VaNews

Thursday February 23, 2017


Today's Sponsor:

Nancy Dye, MD

Roanoke’s Virginia Tech Carilion Health Sciences and Technology Campus leverages a proven partnership between two of our region's economic anchors: Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech.

Executive Branch


MCAULIFFE VOWS VETOES AS IMMIGRATION ISSUE HEATS UP IN VIRGINIA

By GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER, LAURA VOZZELLA AND PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post

RICHMOND — Virginia’s Democratic leaders are taking a stand against President Trump over immigration enforcement, with Gov. Terry McAuliffe promising to veto three bills passed by the Republican-controlled legislature designed to help the federal government roust undocumented residents. The issue is also playing out in state legislatures across the country, where at least 29 states and the District of Columbia are considering legislation in 2017 regarding illegal immigrants.



GOVERNOR VETOS COAL TAX CREDIT BILL FOR THIRD YEAR IN ROW

By CARMEN FORMAN, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Continuing a trend, Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill to reinstate coal tax credits Tuesday. Citing the “ineffectiveness” of the credit offered to coal mine owners and coal-buying power companies, McAuliffe vetoed the bill by Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, that would have reinstated up to $7.3 million in tax credits.

General Assembly


VIRGINIA REPUBLICAN HOUSE CAUCUS NAMES LEADERSHIP TEAM

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

The Virginia GOP House caucus has named its leadership team in an important election year. The Republicans officially named House Majority Leader Kirk Cox as speaker designee, the de facto replacement for retiring Speaker William J. Howell. Cox would be named speaker in January if Republicans hold on to a majority. Del. Todd Gilbert was named as the majority leader in waiting.



COX IS CHOSEN BY GOP AS ITS PICK FOR NEXT HOUSE SPEAKER IN VIRGINIA

By LAURA VOZZELLA , Washington Post

Republicans in Virginia’s House of Delegates on Wednesday unanimously elected Del. M. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights) as their choice for the next speaker of the House. Assuming that Republicans retain control of the House of Delegates in November, Cox, who currently serves as the chamber’s majority leader, will replace Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), who plans to retire at the end of his term in January. Howell, who has led the chamber for 15 sessions, announced Monday that he would not seek re-election.



REPUBLICAN CAUCUS OFFICIALLY BACKS COX FOR NEXT HOUSE SPEAKER, GILBERT FOR MAJORITY LEADER

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

The Republican majority in the House of Delegates voted Wednesday to officially select current House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox of Colonial Heights as the presumptive successor to retiring Speaker William J. Howell. Cox, 59, a former high school government teacher, would be the first speaker representing part of Chesterfield County since the mid-1800s and the first from the Richmond area since 1916.



GILBERT TO LEAD HOUSE MAJORITY

By TONY BROWN, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, is scheduled to move up the chain of command in the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates come January, to become House majority leader. That was the decision Wednesday of the Republican caucus of the General Assembly’s lower house, which made two leadership changes touched off by Monday’s announcement by House Speaker William Howell, 73, that he would not seek re-election in November.



VA. BUDGET DEAL INCLUDES RAISES FOR TEACHERS, FACULTY, CAPITOL POLICE

By MICHAEL MARTZ , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Teachers, college faculty and the Virginia Capitol Police would get pay raises under a budget deal negotiators for the House of Delegates and Senate reached Wednesday. The agreement would give a 2 percent raise to teachers and college and university faculty.



LEGISLATORS EXPECT GOV. TO SIGN BUDGET

By TONY BROWN, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

A conference committee of the Republican-controlled General Assembly will give a balanced budget proposal to Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe by the end of the session Friday that two Valley legislators believe the governor will eventually sign. Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, is a member of the House-Senate conference committee negotiating differences between the budgets passed by the two bodies. Landes is also vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which helped shape the House version of the state’s $50 million or so fiscal 2018 budget.



NORMENT, SENATE REPUBLICANS, PULL SWITCHEROOS TO NAIL DOWN NORTHAM

By TRAVIS FAIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Senate Republicans seem to be pulling a little political stuntery in this election year, forcing Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam to break ties on controversial bills, only to redo the vote almost immediately and make his tie-breaker irrelevant for anything but a campaign ad. Shortly after the slim Republican majority forced Northam, one of two Democrats running for governor, to break a 20-20 tie on an immigration bill Wednesday, GOP contender Ed Gillespie blasted out an press release, bashing Northam for the vote.



