VaNews

Wednesday April 01, 2015

Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw


Today's Sponsor:

Virginia Capital Trail Foundation

Celebrating the opening of the completed trail in September and the 10th annual Cap2Cap bike ride in support of the trail Saturday, May 9: www.virginiacapitaltrail.org/cap2cap-ride/

Executive Branch

TERRY MCAULIFFE'S AMENDMENTS SET OFF PRIVACY, SURVEILLANCE CONCERNS

By TRAVIS FAIN, Daily Press (Paywall for certain articles)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe's suggested changes to a pair of police surveillance bills have privacy advocates pushing back from both sides of the aisle. McAuliffe narrowed the scope of state Sen. Chap Petersen's bill on police license plate readers, which can be used to track drivers. Instead of limiting the way police can use surveillance technology in general, the bill would deal only with license plate readers.

General Assembly

SEN. GARRETT ON MCAULIFFE VETO: HE'S WRONG, AND I'M RIGHT.

By ALICIA PETSKA, News & Advance

Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Buckingham, said he plans to reintroduce a gun bill struck down last week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe's veto pen. "Because he’s wrong, and I’m right," Garrett said, adding he's confident the bill would win the support of the General Assembly again next year.


LOUDOUN’S SEN. BLACK LISTED AS ‘ENEMY’ BY ISIS

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post

A magazine published by the Islamic State has put Virginia state Sen. Richard H. Black on very short enemies list. The publication, Dabiq, singles out Black (R-Loudoun) along with two others it describes as “crusaders,” former U.S. senator and presidential hopeful Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and CIA veteran and author Gary Berntsen.


ISIS LISTS LOUDOUN’S SEN. BLACK AS ‘ENEMY’

By DANIELLE NADLER, Leesburg Today

A magazine published by the Islamic State has singled out Virginia Sen. Richard H. Black (R-13) and named him an enemy of the terrorist group. The magazine Dabiq calls Black, along with former presidential candidate Rick Santorum and CIA veteran and author Gary Berntsen, “crusaders.”


LAROCK RESPONDS TO MCAULIFFE’S VETO OF HIS BILLS

By SALLY VOTH, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

Two of 33rd District Del. Dave LaRock’s bills from this year’s General Assembly session were recently vetoed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. A bill that would require the General Assembly to approve the common core curriculum standards before they could become part of the Virginia Standards of Learning, and a bill that would require a locality’s chief law enforcement officer to respond to a resident’s request to certify a machine gun transfer within 60 days were both vetoed.

State Elections

MORRISSEY, DERIK JONES FAIL TO QUALIFY FOR DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

By JIM NOLAN , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Former Del. Joseph D. Morrissey was not certified to run as a Democrat for the seat of state Sen. Rosalyn R. Dance, D-Petersburg. The 16th District Democratic Committee, relying on district registrars’ reviews of petitions Morrissey submitted, unanimously voted Tuesday to accept the finding that only 222 of the 972 petition signatures were acceptable.


FORMERLY JAILED VA. LEGISLATOR SAYS DEMOCRATS TRYING TO SINK HIS SENATE BID

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post

The former Virginia legislator who commuted to the Capitol from jail earlier this year is accusing his party of trying to thwart his bid for state Senate, saying party leaders tossed out legitimate signatures he had collected to get his name included on the primary ballot. “I think the Democratic Party has once again sullied their brand by trying to deny my right to get on the ballot,” former delegate Joseph D. Morrissey said Tuesday. “I am determined that the voters will make the choice, not Democratic Party bosses.”


PENINSULA RACES SHAPING UP FOR VIRGINIA SENATE, HOUSE SEATS; PRICE UNOPPOSED

By TRAVIS FAIN, Daily Press (Paywall for certain articles)

The local elections slate for General Assembly seats is coming together, and Marcia Price was the only Democrat who put in for retiring Del. Mamye BaCote's seat in Newport News. Given the 95th District's Democratic tendencies — and the absence, at least for now, of Republican or other competition — Price has excellent odds for the open seat.


DEL. MICHAEL WEBERT WILL SEEK ANOTHER TERM IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

By MARK GRANDSTAFF, Fauquier Times

Delegate Michael Webert, R-18th District, will seek another term in the Virginia House of Delegates. Webert, who serves Rappahannock, Fauquier, Culpeper and Warren counties, announced his intentions today in a release.

State Government

VIRGINIA TOBACCO COMMISSION LIKELY TO SEEK RESTITUTION IN BVU SCAM

By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier

The Virginia Tobacco Commission will likely seek restitution of grant funds involved in the fraudulent billing case against one former BVU Authority executive, the commission’s chairman said. Last week, David Copeland, a former vice president of field operations at BVU, pleaded guilty in federal court to profiting from false invoices submitted to BVU by a South Carolina firm, for a project funded by grant money from the Tobacco Commission.


