivism so that ex-prisoners can finally leave their life of crime for good. Providing local agencies with more flexibility on parole notification of young offenders will ensure that they are fully ready to work with these young people who deserve a second chance in life," said Keam.

The combined Keam-Peace bill now heads to the full Courts committee for its consideration.

Details on these and all of Delegate Keam's other legislation can be found at http://leg1.state.va.us.

Delegate Mark Keam (www.www.markkeam.com) represents Virginia's 35th House district, located in Fairfax County, Virginia. Delegate Keam sits on the House Finance and the House Militia, Police and Public Safety committees. He is currently serving his first term in office.

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