RICHMOND, Va. — A proposed bill in Virginia that aimed to permit cruise ship casino gaming in the offshore waters off the coast met its demise in a House subcommittee vote this week.
Del. Shelly Simonds, D-Newport News, advocated for the bill, suggesting that it would allow cruise ships to open their casinos just a mile from their mooring or anchoring spot in Virginia, thus extending their gaming hours. Simonds highlighted the potential revenue for the state, with excess funds designated for school infrastructure revitalization.
However, not all lawmakers were convinced of the necessity of the bill. Del. Paul Krizek, D-Alexandria, questioned the priority of granting cruise ships additional gambling time over appreciating Virginia’s scenic beauty while on board.
The rejection of the cruise ship casino bill unfolded amidst broader debates on gambling, social media restrictions, and the reinstatement of the death penalty in Virginia’s legislative landscape.
Efforts to impose restrictions on social media usage among minors also faced setbacks this week. Del. Scott Wyatt, R-Mechanicsville, proposed a bill mandating parental consent for minors to create social media accounts, while Del. Keith Hodges, R-Urbanna, aimed to curtail certain features enticing minors to remain online. Both bills failed to garner sufficient support from Democrats, who raised concerns over the breadth of the proposed regulations.
Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has been vocal about implementing social media restrictions, citing concerns over adolescents’ mental health and the prevalence of cyberbullying.
In another significant development, a proposal to reinstate the death penalty in Virginia, introduced by Republican Del. Tim Griffin, faced a resounding defeat earlier this month. The bill, which aimed to reverse Virginia’s 2021 abolition of capital punishment, failed to gain traction in a House subcommittee vote.
Meanwhile, Del. R. Lee Ware’s bill, intended to commission a study on fishery impacts to menhaden, a vital component of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, has been postponed to 2025. The decision has drawn criticism from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which highlighted concerns about potential disruptions to the local food chain.
As Virginia lawmakers navigate a diverse array of legislative proposals, debates continue to shape the state’s policy landscape, reflecting the complex interplay of interests and priorities among legislators and stakeholders alike.