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BY CHELYEN DAVIS
RICHMOND--If you were worried that some corporation would one day require you to have a tracking device implanted in your body, rest easy: the House of Delegates isn't going to allow it.
The House yesterday advanced Del. Mark Cole's bill, which doesn't exactly ban tracking implants, but rather bans discrimination by employers or insurance companies against people who refuse to get such implants.
Cole said several other states have passed similar legislation.
The bill prompted a somewhat humorous rebuke from Del. Bob Brink, D-Alexandria, who said the state has more important issues to worry about.
"As I went door to door, there were a number of issues that never came up. I didn't hear anything about the danger of an asteroid striking the earth or about the menace of forced implantation of microchips in humans," Brink said.
He also noted that California has passed such a bill, and said that alone should scare Virginia legislators.
"If Virginia is starting to use California as our legislative role model, it's a sign that our legislative apocalypse has arrived," Brink said. "This bill is a solution in search of a problem."
Before the session began, Cole said he introduced the bill because constituents raised the issue. He said he's heard that some companies and agencies may look at implanted computer chips as a way to replace ID cards. Cole said that raises concerns about health consequences and privacy.
Violation of the bill would be a misdemeanor and carry a $500 fine; the fiscal impact statement that was produced for the bill said "insufficient data exists to determine the fiscal impact," but that if anyone does get penalized under the bill, the money will go to the state's Literary Fund.
The House gave the bill preliminary approval, however, and will vote on it today.
Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028