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VaNews

Wednesday January 16, 2019

FROM VPAP


GENERAL ASSEMBLY CANDIDATES DISCLOSE CAMPAIGN FINANCE

The Virginia Public Access Project

Incumbents and challengers in the 2019 state legislative elections on Tuesday provided a public accounting of their campaign account activity for the second half of 2018. VPAP makes it easy to sort candidates by total raised and cash on hand and to browse lists of donations and expenses.


NEW LAW EXPANDS NUMBER OF LOCAL CANDIDATES WHO REPORT FINANCES ONLINE

The Virginia Public Access Project

Starting Tuesday, most Virginians can save themselves a trip to courthouse or city hall in order to inspect campaign finance reports filed by candidates for local office. Under a law passed by the 2018 General Assembly, candidates running for offices in localities with 70,000 or more people are now required to file disclosures electronically. (E-filing remains optional in smaller cities and counties.) Click on the link to search for candidates in your locality.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH


HERRING BLASTS STUDY OF HIS OFFICE AS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has denounced a wide-ranging review of his office by the legislature's watchdog agency as a politically motivated witch hunt. The Democratic attorney general blasted the review as "baseless" and an "inquisition." He also said it was designed to "support partisan preconceptions" in a November letter to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY


VIRGINIA SENATE PASSES ERA RESOLUTION BY 26-14 VOTE

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Virginia Senate passed a resolution on Tuesday for Virginia to ratify the federal Equal Rights Amendment. Seven Republicans joined all 19 of the chamber’s Democrats in supporting the resolution sponsored by Sen. Glen Sturtevant, R-Richmond.


VIRGINIA SENATE PASSES FEDERAL EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT

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

The GOP-led state Senate voted Tuesday to make Virginia the 38th and final state to ratify the federal Equal Rights Amendment. The measure passed with bipartisan support, with seven Republicans joining Democrats on a 26-to-14 vote.


MEDICAID EXPANSION COSTS RAISE NEW QUESTIONS ABOUT HOSPITAL TAX

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

A tax on hospital revenue to pay for Virginia’s share of the cost of expanding its Medicaid program might not cover the expense of administering a state proposal for a work requirement and other conditions for people who receive health care benefits under the program.


CASINO WARS: PORTSMOUTH, NORFOLK ARE BATTLING FOR VIRGINIA'S FIRST CASINO

By JOANNE KIMBERLIN AND LEE TOLLIVER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

A casino war has begun. Portsmouth leaders came out swinging this week with their own plans to open a waterfront casino, rivaling plans by the Pamunkey Indians to build one in downtown Norfolk. Such proximity wouldn't be good for either casino's success. The battle lines have now been drawn in bills filed in the General Assembly.


PAMUNKEY TRIBE SAYS IT'S WILLING TO JUMPSTART NORFOLK CASINO PROJECT UNDER COMMERCIAL GAMING LAW

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

Virginia’s Pamunkey Indian Tribe said Tuesday that it’s willing to fast-track its planned casino in Norfolk by opening it under commercial gambling laws instead of waiting on federal approvals for a tribal casino. The tribe is modifying its plans in an attempt to be involved in current General Assembly deliberations about possible casinos in Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth.


ROBINSON: BAN DISCRIMINATION AGAINST GAYS IN HOUSING — IT'S WHAT REPUBLICANS WANT

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

Del. Roxann Robinson, R-Chesterfield, says it is time to ban discrimination against gay and transgender Virginians in housing — and that she’s far from the only Virginia Republican to feel that way. An effort last year by Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, died in a House General Laws subcommittee. Interestingly, this year, Robinson’s bill is headed to the Rules Committee. That’s where Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, likes to send major legislation that requires thoughtful consideration, as a kind of first stop.


SOME CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS GET ON BOARD WITH CERTAIN LGBT BILLS IN VIRGINIA

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

A Republican lawmaker from the Richmond suburbs is sponsoring a bill to protect gay and transgender Virginians from discrimination in housing — legislation that appears to have support for the first time from some conservative Republicans. “We don’t live in 1980 anymore, and it’s time for us to get past this and not discriminate against a community when most people don’t have a problem with this community,” said Del. Roxann L. Robinson (R-Chesterfield)


'IT'S TIME TO MOVE FORWARD': REPUBLICAN ROXANN ROBINSON PARTNERS WITH LGBT RIGHTS GROUP ON HOUSING DISCRIMINATION BILL

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

For the last three years, the Virginia Senate has passed bills to expand protections for LGBT people. The legislation has never made it out of the House of Delegates, but advocates think this year could be different.


LAWMAKERS SEEK END TO AGE CAP ON INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

By C. SUAREZ ROJAS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Thousands of Virginians diagnosed with autism would be eligible for continued health care coverage if legislation removing an age cap on insurance is approved.


