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Virginia Senate quashes bill allowing murder charges for drug dealers

Virginia Senate Democrats have defeated a bill allowing drug dealers to be eligible for murder charges. This is the second vote on the legislation this session.

Virginia Senate Democrats on Monday defeated legislation for a second time this session that would have allowed prosecutors to charge drug dealers with second-degree murder if a user dies of an overdose.

The measure was a priority for Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

"The governor is disappointed that Senate Democrats are preventing votes on these common sense bills ... they should receive full consideration in the Senate," Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Monday's vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee came after the panel killed an identical bill last month. The move means there's no vehicle left for the legislation to reach the governor’s desk.


Democratic Sen. Joe Morrissey said the committee had heard concerns the legislation could discourage people from calling 9-1-1 if they are with someone who is overdosing, the newspaper reported.

Its sponsor, Del. Terry Kilgore, said the measure was needed in response to increasing overdoses, especially cases involving fentanyl.

Porter said the governor thinks Democrats should "put Virginians first, especially those families who have experienced tragedy as a result of deadly fentanyl, and stand with families, not with dealers."

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