SEN. NORMENT BRIEFLY SIDES WITH DEMOCRATS ON IMMIGRATION BILL, SETTING UP NORTHAM

By PATRICK WILSON , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment , R-James City, prides himself on being a schemer. One of the most powerful men in Virginia’s government, he cast a mischievous vote on Wednesday to engineer a tie that forced what Republicans hoped would be a controversial vote for Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam on a volatile issue — immigration.



VIRGINIA SENATE PASSES ANTI-SANCTUARY CITIES BILL

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

The Virginia General Assembly has approved legislation that would ban local governments from restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws. The bill, which Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has promised to veto, is quickly becoming one of the most contentious issues in Virginia politics as President Donald Trump makes moves to deport many of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.



ADVOCACY GROUPS SAY BILLS BY DEL. POINDEXTER STOKE FEARS IN IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES

By DEBBIE TRUONG , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Days after President Donald Trump’s administration introduced wide-ranging guidelines augmenting deportation efforts, the ACLU of Virginia and several other advocates called on Gov. Terry McAuliffe to veto a trio of state bills, including two patroned by Del. Charles Poindexter, R-Franklin, they say further stoke anxieties among immigrant communities. “These bills just incite fear and a sense of unwelcomeness to the immigrant communities, driving many to leave entirely or to move further in the shadows,” said Tram Nguyen, co-director of the New Virginia Majority



CHARTER SCHOOL BILL ADVANCES TO GOVERNOR

By ERIN FLYNN AND TONY BROWN, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

Legislation sponsored by two Valley Republican legislators seeking to expand charter schools in the commonwealth is making its way to Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s desk. On Monday, a bill that would authorize the Virginia Board of Education to create regional charter school districts and school boards passed the House of Delegates, 54-43. It was introduced by state Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham, and a similar bill was sponsored in the House by Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave.



VA. HOUSE AMENDS JAIL INVESTIGATION BILL AGAIN TO SIDESTEP PROCEDURAL HURDLE

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The destination is the same, but a bill to empower the Board of Corrections to investigate jail deaths — possibly with the help of the state inspector general — has taken a different path through the House of Delegates. House Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, proposed a floor amendment on Wednesday that would place the inspector general on the reconstituted board.



VIRGINIA LAWMAKERS DEBATE LETTING OFF-DUTY MILITARY MEMBERS CARRY CONCEALED GUNS

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

Legislation that would allow anyone with a military ID to carry a concealed gun sparked an impassioned debate Wednesday in the Virginia House of Delegates between a former Army JAG officer and a former Green Beret. Senate Bill 1362, which the House passed on 67-32 vote, would allow any off-duty member of the military, reserves or Virginia National Guard to carry a concealed weapon in Virginia without going through the standard process of applying for a permit.



AGRICULTURE STATE-FUNDED HONEY BEE STUDY CUT SHORT BY BUDGET PROBLEMS

By TONIA MOXLEY, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

A budget shortfall has brought a premature end to a five-year, $1.4 million Virginia Tech study on honeybee health that officials had hoped would find the roots of the state’s high colony death rates. Virginia’s roughly 5,000 beekeepers lost nearly half their colonies in 2015, according to state figures. The die-off is troubling for the nation’s seventh largest apple producer and the beekeepers who must bear an estimated $4 million in replacement costs annually.



BILL TO LET SOME UTILITY FACILITIES BYPASS LOCAL ZONING CLEARS VA. SENATE, HOUSE

By ROBERT ZULLO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Legislation that allows certain electric utility substations and other facilities to sidestep local planning and zoning approval has cleared the House of Delegates and the Senate, though with a patch of Northern Virginia where the bill triggered an eruption of opposition exempted from its provisions. House Bill 1766 by Del. Greg Habeeb, R-Salem, applies only to 138 kilovolt transmission lines that are almost exclusively used by Appalachian Power in their Southwestern Virginia service area.



BILL TO ESTABLISH EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNTS SKIMS THROUGH HOUSE AND SENATE

By ONOFRIO CASTIGLIA, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

A bill to establish education savings accounts, or ESAs, for public school students enrolled in Virginia has narrowly passed the House and Senate; 33rd District Del. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton, has said he expects Gov. Terry McAuliffe to veto it. “I have no doubt that the education establishment will continue to throw roadblocks in front of any effort to provide better education options for Virginia’s students,” LaRock said in a prepared statement in January.



