VaNews

Friday January 20, 2017


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Executive Branch


MCAULIFFE, NORTHAM TO ATTEND WOMEN’S MARCH

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe plans to skip President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, but travel to Washington the day after to rally with a leading abortion-rights advocate. McAuliffe, a Democrat, said at a Capitol news conference Thursday that he and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam would accompany Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards at Saturday’s Women’s March.



GOV. MCAULIFFE TO JOIN MARCH ON WASHINGTON

By JESSICA NOLTE AND MEGAN SCHIFFRES, VCU Capital News Service

Gov. Terry McAuliffe plans to attend the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, when thousands of people are expected to protest Donald Trump’s presidency. McAuliffe said that he will not attend Trump’s inauguration on Friday but that he has written a letter to the incoming U.S. president and looks forward to working with him on issues that matter to Virginia. “I will be here working all day doing what the taxpayers are paying me to do, and on Saturday I do have a little free time in the morning, so I will use that time to go up to Washington to do the march,” McAuliffe said Thursday.

General Assembly


HOUSE GOP PLANS TO PUSH DIRECT PRIMARY CARE PLAN

Associated Press

Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates will be pushing legislation again this session to promote direct primary care agreements, in which patients pay a fee for unlimited primary care. Del. Steven Landes outlined Republicans' health care priorities in a speech on the House floor Thursday.



BILL ADVANCING TO CREATE CABINET JOB TO DEAL WITH FLOODING

Associated Press

A bill that would create a new cabinet-level position to address coastal flooding issues in Virginia has cleared an early hurdle. The measure from Sen. Lynwood Lewis, a Democrat, would create the position of Secretary for Coastal Protection and Flooding Adaptation. Lewis said Thursday that Hampton Roads is the second-largest population center threatened by sea level rise and the state needs a "one-stop shop" to consolidate efforts to deal with flood prevention.



VA. DEL KILGORE CALLS FOR PREDATORY LENDING STUDY

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Saying (once again) that something needs to be done to address the regular flow of predatory lending bills crossing his desk as chairman of the House Commerce and Labor Committee, Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, pulled his own proposal to crack down on Internet loans and called for lenders, consumer advocates and legislators to get together after the General Assembly session to work on a comprehensive reform.



GOP-LED PANEL VOTES DOWN MARSHALL'S TRANSGENDER BATHROOM BILL

By GRAHAM MOOMAW , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Virginia won’t be following North Carolina’s lead on transgender bathroom laws after a Republican-controlled House of Delegates subcommittee voted Thursday to kill one of the most controversial bills of the 2017 session. Sponsored by conservative Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, House Bill 1612 would have required schools and governments to keep bathrooms, locker rooms and showers strictly segregated by birth sex rather than gender identity or run the risk of being sued.



IN VIRGINIA, REPUBLICAN-LED COMMITTEE KILLS TRANSGENDER ‘BATHROOM BILL’

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post

A Virginia lawmaker blasted fellow Republicans as “disgusting” cowards Thursday for rejecting his bill to regulate the use of bathrooms and locker rooms in schools, highway rest stops and other government-owned buildings. “You campaign one way and come down here and kill things silently,” Del. Robert G. Marshall (Prince William) fumed at members of a GOP-controlled House subcommittee after they used an unrecorded voice vote to dispatch with his bill.



VIRGINIA TRANSGENDER BATHROOM BILL DISPATCHED QUICKLY

Associated Press

A North-Carolina-style transgender bathroom bill has died at the Virginia General Assembly. A Republican-controlled panel quickly dispatched the legislation Thursday without debate. Both Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republican leadership had voiced objections to the legislation, which was supported by one of the General Assembly's most outspoken conservative lawmakers.



HB2-LIKE BATHROOM BILL IN VIRGINIA DIES A QUICK DEATH IN COMMITTEE

By COLIN CAMPBELL, News & Observer

A Virginia legislator’s effort to pass a bill similar to North Carolina’s House Bill 2 was voted down in a legislative committee Thursday. Like HB2, the bill would have banned transgender people from using the bathroom of the gender they identify with while visiting government facilities. It would also have required public school principals to notify parents with 24 hours if a child requests to be recognized as a gender that does not correspond to their gender at birth – a provision that isn’t part of the North Carolina law.



