VaNews

Wednesday July 01, 2015

Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw


Today's Sponsor:

Virginia Private College Week

Featuring 23 outstanding private colleges across the Commonwealth, July 27-August 1. Visit 3 or more colleges and receive 3 application fee waivers! Visit www.vaprivatecolleges.org for more details.

Executive Branch

MCAULIFFE TALKS BI-COUNTY PARKWAY, ECONOMY AT CHAMBER EVENT

By JILL PALERMO, Prince William Today

The Bi-County Parkway – declared “effectively dead” by its foes a few months ago – is merely on hold as it awaits a new evaluation process designed to take the politics out of road-building, according to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who spoke at Prince William Chamber of Commerce event Tuesday.


VA. CONFEDERACY GROUP VOWS TO OPPOSE 'ORCHESTRATED WITCH HUNT' ON LICENSE PLATES

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

The Virginia chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has said it will oppose Gov. Terry McAuliffe's order to have its logo removed from state-issued license plates. In a letter to Richard D. Holcomb, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, Sons of Confederate Veterans commander L. Tracy Clary said the plates came through a court order, "not through the 'offices, largesse and goodwill'" of state government.

General Assembly

HOW LOCAL LAWMAKERS FARED IN THE NORTHERN VIRGINIA CHAMBERS’ LEGISLATIVE SCORECARD

Loudoun Times

The Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership has released its Virginia General Assembly Legislative Scorecard to recognize the House and Senate members who supported their legislative priorities.

State Elections

LINGAMFELTER POINTS TO RECORD, SENIORITY IN RE-ELECT BID

By DAN ROEM, Prince William Times

When the 2016 regular session of the General Assembly convenes next January, only one of the 13 legislators from Prince William County will have served in Richmond before the turn of the century. The retirements of state Sens. Chuck Colgan (D-29th) and Toddy Puller (D-36th) mean Prince William loses decades of seniority in the upper chamber.


HAMMER OFFICIALLY ON NOVEMBER BALLOT IN DISTRICT 20

By BOB STUART, News Virginian

Libertarian Will Hammer of Staunton has officially qualified for the November ballot to run against House District 20 Del. Dickie Bell. Hammer was notified by the Virginia Department of Elections last week, and now plans to mount an aggressive campaign. That campaign will include much door-to-door work in the district's population centers of Waynesboro and Staunton.


ADAMS ANNOUNCES BID FOR RE-ELECTION

Danville Register & Bee

Del. Les Adams, R-Chatham, will seek a second term as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Adams announced on Tuesday. “In my first campaign for office, I pledged to deliver principled, conservative leadership that reflects the values and concerns of our citizens,” Adams said in a news release.

Federal Elections

JIM WEBB SAYS HE’LL SHARE HIS DECISION ON A PRESIDENTIAL RUN IN FEW DAYS

By RACHEL WEINER, Washington Post

Former U.S. senator Jim Webb will decide in the next few days whether he is running for president, he said Tuesday at a presidential forum in Baltimore. Webb, who represented Virginia for a single term in the Senate, told the National Sheriffs’ Association that he expected to be “very busy over the next week” and later clarified to reporters that he would announce his plans “within the next few days.”

State Government

NEW LAWS TAKE EFFECT WEDNESDAY

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

New Virginia laws take effect today on topics ranging from breastfeeding to bicycles, day care centers to drones. As of today Virginia also has two new state songs, and employees get new protections from employers who want their social media passwords.


GOOD SAMARITAN LAW TAKES EFFECT, WILL PROTECT THOSE WHO REPORT OVERDOSES TO AUTHORITIES

By CAMERON AUSTIN, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

A new state law effective Wednesday will provide a defense for individuals who responsibly call 911 to report an alcohol or drug overdose — thanks in part to a group of graduate students at Virginia Tech.


BREAST-FEEDING, PET SALES, DRONES: NEW VIRGINIA LAWS START WEDNESDAY

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

A bevy of new Virginia laws go into effect Wednesday. July 1 is the default date for bills to become law in Virginia, and it's the start of the state's new fiscal year, so the new budget takes effect as well.


NEW VIRGINIA LAWS SET TO TAKE EFFECT WEDNESDAY

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Several new laws are set to take effect Wednesday in Virginia. Here are a few highlights.


NEW LAWS IN EFFECT TODAY

By RYAN CORNELL, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

Several new laws take effect today on issues ranging from campus sexual assault to hemp cultivation to electronic privacy. Most laws approved by the Virginia General Assembly take effect with the start of the new fiscal year each July 1. Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham, says a bill he helped carry this year will serve as a “model for the country.”


