VaNews

Friday May 27, 2016

Compiled by Ray Reed


Executive Branch

MCAULIFFE: 'I HAVE NEVER LOBBIED FOR A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT'

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

Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Thursday that he has never lobbied in the U.S. on behalf of a foreign government, adding that federal investigators looking into his foreign connections are focused on a “very specific” lobbyist registration issue. “I have never lobbied for a foreign government here. Ever,” McAuliffe said during a morning radio appearance on Richmond’s WRVA. The Democratic governor’s remarks came a day after his attorney said the Department of Justice is looking into a potential violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a federal statute meant to limit foreign influence in U.S. policy.


MCAULIFFE PULLS OUT OF DEMOCRATIC FUNDRAISER, DOESN’T WANT TO BE A ‘DISTRACTION’

By JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he canceled plans to appear at an Ohio fundraiser to avoid being a “distraction” as federal investigators probe his personal finances and foreign sources of income. The governor was expected to be the featured guest at an event next month for former Ohio governor Ted Strickland’s Senate campaign. “I told him I didn’t want any distractions for him. He’s got a critical Senate race,” McAuliffe (D) told reporters Thursday morning after a radio appearance.


MCAULIFFE WITHDRAWS FROM FUNDRAISER FOR OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE

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

Saying he doesn’t want to be a distraction, Gov. Terry McAuliffe canceled plans to attend a June 2 fundraiser in Ohio for U.S. Senate candidate Ted Strickland. The Columbus Dispatch reported the news Wednesday. CNN reported Monday that McAuliffe is under investigation by the Justice Department.


MCAULIFFE MET WANG AT LEAST 3 TIMES

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

Gov. Terry McAuliffe met three times with the wealthy Chinese businessman wrapped up in controversy this week courtesy of media reports that the U.S. Department of Justice was probing his campaign contributions to the governor. The governor's attorney has since said DOJ officials told him the investigation doesn't deal with campaign donations at all, but with a review of McAuliffe's dealings before he became governor, and whether he lobbied the U.S. government for a foreign entity.

General Assembly

HOUSE CLERK CITES PRECEDENTS IN DECLINING TO ENROLL GOVERNOR'S BUDGET VETO

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

As far as the Virginia House of Delegates is concerned, Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s veto last week of budget language on Medicaid expansion never happened. House Clerk G. Paul Nardo informed McAuliffe on Thursday that he is “duty-bound not to publish” the governor’s veto of language in the budget that prevents him from accepting federal money under the Affordable Care Act to expand Virginia’s Medicaid program without General Assembly approval.


YANCEY NAMED TO KEY HEALTH INSURANCE PANEL

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

Speaker Bill Howell has named Del. David Yancey, R-Newport News, to the legislature’s Health Insurance Reform Commission. The commission’s duties include monitoring implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), In addition, it reviews bills that would require health insurers cover particular services. The commission is also supposed to develop recommendations to increase access to health insurance.

Federal Elections

AREA CLINTON SUPPORTERS TOUT KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE

By SALLY VOTH, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

Kevin Kennedy, a Frederick County Hillary Clinton supporter, likens a Donald Trump presidency to the end of the world. "It’s more than scary," he said in an interview this week. "It feels apocalyptic to me."


NEW VIRGINIA MAP CAUSES GOP CANDIDATE SHUFFLE

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

A new court-ordered congressional map in Virginia is causing a candidate shuffle. Republican Congressman Randy Forbes lives in the 4th Congressional District, which he’s represented for 15 years, but is running the neighboring 2nd Congressional District. Henrico County Sheriff Mike Wade lives in the 7th Congressional District, but is running as a Republican in the 4th District.


DEMOCRATS’ NATIONAL AD BUY INCLUDES VIRGINIA’S 10TH DISTRICT

By TREVOR BARATKO, Loudoun Times

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today launched its first national digital campaign of the 2016 cycle, targeting 15 districts across the county the committee believes are in play. Included in the batch is the Loudoun County-centered 10th District of Virginia, represented by first-term Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R). The 10th is the only district in Virginia included in the five-figure buy.

State Government

VIRGINIA DEMOCRATS TO APPEAL VOTER ID CASE

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

The Democrats behind a lawsuit challenging Virginia's voter ID law will appeal last week's loss in district court to the U.S. Court of Appeals, the lead attorney said Thursday. The group filed its notice of appeal Wednesday, and will ask for an expedited review by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond. "We look forward to the Court of Appeals considering this important case as quickly as possible," attorney Marc Elias said in an email.

Congress

GOODLATTE CRITICIZED FOR EFFORT TO NARROW ELIGIBILITY FOR VISAS FOR AFGHANS WHO HELPED U.S.