BILL TO PROVIDE CLEAN NEEDLES TO DRUG USERS PASSES VA. HOUSE COMMITTEE

By KATIE DEMERIA, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

After some debate, a bill that could help mitigate some of the deadly side effects of Virginia’s raging opioid epidemic has made a step forward in the General Assembly. The House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee on Thursday referred to the House Appropriations Committee a bill that would legalize syringe-services programs in Virginia.



VIRGINIA BEACH, NORFOLK CONCERNED ABOUT BROADBAND INTERNET BILL IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

By JORDAN PASCALE AND STACY PARKER , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

The two largest cities in Hampton Roads are opposing a bill in the legislature that their leaders say would limit municipal control of their broadband infrastructure and maybe hamper their ability to bring faster internet speeds and lower prices to residents. Virginia Beach passed a resolution this week coming out against HB2108, known as the Virginia Broadband Deployment Act. Norfolk is scheduled to vote on a resolution rebuking it Tuesday.



DEL. KATHY BYRON'S BROADBAND BILL 'TOO RESTRICTIVE,' STATE OFFICIAL SAYS

By CARMEN FORMAN, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Del. Kathy Byron’s bill that could limit municipal broadband initiatives across Virginia is “too restrictive,” said a top official from the Center for Innovative Technology. While Byron, R-Bedford, has said much of her proposed legislation comes directly from CIT’s recommendations, the bill does not align with the organization’s best practices, said Sandie Terry, the vice president of broadband.



EBBIN WORKS BEHIND THE SCENES TO CUT A DEAL ON SEWER SYSTEM

By MICHAEL LEE POPE, Alexandria Gazette Packet

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30) has been working behind the scenes with Sen. Richard Stuart (R-28) to cut a deal that would save state funding for Alexandria, which could be at risk if the city fails to clean up its sewer system by 2020. Senators on both sides of the aisle have expressed frustration with Alexandria, which dumps more than 10 million gallons of raw sewage into the Potomac River each year. Ebbin outlined the compromise on a Facebook Live video for Connection Newspapers, explaining that the deal would involve the city committing to a deadline in exchange for keeping state funding.



ALEXANDRIA MAYOR BALKS AT STATE SENATE DEADLINE FOR STOPPING SEWAGE OVERFLOWS

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post

The Virginia Senate on Thursday voted to give the city of Alexandria almost eight years to stop its antiquated sewer system from sending raw sewage into the Potomac River, stepping back from a demand that the city act by 2020 or lose all state funding. The compromise, which must also pass the House of Delegates, was forged between Sens. Richard H. Stuart (R-Stafford) and Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria).



BILL TO BLOCK JURORS’ INFORMATION OPPOSED

By ONOFRIO CASTIGLIA , Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

A bill sponsored by 29th District Del. Chris Collins, R-Frederick County, is meant to prevent a defendant from gaining access to the personal information of jurors; it is being opposed by the Virginia Coalition for Open Government and the Virginia Press Association. Collins conceived of House Bill 1546 after a local convicted murderer, Christopher Lee Baker, obtained a list of jurors from his murder trial and sent some of them letters threatening to harm them if money was not deposited into his inmate account at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.



POLICE SHOOTING, BODY CAMERA BILLS GO DOWN

By TRAVIS FAIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A local effort to establish standard protocols for investigating officer-involved shootings died in subcommittee Thursday. So did bills to require body camera usage policies for law enforcement departments across the state. Del. Marcia "Cia" Price's bill on police shootings would have had the state develop a model policy for investigations and required more disclosures from commonwealth's attorneys involved in those investigations.



