A compilation of newspaper articles
about state government and politics.
VaNews - December 6, 2013
Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw
Reflecting on his four years in office, Gov. Bob McDonnell on Thursday recounted the successes of his administration, from budget surpluses to restoration of rights reforms and much-needed fixes to Virginia’s pension and transportation systems. “We’ve gotten some big problems solved for the people over the last few years,” McDonnell said on his last “Ask the Governor” radio show on WRVA.
Fredericksburg-area legislators say they’ll back ethics reform legislation in the upcoming General Assembly session, but they doubt bills will include strict limits on gifts to lawmakers.
Lt. Gov.-elect Ralph Northam will resign his Norfolk-based state Senate seat at the last possible minute, just prior to his Jan. 11 inauguration, timing it so Senate Democrats won't be short-handed in the opening days of the upcoming General Assembly session.
Bedford County Circuit Court Judge James Updike likely will be questioned by General Assembly members next week about his courtroom manner toward a lawyer in a 2009 case, lawmakers say. The incident resulted in a disciplinary charge against Updike before the state’s Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission.
Virginia Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe maintained his wide fundraising edge over foe Ken Cuccinelli through Election Day and beyond, new campaign finance reports show. The latest reports cover the period from Oct. 24 through Nov. 28, capturing the frantic final weeks before and the ensuing days after McAuliffe’s (D) narrow victory in the gubernatorial race over Cuccinelli (R), the state attorney general.
The one team of Virginia election officials to have done a recount of November's results — the crew in James City County — may have good news for the panel of judges overseeing this month's recount of the state attorney general race. They may not have to look at many ballots.
Governor Bob McDonnell is throwing his support behind Octavia Johnson in the special election for the 11th District seat. The Republican Party announced Johnson as its nominee earlier this week.
The Virginia Senate's Democratic leader, Dick Saslaw, said Wednesday that local Republicans will nominate a “carbon copy” of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for the upcoming 33rd Senate District special election. At a campaign event in Sterling for 33rd District Democratic candidate Jennifer Wexton, Saslaw said a candidate like 10th Congressional District Republican Party Chairman John Whitbeck gives Democrats a “bigger target to shoot at” compared with a more moderate Republican like longtime state delegate Joe May.
Virginia mental health officials have pledged to produce protocols and policies by mid-January for ensuring that hospital beds will be available for people who pose a danger to themselves or others -- such as Austin C. “Gus” Deeds, who wounded his father, Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, and killed himself on Nov. 19, 13 hours after being released from emergency custody.
Key reforms called for in a 2012 report critical of Virginia’s mental health system finally will be implemented in 2014, officials said in a report drafted after a high-profile case in which the son of a state senator was denied care before stabbing his father and killing himself. The report was written and rollout dates set after Austin “Gus” Deeds stabbed his father, state Sen. Creigh Deeds, then fatally shot himself, said Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services spokeswoman Meghan McGuire.
The Virginia Retirement System won’t ask the General Assembly next month for permission to manage investments for other public and potentially private funds, but the idea is far from dead. The VRS board of trustees voted 7-1 on Thursday to form a special projects committee that will study the proposed venture, known as Project Frontier; produce a business plan; and propose a governance structure by next fall.
The House of Representatives today passed U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s bill to curb abusive patent lawsuits by so-called “patent trolls.” Goodlatte’s “Innovation Act” (H.R. 3309) targets patent-holding entities that file frivolous infringement lawsuits to extract settlement fees. The bill would require more transparency from plaintiffs, including disclosure of patent-owners and specific explanations about the nature of alleged infringement.
The House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a bill protecting technology companies and their customers from nuisance patent-infringement lawsuits by shell companies that exist merely to gather dormant patents and threaten lawsuits against suspected violators.
U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, long opposed to government support of gay marriage, was thrust into the middle of a debate over sexual orientation and politics this week. Politico reported that Forbes privately was lobbying fellow House Republicans not to use their campaign war chest to support gay GOP congressional candidates. His lobbying focused on the National Republican Congressional Committee - the NRCC - which is supported in part by large cash contributions from the campaign coffers of Forbes and other House members.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday to loosen restrictions on investments made to small businesses by private equity firms. he bill, which passed the House 254-159 with bipartisan support, was sponsored and originally put forth by U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt, R-5th District.