VIRGINIA, FOUR OTHER STATES TO REMAIN EXEMPT FROM NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND

By MORIAH BALINGIT, Washington Post

Virginia and four other states will remain exempt from the key parts of No Child Left Behind for up to four years, freeing them from the most onerous requirements of the main federal education law that left many schools facing sanctions. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced Tuesday that the states — the others are Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico and North Carolina — were approved for waivers under a fast-track process.


SOL RETESTING OPEN TO ALL

By AMELIA BRUST, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

New rules for Standard of Learning assessments are generating mixed emotions among city and county educators. The state approved expedited retakes of tests for grades three through eight for students who narrowly fail on the first attempt, and school divisions may decide when to retest students.

Higher Education

UVA RELEASES NEW INTERIM SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY

Daily Progress

The University of Virginia has released a new interim policy on sexual misconduct and “gender-based” violence, a measure prompted by an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education. The policy, effective immediately, was implemented after about a year of work by administrators and students. A draft of the policy, posted in November, received feedback from about 600 students, said UVa spokesman Anthony de Bruyn.


TUITION SPIKE: SUDDEN INCREASE IN UVA’S STICKER PRICE SPARKS PROTEST

By GRAELYN BRASHEAR , C'ville Weekly

Last week, the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors approved a plan to increase tuition and fees for incoming first-years by 11 percent, a hike that will largely go to pay for grants to lower-income students. The plan’s engineers say it aims to put a UVA education within reach of those Virginians who can least afford it, but the vote has sparked protest on Grounds from students and others who say the University is edging closer to a funding model that looks more and more like those embraced by private colleges.


EXPERTS WEIGH IN ON LEGAL EFFORTS TO HALT SWEET BRIAR COLLEGE CLOSURE

By JESSIE POUNDS AND SHERESE GORE, News & Advance

Amherst County Attorney Ellen Bowyer is in a race against falling grains of sand in an hourglass tipped over by Sweet Briar College President James Jones and the school’s board of directors when they announced March 3 their plan to close the college in August.


VCU BOARD WEIGHS 3 PERCENT RATE INCREASES

By KARIN KAPSIDELIS , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Virginia Commonwealth University undergraduates would pay about 3 percent more in tuition and mandatory fees next year under proposals presented Tuesday to the board of visitors. The board was offered two tuition options during a work session on the $538.38 million budget plan for covering instructional programs and related costs.

Virginia Other

OPPOSITION TO FEDERAL RECOGNITION OF VIRGINIA TRIBE HEATS UP

By JOE HEIM, Washington Post

The Pamunkey Indians were supposed to learn this week whether they would become the first Virginia tribe to receive federal recognition — a status they regard as long overdue for a tribe that claims Pocahontas as an ancestor. But as the March 31 deadline for final approval approached, opposition groups and some members of Congress continued lobbying hard against approval, sending letters criticizing the tribe’s civil rights record and questioning whether tribe members are descendants of the original Pamunkey tribe — or even whether they are Indians at all.


PIPELINE FUROR PROMPTS SEARCH FOR 'KARST'

By CALVIN TRICE, News Leader (Metered Pay Wall)

The ground under Augusta County, the way it's formed, is simple to conceptualize if you picture one grocery store item. A block of Swiss cheese. Specific geology beneath the surface, and the chemistry that forms it, defines this county and the surrounding region as much as the mountains that shape the terrain above ground.

Local

ASIAN STUDENTS DOMINATE ADMISSIONS TO ELITE THOMAS JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL

By T. REES SHAPIRO, Washington Post

Asian American students will make up 70 percent of the incoming freshman class at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, the highest percentage ever for the elite magnet school in Northern Virginia. Next year’s freshman class reflects a widening demographic divide at TJ, as the Fairfax County school is known.


RICHMOND COUNCIL MEMBERS SEEK MORE FINANCIAL NUMBERS IN DEVELOPMENT DEALS

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The Richmond City Council will take up legislation this month to require a detailed set of up-front financial reports for future economic development projects such as the Stone Brewing Co. deal and the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. An ordinance introduced March 23 would add a new section to the city code to require written reports on the expected costs to the city and impact on the local economy. The reports would have to be submitted to the council simultaneously whenever the mayor introduces new economic-development legislation.


JOINT EFFORT NEEDED TO TACKLE AFFORDABLE HOUSING ISSUES, REPORT SAYS

By CAROL HAZARD, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

A multipronged strategy and regional collaboration will be needed to ensure affordable housing for the Richmond area, according to a report released Tuesday to address current and future housing needs for the region. About 35 percent of all households in Richmond, Ashland and seven surrounding counties are cost-burdened households, meaning they pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing, according to the report, “Housing the Richmond Region: Needs, Impediments and Strategies.”


MEMO: VA. BEACH, EMPLOYEES OVERPAID $871K FOR MEDS

By KATHY HIEATT, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Work for the city? You may be getting a check in the mail. The city and its employees overpaid their pharmacy benefits by nearly $871,000 last year and will be reimbursed, according to a memo provided in March to members of the Virginia Beach Audit Committee. Officials are still working to determine who shelled out too much cash and how much they should get back.


