RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A Virginia Senate panel has endorsed legislation to crack down on illegal cigarette trafficking and financial crimes against elderly or incapacitated adults.
Both issues were studied over the past year by the Virginia State Crime Commission, which backed the bills.
One proposal approved Monday by the Courts of Justice Committee would establish a new law against financial exploitation of Virginians whose mental capacity is diminished by advanced age or illness. Legislation dealing with the issue has failed several years in a row as lawmakers struggled to protect the vulnerable without making criminals out of well-intentioned caregivers and others.
The panel also endorsed a package of five bills toughening penalties against cigarette bootleggers. Experts told the crime commission that cigarette trafficking has become more lucrative than drug dealing.