HOUSE REPUBLICANS BREAK IMPASSE ON BILL TO EXPAND INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR AUTISTIC CHILDREN

By GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

House Republican leaders on Tuesday endorsed a bill to expand insurance coverage for children with autism, breaking a budget impasse that had killed a similar measure last year.


VIRGINIA LAWMAKERS EYE PAID FAMILY LEAVE

By DANIEL BERTI, Capital News Service

Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation that would provide Virginia workers up to three months of paid family and medical leave every year. The bills would create a paid leave program, effective Jan. 1, 2022, for workers who are new parents, family of active duty military personnel, have serious medical conditions, or care for family members with serious medical conditions. Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Prince William, sponsor of House Bill 2120, made her case for paid family and medical leave in Virginia at a press conference Monday.


FOSTER CARE REFORM PROMISED

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

In the wake of a scathing report on Virginia’s foster care system, a team of four state Senators have proposed sweeping changes. Separately, two Hampton Roads legislators, Del. Emily Brewer, R-Suffolk, and state Sen. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg, have stepped up to serve as co-chairs of a new General Assembly foster care caucus. “Due to circumstances beyond their control, more than 5,000 children find themselves in Virginia’s foster care system right now,” Mason said.. “We have to do everything we can to help them thrive.”


NEW CAUCUS FORMED TO FOCUS ON REFORMING FOSTER CARE SYSTEM: 'WE HAVE BEEN FAILING'

By BRIDGET BALCH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has formed what they’re calling the Foster Care Caucus to focus on passing laws and funding the costs to reform Virginia’s overwhelmed system of caring for some of the state’s most vulnerable children.


VIRGINIA’S FOSTER CARE SYSTEM HAS NEEDED REFORM FOR DECADES

By KATIE O'CONNOR, Virginia Mercury

Virginia’s foster care system is in dire straits. It is struggling to care for some of the state’s most vulnerable children, whose basic health and safety needs sometimes go unmet by local departments. And the state, which has oversight of the whole system, has taken a hands-off approach to supervision.


AUGUSTA COUNTY SENATOR HELPS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO END GERRYMANDERING

By JULIA FAIR, News Leader (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

A bipartisan constitutional amendment to end gerrymandering was introduced Tuesday by Republican Augusta County Sen. Emmett Hanger and Democratic Sen. Mamie Locke of Hampton City. The amendment would take redistricting out of the hands of politicians and create Virginia's first Citizens Redistricting Commission, according to a press release from Hanger's office.


A NORFOLK LAWMAKER WANTS LANDLORDS IN WEALTHY AREAS TO RENT TO LOW-INCOME PEOPLE

By MARIE ALBIGES, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

An incentive program aimed at encouraging landlords in wealthy areas to open their doors to low-income families failed to take off in Richmond, but one state lawmaker hopes it might make a difference in Hampton Roads. The program gives landlords a tax break if they accept housing vouchers — formerly Section 8 vouchers — in neighborhoods that have low poverty.


SEALING THE DEAL ... IN THE MODERN, COMMERCIAL LEASING WAY

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

Thinking about a Fredericksburg shopping mall’s dispute with an amusement arcade over unpaid rent, Virginia’s Supreme Court mused that some 183 years ago the great American legal commentator, Chancellor Kent, found the common-law custom of sealing land dealings in writing to be “corroborated by the usages and records of all antiquity, sacred and profane.”


NEW HOUSE PANEL FORMED TO SHEPHERD AMAZON PACKAGE THROUGH ASSEMBLY

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

As Amazon’s plan for a new headquarters in Arlington County moves from vision to reality, a new House Appropriations subcommittee has formed to shepherd a proposed package of state commitments through the General Assembly to ensure Virginia lives up to its promises, especially in developing a higher education pipeline for high-tech talent.


SENATE REPUBLICANS STRIP NORMENT'S OPPONENT OF APPOINTMENT

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Senate Republican Majority Leader Tommy Norment has ensured that his Democratic opponent this fall will have one less item on his résumé. Gov. Ralph Northam in September appointed Herb Jones of New Kent County to the Virginia Military Advisory Council. But the governor’s appointments need to be confirmed by the General Assembly. Jones is running against Norment, of James City County, in Senate District 3.


SEN. CHASE WEARS HANDGUN TO PODIUM TO PRESENT BILLS IN COMMITTEE

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

It’s not just her bills that are sparking attention. State Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, generated buzz on Tuesday by presenting them while wearing her .38-caliber revolver in a custom-made holster. The first-term senator — a fan of government transparency and opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment — said she wore the gun following an incident Monday in which Capitol Police were called after immigration-rights supporters confronted Sen. Dick Black, R-Loudoun.


CHILD PORN LEGISLATION ADVANCES

By JESSICA WETZLER, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

Legislation to change what is included in the Child Pornography Registry passed through a subcommittee Monday, being recommended for a hearing with the full House Courts of Justice Committee. Del. Robert Bell, R-Albemarle, is sponsoring HB 1940 after one of his constituents brought the issue to his attention. The bill would require all child pornography found during a criminal investigation to be included in the Child Pornography Registry.


