A compilation of newspaper articles
about state government and politics.
VaNews - September 16, 2014
Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw
A gaping $2.4 billion hole in Virginia’s budget brought a rare moment of bipartisan unity to the Capitol on Monday as the Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders unveiled a plan to tap the rainy-day fund and trim most state spending by 3 percent. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and budget leaders from the House and Senate announced that they had privately worked out a way to bring state spending in line with a revenue shortfall largely attributed to federal defense cuts.
A budget agreement reached by Gov. Terry McAuliffe and General Assembly leaders would spare K-12 public education from cuts in state aid. It also would require less in reductions from state agencies, colleges and universities, and local governments than initially feared to address a $2.4 billion revenue shortfall in the two-year state budget that took effect on July 1.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe presented a united front with House Republican leaders Monday, rolling out an agreed-upon strategy to address dragging state revenues. In short, they settled on largely across-the-board budget cuts of about 3 percent for state agencies, local governments and the state's higher education system. Public K-12 schools will be spared these cuts, budget writers said, and there are protections against college tuition increases written into the coming budget amendment bill.
Budget cuts are expected to affect area governments and public universities, although many specifics are still not known. On Monday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and a bevy of state lawmakers announced that a bipartisan agreement had been reached to reduce an estimated $2.4 billion budget shortfall over the next two years.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republican lawmakers are planning to fill a $882 million budget shortfall by tapping the state government’s rainy day fund and making cuts to various agencies, universities, and local governments. The plan won’t affect K-12 school spending and will not include any increase in fees or taxes, they said.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe has appointed several Fredericksburg-area residents to his administration. The appointees will focus on “finding common ground with members of both parties on issues that will build a new Virginia economy and create more jobs across the Commonwealth,” according to a press release distributed Friday.
Attorney General Mark R. Herring said Monday that he's begun new efforts to make it easier for inmates at jails across the state to re-enter society after serving their sentences. The state has bolstered its re-entry programs in recent years at state prisons, but jails across the state — where inmates are held while awaiting trial and for punishments of less than a year — have been left out of those efforts, Herring's office said.
Del. Rip Sullivan (D-48th) was sworn into office Sept. 12, giving the Arlington/McLean district representation in time for the General Assembly special session called to address Medicaid expansion and other issues. “I hope that all members of the House of Delegates reflect on our responsibility to emulate the legislative body’s founding mission,” Sullivan said in a statement that urged forward movement on a host of progressive policy positions.
State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34th) is none too happy with the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. And it all stems from remarks of the FCC chair over the nickname of the Washington Redskins. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called the team’s name “offensive” and “derogatory” in a recent interview with B&C/Multichannel News at a Las Vegas trade show. His remarks were not received well by Petersen, who is chairman of the Redskins Pride Caucus in the General Assembly.
Sen. Mark Warner stopped by his Sterling campaign office Saturday afternoon to rally volunteers as they make the final push toward Election Day. Joining 10th District congressional candidate John Foust for the event, Warner urged volunteers to continue to reach out to voters in the final 50 days of the campaign and delivered a stump speech that encouraged the public to not accept failure on Capitol Hill.
Two scolding online posts by the president of the Arlington Young Democrats on Monday gave Virginia Republicans an opportunity to attack Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) as elitist and out of touch. Max Burns, president of the Young Democrats, said his group intended to request a meet-and-greet event with Warner, who is running for reelection and will face Republican Ed Gillespie on Nov. 4.
After a generation of campaigns in which Republicans exploited wedge issues to win close elections, Democrats are now on the offensive in the culture wars. Democrats see social issues as potent for the same reasons Republicans once did, using them as a tool to both stoke concerns among moderate voters, especially women, and motivate their base.
A controversial antiabortion measure that roiled Virginia and the nation two years ago has reemerged as an attack in a competitive congressional race in the Washington suburbs. A new ad from John W. Foust, the Democratic nominee for the open seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R) , paints his Republican opponent as an extremist who supported a bill in the state legislature that would have required an invasive procedure known as a transvaginal ultrasounds for some women seeking abortions.
Incumbent Rep. Rob Wittman, a Republican, and Democratic candidate Norm Mosher will face each other in a debate Oct. 6 at the University of Mary Washington. They are both running for Virginia’s 1st Congressional District seat in the Nov. 4. general election.
During a heated Republican primary in the spring, Eric Cantor’s opponent Dave Brat challenged the House majority leader to debate him. Cantor refused — and it may have been a factor when his constituents in the 7th District fired him in June.