VaNews

Friday May 22, 2015

Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw


General Assembly

HOUSE COMMITTEE TOURS VALLEY STATE FACILITIES AND HEARS NEEDS

By BOB STUART, News Virginian

Frontier Culture Museum Executive Director John Avoli presides over an impressive array of exhibits detailing the heritage of the Shenandoah Valley. But the exhibits are privately funded, and Avoli urgently needs the Virginia General Assembly to provide dollars for the museum’s many other responsibilities.


BELL, DEEDS TALK PIPELINE AT NELSON LEGISLATOR’S BREAKFAST

By RACHAEL SMITH, Nelson County Times

Nearly one year ago, Del. Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, and Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, spoke on a very preliminary pipeline issue at the Nelson County Chamber of Commerce Legislator’s Breakfast. One year later, Bell and Deeds returned to speak at this year’s breakfast at the Rockfish Valley Community Center in Afton.


STATE SENATOR: BILLS PROBABLY COMING ON DAILY PRESS' DATABASE FIGHT AGAINST VIRGINIA SUPREME COURT

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

State Sen. Richard Stuart, who chairs Virginia's Freedom of Information Advisory Council, said Wednesday he expects legislation will crop up soon in response to the Daily Press' ongoing battle to wrest a criminal records database from a Virginia Supreme Court agency.


LAWMAKERS GET DETAILS ON U.VA. TUITION PLAN

By PATRICK WILSON, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The president of the University of Virginia briefed lawmakers Thursday on a plan designed to make the school more affordable for low- and middle-income students by raising tuition across the board and using the money to provide them with grants.


MORRISSEY MAKES THE JOE SHOW A FAMILY AFFAIR

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

Former Del. Joseph D. Morrissey had kept reporters guessing about what else he had to say in his news conference, a day after his admission on radio that he had fathered the son of the young woman in the center of his sex scandal. Would he and 19-year-old Myrna Pride become the stars of a reality show?


MORRISSEY: WE'RE GETTING MARRIED, AND I'M RUNNING FOR SENATE

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

Former Del. Joe Morrissey promised Thursday to marry the mother of his latest child, which would cement a relationship that got him tossed into the jail cell that served as his nightly home during the last legislative session. Morrissey, 57, held a joint press conference with 19-year-old Myrna Pride Thursday to correct, he said, misinformation floating about their relationship and his fitness as a father.


MORE MORRISSEY NEWS: THEY’RE GETTING MARRIED

By JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post

Former Virginia state lawmaker Joseph D. Morrissey said on Thursday that “of course” he plans to marry the woman with whom he was accused of having a relationship when she was a minor. Morrissey, who admitted this week to fathering a child with 19-year-old Myrna Pride, said they did not have sex until she was 18. Morrissey is 57.

State Elections

CHALLENGER TO VA. HOUSE SPEAKER ACCUSES HIM OF ‘CHEATING’ IN BALLOT RULES

By JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post

The Republican challenger to Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell has accused him of quietly seeking a change to absentee-voting policy that she says he has been using to his benefit in the closing weeks of the most-watched primary of the state’s legislative contests this year. The race pits Howell, a 27-year incumbent and one of the most powerful Republicans in the state, against Susan Stimpson, his onetime protege, in a district that lies 50 miles south of Washington and includes Stafford County and Fredericksburg.


GOP QUESTIONS DUO AHEAD OF 29TH PRIMARY

By SALLY VOTH, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

Chris Collins, the former Frederick County supervisor seeking the Republican nomination for the 29th District House of Delegates seat, laid out his positions to members of the Winchester Republican Committee on Thursday night at the Wingate Inn. His opponent in the June 9 primary, incumbent Del. Mark Berg, R-Frederick County — who was hosting a town hall meeting at Winchester Academy — was represented by his wife, Debbie.

State Government

TOBACCO COMMISSION APPROVES $5.2M TO LURE 1,000 JOBS TO HALIFAX COUNTY

By TREVOR METCALFE, Danville Register & Bee

Members of the Virginia Tobacco Commission approved the use of about $5.2 million Thursday to pursue a Halifax County industrial project that could bring up to 1,000 jobs and $60 million in new capital investment. State Sen. Frank Ruff, R- Clarksville, and Delegate Danny Marshall, R- Danville, voted in favor of the project — tentatively titled “Project Roy” — at the commission’s May meeting Thursday at the New College Institute in Martinsville.

Congress

PREDATORY TOW COMPANIES TARGETED IN PROPOSAL FROM MD. AND VA. LAWMAKERS

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post

Few urban encounters infuriate residents more than parking to run to the ATM or convenience store, only to return to find their car towed. At the tow lot, the aggravation typically grows, with no right to appeal and a big bill to pay to reclaim a car. Two local members of Congress introduced a bill Thursday to clarify that state and local governments have the right to regulate towing companies, a right that was eliminated by Congress in 1995 but restored by a variety of court cases.


KAINE SAYS CONGRESS MUST STOP BEING "SPECTATOR" IN U.S. WAR ON TERRORISTS

By BILL BARTEL, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

With Islamic State terrorists gaining ground in Iraq and Syria, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine stepped up his criticism Thursday of Congress's failure to debate - and vote on - America's involvement in the conflict.

