VaNews

Tuesday May 03, 2016

Compiled by Ray Reed


Today's Sponsor:

David Foster

Thanking all of our teachers and other educators, on Teacher Appreciation Day, for working so hard to secure the future of our Commonwealth and country.

General Assembly

REPUBLICANS PLAN TO SUE MCAULIFFE OVER ORDER RESTORING RIGHTS TO FELONS

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

Republican leaders in the Virginia General Assembly have hired a top conservative lawyer to guide an expected lawsuit against Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s executive order that restored voting rights for about 206,000 felons. Charles J. Cooper — a former assistant attorney general under President Ronald Reagan who once was named “Republican lawyer of the year” — will lead the effort to challenge the Democratic governor’s order, GOP leaders announced Monday.


VIRGINIA GOP LAWMAKERS TO SUE OVER FELONS’ VOTING RIGHTS

By ALANNA DURKIN RICHER, Associated Press

Republican lawmakers in Virginia will file a lawsuit challenging Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s decision to allow more than 200,000 convicted felons to vote in November, GOP leaders said Monday. Republicans said that they have hired an attorney and plan to contest the governor’s executive order, which restored the rights of felons to vote, run for office and sit on a jury.


VA. REPUBLICANS HIRE LAWYER IN BID TO STOP RESTORATION OF FELONS’ VOTING RIGHTS

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post

Virginia Republicans have hired a high-powered Washington lawyer to challenge Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s authority to give more than 200,000 ex-convicts the right to vote in the fall presidential election and beyond. GOP legislative leaders announced Monday that they have retained Charles J. Cooper, who ran the Office of Legal Counsel under President Ronald Reagan. Republicans said they are paying Cooper with private and political funds, not taxpayer money.


GOP LAWMAKERS HIRE ATTORNEY FOR FELON VOTING RIGHTS CASE

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

Republican General Assembly leaders have hired an attorney to mount a court challenge to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's recent sweeping restoration of voting rights for more than 200,000 felons who have served their time. They tapped Charles J. Cooper, the former legal counsel for then Pres. Ronald Reagan, for the case, Speaker of the House William Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. "Tommy" Norment said in a news release Monday. The release did not lay out a strategy.


VIRGINIA REPUBLICANS WEIGH COURT CHALLENGE TO VOTING RIGHTS FOR FELONS

By JESS BIDGOOD, New York Times

Republican lawmakers in Virginia said on Monday that they were considering a court challenge to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s decision to restore voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons, opening the door to a legal battle that could create uncertainties about their ability to vote in November. “Governor McAuliffe’s flagrant disregard for the Constitution of Virginia and the rule of law must not go unchecked,” Thomas K. Norment Jr., a Republican and the majority leader of Virginia’s State Senate, said.

State Elections

DEMOCRAT JUSTIN FAIRFAX TO RUN FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

By JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post

Democrat Justin Fairfax, a former federal prosecutor and 2013 attorney general candidate, is running for lieutenant governor. He is the first Democrat to officially jump into the statewide contest, while Republicans already have a crowded field including Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania), Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier) and Del. Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach).


JUSTIN FAIRFAX RUNNING AS DEMOCRAT FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

By ANDREW CAIN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Justin E. Fairfax, a lawyer who nearly captured the Democratic nomination for attorney general in 2013, has filed to seek the party’s nomination for lieutenant governor next year. Fairfax is the first Democrat who has filed to seek the post.

Federal Elections

HE ONCE HOPED FOR THE GOP NOMINATION, NOW JIM GILMORE CAN’T EVEN GET ELECTED DELEGATE TO CONVENTION

By RACHEL WEINER, Washington Post

Jim Gilmore may be a former governor, state attorney general, Republican National Committee chairman and presidential candidate. But he couldn’t get elected as a delegate to his party’s national convention. When delegates were selected at Virginia’s state convention in Harrisonburg this past weekend, Gilmore, 66, put his name forward and was shut out.


CULPEPER GOP LEADER OF PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION: “IT’S ALL UP IN THE AIR”

By ALLISON BROPHY CHAMPION, Culpeper Star Exponent (Modified Pay Wall)

Culpeper County Republican Committee Chairman Chuck Duncan doesn’t know where his party is headed after attending Saturday’s GOP Convention in Harrisonburg. “I think it is divided,” he said, echoing sentiments from voters nationwide. Duncan, who joined 33 voting delegates from Culpeper at the convention, said the presidential nomination process playing out in 2016, from a historical perspective, reminds him of the 1860 election which had two Democratic candidates and saw the demise of the Whig Party.


GOODLATTE GETS NOVEMBER CHALLENGER

By RACHEL CISTO, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

A challenger has stepped forward to take on U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte in November. Warren County Democrat Tom Howarth announced Sunday night that he plans to seek his party’s nomination for Goodlatte’s 6th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

State Government

VA. SUPREME COURT RECOGNIZES UNMARRIED SAME-SEX COUPLES ARE LEGAL TOO

By TOM JACKMAN, Washington Post

It seemed an easy legal issue in the enlightened 21st century: If a married man and woman get divorced, and the woman then gets engaged to another woman, does the man still have to pay spousal support? If the woman had gotten engaged to another man, the answer would clearly be “no.” But since she took up with a woman, both a Fairfax County judge and the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled “yes,” the man must still pay spousal support.