LOCAL PROSECUTOR BECOMES FIRST INDIAN-AMERICAN JUDGE ELECTED IN VIRGINIA

By BOB STUART, News Virginian

Rupen R. Shah, the veteran Chief Deputy Augusta County Commonwealth's Attorney, has been elected a district judge in the 25th Judicial District, according to a release from the local General Assembly delegation announcing the confirmation of the new judge. The Staunton resident becomes the first Indian-American judge elected in the commonwealth of Virginia. Shah's six-year term starts Feb. 1. Judge William C. Goodwin, also of Staunton, who has served as a district judge and as the presiding district judge in the 25th District, has been promoted to a circuit judgeship in the 25th Judicial Circuit, the release added. Goodwin was elected to an eight-year term, which also starts Feb. 1.



BAY-RELATED BILLS MULTIPLY AT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Rappahannock Record (Paywall)

Additional bills regarding the Chesapeake Bay and related fisheries have been introduced in the Virginia General Assembly, including a bill that would make it easier for a family member or employee of a waterman to enter the fishery. House Bill 1572, introduced by Del. Gordon C. Helsel Jr. of Poquoson, would direct the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) to grant a preference for an exception to the two-year delay in the effective date of registration as a commercial fisherman, according to Virginia’s Legislative Information System, lis.virginia.gov.



BILL INTRODUCED IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO PROTECT FREE SPEECH AT PUBLIC COLLEGES

By DANIEL HOERAUF, Cavalier Daily

A bill has been introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates to protect free speech on college campuses. Del. Steve Landes (R-Weyer’s Cave) introduced the relatively short bill, which protects the right of individuals to free speech at public universities.



NEWPORT NEWS POLICE SEEKS CLARITY: JUVENILE GUN RIGHTS VS. PARENT PERMISSION

By TRAVIS FAIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Newport News Police Department's take on a small section of state law brought a tricky question before the legislature Thursday: Can a 16-year-old have a gun in the house without his parents' permission? The city was seeking clarity on the issue via House Bill 2098, sponsored by Del. Marcia "Cia" Price, D-Newport News. The bill would have tweaked state code to make certain that minors must have permission to bring a gun into the home of their parent, grandparent or guardian.



ROANOKE LONG-GUN OPEN CARRY BAN FAILS IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

By CARMEN FORMAN, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

In a matter of two days, the Roanoke City Council’s goals of keeping firearms and ammunition out of council meetings and banning the open carrying of some long guns within city limits have both failed in the General Assembly. A bill from Del. Marcus Simon, D-Fairfax, to add Roanoke to a list of 13 Virginia localities that prohibit the open carrying of some loaded semiautomatic rifles or pistols with magazines that hold more than 20 rounds and high-capacity shotguns met a quick end in a General Assembly subcommittee Thursday.



LANDES BILL WOULD LET COUNTY MOVE COURTHOUSE

By GABE CAVALLARO , News Leader (Metered Pay Wall)

Augusta County voters’ loud-and-clear decision to keep the county courthouse where it is in Staunton could be completely undercut if a new bill passes in the Virginia General Assembly. Moving the courthouse out of downtown, even moving it all the way across the city to the Verona county border near the Augusta County Government Center, would be in play under the new legislation, introduced by Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, as it would allow for the courthouse to be moved anywhere within the city without authorization from the electorate.



SENATORS SKEPTICAL OF NEED FOR NEW VIRGINIA ABC WAREHOUSE

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

A proposal to replace Virginia’s central liquor warehouse in Richmond faces opposition from key members of the Senate Finance Committee who are skeptical about issuing $104.8 million in state debt to pay for it. Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-James City, who co-chairs the committee, told the top administrator of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control on Thursday morning to provide estimates of land and engineering costs to plan for a new facility before asking for money to build one.



SHUT MY MOUTH: BILL WOULD MAKE IT OK TO USE PROFANITY IN VIRGINIA

By JILL PALERMO, Fauquier Times

Well, shoot. Despite Del. Michael Webert’s efforts, swearing in public is still illegal in Virginia. More specifically, it’s a class 4 misdemeanor, punishable by a stinking $250 fine. Webert, a Republican whose 18th District includes Warrenton and much of Fauquier County, has been trying to kill the no-potty-mouth law since last year when it was tabled in committee. Last week, Webert’s House Bill 1978, which would rid the state code of language forbidding “profanely cursing or swearing in public” was back in action -- but only briefly.

