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Kilgore aims to stiffen punishment for exposing children, incapacitated to meth labs

Wes Bunch • Jan 24, 2013 at 11:16 AM

RICHMOND — Delegate Terry Kilgore introduced legislation in the Virginia House of Delegates Thursday that would create additional punishments for those convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of children and physically or mentally handicapped individuals.

Kilgore (R-Gate City) said the legislation, known as House Bill 1816, was presented in cooperation with Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s Office.

“Manufacturing meth is unlike other drugs,” Kilgore said. “This drug causes the whole area to be contaminated. We must protect children and those who cannot protect themselves from these dangers and send a message to our communities that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

Cuccinelli thanked Kilgore for his work on the bill, which he said would protect the state’s most vulnerable populations.

“My office is dedicated to protecting Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens, and we have Delegate Kilgore to thank for helping us and law enforcement fulfill that mission by carrying this important bill.”

The purpose of the bill, Kilgore said, is to hold responsible those who endanger incapacitated persons and children by manufacturing, or attempting to manufacture meth, in their presence.

If passed, the law would apply regardless of whether the person convicted of manufacturing has custody of the child.

Kilgore said the bill is targeted at anyone 18 or older who knowingly allows a child, a mentally incapacitated or physically helpless person to be present in the same dwelling during the manufacture or attempted manufacture of meth.

The proposed legislation would amend current Virginia law that applies only to a child in the care or custody of the manufacturer of the drug.

Kilgore said he felt “there is a lot of support for the bill this year,” citing the fact that it unanimously passed the General Assembly’s Courts of Justice criminal subcommittee with an 8-0 vote.

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