March 11, 2014
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The Virginia State Crime Commission has endorsed tougher penalties for illegal cigarette trafficking and texting while driving.
The panel made those two proposals part of its 2013 legislative agenda at its final meeting of the year Wednesday.
The commission will ask lawmakers to increase penalties for people who buy large quantities of cigarettes in Virginia for resale on the street in states that have a higher tobacco tax. Experts have told the commission that cigarette smuggling has dramatically increased because it's more profitable than drug dealing, and the penalties are not as harsh.
Texting while driving also is a growing problem. It's now a civil offense, but the commission wants to make it punishable as reckless driving.