VaNews

Monday August 29, 2016

Compiled by Ray Reed


Executive Branch

MCAULIFFE: ‘TOUGH DECISIONS AHEAD’ AS $1.5B SHORTFALL LOOMS

By ALANNA DURKIN RICHER, Associated Press

Gov. Terry Mc-Auliffe warned Virginia lawmakers Friday to brace for “tough decisions ahead” to address a roughly $1.5 billion budget shortfall driven largely by lower-than-expected income and sales tax collections. The state will help fill the gap with about $125 million that was supposed to cover a pay boost for state employees, teachers and other state-supported workers, the Democratic governor said. He proposed using another roughly $378 million from the state’s rainy-day fund, but the Republican-controlled General Assembly would have to approve that


MCAULIFFE ANNOUNCES NEARLY $1.5 BILLION REVENUE SHORTFALL, SAYS STATE WILL PULL FROM EMPLOYEE RAISES

By PATRICK WILSON, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Virginia will draw from planned employee raises and its rainy day fund to help close an estimated $1.5 billion budget shortfall in the two-year budget, Gov. Terry McAuliffe told lawmakers Friday. Recent job gains have been in lower-paying positions, McAuliffe said, contributing to a lack of sales and income tax revenue. Revised numbers for fiscal 2017 reduce revenue by about $564 million, McAuliffe told members of the General Assembly’s money committees.


MCAULIFFE SEES MEDICAID EXPANSION, RAINY-DAY FUND AS FIX FOR $1.5 BILLION BUDGET HOLE

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post

Gov. Terry McAuliffe suggested tapping the state’s rainy day fund and accepting more federal Medicaid money on Friday as a way to patch the state’s $1.5 billion budget hole. McAuliffe (D) formally informed legislators of the budget shortfall, the result of lower-than-expected revenue from payroll and sales taxes, at a meeting of House and Senate money committees on Capitol Square.


VALLEY LAWMAKERS BLAME LOWER-PAYING JOBS FOR $1.5B BUDGET HOLE

By TONY BROWN, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

Four state lawmakers from the Valley reacted similarly to Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s announcement Friday that Virginia faces a revenue shortfall of $1.5 billion. McAuliffe announced in July that the state closed the 2016 fiscal year on June 30 down an estimated $266 million in revenue. The picture came into sharper focus this week and was closer to $280 million.

General Assembly

THE MONEY FLOODS IN WHEN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY GATHERS

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

On the very day the General Assembly was gaveled into session this year, triggering the only limit on what legislators can accept for their campaign funds, Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw topped up his own fund with $5,000 from Anderson Financial, a car title lender. The prominent Richmond law firm Allen, Allen, Allen and Allen dropped $2,500 on him as well. Those donations were among the more than $227,000 legislators reported receiving over the past five years during the days they were actively considering bills, many of which affected donors, a Daily Press review of more than 100,000 donations found.


U.VA. OFFICIALS DEFEND $2.2B FUND BEFORE GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS

By SARAH KLEINER , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The University of Virginia’s top administrators on Friday staunchly defended $2.2 billion they have stockpiled for strategic investments while acknowledging they could have been more transparent about the existence and purpose of the money. In a joint General Assembly committee meeting, U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said the money prevents tuition increases as well as requests for more state funds to pay for projects that enhance the university.


STATE AUDITORS: UVA DID NOT CREATE A 'SLUSH FUND'

By DEREK QUIZON, Daily Progress

State auditors have cleared the University of Virginia of accusations of creating an alleged $2 billion-plus “slush fund.” Officials from the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts presented their findings before members of a joint committee of the General Assembly on Friday morning. “I did not see anything that would indicate a slush fund of any kind,” said Eric M. Sandridge, who led an audit of the university’s Strategic Investment Fund.


A DEBATE OVER U-VA.’S INVESTMENT FUND, AND THE UNIVERSITY’S ROLE IN VIRGINIA

By NICK ANDERSON AND SUSAN SVRLUGA, Washington Post

The leader of the University of Virginia’s governing board told lawmakers Friday that he does not foresee major tuition increases in the near future and indicated that the school is open to discussions about making room for more students from within the state. The remarks from William Goodwin Jr., U-Va.’s rector, came at a legislative hearing called to scrutinize a controversial $2.2 billion investment fund that the university created this year from operating reserves amassed during the past decade.