Transportation

RAILROAD SEEKS $5 MILLION FROM TUG OWNERS FOR BRIDGE DAMAGE

By ROBERT MCCABE, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Nearly a month after a barge on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River struck and damaged a key rail bridge in Chesapeake owned by Norfolk Southern Corp., the railroad has filed a lawsuit against two tugboats and their owners. The suit, filed this week in Norfolk federal court against St. Augustine, Fla.-based Tradewinds Towing LLC and Chesapeake-based Intracoastal Marine Inc., respective owners of the tugs Simone and Maverick, seeks up to $5 million in damages.

Higher Education

$19,000 TAB FOR PUBLIC RECORDS SPARKS NEW FIGHT OVER SWEET BRIAR COLLEGE

By LAURA VOZZELLA AND SUSAN SVRLUGA, Washington Post

The latest twist to the Sweet Briar College saga takes the form of public-records requests with whopping five-figure price tags. A woman seeking information about the abrupt closure of the private college in central Virginia, which its president said would happen at the end of August, filed several Freedom of Information requests this month with the office of Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D).

Virginia Other

VA.’S ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH IN QUESTION

By ELAINA SAUBER, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

Overcoming climate change denial is one of Molly Ward’s primary goals as Virginia’s secretary of natural resources. One small victory was the newest Chesapeake Bay Agreement signed in June by seven governors, including Virginia’s Terry McAuliffe, and the Chesapeake Bay Commission, which for the first time included language about toxic contaminants and climate change, Ward said.


ROANOKE COUNTY SEEKS EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD FOR MOUNTAIN VALLEY PIPELINE

By DUNCAN ADAMS, Roanoke Times

Virginia’s U.S. senators struck out last month when they asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to hold additional public meetings focused on the potential environmental impacts of the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline. On a different front, in a May 1 letter to FERC Chairman Norman Bay, U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, and colleague Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, made a similar pitch to FERC regarding the equally controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline.


VCU, BON SECOURS DROP OUT OF CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL PROJECT

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

VCU Medical Center and Bon Secours Richmond Health System have pulled out of efforts to develop a free-standing, independently operated children’s hospital, leaving on the table a philanthropic offer of more than $150 million from businessman William H. Goodwin Jr. and his wife, Alice. The unexpected decision dashes the hopes of some local pediatricians who see the health systems’ actions as further proof that children’s needs are a secondary concern.

Local

REGISTRAR ASKS COUNTY SUPERVISORS TO OK VOTING CHANGES

By JONATHAN HUNLEY , Leesburg Today

Loudoun’s voter registrar wants county supervisors to approve changes that could enable her office to better serve residents. For example, Registrar Judy Brown told supervisors Wednesday night that too many registered voters are assigned to certain election precincts, which could mean long lines at the polls.


PORTSMOUTH COUNCIL MEETING MAY HAVE VIOLATED STATE LAW

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

The City Council has asked a search firm to hunt for city manager candidates, but the public has not heard about the process because members discussed it behind closed doors on March 30. The closed discussion may have violated the state's Freedom of Information Act, according to two Portsmouth council members.


Editorials

COLLEGE SPORTS: DO ACADEMICS MATTER?

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

Many of the student-athletes representing colleges and universities in the NCAA's Division I crossed the threshold long ago from amateur to professional. The NCAA and its member institutions shoulder much of the blame, having prioritized revenue-producing sports such as football and basketball over academics and plastering players' likenesses on billboards and promotional materials to rake in more money.

Columnists

ROSS: HOW A FORMER VIRGINIA LAWMAKER MADE A BAD SITUATION EVEN WORSE, IN 1 PICTURE

By JANELL ROSS, Washington Post

Let’s dissect this, shall we? To the right stands former Virginia delegate Joe Morrissey, 57, a Democrat running for a Virginia state Senate seat as an Independent after Democratic Party officials rejected his attempt to seek office. Joining Morrissey are his 19-year-old receptionist, Myrna Pride, and their 9-week-old son Chase, a child Morrissey publicly acknowledged as his son for the first time Wednesday.


WILLIAMS: WITH MORRISSEY, EXPECT THE EXCESSIVE

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

‘We’re a little bit different than some families,” Joe Morrissey said without necessity. He was referring to the presence of shutter-clicking cameras Thursday in the conference room of his Highland Springs law firm, as he sat next to 19-year-old Myrna Pride, once an object of his denials but now the object of his devotion. Their 9-week-old child was in another room.

Op-Ed

REINIGER: NEW VIRGINIA LAW LAUNCHES CITIZEN-FOCUSED CYBERSECURITY STRATEGY

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

On May 6, Gov. Terry McAuliffe ceremoniously signed a first-in-the-nation digital identity law that, by promoting a strategy of arming the average citizen with strong means of proving identity online, represents a new direction in cybersecurity strategy and will supplement the current enterprise and network focus. Sponsored by state Sen. John Watkins and House Del. Thomas Rust and endorsed by the Virginia Joint Commission on Technology and Science, the law incentivizes market choices for citizens to have trusted digital identities for use in online transactions, social media and accessing e-government services.

Timothy Reiniger consults on cybersecurity and information privacy policy with FutureLaw, LLC in Richmond and serves as special adviser on digital identity to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Friday Read

THE LAST DAY OF HER LIFE

By ROBIN MARANTZ HENIG, New York Times

When Sandy Bem found out she had Alzheimer’s, she resolved that before the disease stole her mind, she would kill herself. The question was, when?