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VaNews

Monday July 16, 2018

EXECUTIVE BRANCH


NORTHAM IN EUROPE THIS WEEK

By STAFF REPORT, Va Business Magazine

Gov. Ralph Northam is leading a five-day international trade and marketing mission this week to the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany. He is accompanied by First Lady Pamela Northam, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball, and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring, in addition to representatives from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Virginia Tourism Corp.


VIRGINIA AG ASKS COURT TO THROW OUT FEDERAL LAWSUIT CHALLENGING ABORTION RESTRICTIONS

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has asked a federal court to throw out a lawsuit filed by abortion-rights advocates that seeks to loosen state regulations on abortion providers. The suit — filed last month by the national Center for Reproductive Rights in conjunction with Planned Parenthood, the ACLU of Virginia and several Virginia-based abortion providers — forced Herring, a Democrat who supports abortion rights, to choose between defending state laws or siding with abortion-rights allies.


AG HERRING FILES MOTION TO DISMISS LAWSUIT CHALLENGING VIRGINIA ABORTION RESTRICTIONS

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring on Friday filed a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit challenging a raft of state restrictions on abortion. The lawsuit, filed in June by Planned Parenthood and like-minded groups, put Herring (D) in a politically awkward spot as both a vocal supporter of abortion rights and the statewide official tasked with defending Virginia in litigation.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY


NORTHERN VA. STATE LAWMAKER MAKES MOVE TO REPLACE TOSCANO AS DEMOCRATIC HOUSE LEADER

By PATRICK WILSON AND GRAHAM MOOMAW, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

A group of Democrats in the House of Delegates want to hold a vote to replace party leader David Toscano of Charlottesville. Del. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, who is in her second term, wants the party’s top leadership post, according to interviews with multiple Democratic lawmakers on both sides of the debate.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY COULD SEE EFFORTS TO ALLOW SPORTS GAMBLING, OFFICIAL SAYS

By PETER COUTU, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that paved the way for legal sports gambling could unleash a flurry of legislative proposals to secure Virginia a cut of the action, the state’s secretary of finance predicts. “You’re going to see a big push in the General Assembly session, probably the beginning of this year,” Virginia Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne said at a public lottery meeting Wednesday.


FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER JOINS MCGUIREWOODS CONSULTING

By STAFF REPORT, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

Former Virginia Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, has joined McGuireWoods Consulting — a lobbying, advocacy and public affairs powerhouse — in a non-lobbying capacity, according to the organization. As a senior adviser, Howell will work to “help clients achieve business goals in statehouses nationwide,” according to McGuireWoods Consulting.


BIG BILLS FOR VIRGINIA'S REDISTRICTING BATTLE

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The long legal battle over whether the General Assembly’s 2011 redistricting packed African-Americans into 11 House of Delegates districts in a way that diluted voting power hasn’t come cheap. Now on its way, for the second time to the U.S. Supreme Court, the cost to taxpayers of the House’s intervention in the case has reached $4,067,098.03, according to Speaker Kirk Cox’s office


LEGISLATORS PUT HANDS ON FUTURE OF CLINCH RIVER, SEE REGION’S TOURISM OPPORTUNITIES

By JOE TENNIS, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Brad Kreps stood in the Clinch River on Friday, flagging down a caucus of kayaks. “It’s just ahead — the landing,” Kreps said to the paddlers. “And that’s where we’ll release the mussels.” Those 90 mussels, which were released into the water at the A.R. Matthews Park in St. Paul, marked the significance of the event — a time when visiting politicians, lobbyists and outdoor enthusiasts were able to put their hands on the future of the Clinch River.


LAWMAKERS FLOAT CLINCH RIVER AS COMMUNITIES AIM TO KEEP ON COURSE TO BECOME STATE PARK

By AMY FRIEDENBERGER, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Del. Betsy Carr paddled through choppy water in her kayak along the Clinch River, joined shortly by her General Assembly colleague, Del. Chris Hurst. “That was fun!” said Carr, D-Richmond. Several lawmakers floated along the waterway Friday as part of an outing of the Sportsmen’s Caucus to learn about the Clinch River corridor that the state and communities are working to turn into a state park.


VIRGINIA ORGANIZING CELEBRATES MEDICAID EXPANSION

By BOB STUART, News Virginian

Tuesday night, members of the grass roots group Virginia Organizing broke out cake and other refreshments to celebrate the expansion of Virginia's Medicaid program. Joining in the festivities at the Augusta County Government Center was Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon, the Shenandoah Valley state senator who brokered the agreement to expand the health care program.

STATE GOVERNMENT


QUESTIONS ABOUT PAST NIX CHOICE FOR ROCKBRIDGE SOCIAL SERVICE DIRECTOR

By ALISON GRAHAM, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A veteran social services administrator named to lead Rockbridge area’s troubled child welfare agency said Friday he’s no longer a candidate for the position. That revelation came after questions from The Roanoke Times and local residents about his professional and financial past. Rockbridge Area Department of Social Services officials named Andre Chambers director of the agency on Monday...


VIRGINIA PROGRAM AIMS TO INCREASE NUMBER OF BEE COLONIES

Associated Press

Bring on the bees. Virginia has a new program that distributes beehives in an effort to increase the number of actively managed bee colonies around the state. The program provides beehive equipment directly to new and established beekeepers.

ECONOMY/BUSINESS


PROCTER & GAMBLE PLANT NEARLY TWO-THIRDS COMPLETE; BOUNCE DRYER SHEET LINE OPERATIONAL

By JIM MCCONVILLE, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Procter & Gamble’s new Tabler Station factory is already developing a Berkeley County, W.Va., character to it, based on an ample number of workers who hail from the area assembling the company’s Bounce dryer sheet line.


FAWN LAKE RESIDENTS SPEAK AT SCC HEARING ON PROPOSED SOLAR FARM

By SCOTT SHENK, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

State Corporation Commission officials heard lengthy testimony in Richmond Thursday regarding the proposal of a massive solar power facility in western Spotsylvania County. Residents of Fawn Lake, which borders the 6,000-plus acre site of the proposed solar plant, presented their concerns during the hearing, many of which center on potential health and environmental impacts that have come up at previous public hearings.


VA. BUSINESSES GET BOOST FROM STATE TO EXPAND PRODUCTS INTERNATIONALLY

By SARA MCCLOSKEY, WRIC

Thirteen companies graduated from a state program geared towards expanding Virginia business abroad. It’s the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) Virginia Leaders in Export Trade Program, also known as VALET. The program started in 2002 and has worked with over 300 Virginia-based companies, usually 12 every 6 months.

TRANSPORTATION


IN MLB ALL-STAR WEEK, METRO WORKERS EMPOWER LEADERS TO STRIKE

By FAIZ SIDDIQUI, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Thousands of workers from Metro’s largest union voted Sunday to authorize a potential transit strike, a risky move that would be the culmination of an extended labor dispute and could grind the region’s transportation network to a halt. Jackie L. Jeter, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, said the members approved a potential strike by a 94 percent margin. She declined to give an exact turnout, saying thousands had voted.

HIGHER EDUCATION


VCU'S RAO RANKS HIGH ON LIST OF HIGHEST-PAID UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS

By JUSTIN MATTINGLY RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATC, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao is again one of the country’s highest-paid college presidents. The Chronicle of Higher Education, the country’s largest news organization dedicated to covering colleges and universities, on Sunday night released its annual rankings of college president salaries. Rao, who took over one of Virginia’s largest universities in 2009, moved up to No. 43 on the list of highest-paid public university presidents for 2016-17, according to the report. The spot is seven points higher than his 2015-16 ranking.

VIRGINIA OTHER


TERWILLIGER NOMINATED AS U.S. ATTORNEY FOR HIGH-PROFILE EASTERN VIRGINIA DISTRICT

By RACHEL WEINER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

President Donald Trump on Friday nominated Zachary Terwilliger to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, a high-profile job the prosecutor already holds on an interim basis. The district regularly handles major terrorism, espionage and cybercrime prosecutions. The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election is prosecuting former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in the district, and an attorney from Terwilliger’s office is involved in that case.


D.C. RESIDENTS SEETHE AS COUNCIL MOVES TO OVERTURN VOTER-APPROVED WAGE HIKE

By FENIT NIRAPPIL, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Residents of the nation’s capital, already feeling disenfranchised without a vote in Congress, are rebelling against local lawmakers who want to invalidate a ballot measure approved by voters last month. A majority of the D.C. Council last week introduced legislation to repeal Initiative 77, which would raise hourly wages for servers, bartenders, bellhops and others who earn tips. The measure passed by a healthy margin, 56 percent to 44 percent.

LOCAL


KAMRAS ANNOUNCES 'BATHROOM BLITZ' INITIATIVE FOR RICHMOND SCHOOLS

By JUSTIN MATTINGLY, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Bathrooms in Richmond’s schools will soon get an upgrade. On Friday, Richmond schools Superintendent Jason Kamras announced a “bathroom blitz” — an effort to beautify the school division’s decrepit bathrooms.


CURTIS WITHDRAWS PROPOSAL FOR NK TACTICAL RANGE

By STAFF REPORT, Virginia Gazette (Metered Paywall - 5 Articles per Month)

Curtis Security Consulting Inc. has withdrawn its conditional-use permit application to build a tactical facility after Sen. Tommy Norment sent the New Kent Board Supervisors a letter opposing the plan.

EDITORIALS


RURAL BROADBAND IS AN INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE

News & Advance Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The volunteer firehouse in the Pittsylvania County community of Laurel Grove was the site Gov. Ralph Northam chose to announce one of his new administration’s most important initiatives on July 1: bringing broadband internet to rural Virginia. Getting rural Virginia onto the “information superhighway” is an issue we have highlighted for years as one of the most important economic and social development tools for the 21st century.


