A compilation of newspaper articles
about state government and politics.
VaNews - November 26, 2014
Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw
No politician can visit New Hampshire in the run-up to a presidential race without creating a buzz, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is no exception. McAuliffe (D) will make a trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state Dec. 14 to address a New Hampshire Democratic Party meeting and headline a fundraiser.
Attorney General Mark Herring says the state plans an aggressive investigation of charges that the University of Virginia is lax on responding to sexual assaults on campus. "The University of Virginia community and all Virginians have been stunned by the horrific story Rolling Stone brought to light, as well as the apparent inadequacy of the University's response to this and other past reports of sexual violence,” Herring said.
Loudoun County will host the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today. Wine tourism industry members from around the world are slated to attend the fifth annual gathering, which will be held on the East Coast for the first time. The event will be Nov. 18-20 at Lansdowne Resort.
State Sen. John Watkins, the moderate Powhatan Republican who played key roles in landmark legislation covering transportation and stabilizing the Virginia Retirement System, will retire from the legislature when his term ends in 2015. Watkins’ overture to privately expand Medicaid succumbed to partisan arm-twisting in this year’s General Assembly session.
One of Virginia's most senior legislators, state Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, has decided not to seek re-election. Watkins has served in the state Senate in 1998 and was a member of the House of Delegates from 1982-1998.
State Sen. Dave Marsden (D) of Fairfax has pre-filed legislation for the upcoming General Assembly session that would gradually raise minimum wage in Virginia to $10.10 by July 2017, but the new dynamics of Richmond forecast an unpromising future for one of national Democrats' leading initiatives. Marsden introduced a similar minimum wage proposal last year, which passed the 20-Democrat, 20-Republican senate on a party-line vote and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) casting the tie-breaker. The legislation died in the Republican-dominated House of Delegates' Commerce and Labor Committee.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential 2016 GOP presidential hopeful, will headline the Republican Party of Virginia’s annual gathering of party activists Dec. 6 in Northern Virginia. Ed Gillespie, who narrowly lost his U.S. Senate race to Democratic incumbent Mark R. Warner, also will speak at the Saturday gala at the Westfields Marriott.
Today is the last day on the job for Wise County Commonwealth's Attorney Ron Elkins, who will take a judgeship in the 30th District Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court next month. The investiture ceremony is set for Dec. 1 at the Wise Inn, Elkins said. It will be the first event to be held at the Inn before it is officially opened.
Sen. Mark R. Warner delivered a pre-Thanksgiving Day message to members of the Virginia Ship Repair Association Tuesday, apologizing in advance for giving them some indigestion. Previous spending cuts have put a big dent in maintenance for Navy ships, and Warner said those cuts could return in 2016. The Virginia Democrat said he knew association members wanted guidance from him, but he couldn't offer any promises.
Weeks after winning a second U.S. Senate term in a surprisingly close election, Mark Warner said Tuesday he's not backing off trying to find a compromise to slow the rising national debt, even if it upsets some people. "I've got to be who I am," said Warner, who acknowledged his defeating GOP candidate Ed Gillespie by less than 18,000 votes out of more than 2 million cast was startling.
The University of Virginia’s governing board unanimously approved a statement of “zero tolerance” of sexual assault Tuesday, less than a week after a magazine story detailed an alleged gang rape in 2012 at a university fraternity. Leaders of the U-Va. board said they plan to meet again as early as mid-December to consider a plan of action from the university administration to address issues raised in a Nov. 19 Rolling Stone article that detailed allegations of a brutal sexual assault. The board also plans to draft a full statement on sexual assault in coming days and to make it public, leaders said.
With a new independent counsel in place to help, the University of Virginia board of visitors on Tuesday adopted a resolution affirming “zero tolerance” for sexual violence and vowed to root out the culture of rape and alcohol that some acknowledged exists on campus. “I’d like to say to Jackie and her parents that I am sorry,” Rector George Keith Martin said at the start of a three-hour meeting. If Jackie — the anonymous victim whose allegations of gang rape shined a harsh light on U.Va. — was among students silently holding up protest signs through the meeting, she did not speak up.
A University of Virginia board on Tuesday honed in on alcohol as a contributing factor in sexual assaults on campus, with one member calling for more aggressively enforcing the law banning underage drinking. Members of the Board of Visitors discussed sexual assault allegations that came out in a devastating portrait in Rolling Stone that has rocked the campus. The article described a woman's account of a gang rape, and went into detail about what it called a hidden culture of sexual violence at the school.
Shocked, tearful and at times defensive, members of the board that oversees the University of Virginia insisted that they would combat the problem of sexual assault on campus after a magazine article reported a gang rape at a campus fraternity and allegations that the university was more concerned about its reputation than a history of sexual assault embedded in its hard-drinking social life. The unusual emergency meeting, which included students, a representative of the fraternity system and the Charlottesville police chief, did not end with specific policy prescriptions for the university. A legal firm was assigned to the university to help come up with new guidelines at a time when Congress and the Obama administration have put intensifying pressure on schools that fail to report and punish assaults.
Reaction to last week’s Rolling Stone piece that detailed allegations of the 2012 gang rape of a UVA student by fraternity brothers was swift and visceral. There was horror and confusion—why does the University attempt to resolve rape cases at all? Isn’t that the courts’ job? What happens when a student reports a rape to the University? And why hasn’t UVA ever kicked anybody out for rape if we know it happens all the time?