VaNews

Tuesday September 01, 2015

Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw


Executive Branch

CLIMATE COMMISSION ENDORSES INFORMATION CLEARINGHOUSE, OTHER EFFORTS

By REX SPRINGSTON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s climate change commission on Monday endorsed five top recommendations for addressing the issue, ranging from creating a special bank to finance alternative energy projects to forming a clearinghouse of climate information.

General Assembly

COURT TO MOVE ON REDISTRICTING AS DEADLINE PASSES

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

The day before today’s court-imposed deadline to redraw Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District, there were no signs of reconciliation between Democrats and Republicans in the legislature. That will almost certainly put the map in the hands of a federal court.

McDonnell Case

MCDONNELL CAN REMAIN FREE WHILE SUPREME COURT DECIDES ON REVIEW

By ROBERT BARNES AND MATT ZAPOTOSKY, Washington Post

Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell will avoid prison while the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to review his conviction on corruption charges, the justices decided Monday. The one-paragraph order was a dramatic — perhaps unprecedented — reprieve for the Republican former governor.


MCDONNELL CAN STAY FREE FOR NOW

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

In a surprise to some observers, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday allowed former Gov. Bob McDonnell to remain free while the justices decide whether to take up his appeal. In a one-paragraph order, the high court told the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hold off on making its July 10 ruling upholding McDonnell’s 11 corruption convictions final, permitting McDonnell to remain on bond.


U.S. SUPREME COURT: MCDONNELL TO REMAIN FREE, FOR NOW

By LARRY O'DELL, Associated Press

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will not have to go to prison while the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to review his public corruption convictions, the justices ruled Monday. The brief order overturned a lower court’s decision that would have required McDonnell to report to prison soon to begin serving his two-year sentence. McDonnell has until early November to file a petition asking the Supreme Court to consider his case.

State Elections

CLINE, ARTHUR ALREADY DEBATING 'DEBATES' IN VIRGINIA HOUSE RACE

By ALEX ROHR, News & Advance

Regardless of what they call the three events during which two Virginia House District 24 candidates meet on stage before the Nov. 3 election, they already are debating. While Del. Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge County, announced Monday the three independently hosted events as “debates,” his Democratic challenger Ellen Arthur argues they are only “forums.”


NATIONAL GROUPS PUMPING MONEY INTO KEY LOUDOUN LEGISLATIVE RACES

By TREVOR BARATKO, Loudoun Times

As expected, national political groups are starting to pour cash into some key 2015 General Assembly races in Loudoun. On Friday, the Republican State Leadership Committee's Future Majority Project and the Right Women, Right Now organizations announced a $100,000 pledge before Labor Day to several regional races, including the Virginia House 86th and 87th districts.

Federal Elections

JERRY KILGORE JOINS WALKER PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier

Former Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore has joined the presidential campaign of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

State Government

AS TIME RUNS OUT ON MCAULIFFE PICK, VA.’S SUPREME COURT SHUFFLES DOCKET

By LAURA VOZZELLA AND JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post

Virginia’s highest court will cram four days of oral arguments into three, allowing it to wrap up its September session before time runs out on Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s embattled Supreme Court pick. Republicans regarded the move as a win in their pitched battle to keep Justice Jane Marum Roush off the bench, and confirmation that McAuliffe (D) lacks the power to keep her there much longer. But McAuliffe said he still plans to reappoint Roush when her temporary appointment expires in about two weeks.


STATE PERSONNEL POLICY UNDERCUTS FOIA DISCRETION

By TRAVIS FAIN, Daily Press (Paywall for certain articles)

The state of Virginia seems to have undercut a basic tenet of its Freedom of Information Act with a personnel policy that forbids state officials from releasing all but the most basic employee information. FOIA itself says that release is up to the government, and the employee. Neither has to release personnel records to the public, but if either chooses to, they will be released.


FIVE YEARS AFTER EXPANSION, VMFA IMPACT SOARS

By KATHERINE CALOS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts created a $145 million economic juggernaut when it reopened in 2010 after an extensive expansion project. Between fiscal year 2008, the last full year before the museum closed for the final stages of construction, and fiscal year 2014, five years after it reopened, VMFA’s total economic impact around the state has more than doubled


HE’S HELPING RELEASED JAIL INMATES GET SERVICES

By JOEY MATTHEWS, Richmond Free Press

jDevon Simmons said he gets deep satisfaction from helping inmates leaving local jails gain a new lease on life.... The 30-year-old Buffalo, N.Y., native has that opportunity in his position as the first state re-entry coordinator in the office of Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring.