U.VA. RECTOR ATTACKS FOIA COUNCIL, DEFENDS CLOSED MEETING ON $2.3 BILLION FUND

By PATRICK WILSON , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Saying the controversy over a $2.3 billion fund at the University of Virginia depressed him, defiant Board of Visitors Rector Bill Goodwin told lawmakers Friday they should “put some parameters” on the state’s Freedom of Information Advisory Council following an opinion he disagreed with. Goodwin made his comments to lawmakers during a broader hearing on the university’s controversial Strategic Investment Fund, which an auditor’s review found to be proper and which the university says will be an important tool for spending on a variety of things to enhance the school.


AFTER HEARING OVER $2.2B FUND, QUESTIONS ON OPENNESS LINGER FOR UVA

By DEREK QUIZON, Daily Progress

Last week, state auditors found that the University of Virginia was not keeping a $2.2 billion “slush fund,” as alleged by former Rector Helen E. Dragas. But the auditors did not weigh in on whether U.Va. violated open meetings law by discussing the fund in executive session. During a hearing at the General Assembly in Richmond on Friday, current Rector William H. Goodwin Jr. recounted the board of visitors’ June closed-door meeting, giving a different version of events from the one presented by Dragas — which formed the basis of a negative opinion from the state Freedom of Information Advisory Council.

McDonnell Case

PROSECUTORS WANT UNTIL SEPT. 19 TO DECIDE WHETHER TO RETRY MCDONNELL

By RACHEL WEINER AND MATT ZAPOTOSKY, Washington Post

Federal prosecutors have asked for three more weeks to decide whether they will pursue the public corruption case against former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, saying in a court filing that Justice Department officials are still debating how to proceed.


LAWYERS ASK APPEALS COURT FOR THREE MORE WEEKS IN BOB MCDONNELL'S CASE

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

Lawyers for former Gov. Bob McDonnell and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are asking the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for three more weeks so that the U.S. Justice Department can further consider its next steps. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed McDonnell’s 11 corruption convictions, sending the case back to the appeals court to see if there was sufficient evidence for a possible retrial.

State Elections

SEN. FRANK WAGNER FROM VIRGINIA BEACH ANNOUNCES RUN FOR GOP NOMINATION FOR GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA

By PATRICK WILSON , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Virginia Beach Sen. Frank Wagner said Sunday he’s seeking the GOP nomination for governor, making him the only state lawmaker seeking the nomination as well as the only candidate from Hampton Roads. Wagner said he’s been considering a run for about a year, and decided he’d do so if the state GOP opted for a primary in 2017 instead of a convention.


VALLEY REPUBLICANS HOST STATE OFFICE CANDIDATES

By TONY BROWN, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

Sliced barbecue, slaw, veggie burgers and heaps of good old-fashioned politicking were on the menu at Saturday’s local Republican Party BBQ Fundraiser as statewide, districtwide and local GOP office seekers roused a crowd of about 185 for the national ticket.


VIRGINIA REPUBLICANS OPT FOR PRIMARY NOMINATION IN 2017

By TREVOR BARATKO, Loudoun Times

The Republican Party of Virginia's State Central Committee voted 41-40 today to select the party's 2017 candidates by a primary, a shift from recent gubernatorial elections. Ed Gillespie, who visited Loudoun County earlier this week, is considered the front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor. Also seeking the GOP nod is Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and Virginia campaign chair for Donald Trump's campaign, and U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman


IN ESTABLISHMENT-FRIENDLY FLIP, VA. GOP PICKS PRIMARY OVER CONVENTION FOR 2017

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post

Virginia Republicans will pick their 2017 nominees for governor and other statewide offices in a primary instead of a convention, the party decided Saturday in an about-face that infuriated some grass-roots activists and could have an impact on the presidential election. The decision was made in a 41-to-40 vote after a passionate, hour-long debate and a surprise appearance by vice-presidential contender Mike Pence, who stressed the critical role Virginia will play in November’s election but did not weigh in on the convention-vs.-primary question.