NEW LAWS IN VA., MD. AND D.C. REGULATE DRONES, UBER, SOCIAL MEDIA

By JENNA PORTNOY AND JOSH HICKS, Washington Post

Some of the biggest legislative accomplishments of the year in Virginia will go into effect Wednesday, including laws intended to protect the victims and prosecute the perpetrators of campus sexual assault, regulate Uber and limit the use of drones. Maryland will see the institution of similar laws as well as one requiring police to inform the governor’s office and lawmakers when a law enforcement officer kills someone and when an officer is killed in the line of duty.


NEW LAW: HOSPITALS MUST DISCLOSE CHANGES IN COVERAGE STATUS

By ELIZABETH SIMPSON, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Starting today, Virginia hospitals will need to tell patients who spend time on "observation status" they are considered outpatients, meaning their insurance might not provide the same coverage as if they were admitted to the hospital. The law was passed during the most recent General Assembly session and is similar to measures taken in Maryland, Connecticut and New York.


SOME NEW STATE LAWS HAVE CONNECTIONS TO CHARLOTTESVILLE AREA

By CHRIS SUAREZ, Daily Progress

It’s time for Virginia’s annual rite of summer — several new laws the General Assembly passed earlier this year go into effect Wednesday morning. Whether they are a product of a tragedy, a high-profile incident, a controversial court case or the result of dogged advocacy from legislators or citizens, each of them potentially have an effect on anyone inside the confines of the commonwealth.


U.S. APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS VIRGINIA DEATH SENTENCE

By LARRY O'DELL, Associated Press

A federal appeals court has rejected a Virginia death row inmate's claim that he can't be executed because he is intellectually disabled. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday unanimously upheld Alfredo Prieto's death sentence for the 2005 slayings of two George Washington University students.

Congress

WARNER, KAINE CHIDE CONGRESS OVER EX-IM BANK EXPIRATION

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Paywall for certain articles)

When their travels in Virginia take Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine to the working waterfront of Hampton Roads, both tend to make a pitch for a once obscure, now controversial federal agency called the Export-Import Bank. Now, they've joined in a warning to colleagues on Capitol Hill that the scheduled expiration of the agency's authority to guarantee loans to help foreign companies buy U.S. goods could mean pain beyond the wharves of Newport News, Norfolk and Portsmouth.

Economy/Business

DOMINION WARNS BLACKOUTS POSSIBLE EVEN IN MILD WEATHER

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Paywall for certain articles)

The Peninsula could see rolling blackouts even in mild weather if a controversial high voltage transmission line across the James River isn't in place by 2017, Dominion Virginia Power said in a new filing with the State Corporation Commission.


TECH COMPANY TO INVEST $1.5M IN HARRISONBURG

By VIC BRADSHAW, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

AXON Ghost Sentinel is investing $1.5 million to expand in the city over the next three years and will add 29 employees to its payroll to support its growth. The expansion was announced Tuesday by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who signed off on a $75,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to help secure the investment and jobs.

Transportation

LEGISLATORS, TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS CONSIDER I-81’S FUTURE

By BOB STUART, News Virginian

Easing Interstate 81 congestion a decade ago evolved to include consideration of a public-private partnership, tolling and adding two extra lanes in either direction for the 325 miles the interstate runs through Virginia. Such ambitious change is no longer on the table both because of the limited state and federal dollars available and environmental concerns.


STUDY SAYS FIXING INTERCHANGE AT ROUTE 288 AND U.S. 360 WILL COST MILLIONS

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

A study commissioned by the Virginia Department of Transportation found that fixing the chronically congested Route 288 interchange at U.S. 360/Hull Street Road in Chesterfield County could cost upward of $120 million. But the study found that for between $9.5 million and $13.7 million, the county could extend a deceleration lane to prevent traffic from backing up onto the throughway’s southbound lanes during peak travel times.

Higher Education

ALUMNAE GROUP DELIVERS $5 MILLION IN DONATIONS TO SWEET BRIAR COLLEGE

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

Sweet Briar College supporters Tuesday delivered $5 million in donations — twice the amount required — to trigger a new era for the embattled private women’s school, the alumnae group Saving Sweet Briar Inc. announced. Officially, the changing of the guard will take place at 4:59 p.m. Thursday, when the resignation of current members of the board of directors takes effect and the new leadership is installed a minute later, the group said.

