YORK COUNTY — Tammy Gweedo McGee has been able to turn her pain and tragedy into something positive.
On Wednesday, June 9, Gov. Ralph Northam held a ceremonial signing for H.B. 1918, or “Conner’s Law,” in Richmond.
The bill is named after Tammy’s son, Conner, who was one of three Tabb High School teenagers who died in a tragic car accident on Oct. 26, 2019.
Conner and his friends, Naile Tairov and Logan Koontz, were on their way back from the school’s homecoming dance that night.
Tammy, who attended the ceremony along with her family, said Gov. Northam took the time to listen to Conner’s story and how Tammy continues to advocate in honor of her son.
“I was very pleased with the process and his genuine, caring and concerned attitude for myself and my loss of Conner,” she said.
After Conner’s death, Tammy has tirelessly advocated for change, which included starting the Conner Gweedo Memorial Foundation. Funds from the foundation go toward educating upcoming teenage drivers and their parents on safe driving practices.
“Conner’s Law”, which goes into effect in July, will require that all state schools mandate a valid driver’s license to allow for a parking pass permit on school campuses.
It will also improve driver education programs by including instruction on the dangers of distracted driving and speeding.
Gov. Northam signed the bill into law back in March, but the ceremony gave Tammy and her family the opportunity to meet with the governor in person and speak to him more about the law.
“He wanted to know about Conner, he wanted to know what happened,” she said. “And I had the opportunity to tell him about my 3.8 GPA, athletic, head soccer goalie for Tabb High who was being scouted all over the country to play soccer, and got into the wrong car with somebody.”
Also present at the ceremony was Del. Martha Mugler, who has been active in bringing the bill to law, along with her Chief of Staff Ted Sorrell.
Tammy made it clear to Northam that her fight isn’t over.
She also spoke with him about her next push for a statewide mandated parental involvement driver education program.
There are currently only five other states, and only one county in Virginia, that require parents to participate in an education program as part of their teens’ driver education and licensing process.
Gov. Northam and Tammy also took the time to speak on Virginia’s negligent entrustment law.
Northam offered his office resources to reach out to the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association to have the state’s negligent entrustment law relooked at and updated, which Tammy said will be “a huge help for us.”
“It was great,” she said. “He definitely took the time to hear the story and understand the passion behind the new law.”
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