By ALICIA PETSKA, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Congress is poised to do battle over a special visa program created to help Afghan nationals who’ve served U.S. personnel. The visa initiative, which U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte plays a part in shaping, is up for renewal in the latest National Defense Authorization Act. The House of Representatives dismayed advocates last week by passing a bill that narrows future eligibility for the program and allots no new visas to dispense. ... Matt Zeller, a veteran and founder of the nonprofit No One Left Behind, said efforts to get 4,000 more visas pushed through the House were stymied by Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, who leads the Judiciary Committee that has cross-jurisdiction over visa legislation.


WARNER, KAINE SEEK TO BLOCK COMMISSARY PRIVATIZATION PILOT

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

Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are trying to prevent the Defense Department from privatizing commissaries at five major installations in a pilot program until it completes a cost-benefit study on commissary privatization. Congress asked for such a study last year. The five targeted commissaries for the pilot have not been identified. The two Virginians said it would be imprudent to start the pilot, and possibly jeopardize an important benefit to military families and retirees before the study is completed.

Economy/Business

KENNAMETAL PLANS TO CLOSE CHILHOWIE PLANT

By STEPHANIE PORTER-NICHOLS, Smyth County News & Messenger

A company that has been at work in Smyth County since 1997 will be closing its doors. Thursday afternoon, Lori Deel, Smyth County’s economic development director, told the board of supervisors that despite weeks of efforts by state, regional and local officials to change corporate decision-makers’ minds, Kennametal Inc. has decided to close its Chilhowie plant and consolidate it with one in Bedford, Pa. The Chilhowie plant employs 89 people.

Transportation

NEW METRO OVERSIGHT COMMISSION WOULDN'T BE SUBJECT TO STATE RECORDS LAW

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

The new safety commission that Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia are setting up to oversee the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority won’t be subject to any of those jurisdictions’ public records laws, at least according to a draft of the compact released Wednesday. Rather, the Metrorail Safety Commission — intended to replace an existing Tri-State Oversight Committee that has been dubbed ineffective by the federal government in the face of the system’s frequent safety and service failings — is directed to adopt its own policies using the federal Freedom of Information Act as a guide.


TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY PLEASED WITH U.S. 29 WORK’S PROGRESS

By SEAN TUBBS, Charlottesville Tomorrow/Daily Progress

Virginia’s secretary of transportation returned to Charlottesville on Thursday to brief officials on rapid progress being made on several projects under construction on U.S. 29. “Back in March 2014, we weren’t even sure we were going to have any projects here and then 11 months later the first contracts were signed,” said Aubrey Layne. “I’m very pleased with the progress that’s being made.”

Virginia Other

PARK ENHANCEMENTS UNVEILED AFTER $500,000 RENOVATION BY DUKE ENERGY

By JOHN R. CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

Danville and Duke Energy officials held a reopening ceremony at the three-acre Abreu-Grogan Park on Thursday morning following a $500,000 renovation. ... David Fountain, Duke’s North Carolina president, said the company was excited wrap up work that has taken place at the park. Duke began the improvements in February and completed it Thursday. The enhancements were part of the company’s commitment to “make it right” after the February 2014 coal ash spill at Duke’s old Dan River Steam Station in Eden, North Carolina, Fountain said.


VIRGINIA SIERRA CLUB DIRECTOR REFLECTS ON NEARLY 20 YEARS OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM

By STAFF REPORT, Style Weekly

For nearly two decades, Glen Besa has roamed the halls of the General Assembly, knocked on doors for environmental causes and come up with goofy gags, such as putting together a mile-long petition protesting a proposed reservoir.


RESIDENTS TELL FERC REPS ABOUT PIPELINE WORRIES

By MIKE BOLLINGER, The Recorder (Paywall)

A proposed gas pipeline in this area would do untold damage, residents told federal regulators Saturday.

Local

ARLINGTON GOP HOPES RETAIL POLITICKING WILL PAY DIVIDENDS

By SCOTT MCCAFFREY, Sun Gazette

As the Arlington County Republican Party tries to again find its footing in local elections, the effort in 2016 will be on ground game. “We’re going to be persistent – low-tech, pound the pavement, knocking on doors, meeting people face to face,” said Arlington GOP chairman Jim Presswood.


FAIRFAX CHAIRWOMAN TO HAVE THYROID REMOVED; CANCER IS CONTAINED, SHE SAYS

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post

Sharon Bulova, chairwoman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said Thursday that she will have her thyroid removed, a result of a partial thyroid surgery in August that found malignant but encapsulated cells. Bulova (D) said her doctors have told her that there is “no indication” that the cancer cells have spread to other organs. She called the operation, to be performed Friday, “a relatively minor procedure” and said she does not plan to have chemotherapy or radiation.


