Thursday, April 12, 2007
From washingtonpost.com: Gov. Timothy M. Kaine vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have required state agencies to study whether Virginia should start castrating violent sex offenders instead of confining them, some for the rest of their lives.
The General Assembly, hoping to reduce the costs of housing the state's most dangerous sex offenders in prison or treatment facilities, overwhelmingly supported having state officials study whether criminals should have the option of "physical castration" in exchange for being released.
Kaine (D) vetoed the bill because, he said, he thinks health professionals, not legislators, are the most qualified people to determine how to treat sex offenders, some of whom might be mentally ill.
"This bill was overly prescriptive of matters best left to the professionals in our state mental health agency," Kaine said.
Also Tuesday, Kaine, as expected, vetoed a bill that would have eliminated nonsmoking areas in restaurants that posted "smoking permitted" signs at the front door. The governor plans to continue pushing for a total ban on smoking in restaurants.
Kaine's decision on the sex offender bill, however, put him in the midst of a national debate over the best way to deal with rapists, child molesters and other sexual predators.
Virginia is one of 17 states with a civil commitment law that calls for sex offenders who are deemed too dangerous to be released to be confined to a treatment center after they have served their prison sentences. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]