- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 30, 2002

Boys under the age of 18 will be required to preregister for Selective Service when they get their Virginia driver's licenses, one of a raft of new laws that will take effect tomorrow.
"What we are trying to do is make sure that the process is equitable and fair," said retired Army Brig. Gen. Manuel R. Flores, Virginia director for Selective Service.
Gen. Flores said Virginia currently has a 74 percent compliance rate, which the new law is expected to increase.
Federal law requires all men between the ages of 18 and 26 register for Selective Service. In the event of a national draft which can only be ordered by Congress the Selective Service Commission would take names from the national registry to call men to service.
"One of the problems with 9-11 is that if we have a draft, we need to make sure that everyone is doing their part," said Delegate M. Kirkland Cox, Colonial Heights Republican and sponsor of the legislation. "If only 74 percent of the people are registering, the pool is unfair and you need to make the pool stronger."
Under the Virginia law, the names of boys who preregister will not be added to the national registry until their 18th birthday.
Delaware was the first state to implement such a program in 2000, and 17 other states including Virginia have followed. Registration is at 86 percent overall, according to national Selective Service officials.
Pat Schuback, spokesman for the national Selective Service program, said it is too early to tell what long-term effects driver's license registration will have on the program, but that initial reports are promising.
Failure to register for Selective Service is illegal, and it can have long-term ramifications.
"Once you hit 27 and never registered, you will forgo [the ability to apply for] most federal and state loan programs," Mr. Cox said. "And when people find this out at 27, it's too late."
Not registering also might hinder future employment. Several state and local governments require registration, and someone who failed to register by age 27 could have his application for employment with government agencies denied.
Gov. Mark R. Warner said he is confident most teen-agers will understand the ramifications of the law and accept the responsibility.
"In these times when our nation is at war, we need to make sure we have a full sign-up for Selective Service," said Mr. Warner, a Democrat. "I think most boys will be proud to do it."
Mr. Cox, who has four young sons, said he hopes that they never have to be called up, but that this bill will make sure if a national draft is instituted, everyone would be treated fairly.
"I feel like it is a duty of citizenship, and if my sons take their responsibility and others don't, well then that's a real problem," Mr. Cox said.
Among other laws taking effect tomorrow:
The national motto "In God We Trust" is to be displayed in public schools.
Animal control officers will be required to be trained to recognize possible child abuse and neglect.
All children under the age of 4 riding in a car must be properly restrained in a car seat. Children between 4 and 16 must be restrained by a suitable device, including a seat belt.
Aggressive drivers will face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Drivers who tailgate, pass on the shoulder, run red lights or try to intimidate other motorists could be charged with a misdemeanor. The penalty increases to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine if the offender is found guilty of trying to hurt someone in the process.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will raise the registration surcharge from $2 to $4 to cover the cost of emergency medical services.
Breast-feeding will be legal in all state-owned and -operated facilities.
In Arlington, the city will be able to perform criminal background checks on prospective employees and take their fingerprints.
Registered nurses, in situations meeting explicit criteria, are allowed to pronounce death when they are employed by a hospital or nursing home. State-operated hospitals are to be considered hospitals for these purposes.


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