VA. GOP VOTES TO SWITCH FROM CONVENTION TO PRIMARY TO NOMINATE 2017 CANDIDATES

By JIM NOLAN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

By the slimmest of margins, leaders of the Republican Party of Virginia on Saturday voted to select their 2017 statewide candidates in a primary rather than at a convention — a nominating change that could have significant implications for a host of Republicans planning runs for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Federal Elections

KAINE'S WIFE, ANNE HOLTON, NO STRANGER TO POLITICAL STAGE

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Anne Holton first stepped into the spotlight in 1970 as a white student enrolling in a predominantly black middle school in Virginia's capital as part of a push for school integration by her father, the state's governor at the time. Decades later she's stepping onto an even bigger stage as she works to get Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Holton's husband, vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, elected to the White House. A vivacious Harvard Law graduate, former judge and former state secretary of education, Holton has begun campaigning solo for Clinton.


GUESS WHO'S COMING TO BREAKFAST? GOP VP NOMINEE, GOV. MIKE PENCE STOPS BY MILLIE'S DINER IN RICHMOND

By GUESS WHO'S COMING TO BREAKFAST? GOP VP NOMINEE, GOV. MIKE PENCE STOPS BY MILLIE'S DINER IN RICHMOND, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

When Dawn Klopf first saw the TV cameras outside Millie's Diner, the weekend brunch destination on East Main Street in Richmond, she thought it might be the Food Network. "But when you see the Secret Service show up, you know it's one of four different people," the Richmond resident said Saturday morning.


TRUMP IS 'FINISHING OUT HIS THINKING' ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, BUT 'HE MEANS BUSINESS'

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

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said Saturday that Donald Trump’s developing position on immigration will be clarified in the coming weeks but will be “completely consistent” with Trump’s prior statements on a key issue for his campaign. “It’s a classic CEO process that I see up close and personal with him all the time. What you see as he’s finishing out his thinking on this is just listening to a lot of people and hearing from a lot of people,” the Indiana governor said during a 30-minute discussion with the Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial board.


VP NOMINEE PENCE VISITS LOUDOUN COUNTY, SAYS TRUMP IS A UNITER

By TREVOR BARATKO, Loudoun Times

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence made a series of bold declarations during a Loudoun County rally Saturday, saying Donald Trump, if elected president, will rid the world of ISIS, repeal Obamacare and issue a moratorium on any new federal regulations. Trump is “a genuine article,” Pence said, “a doer in a game usually reserved for talkers … he will make America great again.” The veep candidate and Indiana governor, speaking at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, said the GOP campaign is fighting a “two-on-one” battle against both Democrats and the media.


VP DEBATE PREP ACCELERATES

By JORDAN MILES, Farmville Herald (Paywall)

Both the town of Farmville and Longwood University are quickly gearing up for the vice presidential debate at the university set for Tuesday, Oct. 4 — only five weeks away.

State Government

JUDGE ORDERS GRAND JURY PROBE OF ROCKBRIDGE SOCIAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT

By LAURENCE HAMMACK, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

A judge has directed a special grand jury to investigate Rockbridge County’s social services department, already accused in an internal review of disregarding reports of child abuse and neglect. An order signed Wednesday by Rockbridge County Circuit Judge Anita Filson sets the first meeting of the panel for Sept. 28.


REPORTS DETAIL REASONS WHY EASTERN STATE LOST ITS MEDICARE FUNDING

By THERESA CLIFT, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Lax record-keeping, low staffing levels and an allowance for patients to skip activities were among the main issues that cost Eastern State Hospital in James City County its Medicare funding this spring, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that administers Medicare. Efforts are underway to improve services at the facility, rather than imposing "quick fixes," said Daniel Herr, assistant commissioner for behavioral health services for the state's Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, or DBHDS, the agency that oversees the hospital.


CVTC STAFFING SHORTAGE ACCELERATES TIMELINE FOR PATIENT TRANSFERS

By ALEX ROHR, News & Advance

An inability to replace nursing staff has pushed forward the timeline for transferring Central Virginia Training Center’s patients with the most severe disabilities, Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services staff said Friday. DBHDS will reclassify 42 beds at the Madison Heights facility from “skilled nursing” to “intermediate” care as part of a phase-out to close the facility by 2020, meaning those with the most severe disabilities must move for adequate care by the year’s end.

Economy/Business

COAL-ASH CONCERNS IN N.VA.

