February 4, 2011
Bills allowing inmates to maintain Virginia's rest stops has cleared both houses, but not without debate that doing so could hurt public safety and Virginia's image.
The Senate passed the bill on a 26-14 vote Wednesday after questions by legislators on both sides of the aisle about how the inmates would be supervised and what message it sends to visitors. The House also passed a bill on a 74-24 vote.
Sen. Emmett Hanger said his bill would save the state money. The state currently contracts with private companies to provide the labor, but could pay the Department of Corrections $1.50 per hour for the work.
All work would be outside the rest stops, such as mowing the grass, fixing the roofs and landscaping.