State Elections


AN ECONOMY FOR EVERYONE: PERRIELLO LOOKS TO MAKE CHANGES IN RICHMOND

By BEN WILLIAMS, Martinsville Bulletin

Virginia’s economy may be growing, but that doesn’t mean everyone is benefitting. For gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello, that’s one of the key problems impacting the commonwealth. “Unfortunately, what we’ve seen in recent years under both Republican and Democratic administrations has been a whole lot of communities being left behind,” Perriello said. “... That economic inequality is not exclusive to areas like Martinsville and Henry County, Perriello said, which were hit hard by globalization and automation.

State Government


RICKY GRAY'S LAWYERS SAY HIS EXECUTION MAY HAVE VIOLATED THE CONSTITUTION

By GARY A. HARKI , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

The lawyers for Ricky Gray said there is “grave concern” that the procedure used to execute him Wednesday night violated the U.S. Constitution by causing him pain and suffering. The curtain that hid Gray from view while IVs were inserted in his arms was closed for 33 minutes – far longer than in a typical execution, the lawyers said in a statement Thursday. Gray was healthy and there was no reason for the delay, they said.



RICKY GRAY'S LEGAL TEAM RAISES 'GRAVE CONCERN' WITH EXECUTION PROCEDURE THAT TOOK MORE THAN 30 MINUTES

By FRANK GREEN , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

A delay in the execution of Ricky Javon Gray on Wednesday night was due to difficulty in placing the IV line in a vein, officials with the Virginia Department of Corrections said Thursday. Gray’s lawyers, however, questioned the department’s explanations.



RICKY GRAY’S EXECUTION TOOK MORE THAN 30 MINUTES. HIS ATTORNEYS WANT TO KNOW WHY.

By RACHEL WEINER, Washington Post

Attorneys for Virginia inmate Ricky Gray are asking why his execution Wednesday took more than half an hour and was not fully visible to observers. During his execution at Greensville Correctional Center for killing two young girls in a brutal 2006 home invasion, Gray was hidden from the view of witnesses for 33 minutes. According to the Virginia Department of Corrections, the delay was caused by difficulty inserting an intravenous line.



BUILDING WILL BEAR JOHNS’ NAME

By JORDAN MILES, Farmville Herald (Paywall)

A newly renovated state building located on Capitol Square in Richmond will bear the name of civil rights pioneer Barbara Rose Johns. The building, currently known as the 9th Street Office Building, which reopened last year, houses the Virginia Attorney General’s Office.



PERCENTAGE OF VIRGINIA SCHOOL DIVISIONS WITH HIGH-SPEED INTERNET ACCESS JUMPS OVER 25 PERCENT

By LOUIS LLOVIO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The percentage of Virginia school divisions that have access to high-speed internet grew to 72 percent last year, up from 46 percent in 2015, according to a national report. EducationSuperHighway’s State of the States report found Virginia to be among the five states that showed the most improvement last year, trailing only North Carolina, Delaware, Tennessee and Nevada.

Congress


KAINE SAYS HE OPPOSES PRICE FOR HEALTH SECRETARY, BACKS HALEY FOR U.N. AMBASSADOR

By PATRICK WILSON , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., says he opposes Donald Trump’s choice for health secretary, Georgia congressman Tom Price, but supports South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The failed vice presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket also said he has serious concerns about Trump’s pick for education secretary, the billionaire school-choice advocate Betsy DeVos of Michigan. Kaine’s committee assignments allowed him to question all three this week as the Senate moves toward confirming Trump’s Cabinet choices.



VA. CONGRESSMAN SCOTT WILL ATTEND INAUGURATION

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Newport News, though not a fan of Donald Trump will be attending the inauguration. While some 60 Democratic members of Congress say they aren't Scott notes that most of his colleagues will be there.

Economy/Business


HOUSE PANEL SAYS DOMINION CAN CHARGE CUSTOMERS FOR NUKE UPGRADES

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The multibillion-dollar cost of extending the life of Dominion Virginia Power's nuclear plants is on track to be part of the bills consumers pay, after a key House of Delegates committee voted to recommend it. Under current state law, it isn't absolutely clear if the cost of improvements needed to keep the company's two nuclear stations running past mid-century could be recovered, House Commerce and Labor Committee Chairman Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, told that committee shortly before it approved the measure.