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

Running about 3 miles east from U.S. 1 along the lush, bucolic bank of Quantico Creek, Possum Point Road more resembles a remote country byway on the Northern Neck than a two-lane blacktop about 33 miles from the White House. That convenient combination of quiet, waterside living and quick access to the hustle and bustle of Northern Virginia convinced Dan Marrow, who runs a custom hot-rod shop in Woodbridge, and his wife, Patricia, to settle down here more than two decades ago to raise their son and two daughters.


VIRGINIA'S FREE CLINICS 'REALLY STRUGGLING' IN THE FACE OF GROWING HURDLES

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

Anna Griswold was about 20 years old when she began looking for medical services. Certain she was not male, the gender she was assigned at birth, she was looking for both a therapist familiar with transgender issues and someone who could start her on the appropriate hormone therapy. ... But then a friend introduced her to the Fan Free Clinic — now known as Health Brigade — where she could find a therapist, the hormones she needed and a community. She still goes there today.


SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA HEALTH AUTHORITY DEEMS MERGER APPLICATION COMPLETE

By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier

Friday’s affirmative vote by the Southwest Virginia Health Authority is the first formal step for the proposed merger of two area health care systems. The authority board voted unanimously to deem complete a cooperative agreement application submitted by Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System.


CLOUD COMPUTING BRINGS SPRAWLING CENTERS, BUT FEW JOBS, TO SMALL TOWNS

By QUENTIN HARDY, New York Times

A giant Microsoft facility just outside this very small town hides behind a quarter-mile berm and a guard house, across the highway from the rubble of a demolished prison. Behind the berm, six unmarked hangars each hold tens of thousands of computer servers. Microsoft has cleared enough scrub trees and vines for at least 15 of these buildings, and six more are already under construction. One thing there isn’t much of at this Microsoft complex, one single computer data center, is long-term work.

Transportation

MWAA BOARD MEMBERS STILL TRAVEL, BUT DO IT LESS LAVISHLY

By LORI ARATANI, Washington Post

Board members of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, a group once known for first-class travel, junkets to exotic locations and expensive dining, have embraced frugality. A review of expense reports from 2015 found that the 17-member panel spent just over $32,000 on board-related travel and business — less than half of its $80,000 budget last year.


APPALACHIAN POWER’S NEWLY PLANNED TRANSMISSION LINE COULD ADVERSELY AFFECT VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS AIRPORT

By DAMEAN MATHEWS, Bristol Herald Courier

Plans for Appalachian Power’s new transmission line in Washington County could negatively impact operations of nearby Virginia Highlands Airport. John White, chairman of the Virginia Highlands Airport Commission, says the project could bring the 138-kilovolt line directly into the flight path of the airport

Higher Education

LIBERTY UNIVERSITY POSTS DETAILS OF NEW GUN POLICY

By JESSIE POUNDS, News & Advance

Ahead of the start of classes Monday, Liberty University has posted online the details of its new policy allowing students who are concealed-carry permit holders with permission to carry on campus to have guns in dormitories. It’s the latest in a series of policy changes over the past five years at Liberty to allow greater freedom to carry on campus.

Virginia Other

NEW VETERANS CARE CENTER PLANNED FOR VIRGINIA BEACH WILL BE THE FIRST OF ITS KIND IN HAMPTON ROADS

By MARY BETH GAHAN , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

In 2014, Del. Chris Stolle presented a plan to council members to bring a long-term nursing care center for veterans to Virginia Beach. All they had to do, he said, was support it by providing land. The council voted a few months later to set aside up to 25 acres for the project. It was an important step in the process of bringing the facility to Hampton Roads, Stolle said Friday. It certainly wasn’t the last one.


HAMPTON LOSES OUT ON VET CENTER

By HUGH LESSIG, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Hampton's bid to host a long-term nursing care center for area veterans fell short Friday, as Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the state had selected a site in Virginia Beach. But it wasn't for lack of trying, a key Hampton official said. The city proposed three different locations, and reportedly lost a close competition.