VA. SUPREME COURT RULES SAME-SEX COUPLES EQUAL IN DIVORCE LAW

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

The Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled that a Fairfax County man can stop paying spousal support to his ex-wife because she lives with another woman, reversing lower courts that found the state’s cohabitation standard does not apply to same-sex couples. The ruling, handed down late last week, clarifies a section of Virginia divorce law nearly a year after same-sex marriage became legal nationwide.


STATE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH AGENCY QUESTIONS IG REPORT ON JAMYCHEAL MITCHELL'S DEATH

By GARY A. HARKI , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services says it doesn’t have the authority to make many of the changes recommended in an inspector general report on the death of Jamycheal Mitchell. The state legislature will need to determine whether the mental health services system that relies on multiple local and state agencies is working or whether “legislative mandates are necessary to produce integrated, cross-agency services.”


DEPARTMENT SAYS IT LACKED ACCESS IN JAMYCHEAL MITCHELL DEATH INVESTIGATION

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

The state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services was unable to complete a thorough investigation after the death of Jamycheal Mitchell in a Portsmouth jail cell last year because it did not have enough authority to access certain records and interview key employees, officials said Monday.

Economy/Business

DOMINION'S YORKTOWN OIL UNIT GETS BRIEF REPRIEVE, SURRY PLANT LIFE TO BE EXTENDED

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

The oil-burning unit at Dominion Virginia Power's Yorktown power plant won a brief reprieve from the energy giant's plans to close it — but the utility is now definitely looking to keep its Surry nuclear plant running through the middle of the century. Dominion's latest 15-year plan puts the date for closing the Yorktown 3 oil unit at 2022, two years later than it had proposed when it first floated the idea last year.

Virginia Other

HISTORIC PRESERVATION GROUP TAKES AIM AT THREAT FROM UTILITY PIPELINE, POWER LINE PROJECTS

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

A state historic preservation organization is sounding the alarm over the potential threat posed by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and other proposed utility projects to a trio of sensitive assets in their paths — an early 19th-century archaeological site at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Nelson County, a community rooted in post-Civil War emancipation in Buckingham County, and a scenic crossing of the Rappahannock River near the Chesapeake Bay.


PIPELINE PROPOSALS PUT TWO LOCAL SITES ON MOST-ENDANGERED LIST

By CHRIS SUAREZ, Daily Progress

It’s not easy business trying to preserve and save endangered historic sites. Luckily for preservationists and history buffs, the rollout of Preservation Virginia’s annual Most Endangered Historic Places list may create the sense of urgency that could alter the fate of local and state history. This year’s list includes several regional sites, including the Daughters of Zion Cemetery in Charlottesville, Union Hill in Buckingham County and Coleman Mills in Nelson County.

Local

DUMFRIES MAYOR CHARGED WITH STEALING CAMPAIGN SIGN

By AILEEN STRENG, Prince William Today

Dumfries Mayor Jerry Foreman was charged with petty larceny Saturday night after a resident told police he saw Foreman remove a Vice Mayor Willie Toney campaign sign displayed along a town street. Following an investigation, the police department brought the facts before a county magistrate who found probable cause to issue a warrant for petty larceny, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor, said Dumfries Town Manager Dan Taber.


PETERSBURG: PUBLISHING NAMES HELPED COLLECT DELINQUENT TAXES

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

Petersburg’s treasurer says that publishing a list of delinquent taxpayers in a local newspaper has helped in collecting unpaid taxes in excess of $581,000 from more than 70 accounts. “These are funds that the city had budgeted to fund its operations, and the taxpayers that have failed to pay are forcing those who are in compliance to bear a heavier tax burden,” Kevin Brown said in a statement Monday.


OYSTER SHELLS, COSTS PILING UP IN VIRGINIA BEACH FOR NON-EXISTENT OYSTER RESTORATION PLAN

By ALISSA SKELTON , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Oyster shells collected from restaurants that were supposed to be used to build a reef in the Lynnhaven River have been piling up at the city landfill for more than six years, Virginia Beach’s auditor says. In a report released Monday, Auditor Lyndon Remias said that Virginia Beach has allocated more than $600,000 for the effort to help restore the Lynnhaven oyster population. But there has been no plan for making the reef project happen, he said.


ROANOKE VOTERS TO MAKE HISTORY WITH TUESDAY'S COUNCIL ELECTION

By MATT CHITTUM, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The wild ride is almost over. Voters go to the polls Tuesday to select a new Roanoke mayor and three city council members. History will be made. There’s only a question of how much. Roanoke will have its second black mayor ever, and perhaps three black members for the first time ever. Council could have a majority of independents. Or its first openly gay council member in E. Duane Howard.