Virginia Other

REPORT: VA. TOOK IN MORE THAN 5M TONS OF OUT-OF-STATE WASTE

Associated Press

Virginia took in more than 5 million tons of castoffs from other states in 2014. The state Department of Environmental Quality has issued its annual solid waste report, and it found that the amount of municipal waste, construction debris and other types of waste it accepted last year remained about the same.


VIRGINIA GROUPS URGE BETTER AIR QUALITY

By PRUE SALASKY, Daily Press (Paywall for certain articles)

There are almost 700,000 asthmatics in Virginia and their health is directly tied to air quality, according to representatives of several state and national organizations committed to spreading the word about the link between climate change and public health. In a follow-up to last week's White House Summit on Climate Change and Health, representatives of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic, the Allergy and Asthma Network, the College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and the Virginia Asthma Coalition joined forces in a webinar.

Local

HEAD OF TROUBLED FAIRFAX ELECTIONS OFFICE STEPS DOWN

By ANTONIO OLIVO, Washington Post

The head of Fairfax County’s busy elections office is stepping down after four years of low employee morale and external criticism of a department that manages registration and ballots for an electorate of 700,000 voters. Cameron Quinn, whose four-year term expires Wednesday, submitted a letter to the county’s Electoral Board on Monday evening asking that she not be reappointed.


IN LOUDOUN, RURAL ECONOMY GROWS DIFFERENTLY

By ANNA HARRIS, Loudoun Times

The federal numbers are in for how much the U.S. Department of Agriculture has contributed to Virginia's rural economy, but Loudoun's own agrarian endeavors may have outstripped these bolstering efforts. In 2009, the USDA began a campaign to renew rural business growth nationwide by putting money into housing, manufacturing and the businesses themselves within the rural industries of the country, creating incentives for workers to come and stay in those communities.


RICHMOND BEGINS FISCAL YEAR WITHOUT ANNUAL REPORT, SEVEN MONTHS PAST DUE

By K. BURNELL EVANS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The start of a new fiscal year today brings fresh worries for Richmond officials already concerned about a year-end financial report now seven months overdue to the state. That report could take three more months to complete, according to a government-mandated disclosure form city finance workers filed Tuesday that listed a projected submission date of Sept. 30.


HENRICO'S NEW JUVENILE ARREST POLICY TOOK EFFECT WEDNESDAY

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

A pair of new Henrico County police policies designed to dramatically reduce the number of children arrested in the county took effect Wednesday. One policy change completely revamps the way youths will be placed under arrest in the county.


HOPEWELL MAYOR SETTLES "KLAN" LAWSUIT AHEAD OF TRIAL

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

Just weeks before her trial was scheduled to begin, Hopewell Mayor Brenda Pelham has settled a $2.35 million lawsuit for writing on Facebook that a candidate for sheriff and city policewoman was “part of the Klan.” “I never intended to suggest that Catherine Mitchell was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, or that she was part of a conspiracy to remove (former Hopewell Police) Chief (Steven) Martin because of his race or that she was in any way a racist, and I had no evidence of these things,” Pelham said in a statement released through her attorney.


PITTSYLVANIA BATTLE OVER PRAYER ENDS

By JOHN R. CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

The fight over sectarian public prayer in Pittsylvania County is over. The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors has decided they will not appeal a federal judge’s May 29 decision barring supervisors from leading prayers at the start of board meetings.


PRAYER CASE COULD COST COUNTY $81,000

By JOHN R. CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors’ legal fight over sectarian public prayer by members of the board could cost taxpayers $81,558. The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia — on behalf of county resident Barbara Hudson — is seeking $7,466.67 in additional attorney fees in the case. A federal judge granted Hudson’s first request of $53,229.92 in attorneys’ fees in August 2013. Last month, a federal magistrate awarded Hudson an additional $20,861.54 in attorneys’ fees.


Today's Sponsor:

Virginia Private College Week

Featuring 23 outstanding private colleges across the Commonwealth, July 27-August 1. Visit 3 or more colleges and receive 3 application fee waivers! Visit www.vaprivatecolleges.org for more details.

Editorials

REMOVE THE CONFEDERATE FLAG FROM OFFICIAL PLACES AND MOVE FORWARD

Daily Press Editorial (Paywall for certain articles)

The Army of Northern Virginia battle flag, the familiar and controversial "Confederate" banner, is coming down. Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia are reconsidering its appearance on license plates and official emblems. It has been removed from the capitol grounds in Alabama.


