Virginia's Cole will resubmit asset forfeiture reform bill

In Virginia's 2014 General Assembly session, Delegate Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg) introduced legislation that would have required a criminal conviction before law enforcement could seize any assets or property used in the commission of a crime.

The bill managed to pass the House and Senate, and briefly appeared to have the support of Gov. Terry McAuliffe. But once Virginia's law enforcement community weighed in on the matter, McAuliffe switched positions and opposed the measure, which died in the Senate.

Cole intends to try again in in the 2015 session:

"Yes, I plan to reintroduce the legislation," he said. "The key will be getting it through the Senate Finance Committee. If it gets to the floor, I believe it will pass."

The Department of Planning and Budget's fiscal impact statement on the 2014 bill said it could deprive law enforcement of more than $350,000 in revenue each year. 

Regarding the governor's stance on asset forfeiture, Cole said, "I am not sure what the governor would do with the legislation since he flip-flop-flipped on the issue last session."