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House bill would reverse law limiting minor traffic stops

A Senate committee could debate a bill that would reverse a policing law intended to reduce racial profiling.The Virginia General Assembly in 2020 passed a law along party lines to end pretextual policing, or the practice of stopping someone for a minor traffic violation. Such traffic stops are made for broken tail lights, tinted windows, or objects hanging from the rearview mirror. The law also bans police from searching a vehicle based on the smell of marijuana.

These stops often lead to officers conducting investigations unrelated to the reason for the stop, according to the criminal justice reform group Justice Forward Virginia.

Del. Ronnie Campbell (R-Rockbridge) introduced House Bill 79. He said in a House committee meeting that the bill would make Virginians safer. For example, the bill would prevent people from driving with broken tail lights, which can cause accidents. He also said the legislation could lead police to catch fugitives, including serial killers. He listed...

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