STATE APPOINTMENT REUNITES LOCAL OFFICIAL WITH LOVE OF HISTORY

By SALLY VOTH, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

Onetime history major Kevin Callanan will bring his enthusiasm for the past to the board of trustees of the Frontier Culture Museum. Callanan, the executive director of the Winchester Medical Center Foundation, has been with Valley Health for 10 years.

Local

PORTSMOUTH AIMS TO TIGHTEN SPENDING RULES AFTER MULCH EQUIPMENT PURCHASE

By JOHANNA SOMERS, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Portsmouth forced out its general services director over his purchase of nearly $900,000 worth of mulching equipment, and city staff members still struggle to figure out what to do with it.


STAUNTON’S FOWL BATTLE IS OVER

By TRACI MOYER, News Leader (Metered Pay Wall)

After more than a year of discussions and meetings about fresh eggs and chicken waste, city leaders have finally legalized hens within city limits. But the vote, made during a packed council meeting, was close.


Editorials

MORE WORK REMAINS ON MENTAL HEALTH

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

Four months ago, police officers arrested Jamycheal Mitchell for stealing a Snickers, a 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew and a snack cake from a 7-Eleven. They took him to the Hampton Roads Regional Jail, where he remained until Aug. 19 — when he was found dead in his cell.


VIRGINIA NAACP SEES COMPROMISE ON CONFEDERATE ISSUE

By BOB STUART, News Virginian Editorial

The interim executive director of the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP said Monday the organization does not support having schools named after Confederate generals. But Executive Director Jack Gravely said the organization does not have an official position on Confederate monuments or highways named after Confederate generals.


ANOTHER NO VOTE ON URANIUM

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

The Virginia Beach City Council is set tonight to vote — again — on a resolution opposing uranium mining in Virginia. The issue is still, thankfully and for all practical purposes, dead. Mining uranium is still illegal in the commonwealth.


DOMINION REACTS TO QUESTIONS RAISED OVER CHARITABLE GIVING PRACTICE

Free Lance-Star Editorial

A utility as large as Dominion Power that enjoys a monopoly in the marketplace and remarkable clout in the state legislature shouldn’t be surprised when even a minor financial aspect of its operations raises public eyebrows.


UPGRADES NEEDED FOR AMTRAK

Daily Progress Editorial

The Amtrak train now serving Charlottesville daily is one of the most successful trains in the country. Over six years of high ridership, it has proven that people want an alternative to driving or flying.

Columnists

POLITIFACT: BRAT SAYS HE'S AMONG "VERY FEW" WHO VOTED AGAINST IRAN DEAL

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

Again and again, U.S. Rep. Dave Brat places himself in the vanguard of congressmen opposed to the Iran nuclear deal. "I was one of the few, very few, who voted `no’ on the Iran deal," Brat, R-7th, said during an Aug. 10 breakfast with Henrico County business leaders.


CHESLEY: PORTSMOUTH INMATE'S DEATH REVEALS HUGE HOLES IN THE STATE'S SAFETY NET

By ROGER CHESLEY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Something is wrong when a mentally ill man dies in jail - after being charged with stealing the princely sum of $5 worth of junk food - while awaiting space in a state treatment center. The Aug. 19 death of 24-year-old Jamycheal Mitchell at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail, reported by The Pilot and The Guardian news organization, raises troubling questions for the criminal justice and mental health systems in Virginia.

From vpap.org

3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: A BRIEF HISTORY

The Virginia Public Access Project

In 1992, the General Assembly sought to comply with U.S. Department of Justice guidelines aimed at giving African-Americans a better opportunity to elect a congressman of their choice. That year, Bobby Scott became Virginia’s first black congressman since Reconstruction. But the 25-year effort to create and maintain a minority-majority district twice has run afoul of federal judges, who ruled in 1998 and 2014 that Virginia unconstitutionally made race the predominant factor in drawing the lines.