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Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Governor Makes Drug Policy a Top Priority
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Bob McDonnell said Thursday that one of his public safety priorities in the 2012 General Assembly is cracking down on repeat drug dealers.
At a news conference outlining his legislative agenda, McDonnell emphasized a bill that would impose a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for a second drug-dealing conviction. Third and subsequent convictions would trigger a minimum 10-year term.
McDonnell said drugs are responsible for 60 percent to 70 percent of all crimes, and dealers currently aren't being punished enough.
"If you're going to deal drugs in Virginia, be on notice: You're going to prison for a lot longer period of time after this session," McDonnell said.
Sen. Thomas K. Norment, R-James City and chairman of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, said the bill sends a strong message to drug dealers that they no longer will "just get smacked on the hand" for repeat offenses.
The Republican governor said he has included about $11 million in the state budget to pay for keeping drug dealers in prison longer.