Councilman Chris Hilbert wanted legislation requiring prostitutes to get tested comprehensively for AIDS and STDs before hitting the streets again after being on probation.
"There's not a whole lot we can do to stop it, per se," Councilman Eugene A. Mason Jr. said after the meeting. "But by testing it we can at least bring awareness to the community. It's something that we need to get a handle on and get our arms around." He added that perhaps the test results could be announced publicly, because "somebody does need to know about it."
What about testing motorized scooters and better defining hookers? "That really could help too," Mason said later. "Especially in the state code to define what is prostitution. But still it could be an educational piece. People just assume it happens. It's a centuries-old profession."
Thursday's summit at the Police Academy was punctuated with ringing from Mason's cell phone. During the meeting he got one call and four e-mails on his BlackBerry, which ranged from a message about the Port of Richmond Commission to one about bulk trash.
The meeting wasn't just about scooters and prostitutes. Other issues included state tax credits, bonds for a new jail and home heating assistance.
Councilman Marty Jewell took a moment to give a geography lesson. "Richmond is to Virginia what D.C. is to the nation," he said. Heads nodded.
When Council Chief of Staff Daisy Weaver began treading into other City Charter amendment proposals such as inserting a comma into Section 6.06 Council President G. Manoli Loupassi quickly countered in a measure of detachment: "This legislative package has not been adopted by the council." He explained that the council doesn't know which agenda items they'll actually support, but members wanted to go ahead and share their unapproved priorities, two months before the General Assembly convenes. "We have to go through our legislative process as well," Loupassi said.
"It's hard to take a position on something when you don't know what it is," Sen. Henry Marsh III said after the meeting.
The group debated the merits of hiring a lobbyist, then wondered among themselves whether or not they already had one. "This is an illustration of why things are a bit dysfunctional, in my opinion," Loupassi said.
Marsh chided the council for not hiring a full-time lobbyist. "We'll take care of that post-haste," Loupassi assured him. Then the group tried to figure out whether there were any regional or municipal lobbyists in the Capitol. Another cell phone rang out. S
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