AS VIRGINIA LAWMAKERS PREPARE TO MOVE, YARD SALE GETS RID OF THE KNICKKNACKS ACCUMULATED OVER THE YEARS

By JORDAN PASCALE, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Everything must go. That was the mantra on the third floor of the General Assembly Building on Wednesday, where pages held a “yard” sale filled with stuff that’s accumulated in lawmakers’ office cabinets and closets over the years. The GAB, as it’s affectionately known by regulars, is coming down after more than 40 years serving as one of the epicenters of the legislative process.



‘WATERED DOWN’ COAL ASH BILL HEADED FOR GOVERNOR'S DESK

By JULIE ROTHEY, Inside NOVA

Environmentalists and some legislators are disappointed in the General Assembly’s passage of a “watered down” bill to prevent Dominion Virginia Power’s coal ash ponds from polluting rivers and groundwater. The House last week removed from SB 1398 a provision requiring Dominion to complete environmental assessments of its coal ash ponds before getting state permits to close them. On Tuesday, the Senate adopted the House version of the bill.



BILL COULD BRIGHTEN PROSPECTS FOR BERGLUND CENTER'S SOLAR ENERGY PROJECT

By CARMEN FORMAN, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Legislation is moving forward that would allow Roanoke to add 1,000 solar panels to the top of the Berglund Center. A bill by Sen. John Edwards that would simplify the process for Roanoke to contract with a solar energy company cleared Virginia’s House of Delegates on Tuesday.



STATE LAWMAKERS PASS LASER HAIR REMOVAL REGULATIONS

By TYLER WOODALL, VCU Capital News Service

Laser hair removal in Virginia would have to be done under the supervision of a doctor or other health professional, according to a bill approved this week by the General Assembly. House Bill 2119, sponsored by Del. Mark Keam, D-Vienna, would require that laser hair removal treatments be performed by a medical doctor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner — or by a "properly trained person" working under one of those professionals.



GOD, WAFFLES AND GRAFFITI: THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY BUILDING ON ONE OF ITS FINAL DAYS

By PATRICK WILSON , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

If you work in the Virginia General Assembly Building, you’ve been talking for years about asbestos and how the germ-filled building seems to make people sick. The elevators are overloaded, the plumbing shaky and the temperature never right. A new building is on the way, and it’s hard to find someone who will actually miss this charmless place — actually four structures connected — that’s scheduled for demolition.



VIRGINIA LAWMAKERS FROM BOTH PARTIES PUSH MCAULIFFE TO SEEK END TO UTILITY RATE FREEZE

By CARMEN FORMAN, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Virginia energy customers are paying too much for electricity, and Gov. Terry McAuliffe needs to step in, local lawmakers said Tuesday. Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke County, and Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, stood with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to encourage McAuliffe to introduce or amend legislation that would unfreeze electricity rates across the commonwealth.



CUCCINELLI, LAWMAKERS PUSH TO END UTILITY RATE FREEZE

By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press

A bill undoing a 2015 law that froze electric rate reviews died swiftly this legislative session, but opponents of the law, including former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, said Tuesday it's not too late to see it repealed. Cuccinelli, a Republican, joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers at a Capitol news conference where they called on Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to reverse the law he signed two years ago. The measure prohibits the state from lowering or raising Dominion Virginia Power or Appalachian Power's base rates — which make up the majority of a customer's bill — for several years.

State Elections


TOM PERRIELLO, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR VIRGINIA GOVERNOR, MAKES STOP IN FREDERICKSBURG

By JEFF BRANSCOME, Free Lance-Star

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello called last month’s Women’s March on Washington a “visual reminder that we are the majority in the country and … in Virginia” during a stop in Fredericksburg Wednesday. But something did concern him at the march, he told about 60 people at the University of Mary Washington. Most of the participants he spoke with did not even know about this year’s race for governor.



SECOND DEMOCRAT JUMPS INTO 8TH DISTRICT RACE

By ALICIA PETSKA, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

A second Democrat entered the 8th District House of Delegates race Wednesday with what he described as a centrist philosophy aimed at supporting entrepreneurship and helping those in need achieve independence. “I want every person who feels like they don’t have any hope or opportunities to be able to find out that there is, in fact, a way out of their situation,” Bryan Keele, 35, said ... Keele ... is the second Democrat to announce a bid for the House of Delegates seat currently held by Del. Greg Habeeb, R-Salem.

