A compilation of newspaper articles
about state government and politics.
VaNews - April 23, 2014
Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw
Officials at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will announce Thursday whether the contractor building the Silver Line rail project has completed its work — or whether it will need additional time beyond the 15-day review period to make that determination. MWAA president and chief executive Jack Potter made the announcement following a closed-door meetingTuesday with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. At the meeting, the governor was given a status update on the much-delayed $5.6 billion Silver Line rail project, according to MWAA spokesman Chris Paolino.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants to open the door for insurers to offer consumers the opportunity to renew health policies that do not comply with new underwriting standards in the Affordable Care Act and state law. McAuliffe proposed amendments to House Bill 1005, an insurance measure sponsored by Del. Kathy J. Byron, R-Campbell, that would give insurers the option of letting customers renew policies that otherwise would be canceled when they expire later this year.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday named Fluvanna County Sheriff Ryant Washington a special policy adviser on law enforcement to the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Washington will leave his post to help shore up the agency’s law enforcement functions, which came under fire last year following the arrest of University of Virginia student Elizabeth Daly by agents who mistook sparkling water for beer purchased underage.
A local man got hit with a $250 fine Monday over a borderline-threatening telephone message he left for Attorney General Mark R. Herring's office, according to state capitol police. James Timothy Berry, 54, called Herring's public comment line after Herring announced in January that Virginia was switching sides in the legal wranglings over gay marriage. Capitol police provided a recording of Berry's voicemail, and it is quite the rant.
Virginia legislators return to the Capitol on Wednesday intending to wrap up some unfinished business but with no plans to tackle the budget and Medicaid stalemates that could ultimately shut down the state government. The General Assembly will hold its annual “veto session” to complete work from the regular session that ended March 8. But no action is expected on the biggest issues looming over Richmond: Medicaid expansion and, because that matter was folded into the Senate’s two-year, $96 billion state spending plan, the budget.
It was supposed to be the end of the 2014 legislative season. But lawmakers return to Richmond today to consider Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s vetoes and amendments with the most important piece of legislation — the budget — still unresolved, and unlikely to shift from a partisan standoff.
Fractious Virginia lawmakers gathering at the State Capitol today can respond to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's legislative amendments and vetoes - but not to a budget bill, since the state still doesn't have one. Lacking that, this veto session - as the General Assembly's April interlude is known - could be brief, yet long enough for some partisan potshots. House Republicans plan to reject McAuliffe amendments to keep at least 11 bills with fiscal impacts from taking effect until delegates and senators compromise on a two-year spending plan that would pay for them.
Virginia lawmakers are returning to Richmond to consider Gov. Terry McAuliffe's changes to the General Assembly's 2014 legislation. Legislators will consider McAuliffe's vetoes and proposed changes to several dozen pieces of legislation during a one-day session Wednesday. McAuliffe has vetoed two bills concerning religious expression. One would have codified a student's right to pray at school. The other would have prohibited censorship of sermons made by chaplains of the Virginia National Guard.
A legislative committee will try to determine today how a public-private partnership to build a $1.4 billion toll road along U.S. 460 turned into a conventional design-build deal that placed almost all of the risk on state taxpayers. The House Appropriations Committee has summoned Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne to testify on the process that led the state into a contract that already has cost about $300 million in public funds and private bonds that Virginia could have to repay. The money was spent without a single shovelful of dirt turned and before the necessary federal environmental permits were acquired.
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has made a personal donation of $10,000 to former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell’s legal defense fund, according to records made public Tuesday. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted in January on federal charges of bribery and fraud involving their relationship with a Virginia businessman and campaign donor. The McDonnells are scheduled to face trial in July.
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has donated $10,000 to former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s legal defense fund. “The Restoration Fund is grateful for the support of Governor Romney and so many fellow Americans standing with Bob McDonnell during this time,” said Jason Miyares, who last year announced the formation of the fund with Stanley F. Baldwin, a fellow Virginia Beach lawyer, and businessman Tom Knox.
Donors such as former presidential candidate Mitt Romney produced a recent spike in contributions to a charity set up to raise money for former Gov. Bob McDonnell's legal defense. The $149,242 in donations to the Virginia Beach-based Restoration Fund from January to March, according to Virginia Public Access Project data, dwarfs the $11,554 it raised over the prior six months.
Former GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney donated $10,000 recently to the Restoration Fund, the group raising money to help pay former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's legal bills. Fund organizer Jason Miyares, a Virginia Beach attorney, confirmed the donation, which was first reported this afternoon by The Washington Post. "We are incredibly grateful for governor Romney's support and the donation," Miyares said.
The chairmanship of the 6th District Republican Committee will be decided at the district convention on Saturday, and both incumbent Chairman Wendell Walker and challenger Vance Wilkins are campaigning until the delegates are tallied. For Wilkins, Saturday's convention offers a chance for political redemption after a sexual harassment scandal drove him from the position of Virginia House Speaker in 2002. Walker hopes to earn another term, and keep building the party in 6th District with more minority members and newly recruited younger leadership.
A report by a think tank at UCLA says legalizing gay marriage in Virginia could generate up to $60 million in spending in three years. The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates that about 7,000 same-sex couples may choose to get married in Virginia within three years of a change in law. In February, a federal judge in Norfolk struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriages. The decision has been stayed pending an appeal, and a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Richmond on May 13.