REPORT: NO SAFETY ISSUES THAT WOULD PREVENT LICENSE FOR NORTH ANNA REACTOR

By ROBERT ZULLO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has concluded that there are “no safety aspects” that would prevent the issuance of a license for construction and operation of a third reactor at Dominion Virginia Power’s North Anna Power Station, a project opposed by both environmental and consumer groups.



IN TURNABOUT, VOLVO CANCELS WORKER LAYOFFS AT PULASKI COUNTY PLANT

By AMY FRIEDENBERGER, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

On Thursday, workers at the Volvo Trucks North American truck manufacturing plant in Pulaski County received good news: Their layoffs had been canceled. In December, Volvo announced it would eliminate 500 jobs on its second shift, effective Feb. 13, so it could adjust production to market demand. The company has since decided to keep its two shifts.



APPALACHIAN SEEKS PROPOSALS FOR LARGE-SCALE SOLAR POWER GENERATION

By DUNCAN ADAMS, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Appalachian Power, an electric utility long dependent on coal for the bulk of its power generation, seeks proposals that would add utility-scale solar energy to its portfolio. Appalachian, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, has issued a request for proposed projects that would provide up to 25 megawatts of solar generation from comparatively large installations of ground-mounted photovoltaics gear.



SOLAR FACILITY PROPOSED FOR GLOUCESTER

By BILL NACHMAN, Gazette-Journal

Strata Solar, LLC. has filed an application with Gloucester County to develop a solar energy facility on Route 14 near Toddsbury Lane. Strata will hold a public meeting to discuss its project at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Gloucester Library in Main Street Center. The Gloucester County Planning Commission is expected to hold a public hearing on Strata’s conditional use permit request on March 2 in the colonial courthouse. Strata has applied to build the solar facility on an approximately 203-acre site that it plans to lease



APPEALS COURT AFFIRMS CONVICTION OF COAL CEO

Associated Press

A federal appeals court affirmed the criminal conviction of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship on Thursday in connection with the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the concerns of coal industry associations that Blankenship’s conviction would set a new precedent putting many other coal executives at risk of being criminally prosecuted for common safety violations at their companies.



STUDY: IMPACT OF VIRGINIA'S WINE INDUSTRY GREW 83 PERCENT FROM 2010 TO 2015

By JOHN REID BLACKWELL, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Virginia’s wine industry had a $1.37 billion economic impact on the state in 2015, and the industry added sales, production, jobs and grape-bearing acres from 2010 to 2015, according to a new study released Thursday. The study, commissioned by the Virginia Wine Board and completed by accounting and consulting firm Frank, Rimmerman + Co., says the economic impact of the wine industry grew 83 percent from $747 million in 2010, when the last impact study was conducted.



SEAL TEAM SIX IS BACK ON TV, BUT SHOW DIDN'T FILM IN VIRGINIA BEACH

By BROCK VERGAKIS , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

A new History Channel drama series debuted Wednesday that focuses on the military's most famous secretive unit: the Navy's SEAL Team Six. But viewers of "Six" shouldn't expect to see many local landmarks. Producers chose to film the series primarily in and around Wilmington, N.C., instead of Virginia Beach, where the unit that killed Osama bin Laden is based. ... The decision frustrates the Virginia film industry, which says it's having difficulty competing with North Carolina and other states because they offer more generous financial incentives than Virginia does.

Transportation


460 PROJECT LIKELY DEAD

By TRACY AGNEW, Suffolk News Herald

Opponents of the U.S. Route 460 project are celebrating the project’s apparent demise after it failed to score high enough in a state prioritization program to receive funding. The project scored about a 0.5 in the state’s new Smart Scale program, which scores projects based on how they are expected to improve congestion mitigation, safety, economic development and other factors. It scored so low that it fell behind 13 other projects in the Hampton Roads area that scored higher but also failed to receive funding, which went to even more highly scored projects.