State Government


THE SCANDAL REGIONAL JAIL BOARD MEMBERS DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT WHEN THEY HIRED A NEW DIRECTOR

By JONATHAN EDWARDS, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

At the South Carolina detention center run by the Hampton Roads Regional Jail’s new superintendent, a guard beat a mentally ill man nearly to death in 2013. The guard went to federal prison. Several others were fired for not reporting the attack. More than $1 million was paid to settle lawsuits. And outside investigators probed the jail, outlining in a $100,000, 104-page report what needed to change.

Congress


AT A TOWN HALL IN TRUMP COUNTRY, AN AMERICA THAT’S PLEADING TO BE HEARD

By BY DAN ZAK AND TERENCE SAMUEL, Washington Post

Main Street had some new fixtures Tuesday alongside the quiet antique stores, the sturdy masonry, the bright gas stations, the Baptist churches. There was the Clinton supporter who had breast surgery six weeks ago and drove an hour and 25 minutes, during rush hour, to be heard. There was the Trump supporter who stuck around despite the cane in his hand and the cancer in his body.



‘I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE WORSE’

By JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post

There was a time when Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) was heralded for his ability to harness grass-roots support to defeat the ultimate establishment figure: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. But three years after winning Cantor’s seat, Brat found himself face to face with angry constituents who said they were frustrated by his inaccessibility and wanted to hold him to account for his support of the Trump administration.



OPPOSITION-ORGANIZED TOWN HALL DRAWS CROWD, QUESTIONS FOR 'CARDBOARD' CONGRESSMAN

By CASEY FABRIS , Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Although the real Rep. Bob Goodlatte was a few continents away and unable to attend a town hall arranged by local grass-roots organizations, constituents eager to address the congressman were still able to do so — via a cardboard cutout. A crowd of at least 200 gathered at the Charles R. Hill Senior Center in Vinton on Wednesday for the People’s Town Hall for Bob Goodlatte.



REP. TAYLOR FINAL TOWN HALL FREE OF RANCOR

By BILL BARTEL , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor’s third town hall in as many nights drew another overflow crowd that wanted to know issues ranging from health care to immigration to the fears by some of President Donald Trump. But missing were the boos and catcalls that dominated the Virginia Beach forum Monday and were sprinkled through Tuesday’s Yorktown session. The 170 people packed in the Eastern Shore Community College hall Wednesday evening reacted when they agreed or disagreed but mostly with applause or low grumbling.



MCEACHIN TOWN HALL DRAWS CROWD OF SUPPORTERS

By SARAH VOGELSONG, Progress Index (Metered paywall - 5 free articles a month)

More than 100 local residents turned out Wednesday afternoon at Petersburg's Demolition Coffee to talk with freshman U.S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin in a town hall that displayed both overwhelming sympathy with the congressman's positions and a strong current of anger at the Donald Trump administration. "Under ordinary circumstances, there's almost no way I would have done this," said Richmond resident Joe Beauchamp, who drove down to Petersburg for the event with his wife. "But I feel like now, if I'm not going to do it, who is?"

Economy/Business


CARNIVAL TO DROP VOYAGES OUT OF NORFOLK NEXT YEAR

By ELISHA SAUERS , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

When Carnival brings an enormous new ship across the Atlantic Ocean next year for its New York-based summer sailings, it will force Norfolk off the schedule. The cruise line, which plans to shuffle its ships like deck chairs, won’t start or end any voyages at Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center in 2018, a deployment change that means the city will miss out on $300,000 in cruise calls. And it’s unclear when the company will return.



CEO OF STATE HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION TO RETIRE

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

Michael L. “Mike” Toalson, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Virginia, will retire from the organization June 30, the statewide trade group announced Tuesday. Toalson, 64, has been the CEO and lead lobbyist for the Richmond-based organization for two decades.

Transportation


HAMPTON, CITING PEOPLE EXPRESS LOAN, CUTS SUPPORT FOR NEWPORT NEWS/WILLIAMSBURG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Hampton City Council decided Wednesday to withhold payments to a regional group that helps support Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport because of the Peninsula Airport Commission's use of taxpayer funds to pay off a $4.5 million loan it had guaranteed for People Express Airlines.

Virginia Other


CROWD DELIVERS FEEDBACK ON ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE TO FERC

By EMILY BROWN, News & Advance

Following the release of a draft environmental impact statement in December 2016, area residents had the chance to voice their thoughts on the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline during a comment meeting Wednesday at Nelson County High School. After about three hours, more than 100 people made verbal comments while dozens more entered written comments about the draft statement,

Local


ARLINGTON BOARD CHAIR JAY FISETTE WILL NOT RUN FOR REELECTION

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post

Longtime Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette will not run for reelection this fall, potentially setting up a Democratic battle for what has been a reliably progressive seat on the five-member panel. Fisette (D), who will be 61 on Saturday, said he figures he has one more career shift in him after nearly 20 years on the board, including five terms as chair.



CHESAPEAKE CITY COUNCIL DELAYS DECISION ON A CHANGE OF PLANS FOR RURAL FARMLAND

By VICTORIA BOURNE , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

The City Council delayed a decision for six months on whether to amend its comprehensive and land-use plans relating to roughly 1,400 acres of farmland in southern Chesapeake. “I thought I was going to cry,” Jennifer Knight said after the vote. She was one of eight speakers in opposition to a proposed policy change that could open the door to commercial or manufacturing uses on a portion of a 4,000-acre property known as the Williams Farm Tract.



VIRGINIA BEACH CITY COUNCIL PUTS OFF TALK OF REPEALING LIGHT RAIL TAX

By MARY BETH GAHAN , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

It’ll be two months before the City Council will talk about repealing a tax increase levied two years ago to pay for light rail. Councilman John Moss introduced a resolution Tuesday night to start the process of undoing the 1.8-cent real estate tax rate increase, along with a handful of other changes that siphoned money to extend the Tide. The resolution would have directed the city attorney to write ordinances to repeal the tax increase. The council would then have to vote on the ordinances to undo the increase implemented in 2015.



AS PORTSMOUTH COUNCIL CONTEMPLATES MASS FIRING, 2 HOUSING AUTHORITY BOARD MEMBERS RESIGN

By ANA LEY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Two members of the city’s housing authority board have resigned under pressure from the City Council. Councilwoman Lisa Lucas-Burke, who serves as liaison to the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority board, said Wednesday that Joe Haskell and Teresa Gunn submitted resignation letters. “It’s unfortunate, but I believe this will be a new, fresh start,” Lucas-Burke said. “It’s what the city needs.”



JUDGE APPOINTS AMY ORTEGA ACTING NORFOLK TREASURER

By ERIC HARTLEY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

A judge has officially named Amy Ortega the acting city treasurer during the suspension of the elected treasurer, Anthony Burfoot. The appointment came in an order Wednesday morning by Norfolk Circuit Judge Everett Martin. Ortega, who has been chief deputy treasurer for 18 years, already had taken over the office Tuesday in the absence of an official order.

Online News


DAVE BRAT ON ROWDY TOWN HALL: ‘I WAS TRYING TO HAVE AS MUCH FUN AS I COULD’

By DAVID SHERFINSKI, Washington Times

Rep. Dave Brat said Wednesday he enjoyed parts of a Tuesday evening town hall where he faced an at-times hostile crowd, but also said protesters were “ruining” the opportunity for other attendees to take part in the democratic system. “It went great in some respects,” Mr. Brat, Virginia Republican, told radio host John Fredericks. “We had a good time, but the crowd wouldn’t let me answer any questions.”



SCOTT TAYLOR’S SECRET FORMULA FOR A CHAOS-FREE TOWN HALL

By KYLE CHENEY, Politico

Rep. Scott Taylor walked into a town hall teeming with constituents ready to confront him Wednesday for supporting Obamacare repeal and President Donald Trump’s agenda. When he walked out, he received lengthy applause and hung around to mingle with his critics, some of whom expressed grudging respect for the man they had planned to protest. For most of event, the room was quiet enough to hear a pin drop.



NORFOLK SHERIFF’S OFFICE APPOINTS LGBT LIAISON

By AMY POULTER, Southside Daily

Sheriff Joe Baron announced on Wednesday afternoon that the office has appointed an LGBT liaison. Baron said that Lieutenant Meryah Breeden would serve as the department’s liaison with the help of an assistant, Corporal Xavier Kent. The Norfolk department is the first of local sheriff’s offices to create the position, following in the footsteps of several Hampton Roads police departments that have utilized the liaisons in recent years.


