The Virginia Senate passed a new bill that would weaken sentencing for assaulting a police officer, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The bill would strike down Virginia's six-month mandatory minimum sentence for striking an officer and provide judges the discretion to lower charges to a misdemeanor in less severe cases.
Despite vehement opposition from Republicans, Democratic lawmakers fast-tracked the passage of the bill with a party-line vote. Republican members argued that the bill undercuts police officers who are confronting a nationwide crime wave.
The new legislation follows Virginia governor Ralph Northam's (D.) administration's recent decisions to grant parole to convicted murderers, including Vincent Martin, who was serving a life sentence for murdering a police officer.
"That the parole board would even consider Mr. Martin a suitable candidate for release is cause for serious concern," Republican lawmakers wrote to Northam earlier this year.
Northam also offered a series of policy proposals in January that decriminalized marijuana use and lessened penalties for theft.
"Doubling the amount you can steal from your neighbor without serious consequence is unfortunately a prime example of the Democrats' looming agenda on crime and criminals," said Virginia House of Delegates minority leader Todd Gilbert (R.).
Published under: Ralph Northam