NEW VETERANS CARE CENTER TO BE BUILT ON 24 ACRES IN VIRGINIA BEACH

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

With land donated by the city of Virginia Beach, work on a 120-bed nursing home for veterans in Hampton Roads is set to begin in late 2017 and be completed by late 2019. Planning for the veterans care center in Hampton Roads — along with an identical facility in Fauquier County with the same construction timeline — began during the 2015 General Assembly session, according to a news release from Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office.


ANTI-ADDICTION DRUG SUBOXONE ABUSED IN SW VA.

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

As he pulls into the gas station on a rural road in Coeburn, the undercover officer spots the drug deal before it even happens. “I buy a lot of dope here,” he says. ... At this same gas station, a dealer once tried to have a 12-year-old boy sell pills to the officer’s informant.

Local

PETERSBURG DEBT RATING DOWNGRADED

By MICHAEL BUETTNER, Progress Index (Metered paywall - 5 free articles a month)

Petersburg's debt rating has been downgraded three levels by the Standard & Poor's credit-rating agency because of the city's ongoing cash flow problems. The rating on the city's general obligation bonds was cut from BBB to BB, with a negative outlook – meaning the rating could be lowered further if the city fails to obtain a short-term loan soon.


VIRGINIA STATE BAR: MORRISSEY FOUGHT SEX SCANDAL WITH 'KNOWINGLY FALSE' DEFENSE

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

Virginia State Bar investigators say they can prove that Richmond mayoral candidate Joseph D. Morrissey presented a “false and knowingly false” defense in 2014 against charges that he had sex with a 17-year-old receptionist working in his law office


BUDGET PROBLEMS PUT PETERSBURG'S MUSEUMS UNDER SIEGE

By MARKUS SCHMIDT, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

PETERSBURG — At $7.82 an hour, working part time at one of Petersburg’s museums isn’t just a job, it’s a calling. “We’re here because we want to be able to inspire, educate, inform the public and make a difference,” said Rose Baker, a tour guide at the historic Blandford Church and Cemetery. “You’ve really got to love what you do.”


CAROLINE STRUGGLES WITH LACK OF BROADBAND ACCESS

By VANESSA REMMERS, Free Lance-Star

In an age when elementary school students are Googling to complete their homework, some Caroline County residents still access the internet by setting up cellular wireless “hot spot” clouds that eat up their cellphone’s data plan. Others rely on satellites that come with download delays. Whole chunks of the county remain without access to reliable, high-speed internet. And it could be years before the broadband service that some now consider as important as electricity spreads into more Caroline County homes.


Editorials

SENSIBLE WAY TO INVESTIGATE PRISON DEATH

Daily Progress Editorial

Who has the authority to investigate jail deaths such as the horrifying case of the prisoner who starved to death in Hampton Roads? State lawmakers serving on a subcommittee that is evaluating the state’s system of mental health care are confronted with the chilling possibility that no one has sufficient authority to conduct such investigations.


TROUBLE (AGAIN) ON THE STATE BUDGET

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Word slipped out of Richmond this week that the state budget has issues. Again. Two years ago, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the General Assembly worked their way through a $2.4 billion revenue shortfall, driven primarily by a decline in non-withholding income taxes on investment gains. Not this time. This time scratch the “non.”


THE PROMISE OF GO VIRGINIA

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

The ramp-up of “Go Virginia” continues apace. That was made abundantly evident as a load of smart, experienced people, nearly stymied on Virginia’s mediocre economic growth in recent years, gathered at the College of William & Mary last week to hear voices of hope and revival. The story bears familiar details: A long-reliable spring of joy – the federal government – appears considerably less reliable; no one expects that circumstance to change; and we better get on our collective horse and figure this thing out.


TWO MYTHS DEBUNKED

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Some say we live in a post-factual age, where even facts are optional when forming an opinion. We tend to be more old-fashioned, and so stubbornly believe that facts still matter. Click here! With that backdrop, let’s spend today debunking some popular myths we’ve come across.


INMATE DEATH PROMPTS BELL TO SEEK ACTION

Culpeper Star Exponent Editorial (Modified Pay Wall)

Del. Robert B. Bell is back in the forefront of mental health reform, following the death last year of a mentally ill inmate in Hampton Roads and the subsequent discovery that few safeguards were in place to protect him. Not only was he allowed to starve to death in the Hampton Roads Regional Jail, but follow-up investigations never uncovered a definitive answer as to why. No one seemed to have the authority to really dig into the case.