Today's Sponsor:

Nancy Dye, MD

Roanoke’s Virginia Tech Carilion Health Sciences and Technology Campus leverages a proven partnership between two of our region's economic anchors: Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech.

Editorials


A RESTIVE AND PROMISING START

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Freshman U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor deserves credit for hosting a series of town halls in the 2nd Congressional District this week, taking advantage of the legislative recess to touch base with his constituents. He knew full well what would greet him in the Kempsville High School auditorium on Monday: an agitated, anxious and angry public eager to vent on the first public official to give them a microphone. Yet Taylor stood before them nonetheless. It does, however, seem ridiculous to commend him or any elected official for holding a forum in which members of the public are invited to share their concerns.



FLYING BLIND ON OUR DIME

Daily Press Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

It was a bad idea to back the People Express loan. Nobody with any sense looking at what the company was, what its plans were, what its track record was, would have put $5 million of his or her money on the line. Nobody with any sense of an obligation to people who trusted him or her with their money would have done that.



GOV. MCAULIFFE'S KNEE-JERK VETO OF GUNS AND KNIVES

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

If an ideologue is someone who starts with a conclusion and then looks around for reasons to support it, then Gov. Terry McAuliffe fits the bill — at least regarding weapons. McAuliffe recently vetoed a bill extending eligibility to apply for a concealed-carry permit to active-duty members of the military and those who have been honorably discharged. Real hooligan types, in other words.



KIRK COX WAS DESTINED FOR LEADERSHIP

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

In 1989, Kirk Cox defeated a Democratic incumbent to win a seat in the House of Delegates; his rise commenced. Yesterday Republicans in the chamber named Cox to succeed Bill Howell as speaker. The step marks a natural progression for the House majority leader.



SORRY, WE DON'T NEED TOWN HALL THEATRICS

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Congress is in recess this week and some liberal activists are clamoring for their Republican members of Congress to hold “town hall” meetings so that they can voice their displeasure with the GOP agenda. In the 6th District, that involved the Roanoke Indivisible group holding its own “town hall” in Vinton and inviting Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County — who, of course, declined. Similar groups have pushed for Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, to hold a town hall meeting in the 9th District.



COMPETING FORCES FOR FUNDING, REFORMING METRO

Culpeper Star Exponent Editorial (Modified Pay Wall)

D.C.’s subway, known as Metro, was justly applauded for its relatively smooth performance last month during the presidential inauguration and, especially, the Women’s March on Washington, which produced the second-busiest day of ridership in the transit system’s history. The price of that success went less remarked: In the process of handling the torrent of passengers that weekend—laying on extra staff, police and trains—the agency may have lost money, as Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld recently acknowledged.



CELEBRATE THE LEGISLATURE? YES, BUT AT WHAT COST?

Free Lance-Star Editorial

SO THE Virginia General Assembly wants to celebrate the 2019 quadricentennial of itself to the tune of $10 million. But Gov. Terry McAuliffe says a great celebration can be had for half that, with the rest going toward other funding priorities, such as determining the mental-health conditions of inmates at local jails. What’s the correct priority here for taxpayer dollars?

Op-Ed


LONG: THINK LONG AND HARD BEFORE LEGALIZING POT

Published in the Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

At last week’s Republican gubernatorial debate, two of the three candidates expressed support of decriminalizing marijuana possession in Virginia, while the third opposed legalization, but suggested that penalties may be too severe. Meanwhile, both Democratic candidates for governor have spoken in favor of legalization. Proponents of legalized marijuana often spin their cause as the wave of the future, and the only reasonable side of the issue.

Long is the education director for the National D-Day Memorial.



SLIGH: VIRGINIA'S GOVERNOR CAN AND MUST PROTECT US FROM BAD PIPELINE PROJECTS

By DAVID SLIGH , Published in the Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Contrary to assertions in a Feb. 13 Roanoke Times editorial (“Showmanship”), Virginia’s governor will play a decisive role in determining whether major interstate natural gas pipelines can be built across our state. To play that role correctly, the governor must do two things:

Sligh is conservation director for Wild Virginia, an investigator for the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, an environmental attorney, and a former senior engineer at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.