VaNews

Saturday February 06, 2016

Compiled by Ray Reed


Today's Sponsor:

Audi

Self-driving cars are on Virginia’s horizon. On Feb. 11-12, Audi joins legislators to demonstrate how this technology can reduce 93% of accidents involving human error.

Executive Branch

JUDGE FREEZES MONEY IN LINDENBURG DEAL

By JEFF STURGEON, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Virginia made progress Friday in its effort to recover grant money invested in a failed Chinese-led business venture in Appomattox. Acting on a request from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, a judge froze money from a foreclosure action against Lindenburg Industry LLC, which defaulted on a pledge to create 349 jobs and invest $113 million in a former furniture plant in Appomattox.


ONE-TIME CHIEF OF LINDENBURG INDUSTRY FIRED AS HEAD OF CHINESE STEEL COMPANY

By JEFF STURGEON, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Yunshan “Stella” Li, the CEO of a Chinese manufacturing venture that failed last year in Appomattox, shifted roles midstream to also lead a private Chinese steel company. This week, the company’s board of directors fired her.


MCAULIFFE: SCOTT COUNTY WILL RECEIVE $530,000 DEVELOPMENT GRANT

By ZACH VANCE, Bristol Herald Courier

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced on Friday that Scott County will receive a $530,000 development grant to go towards the Scott County Riverside Offsite Utilities Project, according to a press release. The grant was awarded through Virginia's Community Development Block Grant program and came out of the Community Economic Development Fund.


HSBC REACHES $470M SETTLEMENT; 3,100 VIRGINIANS TO GET UP TO $2.42M

By STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

More than 3,100 Virginia mortgage loan borrowers are expected to receive up to a total of $2.42 million in direct payments, and certain Virginia borrowers will be eligible for loan modifications and other relief, as part of a $470 million joint state and federal settlement with banking giant HSBC.

General Assembly

ANOTHER WARNING TO HIGH RATE LENDERS, BUT NO ACTION

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Paywall for certain articles)

Lenders who specialize in a kind of credit that can pile thousands of dollars of debt on the back of smaller loans got a tough warning Thursday from one of their longtime legislative friends. It was the second round of tough talk – but no legislative action – this General Assembly session from a senior legislator who has strongly resisted past efforts to crack down on lending abuses.


HOUSE COMMITTEE ADVANCES COMPROMISE ON HANDGUNS

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

A bipartisan deal on guns is moving forward in the Virginia House of Delegates with added clauses to compel Attorney General Mark R. Herring to respond to a compromise he has criticized. The House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee voted Friday to advance the three major pieces of the gun deal that Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republican leaders announced last week.


BIPARTISAN GUNS DEAL ADVANCES IN THE FACE OF OPPOSITION

By JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post

A package of bills in the gun deal Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) struck with Republican lawmakers advanced Friday, putting the agreement on a path to final passage next week despite a continued outcry from gun control advocates. The deal would expand the rights of concealed carry handgun permit holders in Virginia and around the country in exchange for tighter restrictions on domestic abusers and voluntary background checks at gun shows.


GOP SENATORS DELAY VOTES ON FELLOW REPUBLICAN GLEN STURTEVANT'S BILLS

By PATRICK WILSON , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Senate Republicans this week delayed a vote on bills by fellow GOP Sen. Glen Sturtevant of Richmond, who has gone against his party in a political fight over the state Supreme Court. Sturtevant, a freshman, helped Republicans keep their 21-19 lock on the Senate with a win in November over Democrat Dan Gecker to replace retiring Republican Sen. John Watkins in the 10th District.


DELEGATES TRY TO RUFFLE FARISS' FEATHERS OVER SLINGSHOT HUNTING

By ANDREW CAIN , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The House of Delegates gave a preliminary nod Friday to a bill that would allow slingshot hunting, after firing a few friendly zingers at its patron. “This bill would allow hunters to harvest a number of small-game species with a slingshot,” Del. C. Matthew Fariss, R-Campbell, sponsor of House Bill 1142, told his colleagues.


BILL TO PROTECT WAR MONUMENTS PASSES COMMITTEE

By STAFF REPORT, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

A bill shoring up protections for war monuments and memorials unanimously passed out of a House of Delegates committee Friday. HB 587, sponsored by Del. Charles Poindexter, updates a state law to ensure it protects monuments regardless of when they were built.


SUDDEN DISAGREEMENT: IS CAR BILL GOOD FOR CONSUMERS, OR BAD?

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

Consumer advocates are sounding the alarm about legislation that they say would let car dealers off the hook when they sell recalled vehicles. The Virginia Automobile Dealers Association says that's not what the bills do at all. Legislators sponsoring the bills agreed, but also said they're willing to take another look.


BILL: LET VIRGINIA LOCALITIES CUT OFF WATER SOONER

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

Legislation advancing through the General Assembly would let Newport News and other localities shut off the water sooner on people who don't pay their bills. The story of House Bill 919 is more complicated than that, though. The bill would also give water and sewer providers more leeway not to shut off service. And Newport News, along with Williamsburg, already has a much longer grace period than other water systems in the area, according to a recent survey of shut-off policies.


BILL PROPOSES USE OF ELECTRIC CHAIR IF LETHAL INJECTIONS UNAVAILABLE

By MADELYN WEINGAST , Cavalier Daily

A panel in the Virginia Legislature endorsed a bill Wednesday proposing to mandate the use of the electric chair as a means of execution in the event that lethal drugs are unavailable. The bill was proposed by House Majority Whip Jackson Miller (R-Manassas).