RICHMOND OFFICIALS SAY TV NEWS REPORT ABOUT MISSING MONEY IS INACCURATE

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

Richmond city officials pushed back against a TV news report Thursday that suggested $28.6 million “had gone missing from city finances,” saying the story showed a misunderstanding of basic accounting principles. “You have those who are not professionals in accounting making mistakes in reporting information out to the public,” Selena Cuffee-Glenn, the city’s chief administrative officer, told members of Richmond City Council’s government operations committee.


RICHMOND SHERIFF PLEDGES INMATE LABOR TO HELP ADDRESS RICHMOND GRASS WOES

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

Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody Jr. said Thursday that his office will provide a work detail of about six inmates to help the city keep grass on public property mowed this summer. City officials have said that because of a lack of funding, the Department of Public Works would be able to mow many parks and medians only once this summer. Already, grass has grown unruly, and that has prompted some volunteers to mow city properties on their own.


CHESTERFIELD TURNS TO HENRICO OFFICIAL AS NEXT COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR

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

Henrico County official Joseph P. Casey will be taking a short trip across the James River to serve as Chesterfield County’s new county administrator. The Chesterfield Board of Supervisors announced Thursday that Casey, Henrico’s deputy county manager for administration, will succeed County Administrator James J.L. “Jay” Stegmaier.


PETERSBURG IS LOOKING TO FILL TOP-OPENINGS IN GOVERNMENT

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

Despite an ongoing spending freeze, the city of Petersburg still has room at the top. The city is seeking applications for five high-paying jobs that have opened up in recent months because of firings or resignations. A sixth opening is currently going unadvertised. Starting at the top, the city has posted on its website an ad seeking applications for a new city manager to succeed William E. Johnson III, who was fired by City Council on March 3 in response to a series of disclosures of financial shortfalls and a botched project to replace water meters.


FEDS NO LONGER INVESTIGATING EX-CHAIRMAN OF ISLE OF WIGHT SCHOOL BOARD

By REEMA AMIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A federal investigation of a former Isle of Wight School Board chairman has ended, a statement from the commonwealth’s attorney’s office indicates. Commonwealth's Attorney Georgette Phillips confirmed in January that a federal investigation had begun into Kent Hildebrand, who faces 15 counts of grand larceny, one count of credit card fraud and one count of identity theft in Isle of Wight.


DICKINSON EXPECTS $1 MILLION BUDGET DECREASE

By RODERICK MULLINS, Coalfield Progress (Subscription Required)

Dickenson County’s 2016-17 budget is expected to be about $1 million less than the current fiscal year, and county leaders have struggled with decisions on how to cut expenses and generate revenue. .... With an expected decline in revenue, supervisors have attended a series of budget workshops to hash out details and attempt to do what is best for a county that has seen coal and its severance taxes decline drastically.


Editorials

EVEN CLEAN, GREEN POWER HAS ITS COSTS

News & Advance Editorial

Virtually everyone agrees that the cleaner the source of energy is, the better it is for humans and the environment. Electric power plants that burn natural gas to produce electricity are infinitely better for the environment than those that burn coal, spewing carbon dioxide and a myriad of other pollutants into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. And nuclear-generated power is the cleanest of all mass-quantity sources, with no atmospheric emissions whatsoever.


NO VICTORY IN TAWDRY HISTORY OF REDISTRICTING

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

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday punted on whether the Virginia General Assembly unconstitutionally stuffed the 3rd Congressional District with African American voters. The court simply said that Republicans had no legal standing to pursue a challenge to a lower court ruling that lawmakers had done so. That left the lower court in ruling place, which declared that the Republicans crammed African American voters into the 3rd District, not to alter outcomes there, but to change the results in all the surrounding districts.


THE LONG VIEW ON SHORT HILL

Loudoun Times Editorial

Geology teaches us to slow things down. Rocks on Short Hill mountain can be traced to the Paleozoic Era. The creation of the mountain, hundreds of millions of years in the geologic past, was both violent and dramatic. Its destruction goes on before our very eyes at an imperceptible pace.

The Friday Read

A WRONG TURN: DEATH ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL

By JESS BIDGOOD AND RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA, New York Times

She was afraid of being alone and prone to anxiety, a diminutive 66-year-old woman with a poor sense of direction, hiking the Appalachian Trail by herself, who wandered into terrain so wild, it is used for military training. She waited nearly a month in the Maine woods for help that never came. Geraldine A. Largay chronicled her journey in a black-covered notebook that summer of 2013, and she kept writing after she lost her way, even as her food supply dwindled along with her hopes of being found. Her last entry reflected a strikingly graceful acceptance of what was coming.