Workplace violence, school security, social media part of legislation proposed for special session

Special session begins Tuesday in Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. – Ahead of Tuesday's special session called by Gov. Ralph Northam, Sen. Bill Stanley has submitted six pieces of legislation to prevent what happened in Virginia Beach from happening anywhere else.

Here's a breakdown of the six bills:

Workplace Violence Act  

An act of workplace violence and/or threats must be reported. If an employee commits an act of workplace violence, aggression or threat, whether or not that employer is a public entity or private company, against another employee or against a third person, at any time known by (or made known to) the employer, then the employer, must conduct a risk assessment of future harm by the offending employee, and the incident/threat must be reported to law enforcement. The employer must then provide whatever resources that are available (mental health counseling, etc.) to the employee involved, and must take whatever steps necessary to protect other employees from future harm by the offending employee. If those steps are not taken by the employer, then that employer can be liable for any subsequent harm that may result to any employee or third party. This shall also apply to students and/or employees of any state-supported college, university or public institution. 

Screening at all government buildings 

All employees in state/local government buildings, where security measures at the points of entry are utilized, must be screened upon entry at all times regardless of their employment and/or possession of an employment badge.

School Security

School systems shall be allowed to have as volunteers retired law enforcement officers who are certified by the law enforcement agency to be in good standing at the time of their retirement, and who have currently maintained their certified firearm training, to provide security and/or protection for schools during the school year and during school-sponsored events and functions. 

Social Media

Any publicly traded company whose primary business purpose is a publicly-accessed social media platform, who receives on that social media platform a threat of violence against any person, business, and or local or state government agency within the Commonwealth of Virginia, shall immediately notify the appropriate Virginia law enforcement authorities. If said publicly traded social media company fails to do so, and any physical harm results to any person, business, government agency, that company shall be held civilly liable to any person, company, or public entity so harmed by the act of violence committed by the person who published the threat on their respective social media platform.

Sentence reduction; substantial assistance to prosecution

Allows a convicted person's sentence to be reduced if such person provides substantial assistance, defined in the bill, in the furtherance of the investigation or prosecution of another person engaged in an act of violence or for offenses involving SB() terrorism, gang, firearm theft and SB ()  substantial assistance to prosecution; gang crimes.  The sentence reduction can occur only upon motion of the attorney for the Commonwealth.  These are the Senate version of the House Bills proposed by Del. David Yancey.  

Stanley represents Virginia's 20th district, which includes all of the cities of Galax and Martinsville, as well as all of Patrick and Henry counties. The 20th district also includes parts of Carroll, Franklin, Halifax and Pittsylvania counties as well as part of the city of Danville.