THE BUZZ OVER HEMP

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

We’re tromping across a farm in the Whitethorne section of Montgomery County. Out past the sheep pasture, past the grain bins, past the corn field … whoa, wait, is that a field of marijuana? Are they really growing cannabis here, right out in the open? No. And yes.


A WELCOME TREND IN RICHMOND'S HALLS OF POWER

News & Advance Editorial

Perhaps, the message has gotten through to, the lesson learned by, members of the Virginia General Assembly. Perhaps. The message and lesson in question are that Virginians do not want even a whiff or mere appearance of impropriety surrounding their elected leaders, especially in the wake of the 2013 Giftgate scandal that forever tarnished the once-sterling reputation of former Gov. Bob McDonnell.


GOP VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE MIKE PENCE VISITS RTD EDITORIAL OFFICES

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

Saturday morning Mike Pence, the GOP vice presidential nominee, visited the Editorial offices of The Times-Dispatch. An encounter of this nature would not have occurred for several decades. Virginia ranked among the first states to break from the Solid (Democratic) South. The commonwealth liked Ike in 1952 and, with the exception of 1964, did not vote for the Democratic presidential ticket from then until 2008. Barack Obama broke the trend and carried Virginia twice.


MARY BALDWIN CELEBRATES 175 YEARS OF HIGHER ED

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

Higher education in Virginia dates to Colonial times. William and Mary is the second oldest college in the United States; Harvard opened first. Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, which boasts the nation’s most celebrated academic patrimony. ... Today The Times-Dispatch salutes Mary Baldwin.


LIGHT REPLACES HEAT AT U.VA.

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Friday was a good day for the University of Virginia, the General Assembly and what constitutes democracy around here. Quickly on the last: In a functioning democracy — the character and nature of public discourse, meaning the actual manner in which we exchange views and resolve differences — shapes and determines outcomes. It matters how you get there. It matters how you say what you say. It matters whether you act with goodwill or simply chuck a brick.


POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS SWING INTO HIGH GEAR

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

Labor Day has not arrived but the political campaigns have shifted into high gear. Mike Pence, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee, will be campaigning in Virginia this weekend. ... Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee, will meet with the Editorial Board on Monday, Aug. 29. ... Unless breaking news interrupts the schedule, The Times-Dispatch intends to endorse a national ticket on Sunday, Sept. 4. Stay tuned.

Columnists

SCHAPIRO: AS BASKET CASES GO, PETERSBURG DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A BASKET

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Petersburg is fighting the Second Battle of the Crater. With a $19 million hole in its books, its credit rating collapsing and tax base caving, Petersburg is the fiscal equivalent of the battlefield that transformed the city into a blood-soaked symbol of despair in the closing days of the Civil War.


RESS: RESTORING FELONS' VOTING RIGHTS WASN'T ALWAYS SO CONTROVERSIAL

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

Now that Gov. Terry McAuliffe has restored rights – including the right to vote – of some 13,000 ex-felons, you have to wonder what will happen to the idea of ending Virginia’s ban on ex-felon voting. While his blanket order restoring rights to 206,000 outraged General Assembly leaders, it’s worth remembering that in 2013 a majority of the state Senate, including 10 Republicans, along with then-Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, supported a proposal to amend the state Constitution to say “a person convicted of a nonviolent felony who has completed service of his sentence and paid in full any restitution, fines, costs, and fees assessed against him shall be qualified to vote


CHESLEY: CLINTON LIKELY TO WIN VA., BUT BY 16 POINTS?

By ROGER CHESLEY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

If Hillary Clinton defeats Donald Trump in Virginia this fall by 16 points, as one poll indicated this week, she would dwarf the margin Barack Obama garnered over John McCain in 2008. That’s when the wildly popular then-senator won his first term for president. Let that sink in for a moment: Opponents have derided Clinton as evasive, a liar, someone willing to sell her influence. Those were criticisms Obama didn’t face as he tried to turn Virginia blue eight years ago. The issue arises after the release of a poll by Roanoke College’s Institute for Policy and Opinion Research.

