RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A bill designed to soften penalties in Virginia for stealing smaller dollar items is moving through the state Senate. A Senate panel voted Monday for a bill to raise the felony threshold from $200 to $500. Virginia has kept its felony bar at $200 since 1980 and is tied with New Jersey for the lowest in the country. Most other states have raised the dollar minimum for felony charges to keep pace with inflation. The Republican-led committee voted to increase the threshold but rejected a push by newly sworn-in Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to raise the limit to $1,000. The bill’s highest hurdle is yet to come in the state House, which has repeatedly blocked efforts to raise the threshold.