BOARD GRILLS BOWMAN OVER TRIP TO RICHMOND

By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier

BVU CEO Don Bowman came under fire Friday for his actions and comments during a Virginia Senate committee meeting earlier this week. Several members of the authority board of directors asked pointed questions and criticized the CEO for not following their directives when he testified Tuesday before the Senate Committee on Local Government.


VIRGINIA SENATE COMMITTEE STOPS BILL FOR MANDATORY FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN

By MIKE CONNORS , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A state Senate committee has stopped a bill that would have forced Virginia Beach and Chesapeake to offer full-day kindergarten to all students that age. The proposal from Sen. Jennifer Wexton, a Democrat from Northern Virginia, would have required school divisions that don’t offer full-day kindergarten for all students to create a plan to pay for and phase in such a program over five school years. The Education and Health Committee on Thursday rejected the bill.


HOUSE OF DELEGATES COMMITTEE KILLS TWO FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN BILLS FROM LOUDOUN LAWMAKERS

By STAFF REPORT, Loudoun Times

Two bills aimed at expanding access to full-day kindergarten in Loudoun died in a Virginia House of Delegates committee this week. The House's Education Innovation subcommittee on Tuesday killed two bills with full-day kindergarten access expansion requirements – Del. Kathleen Murphy's HB 457 and Del. John Bell's HB 798.


ADAMS PUSHES FOR GUN RIGHTS, RELIGIOUS FREEDOM BILLS IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

By TREVOR METCALFE, Danville Register & Bee

Del. Les Adams, R-Chatham, said he is making a push for gun rights and religious freedom this year as the Virginia General Assembly nears the halfway point of the 2016 session. “The big issue right off the top was the concealed-carry laws, and I don’t think I’ve heard from constituents more on any other issue,” Adams said.

Federal Elections

BERNIE SANDERS OPENS CAMPAIGN OFFICE IN OAKTON

By ANGELA WOOLSEY, Fairfax Times

When Bernie Sanders’s supporters talk about the Vermont senator, they use words they generally don't associate with most politicians: Words such as commitment, integrity and compassion. They say he’s challenging a political and economic system mired in corruption, going as far as calling his 2016 campaign for the U.S. presidency a “political revolution.”

Local

PEC: FAUQUIER EASEMENTS PROTECTED 1,685 NEW ACRES OF LAND IN 2015

By MARK GRANDSTAFF, Fauquier Times

The Piedmont Environmental Council tallies 1,685 new acres of Fauquier land protected in by conservation easements in 2015, according to a release. That makes 101,070 total acres of protected land in Fauquier County. There are 416,768 acres in Fauquier County, or 651.2 square miles.


RICHMOND KNOWS YOU HAVE A DOG NOW AND WANTS YOU TO LICENSE IT

By NED OLIVER, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

For a long time, Richmond has required that cats and dogs be licensed with the city at a cost of $10 per year. And for a long time, the city has been fairly lax about enforcing it. As a result, Richmond, a city of 214,000 people, sold 1,898 dog and cat licenses in 2014 — a figure that would make the city the least pet-friendly place in the country if it truly was representative of the number of animals living here.


VIRGINIA BEACH COUNCIL KICKS AROUND IDEA OF MOVING CITY HALL TO TOWN CENTER

By STACY PARKER , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Put City Hall close to the people? Or keep it where it is, amid Colonial-style buildings at the Municipal Complex? Either way, City Council members agree, the public should weigh in on the decision. Talk about moving City Hall to Town Center came up this week at the council's two-day retreat.


NORFOLK WORKING TO LURE THOUSANDS OF JOBS TO DOWNTOWN, MILITARY CIRCLE

By ERIC HARTLEY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Two major deals are in the works that could bring more than 2,800 jobs to the city, according to sources with knowledge of the projects. Both deals will involve government spending or tax breaks, including $5 million Norfolk plans to spend to entice a Fortune 500 firm to open an office downtown.


A CLOSER LOOK AT MAYOR KENNY WRIGHT'S ASSERTATION THAT PORTSMOUTH POLITICS ARE ABOUT RACE

By JOHANNA SOMERS , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Mayor Kenny Wright, in a recent interview with the local weekly newspaper New Journal and Guide, said he and the black majority on the City Council are being criticized by a declining white population that doesn’t want reforms. Portsmouth’s population is 53 percent black and 42 percent white, according to the most recent U.S. Census data.


Today's Sponsor:

Audi

Self-driving cars are on Virginia’s horizon. On Feb. 11-12, Audi joins legislators to demonstrate how this technology can reduce 93% of accidents involving human error.

Editorials

NORFOLK'S JOBS STRATEGY PAYING OFF

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

THE 2,800 jobs on the horizon for Norfolk are good news enough. The prospect, uncovered by The Pilot’s Eric Hartley on Friday, represents the largest economic development achievement in Hampton Roads in decades. But there’s more here. And it suggests a brighter economic future for Norfolk and by extension for all of Hampton Roads.

Op-Ed

LYTTLE: GROCERY IN EVERY COMMUNITY

By JUDY LYTTLE, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

SURRY COUNTY is a beautiful place. Located between Richmond and Norfolk, and with just over 7,000 residents, we are spoiled by the natural beauty of open farmland, quiet woods and the James River. We are primarily known for two reasons — Bacon’s Rebellion if you are a history buff, or Edwards Ham (a beloved institution that we know will recover!) if you are a fan of great food. But while we are rich in so much, we also lack something very basic: a grocery store.

Judy Lyttle is president of the Virginia Association of Counties. She is chair of the Surry County Board of Supervisors.