Op-Ed

WALSH: GOV. MCAULIFFE’S INTEMPERATE ATTACKS ON THE SUPREME COURT OF VIRGINIA

By KEVIN C. WALSH, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Unfair attacks on judges by frustrated executives are an unfortunate aspect of Virginia’s history. Chief Justice John Marshall, for example, was a favorite target of fellow Virginian Thomas Jefferson, who fumed over the “twistifications” of Marshall’s unanimous opinion for the Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison and Marshall’s conduct of Aaron Burr’s treason trial.

Kevin C. Walsh is professor of law at the University of Richmond School of Law.


HULBERT: STRATEGIC INVESTMENT: A SMART ENDEAVOR FOR UVA, COMMUNITY

By TIMOTHY HULBERT, Published in the Daily Progress

...The stewards, past and present, of Mr. Jefferson’s great educational innovation have striven to, and have achieved, a level of excellence beyond even their highest goals. Today’s stewards show great vision about what the next strides forward need to be. No university can rest on its achievements; it must always look ahead to further horizons. Modern universities must have the vision and adeptness of any successful modern enterprise, including businesses.

Timothy Hulbert is president of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce.


WHITEHEAD: IF VOTING MADE ANY DIFFERENCE, THEY WOULDN’T LET US DO IT

By JOHN W. WHITEHEAD, Published in the Daily Progress

The American people are being guilted, bullied, pressured, cajoled, intimidated, terrorized and browbeaten into voting. We’re constantly told to vote because it’s our so-called civic duty, because we have no right to complain about the government unless we vote, because every vote counts, because we must present a unified front, because the future of the nation depends on it, because God compels us to do so, because by not voting we are in fact voting, because the “other” candidate must be defeated at all costs, or because the future of the Supreme Court rests in the balance.

John W. Whitehead is president and founder of the Albemarle County-based Rutherford Institute, a civil-liberties organization.


WALLMEYER: THE EXTREMES OF VIRGINIA, PART 1

By AUGUST WALLMEYER, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Come on a journey with me. Start at the westernmost point of Virginia atop Tri-State peak in Cumberland Gap National Park, 1,990 feet above sea level, with your heels in Kentucky, right toes in Tennessee and left toes in Virginia. You’re closer to seven other state capitals than to Richmond and farther west than Detroit.

August Wallmeyer is a semi-retired lobbyist at the Virginia General Assembly.


PLAUGHER: RVA NEEDS HIGH-SPEED RAIL TO DC AND BEYOND

By DANNY PLAUGHER, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

With the final phase of the draft of the Washington to Richmond High Speed Rail study set to be released this fall, I want to outline why it’s so important to our region. First and foremost, it is our only real option for improving our region’s connectivity to the rest of Virginia and the East Coast.

Danny Plaugher is executive director of Virginians for High Speed Rail and serves on the Capital Region Collaborative’s Transportation Working Group.


HERNANDEZ: REFORM THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

By J.C. HERNANDEZ, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

The time for criminal justice reform is now. Not only is our state considering reforms to focus our juvenile justice system on rehabilitation, but federal lawmakers may do the same for America’s entire criminal justice system. House Speaker Paul Ryan recently promised that Congress will consider a package of criminal justice reform bills next month. Now it’s up to our representatives in Virginia to make this happen.

J.C. Hernandez is the Virginia state director at Generation Opportunity.


HANGER: VIRGINIA CAN LEAD THE WAY IN RESTORING CHESAPEAKE BAY

By EMMETT HANGER, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

For the past 20 years, I have been honored to serve the 24th Senate District in the Virginia legislature. The district — which includes all or parts of Culpeper, Madison, Rockingham, Augusta and Greene counties, and the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro — offers some of the most beautiful landscapes and productive farmland in the commonwealth and a bounty of recreational and cultural destinations. Our farms and towns are located near the spectacular headwaters of the Shenandoah and James rivers, which feed the Chesapeake Bay.

Emmett W. Hanger Jr. represents the 24th District in Virginia’s Senate.


ROZELL: VIRGINIA REMAINS IN PLAY

By MARK ROZELL, Published in the Washington Post

Much has been made lately of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s substantial polling lead in Virginia, combined with her campaign pulling ad buys from the state and reports that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign is focusing its ads on four rather than five swing states, with Virginia so far off the list. Some observers suggest Virginia is blue this year.

The writer is dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University and a longtime analyst of Virginia politics.