STATE UNIVERSITY MUST BE SUBJECT TO PUBLIC RECORDS LAWS

Daily Press Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Judge’s ruling involving donations to George Mason University undercuts the principles of FOIA George Mason University in Northern Virginia is named for a statesman from this commonwealth who was so dedicated to the ideals of personal freedom and transparency that he served as the primary author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights


WHY IS IT OK TO SLUR APPALACHIA?

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Here’s today’s question: Why, in the year 2018, is it still OK to slur Appalachia and the people who live there? This isn’t the first time we’ve had to ask this question and, sadly, it probably won’t be the last.


JURY DUTY NO-SHOWS HURT THE COMMUNITY

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

PEOPLE WHO SKIP jury duty are placing their own interests over those of everyone else and ignoring their civic obligation as citizens of this country. Jury duty can be inconvenient. Waiting around during slow court proceedings can be boring and frustrating. And sometimes, during long trials, it can be difficult and emotionally draining.


CITY STANCE ON AUGUST PERMITS CAN BE JUSTIFIED

Daily Progress Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

At first glance, it might appear disrespectful for Charlottesville’s government to refrain from sponsoring an event to commemorate Aug. 12 — or even, so far, to allow others to have access to city parks in order to do so. But a deeper look suggests why the city is reluctant to go that route.


OUR LEGISLATIVE ALL-STARS

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball pauses for its mid-season All-Star Game. In that same spirit, let’s recognize the political all-stars in Virginia who have had notable performances so far this year. Just as both the Yankees and Red Sox have players in Tuesday’s game, we also include politicians who have been on opposite sides on the same issue, but still played starring roles.

COLUMNISTS


SCHAPIRO: DEBATE IS EXPECTATIONS GAME FOR KAINE, STEWART

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

In less than a week, Tim Kaine and Corey Stewart — opponents for the U.S. Senate — face off in their first debate. For Kaine, the Democratic incumbent, it’s a chance to talk about weighty business in Washington. For Stewart, the Republican challenger, it’s chance to shout “fire” in a crowded movie theater.

OP-ED


SEYMOUR: RICHMOND IS GAGGING PROGRESSIVE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

By JOHN F. SEYMOUR, Published in the Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The gulf between the policies enacted by a predominantly rural, conservative Republican statehouse in Richmond and those supported by progressive Democratic urban centers is wide. Republican legislators have proved themselves quite adept at exploiting two powerful tools to maintain or broaden that gulf: state preemption of local laws and the strict construction of the Dillon Rule, the principle that localities have only those powers granted by the state.

John F. Seymour is a longtime resident of Arlington.


SLATER: YOUTH PRISONS ARE HARMFUL TO CHILDREN, FAMILIES

By VALERIE SLATER, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

When U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia toured a shelter that held migrant children who had been forcibly separated from their parents, Warner reached the same conclusion as millions of other Americans: Kids should be with their families. But separating families and locking up young people is nothing new in this country.

Valerie Slater is campaign coordinator of RISE for Youth, a nonpartisan effort that supports alternatives to incarceration for young people. She lives in Richmond.


MILLER: EFFORT TO SAVE THE BAY OFFERS LESSONS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

By SCOTT D. MILLER, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

For higher-education presidents, thoughts in summer turn to sustainability – of budgets, enrollment, fundraising, institutional momentum. The summertime activities of beginning a new fiscal year, attending orientations for incoming students and assessing fundraising leave little time for relaxation or reflection. Yet a recent report on the health of our region’s marvelous natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay, led me to think about the parallels we presidents might find on our campuses.

Scott D. Miller is president of Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach.


MATHWIN: STOP KILLING THE POTOMAC’S SNAKEHEAD

By JOHN MATHWIN, Published in the Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

My brother and I had been fishing under an exit ramp to Interstate 495 on a tributary of the Potomac River when we heard shouts from my son and nephew. Finally, someone had hooked a snakehead. We paddled our canoe as fast as we could toward my son’s canoe, where my nephew was battling a fish from the bow. It’s hard for non-anglers to understand how riveted the four of us were on the outcome of the fight. We would vividly remember the details of the duel years six years later.


TIMMONS AND DIETERLE: VIRGINIA FREES THE HAIR BRAIDERS

By EDWARD TIMMONS AND C. JARRETT DIETERLE, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

This month, hair braiders in Virginia will officially no longer have to worry about obtaining a government permission slip to work in the state. Recent legislation formally changes state law to exclude hair braiding from the definition of cosmetology. Although this subtle shift in language might not seem to add up to much, it could signal an important change to the lives of all citizens in Virginia.

Edward Timmons is a professor of economics and director of the Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation at Saint Francis University. C. Jarrett Dieterle is the director of commercial freedom and a senior fellow at the R Street Institute.