Virginia Other


FIGHT ON FRACKING CONTINUES

Westmoreland News

After almost two years of work by the Westmoreland Planning Commission to restrict gas and oil drilling in Westmoreland County, the proposed new regulations have come before the Board of Supervisors. The board will review the proposed regulations and hold public hearings before voting on the matter. Throughout the last two years Westmoreland Planning Commission, in response to resident concerns over fracking, has worked to create regulations to restrict drilling for oil and gas.



ANOTHER HOTTEST YEAR ON RECORD, WITH HAMPTON ROADS IN THE CROSSHAIRS

By TAMARA DIETRICH, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

It's official — the planet is still running a fever, and it's only getting worse. For the third year in a row, federal climate scientists have declared the hottest year on record as the average global temperature for 2016 ranked the highest since record-keeping began in 1880. And it's a trend they say will continue, largely because of greenhouse gases produced by human activities. This doesn't bode well for coastal areas like Hampton Roads, which is already in the crosshairs of a rising sea, increasing episodes of flooding and tidal surges and the stronger hurricanes fueled by climate change.



PILOT AND PROPUBLICA SUE VA TO GET AGENT ORANGE CORRESPONDENCE

By ROBIN FIELDS , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

The Virginian-Pilot and ProPublica filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, accusing the agency of stonewalling requests for documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The lawsuit, ProPublica’s second against the VA in two months, seeks a preliminary injunction compelling the government to immediately release correspondence about Agent Orange, an herbicide used to kill vegetation during the Vietnam War.



FALWELL, GARRETT TO ATTEND TRUMP INAUGURATION; LU PRAISE CHOIR TO PERFORM AT PRAYER SERVICE

By ALEX ROHR, RACHEL MAHONEY AND AMY TRENT, News & Advance

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., his family and Rep. Tom Garrett Jr., R-5th District, are among those from the Lynchburg area planning to attend Friday’s inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. “I think it’s just a historic event, and I went to a couple of inaugurations in the ’80s and ’90s, and it’s just something you never forget, and it’s just a great day for our nation,” Falwell said Wednesday.



THRONGS OF LOCALS HEADED TO D.C. WOMEN’S MARCH

By DEAN SEAL, Daily Progress

Following an unprecedented election season and its divisive outcome, hundreds of thousands of people — including a colossal contingent from Charlottesville — are flocking to Washington this weekend to stand in solidarity and declare that “women’s rights are human rights.” That’s the mission statement of the Women’s March on Washington, a grassroots movement that has brought women and men from all over the country to storm the streets of Washington on Saturday, one day after the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Local


HENS SENT BACK TO PLANNERS

By TRACY AGNEW, Suffolk News Herald

Suffolk City Council voted during its meeting this week to move the issue of backyard hens forward, but several members said they have major concerns. ...The motion to direct planners to draft a proposed ordinance passed 7-1, with Councilman Don Goldberg in opposition. He said he had received clear direction from his constituents that they did not want chickens.



RICHMOND MAYOR LEVAR STONEY APPOINTS FORMER MAYORAL CANDIDATE JON BALILES TO POLICY POST

By NED OLIVER , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced Thursday that he’s appointed former West End Councilman Jon Baliles to serve as senior policy adviser for innovation in his administration. In last year’s mayoral contest, Baliles ran against Stoney before dropping out of the race and endorsing him in the final week before Election Day.



DEVELOPERS SUE PORTSMOUTH FOR $25 MILLION, CLAIMING CITY CONSPIRED AGAINST THEM

By SCOTT DAUGHERTY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Following through on a threat from last year, the businessmen behind a long-stalled mixed-use development is suing the city for more than $25 million. The developers of The Commons at Portsmouth Center – also known as Victory Village – claim the city conspired against them as they tried over eight years to build a 5-acre project off Victory Boulevard. They acknowledged that the recession played a role in the development’s many delays but argued city staff “acted deliberately” to prevent them from succeeding.