SUBPOENAS ISSUED FOR INFORMATION FROM NORFOLK TREASURER

By SCOTT DAUGHERTY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Federal investigators have issued subpoenas seeking information from the office of Norfolk Treasurer Anthony Burfoot. According to a pair of federal subpoenas obtained by The Virginian-Pilot, the Justice Department continues to look into the city’s dealings with Tivest Development and Construction and the now-defunct company’s imprisoned president.


Today's Sponsor:

Virginia Capital Trail Foundation

Celebrating the opening of the completed trail in September and the 10th annual Cap2Cap bike ride in support of the trail Saturday, May 9: www.virginiacapitaltrail.org/cap2cap-ride/

Editorials

DERAILING RICHMOND'S GRAVY TRAIN

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The meager ethics reform legislation approved by Republicans and Democrats this winter will come again before lawmakers this month, when they'll consider Gov. Terry McAuliffe's decision to slash the size of gifts they can receive. During the session, legislators approved a cap of $100 per gift.


VSB DISSES ISRAEL: NO POLITICS?

Winchester Star Editorial (Subscription Required)

Speaking of “who’s kidding whom,” so the Virginia State Bar’s decision to scrub its proposed junket to Israel was not political, eh? Well then, how does one explain that the bar’s abrupt decision to cancel its “midyear legal seminar” in Jerusalem came on the heels of an online petition, initiated by bar members, that said Israel “actively discriminates on the basis of racial, religious, and national origin”?


PILING ON — ‘THE MACKER’ WOOS INDIANA FIRMS

Winchester Star Editorial (Subscription Required)

We can argue until we’re blue in the face, as we did in this space Tuesday, that RFRAs (religious freedom restoration acts) discriminate against no one. But that argument has been made — and understood, even by those suddenly rushing to the ramparts to rhetorically garrote Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for signing into law his state’s new RFRA last week.


A D.C. LAW REGARDING GAS STATIONS IS IN NEED OF FULL-SERVICE REPAIRS

Washington Post Editorial

EXACTLY HOW many gas stations should the District have within its 68 square miles? How many should be “full service,” with repair shops, and how many just “gas-and-go”? We don’t know. You don’t know. The D.C. Council, however, does know. The council has prohibited the sale of property containing a gas station for “any other use,” or even the conversion of a full-service operation to a gas-and-go — without prior approval from something called the Gas Station Advisory Board.


A LOCAL VETO OVER PIPELINES?

Roanoke Times Editorial

Some folks marched in Floyd a few weeks back to call attention to their opposition to a natural gas pipeline through Virginia — and also to a particular legal concept they’re pushing: They want local governments to have veto power over whether a pipeline goes through their community.


MCAULIFFE SHOULD KEEP PUSHING ON ETHICS REFORM

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

On the Op/Ed Page on Sunday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe explained why he is amending the ethics bill passed by the General Assembly this year. As he points out, that bill — the legislature’s second attempt in two years to toughen the state’s ethics laws — included enormous loopholes, such as the absence of a cumulative cap on gifts and an exemption for “widely attended events,” which could mean anything from a public hearing to the Super Bowl. The governor’s amendments would set a $100 cumulative ceiling and define widely attended events more carefully.

Columnists

DOUGHERTY: PORTSMOUTH'S NEEDS ARE MANY, BUT IT'LL PROBABLY JUST GET A TAX INCREASE

By KERRY DOUGHERTY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

What's next, Portsmouth? Locusts? Drought? Famine? If ever there was a city craving good news, it's the old port city of Hampton Roads. But every bulletin out of that beleaguered place seems to be bleaker than the one before.


SCHAPIRO: METRO POLITICS VICIOUS BECAUSE THE STAKES ARE SO LOW

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

During the winter session of the legislature, a rarely seen but familiar face was spotted in the General Assembly Building: Vance Wilkins, the first Republican Speaker of the House of Delegates. Wilkins, forced out in a sexual-harassment scandal 13 years ago, was lining up votes for a proposed convention of the states to rewrite the U.S. Constitution. Wilkins was recruiting Republicans, though he called on a Democrat he considers an old friend: Rosalyn Dance, a delegate-turned-senator from Petersburg.

Op-Ed

RAMADAN: OUTRAGEOUS ACTIONS ON TUITION BY U.VA. BOARD

By DAVID I. RAMADAN, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Writing in this paper in August when the focus was on the University of Virginia and a contrived plan to limit dissent, I suggested that leaders of public institutions need to follow fundamental democratic principles and not act as if they are running a private organization.

Del. David I. Ramadan, R-Loudoun, represents the 87th District in Virginia’s House of Delegates.


ATWOOD: DOMINION POWER SHORT-CIRCUITS VIRGINIA GOVERNANCE AND ENVIRONMENT

By DENNIS ATWOOD, Published in the Roanoke Times

Dominion Virginia Power (the “new” dominion), the commonwealth’s dominant electric utility, has far too much influence in the governmental processes of the Old Dominion, juiced by high-voltage campaign contributions.

Atwood, of Maurertown, is a member of the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley.