Freitas running for Congress; Wexton wants financial institutions to help tackle gun violence; Smelly hemp and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• As rural county boards around the state pass symbolic “Second Amendment sanctuary” resolutions, some local sheriffs and commonwealth’s attorneys are going further, saying they’ll refuse to enforce any gun legislation they consider unconstitutional. “If I believe a law infringes on a 2A right, the sheriff-elect and I are on the same page, that law will not be enforced in Appomattox County,” said Appomattox CA Leslie Fleet.—The News & Advance

• Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, says he’ll run for his party’s nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th District, next year.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• “Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) wants banks and credit card companies to flag purchases that could signal a person is preparing to carry out a mass shooting, a solution she said could circumvent the usual partisan debate on gun violence.”—The Washington Post

• An Albemarle County woman died in prison while serving a shoplifting sentence under Virginia’s “three strikes” law.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Vandals spray-painted “This is racist” on a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in downtown Charlottesville. The city, which has been blocked by the courts and a state law from removing the statue, says it will remove the latest graffiti, but that it could be “time consuming.”—The Daily Progress

• A majority of law students at Washington & Lee University want portraits of the school’s namesake figures, George Washington and Robert E. Lee, removed from diplomas.—The Washington Post

• A judge set an October 2020 trial date for a lawsuit accusing organizers of a white supremacist rally two years ago in Charlottesville of engaging in a violent conspiracy.—Associated Press

• “A veteran Virginia Beach police officer was shot in the eye with a Taser probe two years ago while helping teach a class on the proper way to use the stun gun.”—The Virginian-Pilot

• Hemp looks the same as marijuana. It also smells like marijuana, drawing loud complaints from one Dinwiddie County subdivision where residents say the smell from an adjacent field has permeated their homes. “People will have to leave or just tolerate unbelievable skunk-like odors.”—The Progress-Index

• “Police say a delegate’s claim that he was threatened by a Virginia Beach school board member is unfounded.”—The Virginian-Pilot

• Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley started loudly cursing at former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, now an immigration official overseeing some of the Trump administration’s most controversial policies, when they ran into each other at a bar the night before Thanksgiving. —The Washington Post

• The owner of a Christmas tree farm in Floyd County selected to provide two trees to decorate the Executive Mansion is hoping a boost in sales follows. “Usually, people ask if I’ve got pretty trees. I’ll say, ‘If it’s good enough for the governor’s mansion it’s good enough for you.’”—WSLS