SUFFOLK CITY COUNCIL VOTES TO LET PLANNERS DRAFT AN ORDINANCE ON BACKYARD HENS

By VICTORIA BOURNE , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

There was a lot of clucking, but City Council ultimately gave the green light for the drafting of an ordinance that could allow chickens in more areas of the city. “Council knows how I feel,” Councilman Tim Johnson, an early advocate for the backyard hen movement in Suffolk, said prior to the decision. “This is something that’s going to make our city better. ... It’s going to make more people want to come here.”



SCHOOL BOARD’S OPEN-RECORDS REQUEST PROVOKES SUPERVISORS

By CASEY FABRIS, Franklin News-Post

At least three Franklin County school board members were surprised to learn that the school division had sent an information request to the board of supervisors under the state open-records law, which they viewed as an adversarial move. School Board Chairman G.B. Washburn directed District Superintendent Mark Church in December to send a request under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act for requirements documents and feasibility studies for other county projects. ... Not all board members were aware that the request had been made. Some supervisors were upset by the request.


Today's Sponsor:

Virginia Transit Association

Saluting public transit - For every $1 invested, $4 in economic returns. Our Future is Riding on It! @VaTransitAssoc Vatransit.com

Editorials


ABOUT THAT FUND — WHAT'S AHEAD FOR U.VA.

Daily News Record Editorial (Subscription Required)

We commented on this page many times last year about the fiscal controversies across the mountain at the University of Virginia. Ironically, it was not a lack of funds that created the ruckus, but rather a surplus. Last year, it came to light that U.Va. had amassed a war chest of some $2 billion in extra money aside from its $6 billion endowment. As The Washington Post reported last summer, “The University of Virginia has spent the past decade building an investment fund that now totals $2.2 billion, a pile of money so large that officials say it could finance the entire school and medical center for nine months.



ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TURNS PARTISAN

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe was trying to defend his administration from a questionable line of attack by Republicans when he said the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s “problems have persisted over the terms of five previous governors and 21 General Assembly sessions.” Some defense: “They’re no good either” is hardly an exoneration. If McAuliffe’s statement is accurate, it amounts to an indictment of the culture of governance in state government generally.



FOR $1 BILLION, CITIZENS SHOULD EXPECT ACCOUNTABILITY FROM LOUDOUN COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Loudoun Times Editorial

It’s budget season and the timing couldn’t be worse for Loudoun County Public Schools. The school district shrugs off criticism with a protectionist approach to its problems. It rejects anti-discrimination policies addressing vulnerable minorities, students and employees alike. It thumbs it’s nose at recommendations from Virginia’s attorney general, the ACLU and community leaders (see letter below). And it ignores the same anti-discrimination policies that have been adopted by other school districts in Virginia, including neighboring Fairfax County.

Columnists


DOUGHERTY: THE SOUR GRAPES FLEE CAPITOL HILL

By KERRY DOUGHERTY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

As a growing number of congressmen and women declare – with much fanfare – that they plan to boycott today’s presidential inauguration, an old saying comes to mind: Dogs bark, but the caravan rolls on. I am not saying that 60-plus Democratic members of Congress are dogs. Don’t be so literal. I am saying that they are making a lot of noise but will change nothing. ... according to news reports, three of Virginia’s four Democrats in Congress are planning to sit out this event: Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly and Donald McEachin. They have every right to stay home. But their behavior is churlish. Rep. Bobby Scott plans to attend, despite numerous disagreements with Trump. Good for him.

The Friday Read


WHEN THE NATIONAL BIRD IS A BURDEN

By WYATT WILLIAMS, New York Times

...In a letter to his daughter, Benjamin Franklin wrote: “I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly.” But the first time Will Harris saw a bald eagle on his farm, six years ago, Franklin’s lesson was one he had not yet learned.

From vpap.org


VISUALIZATION: IS EARLY MONEY A PREDICTOR OF FUTURE SUCCESS?

The Virginia Public Access Project

Does raising a lot of money in the year before the election mean success for statewide candidates? VPAP's latest visualization shows that early money -- at least for candidates for Lt. Governor and Attorney General -- is not always an indicator of future success. Of the eight top-raisers at this point from 2001 through 2013, only two won office the following November -- and five didn't even get as far as their party's nomination.