VaNews

Thursday March 26, 2015

Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw


Executive Branch

MCAULIFFE EXPECTED TO SIGN STATE BUDGET WITH NO AMENDMENTS OR VETOES

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

A year after Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the General Assembly engaged in a bitter, three-month standoff over adopting a budget, the governor today is expected to sign a revised budget without any amendments or line-item vetoes. The last time a governor signed a budget produced by the assembly without amendment or veto was in 1998, in the first year of Gov. Jim Gilmore’s term.


VIRGINIA GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE EXPECTED TO VETO ABOUT 20 BILLS

By LAURA VOZZELLA , Washington Post

Gov. Terry McAuliffe told fellow Democrats this week that he intends to veto about 20 bills, including one that would have allowed home-schooled students to play sports on public high school teams, according to two people familiar with his plans. McAuliffe (D) spoke with Democratic legislators by conference call this week to share plans to veto the Tebow bill and a number of other Republican-sponsored measures, according to the two, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to share the governor’s plans.


MCAULIFFE ORDERS RETRAINING OF ABC AGENTS IN WAKE OF UVA ARRESTS

By DEAN SEAL, Daily Progress

Gov. Terry McAuliffe is ordering the Alcoholic Beverage Control to retrain its officers in use of force and in cultural diversity, per an executive order signed Wednesday. The order, signed less than a week after McAuliffe asked Virginia State Police to investigate the highly scrutinized ABC arrest of University of Virginia third-year student Martese Johnson, requires increased training for law enforcement agents in several other areas as well.


GOVERNOR ORDERS CHANGES IN ABC ENFORCEMENT

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

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has ordered the first round of changes in how the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control enforces state law — and more change is on the way after the second allegation of excessive force against a University of Virginia student in two years.


MCAULIFFE ORDERS VA. ABC OFFICERS TO BE RETRAINED IN USE OF FORCE, DIVERSITY

By T. REES SHAPIRO AND JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post

Spurred by the violent arrest of a black college student by white Alcoholic Beverage Control police officers, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order Wednesday that aims to reform the state agency’s law enforcement arm. The executive order, effective immediately, requires that by Sept. 1 all ABC special agents be retrained in the use of force and in cultural diversity and interaction with young people.


MCAULIFFE SIGNS ORDER TO REVIEW VA. ABC OFFICERS

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

Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday signed an executive order that requires more training for Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control officers, following the arrest of a University of Virginia student last week. The order establishes an expert review panel to scrutinize the agency and consider changes. The state's public safety secretary will convene the panel to examine the ABC's mission and structure; a report is due to the governor by Nov. 1.


MCAULIFFE SIGNS SHELTER BILL THAT PETA OPPOSED

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

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed a bill that a lobbyist for PETA feared could shut down the group's Norfolk shelter. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, who said he was upset by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' high euthanasia rate. The bill tweaks a state law that defines private animal shelters, clarifying that their purpose is to find permanent adoptive homes for animals. A lobbyist for PETA emailed lawmakers asking them to oppose it.


VA. OFFICIAL TAKES TOUR OF CALL CENTER

By ALLIE ROBINSON GIBSON, Bristol Herald Courier

Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones took a tour of the AT&T call center in Lebanon on Wednesday, as part of a region-wide trip this week. “Really, I came to listen to the experience that in particular the call center is having with employees, what they’re looking for, how they measure success,” Jones said.

General Assembly

PENINSULA HOUSE DELEGATION: 16 BILLS ENACTED INTO LAW, 37 DIE

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

The Peninsula's House of Delegates members sponsored a slew of bills -- 53, actually -- and it looks as if they've managed to get their fellow legislators and now the governor to say 16 of them are good ideas. The other 37 died, mostly before General Assembly subcommittees or committees.


BEER FOR CW AND OTHER STATE SENATE SUCCESSES FOR THE PENINSULA

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

The interests of Virginia's General Assembly range widely and wonderfully, as a look at how our state Senators' legislative initiatives fared. So, Colonial Williamsburg will be able to receive royalties from the sale of beer that uses historically authentic recipes and a name trademarked by that historical preservation entity, as legislation proposed by state Sen. Tommy Norment and just signed in law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe would have it.


ROANOKE VALLEY NEEDS TO MARKET ITSELF BETTER, LAWMAKERS SAY

By MATT CHITTUM, Roanoke Times

Roanoke may be the biggest metropolitan area in Western Virginia, but it doesn’t throw the biggest party for state legislators in Richmond. Del. Terry Austin, R-Botetourt County, recalled Tuesday how he visited a Richmond gathering for legislators at the start of this year’s General Assembly session hosted by the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce.

State Elections

TWO CANDIDATES IN A BID TO OUST DANCE FROM SENATE SEAT

By LEAH SMALL, Progress Index

Two candidates for the 16th Senate District seat say that incumbent Rosalyn Dance is not true blue. Both former Delegate Joseph Morrissey, I-Henrico, and Delegate Joseph Preston, D-Petersburg, have stated that Dance’s voting record hasn’t been in line with Democratic Party ideals. The two Joes, who were seat mates during this year’s House of Delegates legislative session, have said that Dance wasn’t supportive of Medicaid expansion and other Democratic initiatives.


