Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Virginia State News

March 1, 2014

Andrew’s Law patron hopes bill to be stronger in 2015

RICHMOND, Va. — State Senator Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell, said on Friday morning that he was not totally disappointed by the set-back this week that found his bill, SB 293, often referred to as “Andrew’s Law,” continued until the 2015 session.

“We thought the $15 million potential impact of the bill was unrealistic,” Puckett said. “The State Police came up to the committee (on Thursday) and said the estimate was too high. Wayne Huggins, a former colonel with the state police, convinced them that the estimate was too high.”

Puckett said that since SB 293 was continued until the 2015 session, supporters of the bill can do the additional leg-work to make the bill even stronger.

“With time to put more work into it, we might have a shot during the next session,” Puckett said. He added that, in his opinion, the debate over the bill “was more about money than anything.”

“The family (of the late Trooper Andrew Fox) did an outstanding job in presenting their position on the bill,” Puckett said. “I think they made an impression on committee members.”

Puckett said some delegates are joining the effort to make the bill stronger in 2015.

The family of the late Trooper Andrew Fox who was killed in the line of duty on Oct. 5, 2012, approached Puckett before the start of the 2014 session with a request to draft a bill that would increase the criminal penalty in cases where reckless driving causes death or serious injury to a law enforcement, emergency responder, firefighter or state highway worker whose work requires them to be on the highway.

Fox, 27, was directing traffic at the Virginia State Fair when a distracted driver ran over him. He died as a result of the injuries he received in the accident.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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