ROANOKE COUNCIL QUESTIONS SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT ON TROUBLED PROGRAM

By SARA GREGORY, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Roanoke Superintendent Rita Bishop assured members of the Roanoke City Council Monday that the school district is making progress with fixes to an after-school program following a state report last year that detailed problems with the way the program was being run at four schools. ... Among other issues, the state’s report said the four Roanoke after-school programs were not using federal grant money as intended.


WHEN IT COMES TO DANVILLE CITY COUNCIL, SOME ELECT TO USE 'BLOC VOTING' STRATEGY

By DENICE THIBODEAU , Danville Register & Bee

Danville has a long history of voters turning out at the polls for local elections — but not completely filling their ballots out. On Tuesday, five open seats on Danville City Council will be filled during the general election, but many voters will not vote for five candidates to fill those seats, choosing instead to vote only for the number of candidates who support a particular concern or goal.


Today's Sponsor:

David Foster

Thanking all of our teachers and other educators, on Teacher Appreciation Day, for working so hard to secure the future of our Commonwealth and country.

Editorials

VIRGINIA REPUBLICANS FUEL SUSPICIONS

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

Polls suggest significant percentages believe the nomination process in both parties is rigged. Virginia adds fuel to the fire. Ted Cruz finished a dismal third in the state’s March 1 Republican primary. He carried only 17 percent of the vote while Donald Trump won 35 and Marco Rubio won 32.


IMPORTANT VOTES IN NORFOLK, CHESAPEAKE

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Voting is a duty, and duties aren’t always a lot of fun. Especially when they’re harder than they should be.


THE DUTY OF A CITIZEN IS TO CAST A BALLOT

News & Advance Editorial

"If you won’t take a few minutes to vote, then you have no ground to complain later.” It sounds harsh, but it’s true. Living in a democratic republic means citizens have responsibilities, one of which is to take part in the selection of elected leaders. Voting is a fundamental right — and a fundamental responsibility — of each and every person.


WHY ELECTION DAY MATTERS

Daily Press Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Think for a moment about the things that could go right or wrong on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis that would truly affect your quality of life. Make a mental list. Think about getting trash picked up on time, street repair handled efficiently and a local business scene that covers all of your basic wants and needs.


SOMEONE SHOULD BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE

Danville Register & Bee Editorial

Someone has to be held accountable for the problems that Danville has experienced over the past four years — broken economic development promises, crime, high electric rates and even the taste of the drinking water. No one person is responsible for those problems, but one politician should be voted out of office Tuesday because of those problems.


RAILROAD CAN BE PART OF GREATER PLAN

Daily Progress Editorial

The Buckingham Branch Railroad is a rare commodity these days: a small, privately operated railroad that manages not only to exist but to thrive. As Progressive Railroading explained in a story from 2014, “In 1987, at the age of 53, Bob Bryant bought a railroad.” ... Who would have thought that 17 miles of nearly abandoned track could have become so important to modern rail traffic?

Columnists

RESS: VIRGINIA POLITICS: A 2017 REPRISE OF THE GOP PRESIDENTIAL WARS?

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

Looks as if next year's battle for the Republican nomination for the gubernatorial race will be a reprise of this year's presidential primary and national convention delegate wars -- Donald Trump's Virginia campaign manager Corey Stewart left this weekend's state convention saying he'll be running for governor. Former Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie, who narrowly lost last year's U.S. Senate race against Sen Mark Warner, and Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Westmoreland, have already declared their desire to be Virginia's next governor.

Op-Ed

FOGLE: THANKS A BUNCH, GOVERNOR

By FRANKLIN FOGLE, Published in the Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

"More than 200,000 convicted felons will be able to cast ballots in the swing state of Virginia in November under a sweeping executive order Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Friday. The Democrat said restoring the rights of former felons to vote and run for office will help undo the state’s long history of trying to prevent African-Americans from fully participating in our democracy." — Associated Press, April 22 Only sleepwalkers could miss how racist Gov. McAuliffe’s premise is, since he solely referred to black felons, and never mentioned whites. So his words lead casual observers to surmise that only blacks commit felonies.

Franklin Fogle is a resident of Frederick County.


HOLTON: DURING TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK, THANK A TEACHER

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

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week in the commonwealth, and I can’t think of a better time to offer our sincere gratitude to the many dedicated teachers in Virginia’s public schools. The educators in our communities are working each and every day to make sure students are getting the education they deserve and the resources they need to be successful. But as we all know, teachers are called on to fill numerous roles besides that of educator.

Anne Holton is Virginia’s secretary of education.

From vpap.org

VISUALIZATION: VIRGINIANS' DONATIONS TO PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS

The Virginia Public Access Project

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders continue to set the pace for presidential campaign money raised in Virginia, while GOP front-runner Donald Trump has so far run a largely self-financed campaign. The latest visualization slices contributors data three ways.