MORRISSEY ANNOUNCES SENATE BID, VACATES HOUSE SEAT

By MARKUS SCHMIDT, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, I-Henrico, on Wednesday formally announced his bid for state Sen. Rosalyn R. Dance’s seat in the 16th Senate district. As required by state law, Morrissey vacated his seat in the 74th House of Delegates district. By filing his candidacy for the 16th, Morrissey has officially vacated his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates in accordance with the state Constitution, said House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford.


JOE MORRISSEY ANNOUNCES VIRGINIA STATE SENATE CAMPAIGN

By RACHEL WEINER, Washington Post

Far from slinking out of the public eye, Joseph D. Morrissey announced Wednesday that he has resigned his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates and will run for state Senate. Weeks after traveling to Georgia to witness the birth of a child to the teenager with whom he was accused of having an improper relationship, Morrissey, 57, is challenging state Sen. Rosalyn R. Dance (D-Petersburg) in a June Democratic primary.

Federal Elections

SCOTUS ALABAMA DECISION MAY AFFECT VIRGINIA ELECTION MAPS

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

A divided U.S. Supreme Court handed down a victory Wednesday for black legislative leaders in Alabama, and the decision may signal a coming win for Virginia Democrats fighting Republican-drawn election maps here. The court's 5-4 decision sends Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama back to the federal district court there with an admonition that the case be re-argued.

Congress

REP. BEYER SET TO REPLACE REP. VAN HOLLEN AS DCCC FINANCE CHAIR

By SEAN SULLIVAN , Washington Post

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is set to become the next national finance chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he told The Washington Post Wednesday. He will succeed Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who is running for the U.S. Senate.


COMSTOCK ONE OF 17 REPUBLICANS TO OPPOSE HOUSE-APPROVED BUDGET

By TREVOR BARATKO, Loudoun Times

U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) broke with Republican leadership Wednesday night to oppose a fiscal 2016 budget that reportedly increases military spending while also balancing the budget over the next decade. The House’s $3.8 trillion budget passed 228-199. Comstock, of Northern Virginia, was one of just 17 Republicans who joined with every Democrat present to oppose the measure.

Economy/Business

DOMINION PLANS TO BUILD NATURAL GAS POWER PLANT IN SOUTHSIDE

By JACOB GEIGER , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Dominion Resources Inc. will announce today that it plans to build a 1,600-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant in Southside Virginia. The plant — which would be the state’s largest fueled by natural gas — would be built on a 1,143-acre property that straddles the Greensville-Brunswick county line, with most of the land in Greensville.

Higher Education

UVA BOARD HIKES TUITION, SPARKS STUDENT PROTESTS

By DEREK QUIZON, Daily Progress

Students picketed outside the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library shortly after the University of Virginia Board of Visitors finalized a series of planned tuition increases set to take effect this fall. The board approved a series of tuition increases at a meeting Wednesday, including a 3.6 percent raise in total cost of attendance — about $470 — for Virginian undergraduates, and 3.7 percent — about $1,580 —for non-Virginians.


FORMER BOARD MEMBER: SWEET BRIAR COLLEGE UNDERUSED ALUMNAE

By JESSIE POUNDS, News & Advance

Sweet Briar College overused consultants and underused alumnae, according to a former member of the board of directors who resigned last spring. Jo Ann Soderquist Kramer is one of two former Sweet Briar board members now serving on the board of Saving Sweet Briar Inc., an alumnae-led organization trying to stop the college’s board from closing the school.

Virginia Other

CHESAPEAKE BAY'S BLUE CRAB POPULATION REBOUNDING

By TAMARA DIETRICH, Daily Press (Paywall for certain articles)

Last year was a dismal episode for Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and the watermen who harvest them. The number of spawning females dropped 53 percent from the previous year to an alarming 70 million, a level considered unsustainable for the species. For a healthy crab population, experts say the bay needs 215 million adult females.


AUGUSTA BOARD ASKS FEDS FOR ANOTHER 30 DAYS FOR PIPELINE COMMENTS

By BOB STUART, Daily Progress

The Augusta County Board of Supervisors will ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to extend its comment period on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for another 30 days. The board’s vote came Wednesday. The comment period for what is called a “scoping notice” on the project is currently set to expire April 28. The scoping notice is necessary to prepare the project’s environmental impact.


ARLINGTON HEALTHIEST COUNTY IN VIRGINIA; PETERSBURG NEAR THE BOTTOM

By TAMMIE SMITH , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Almost one of every five Petersburg residents report fair or poor health, 25 percent of adults smoke, 36 percent are obese and 10 percent are unemployed. Compare that with Arlington County in Northern Virginia, ranked the healthiest locality in the state where only 8 percent of people report fair or poor health, 10 percent of adults smoke, 18 percent are obese, and unemployment is at 3.6 percent.