EXAMINING PAROLE BAN ONCE AGAIN

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

Twenty years after Virginia lawmakers and then-Gov. George Allen abolished parole, the state is set to take a comprehensive look at how the change affected criminal justice in the commonwealth. Last week, Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order that established a commission to review the abolition of parole, its cost and the experience of other states, and to identify and recommend other crime-prevention strategies.


A GOP COMPROMISE

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

It turns out that Jeb Bush might be able to lose the Virginia primary, after all. So will a lot of other Republicans, depending how many are still in the running then.


WHAT DO THEY THINK?

Danville Register & Bee Editorial

There is no “controversy” over the Confederate flag. Rather, there are entrenched positions on both sides of the issue that surface from time to time. This is one of those times. Around the South, debates have erupted over the flying of the many different flags of the Confederacy on public grounds. The common thread in all of those debates is that some political leaders have gone on the record — and in many cases, risked their political careers — to take a stand.


EXAMINE CONFEDERATE SYMBOLS CASE BY CASE

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

In an 1862 message to Congress, Abraham Lincoln said: “Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves.” One hundred fifty years after the Civil War, the South and the nation cannot escape memory. Memory indeed is something not to be avoided but, rather, something to be confronted and explained. History exists not only as facts but also as the ways generations interpret the forces that made them what they are. Peoples that seek to understand themselves look toward the future. Amnesia is not a national asset.

Columnists

SCHAPIRO: NATIONAL POLITICS BECOMING STATE POLITICS

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

Terry McAuliffe is never at a loss for words. Even before the U.S. Supreme Court rulings upholding Obamacare and legalizing same-sex marriage — both are a big deal with the Democratic base — the Virginia governor was hitting the hot button, energizing the faithful for fall legislative elections that will determine whether he’ll gain traction on the back end of his term or keep spinning his wheels.


RESS: POLITICS ISN'T ALL ELECTIONEERING, DOMINION'S FARRELL NOTES

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Paywall for certain articles)

Politics isn’t all electioneering and legislative deal-making, as Dominion Resources CEO Tom Farrell (who knows a bit about deal-making himself) pointed out last week at a recent industry conference in Williamsburg.


POLITIFACT: BOBBY SCOTT SAYS U.S. INCOME DISPARITY IS WIDEST SINCE 1920S

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

U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott voted against a sweeping trade in agreement with Asian nations earlier this month, in part because he thinks it will depress U.S. wages. "Entering into another large-scale trade deal at a time when income disparities in the United States are the worst since the 1920s is not the best course of action for our nation," Scott said in a June 12 statement explaining his votes against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Op-Ed

BELL: THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH IN SENTENCING

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

Governor McAuliffe has announced a commission to study the reinstatement of parole. Such a step would undo the most important public safety reform of the past 20 years, and would be an enormous step backward for Virginia. First, a bit of history. Prior to 1994, prison sentences were not truly set by the judge and jury.

Rob Bell represents the 58th District (Charlottesville) in the Virginia House of Delegates. He is chairman of the Criminal Laws Subcommittee and co-chairman of the State Crime Commission.


GASTANAGA: SENTENCING REFORM MAKES PRACTICAL SENSE

By CLAIRE GUTHRIE GASTANAGA, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Last week, Governor McAuliffe announced the establishment of a commission to study and make recommendations about Virginia’s parole system. This is an important step toward creating an effective, commonsense Virginia justice system.

Claire Guthrie Gastañaga is executive director of ACLU of Virginia.


LEMUNYON: IGNORING THE PEOPLE

By JIM LEMUNYON, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A little over a month ago, Ireland voted to amend its constitution to permit same-sex marriage. The amendment was recommended by a very public national convention more than a year ago and approved by voters after vigorous campaigning on both sides of the issue. In the United States, essentially the same result occurred a few days ago with the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, but in a very different way.

Jim LeMunyon, a Republican, represents portions of Fairfax and Loudoun counties in the Virginia House of Delegates.


DUVAL: TRADE IS GOOD FOR VIRGINIA

By BARRY DUVAL, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Last week, Virginia received the news that we have fallen in the CNBC "Top States for Business" ranking for the fourth consecutive year. Our gross domestic product in Virginia has grown at a rate of less than 1 percent for the last four years, with growth almost completely stalling at .02 percent last year.

Barry DuVal is president and chief executive of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.