A compilation of newspaper articles
about state government and politics.
VaNews - October 22, 2014
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Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw
The legislative powers-that-be at JLARC voted last week to move toward a new Medicaid study, a two-year dive into cost drivers and cost effectiveness. This is the long-discussed call for a deeper look at Medicaid cost increases which, depending on what side of the expansion debate you favor, is either totally necessary or a Republican stall tactic.
The North Charlottesville Business Council is asking the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the General Assembly to consider temporarily reducing or suspending taxes for businesses that will be affected by road projects in the U.S. 29 corridor.
The city's legislative agenda isn't normally all that controversial for residents. But an item about guns this year has gotten people talking. The proposal asks the General Assembly to consider requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms. Failure to do so within two days of realizing a gun has disappeared would result in a civil fine.
Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) is airing three harsh new attack ads against Republican Ed Gillespie, bringing fresh heat to a Senate race that has attracted little national attention. One new ad attacks Gillespie’s lobbying career, tying the candidate’s former firm to five foreign governments, including “a dictator now awaiting trial for war crimes.” Another ad focuses on Gillespie’s work in the White House when George W. Bush tried to partially privatize Social Security. The third, released statewide Tuesday night, accuses Gillespie of airing a “false” attack ad related to the senator’s discussion of a potential job for the daughter of a Democratic legislator on the verge of quitting the evenly split state Senate. All three mention that Gillespie was a lobbyist for Enron.
U.S. Senate hopeful Ed Gillespie said Virginians should vote for him over incumbent Sen. Mark Warner if they want to get the economy moving again and improve national security. He accused Democrat Warner, who is in his first term as U.S. senator, of offering a “blank check” to President Barack Obama’s administration.
Seventh District Congressional hopefuls and Randolph-Macon College professors Dave Brat and Jack Trammell outlined their views on U.S. immigration policy Tuesday during a gathering of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Nearly two dozen business leaders gathered at the offices of the Challa Law Firm in Glen Allen, hoping to clarify the candidates’ positions on the issues, which ranged from discouraging illegal immigration along the nation’s borders, to expanding visa opportunities for skilled workers and students, to figuring out the best way to deal with the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the country.
The independent candidate for the 10th District challenged Democrat John Foust to withdraw to show support for the third-party candidates in the race to replace retiring Rep. Frank Wolf. In front of a small crowd of voters at the League of Women Voters’ candidate meet-and-greet last Thursday, Independent candidate Brad Eickholt told Foust since polls show him behind he should drop out of the race and endorse him.
Morgan Griffith is seeking re-election because he feels there’s still more work to be done in Washington. Griffith, 56, a Republican from Salem, Virginia, is running against first-time candidate William Carr, 69, of Ararat, Virginia, who is a conservative running as an independent in the race for the 9th District of Virginia seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Voting rights groups are worried that Virginia’s new voter ID law, which will require people to show a photo ID to vote, will disenfranchise some in next month’s midterm elections. “There are so many cases where voters who have every right to vote potentially can be turned away,” said Anne Sterling, president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia. She said rural, poor and elderly voters could face a harder burden.
Proposed federal rules meant to cut carbon emissions and address climate change would cost more than $6 billion to comply with in Virginia, according to a State Corporation Commission review that dubbed the rules "arbitrary, capricious, unsupported and unlawful." The requirements would lead to significant increases for rate payers and endanger the reliability of Virginia's power supplies, according to SCC staff who analyzed the proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules.
Virginia has made great strides in the past year in improving police lineup procedures, but a state crime panel agreed Tuesday that more should be done to guard against faulty eyewitness identifications. Police lineups are under scrutiny because 13 of the 16 people wrongly convicted in Virginia and later exonerated by DNA evidence originally were misidentified by eyewitnesses.
Sen. Timothy M. Kaine, D-Va., on Tuesday criticized Congress for its refusal to debate and vote on authorizing the use of military force against Islamic State militants before the Nov. 4 elections. “Why would we adjourn on the 18th of September, which is the second earliest recess before a midterm election since 1960, with a war underway that Virginians are serving in? Why would we adjourn without debating that?” Kaine said in a midday Public Square, hosted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Virginia’s unemployment rate stood at 5.5 percent in September as the state continued to see slow job growth. The September jobless rate was unchanged from the rate in August, which was revised downward from 5.6 percent. Virginia’s rate has been trending up slightly the past five months, and, at 5.5 percent in September, it was the same as a year ago, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Tuesday.
If construction starts on the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, opponents have their own plan to make sure the environmental rules are followed. Members of the Alleghany-Blue Ridge Alliance, which consists of 22 different groups in Virginia and West Virginia, announced the creation this week of the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition. The goal of the project, members say, is to monitor construction through volunteers both on the ground and in the air. “Our objective is to bring the reality of the situation to the actual decision makers at Dominion,” said Coalition founder Rick Webb. “We’re going to be very much involved in the [environmental] review process.”
If construction starts on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, opponents have their own plan to make sure the environmental rules are followed. Members of the Alleghany-Blue Ridge Alliance, which consists of 22 different groups in Virginia and West Virginia, announced the creation this week of the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition. The goal of the project, members say, is to monitor construction through volunteers both on the ground and in the air.