Local

HUGE CONDO COMPLEX IN TYSONS CORNER ORDERS RESIDENTS TO PICK UP PETS’ POOP

By DANA HEDGPETH, Washington Post

It appears it’s becoming more popular to catch your neighbors not scooping up their dogs’ poop. The Rotonda, a condo complex in Tysons Corner, is the latest to jump on the bandwagon.


JUDGE ALLOWS LOUDOUN SCHOOL BOARD TO INTERVENE IN STUDENT DATA CASE

By DANIELLE NADLER, Leesburg Today

A Richmond City Circuit Court will allow the Loudoun County School Board to make its case as to why releasing student testing data could unfairly target specific teachers. Judge Melvin R. Hughes Jr. issued an opinion March 19 stating he would allow the School Board to partially intervene in the case brought by Loudoun parent Brian Davison against the Virginia Department of Education.


BUDGET PROPOSAL SHOWS VA. BEACH FACES BALANCING ACT

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

City Council members had similar reactions to the $1.87 billion spending plan presented Tuesday evening: We've got a lot of work to do. The dilemma is how to balance increased demand for services with declining state and federal revenue, Management Services Director Catheryn Whitesell told the council.


VA. BEACH JAIL CHOOSES NEW HEALTH PROVIDER FOR INMATES

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

The city jail is replacing its medical provider, a change Sheriff Ken Stolle said he hopes will result in better care for his roughly 1,500 inmates. NaphCare Inc., a correctional health care firm based in Birmingham, Ala., will take over for Correct Care Solutions by May 1, according to a three-year contract approved this month. It was one of three companies, including CCS, that bid for the $16 million deal.


JUDGE RULES TOWN OF WAVERLY VIOLATED FOIA

By TED STRONG , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The Waverly Town Council did not meet Wednesday evening, by order of the county judge. At a Wednesday afternoon hearing, Sussex County Circuit Court Chief Judge W. Allan Sharrett found that Waverly’s mayor and town clerk had knowingly violated the state’s Freedom of Information Act and failed to comply with a provision of the state’s open meetings law.


Editorials

BUDGET TO TAKE BEACH FORWARD

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

The knee-jerk response to a proposal - by anyone, anywhere - to increase taxes by 6.4 percent is NO. It's particularly true in Virginia Beach, where the city manager has recommended increasing the real estate tax rate to 99 cents per $100 worth of property. Residents are unconvinced of the need.


KEEP AN EYE ON TWO KEY, YET DETERIORATING FREDERICKSBURG-AREA BRIDGES OVER RAPPAHANNOCK

Free Lance-Star Editorial

Somewhere at the Virginia Department of Transportation, there’s a list of “structurally deficient” bridges that somehow, some way, someday will be rehabilitated or replaced. The Chatham Bridge has been on the list for several years now.


MORRISSEY ISN'T GETTING STATE POLITICAL LEADERS' HINTS

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

On Wednesday, House Speaker Bill Howell — citing chapter and verse of the state’s Constitution — announced that Joe Morrissey was no longer a delegate. Because he’d moved to run for the state Senate, Howell said, Morrissey had vacated his office. Morrissey agreed. This was right after Democratic Party officials wouldn’t let Morrissey file his candidacy against state Sen. Rosalyn Dance.


SOME GOOD NEWS ABOUT STATE'S COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

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

Colleges and universities, including Virginia’s, have taken a lot of heat in recent years for their skyrocketing tuition rates (U.Va. has raised in-state tuition and fees for the class that will enter in the fall) and metastasizing bureaucracies. Much of the criticism is well-deserved. Take, oh, the VCU School of Engineering, which includes 89 faculty members . . . and 47 staff and support personnel. That’s one position for every 1.8 faculty. Seems high, no?

Columnists

CASEY: BILL’S DEATH CASTS PALL ON CASKET SELLER

By DAN CASEY, Roanoke Times

A total of 1,126 bills got dropped into Virginia House of Delegates’ hopper in the 2015 Virginia General Assembly session. Of those, 456 passed both the House and the Senate. This is a story of one that didn’t make the cut — one that, as it turned out, never stood a chance. It’s an issue Dublin businessman Emmett Peake feels passionately about.

Op-Ed

CHAPMAN: WHEN CHILDREN WRITE LETTERS

By JENNY CHAPMAN, Published in the Roanoke Times

She had finished her homework and was writing, she said, a very important letter. Who in the world would a 7-year-old be writing to, I wondered. Peering over her shoulder, I read her beginning. Dear Ms. Bose . . . the letter began in her shaky second-grader’s penmanship . . . please do not approve of this pipeline . . . .

Chapman has been a resident of Bent Mountain for 40 years and is a member of Preserve Roanoke and Preserve Franklin.

From vpap.org

VISUALIZATION: IS GENERAL ASSEMBLY TURNOVER UP OR DOWN?

The Virginia Public Access Project

Several senior legislators have announced their retirement this year. VPAP's latest infographic shows how those announcements stack up to General Assembly turnover since 1995.