By JORDAN PASCALE , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)
Nearly 1,800 laws were passed during the 2017 General Assembly that wrapped Saturday. Many deal with industry minutiae (the number of menhaden allowed to be caught in a year) or super-narrow provisions (allowing retired conservation officers to carry concealed handguns without permits). But others could affect many of us in our daily lives when they take effect July 1. Here are a dozen. Left lane fines ... Don’t call it visitation ... Birth control access ... State pay raises
By TRAVIS FAIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
Forty-six days after it gavelled in, the Virginia General Assembly gavelled out Saturday. In between, it passed a budget with raises for teachers and state employees, bigger raises meant to address nursing shortages at state mental hospitals and even bigger raises for state police. Speaker of the House William Howell announced his retirement and will be succeeded, assuming Republicans hold their House majority in the November elections, by current Majority Leader Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights.
By JONATHAN MARTIN, New York Times
Ask Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam, a Democrat, what defines this year’s race for governor in Virginia, and he does not mention President Trump. Ask the same question of former Representative Tom Perriello, Mr. Northam’s rival for the Democratic nomination, and he invokes the president in the first sentence. “I think it’s fierce resistance to the kind of hateful politics Trump has represented and putting forward a better vision of how we’re going to build an inclusive economy,” Mr. Perriello said in an interview here [Fredericksburg] last week, speaking after a town hall-style meeting that showed just how immersed he is in the administration’s mounting controversies and the swelling opposition movement.
By JAMES A. BACON, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
As Republicans and Democrats brace for a battle royal over Obamacare and what might replace it, they would do well to pay heed to an important experiment south of the Potomac. In Congress the debate centers on who pays for health care and how costs can be shifted to someone else — a zero-sum game. At Inova Health System, the dominant health-care provider in Northern Virginia, the focus is on improving peoples’ health at lower cost by practicing medicine differently. If Inova is successful, everyone wins.
James A. Bacon publishes the Bacon’s Rebellion blog
By JOANNE KIMBERLIN AND RYAN MURPHY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)
Is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel safe? That question has been on the minds of truckers and travelers since a semitrailer plunged over the side two weeks ago in blustery weather, killing the driver. Bridge-tunnel police point to its safety record. Five decades of operation. More than 100 million commercial and passenger vehicles. Just 14 over the side.
By GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER, Washington Post
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly assured him Sunday that immigration agents are not conducting random raids and will not target undocumented residents unless they are suspected of being involved in illegal activity. “He explained to me what the new procedures were,” McAuliffe said Sunday after a private 45-minute briefing with Kelly, who is a retired general. “I do take a four-star U.S. Marine general at his word.”
By MICHAEL BRAGG, Daily Progress
Hundreds of constituents from Virginia’s 5th Congressional District came together Sunday afternoon for a town hall, although their representative was not in attendance. Indivisible Charlottesville, a recently formed progressive political advocacy group, and other Indivisible groups in the area said they organized the event because they want Tom Garrett, R-5th, to hold an in-person town hall where they and other constituents can communicate their concerns to him.
By KARIN KAPSIDELIS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
The University of Virginia estimates it spends $20 million a year complying with unfunded federal mandates just for its academic division. In the past five years, the College of William & Mary reports it has added at least four full-time positions to handle the increase in regulatory requirements and gives “a conservative estimate” of $4.5 million to $6.7 million in annual compliance costs.
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
For the past few months Virginians have been subject to a steady drumbeat of bad news about the state’s finances: The commonwealth is facing a budget shortfall, agencies are “bracing for cuts,” and so on. With the General Assembly now adjourned, taxpayers might want to take note of two numbers: $105 billion, which was the size of the state budget when the Assembly adjourned last year — and $107 billion, which is the size of the state budget today. For all the talk of gloom and doom, Virginia’s total budget has grown, not shrunk.
By ERIC CANTOR, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
Virginians take pride in the achievement of our public school students. Their success is reflected on the highly regarded federal test — the National Assessment of Educational Progress — which shows that our fourth- and eighth-graders surpass the national average in both reading and math, sometimes by healthy margins. But a deeper dive into the data shows this success is not uniform for all our children. Our low-income fourth-graders are reading more than three grade levels below their more affluent peers
Eric Cantor is the former U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District and House majority leader.