HOUSE COURTS OF JUSTICE COMMITTEE CERTIFIES FISHER FOR 20TH CIRCUIT COURT JUDGESHIP

By NATHANIEL CLINE, Loudoun Times

Fauquier County Commonwealth's Attorney James P. Fisher (R) has been certified by the House of Delegates Courts of Justice Committee to be the next 20th Circuit Court judge, according to a committee associate. However, Virginia House of Delegates leaders postponed a floor vote Tuesday afternoon amid concerns over the nomination process.

STATE ELECTIONS


CALL FOR GOP NOMINATIONS FOR THE 86TH DISTRICT SEAT

By CATHERINE DOUGLAS MORAN, Reston Now

Nearly one month away from the special election for the 86th District seat, the Fairfax County Republican Committee will hold a meeting on Saturday (Jan. 19) to nominate a candidate. Yesterday (Jan. 14), the committee put a call for a mass meeting to nominate a Republican candidate for the now-State Sen. Jennifer Boysko’s vacated seat, which represents parts of Fairfax County and Loudoun County.

STATE GOVERNMENT


LEE COUNTY BOARD SUES STATE OVER DECISION BLOCKING EDUCATORS FROM CARRYING GUNS AT SCHOOL

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

The Lee County School Board sued the state Tuesday after it denied a school employee a designation that would allow him to carry firearms on school property. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services denied Division Superintendent Brian Austin’s application to be a “special conservator of the peace.”


VIRGINIANS TO RECEIVE FEBRUARY SNAP BENEFITS EARLY DUE TO GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

By VERNON FREEMAN JR.,, WTVR

Virginians who receive SNAP benefits will receive their February food benefits early due to the federal government shutdown. The change affects all SNAP recipients in Commonwealth who are scheduled to receive benefits during the first week of February.

CONGRESS


LURIA NAMED TO ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE

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

Hampton Roads will gain a seat on the House of Representatives committee that deals with the military, now that Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Norfolk, has been named to the panel. Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, who represents parts of Chesapeake and Suffolk, is also a member of the Armed Services Committee. So is Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Westmoreland, whose district includes James City County and a large swath of northeastern Virginia.


COMMUNITY'S FEDERAL WORKERS FEELING PINCHED BY SHUTDOWN

By ONOFRIO CASTIGLIA, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

One federal employee who lives in the Northern Shenandoah Valley donated food and money to her church just before Christmas to help those in need. On Tuesday, the 25th day of the partial federal government shutdown, she said she will need to go to that same church to get food for herself.

TRANSPORTATION


LOCAL ROAD PROJECTS SCORE POORLY IN STATE FUNDING PROCESS

By ALLISON WRABEL, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Just one Charlottesville road project has been recommended for funding through the state’s Smart Scale process, while no projects in Albemarle County were recommended. On Tuesday, the scores from the third round of the funding prioritization process and the staff-recommended funding scenario were presented to the Commonwealth Transportation Board

HIGHER EDUCATION


GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN SLOWS RESEARCH AT VIRGINIA TECH

By JESSICA JEWELL -, WSLS

More Americans are starting to feel the impacts of the longest government shutdown in history. That includes researchers at Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech is a research-driven university, where half a billion dollars worth of research happens every year.

VIRGINIA OTHER


SECOND LADY KAREN PENCE TO TEACH ART AT A VIRGINIA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

By EMILY HEIL, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Pence, is going back to her roots: She’s taken a part-time gig teaching art at a local Christian elementary school, her office announced Tuesday. Karen Pence, a watercolor artist and longtime teacher, will lead students twice a week at the Immanuel Christian School in Northern Virginia, where she taught while her husband served in the House.

LOCAL


WILL PRINCE WILLIAM LEADERS TAKE STATE CASH, DIG DEEPER IN NEABSCO CREEK DREDGING PROJECT?

By URIAH KISER, Potomac Local (Subscription Required)

Next week, Prince William County leaders will need to make a choice: Dredge the Neabsco Creek as planned, or accept more tax funds and dig deeper. The county could win a $250,000 grant from the state that could be added to the $750,000 in monies Prince William County allocated for dredging at the entrance to the creek, where it meets the Potomac River at Hampton’s Landing Marina near Woodbridge.


75 DAYS AND COUNTING: WHEN WILL STONEY UNVEIL THE COLISEUM REDEVELOPMENT PLANS?

By MARK ROBINSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

It has been 10½ weeks since Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney publicly endorsed the $1.4 billion plan to redevelop 21 acres of city-owned downtown real estate around a new Richmond Coliseum. The proposal, however, still remains private 2½ months after the mayor’s announcement,


VIRGINIA BEACH APPROVES INITIAL AGREEMENT TO BUILD ENTERTAINMENT CENTER AND SURF PARK

By STACY PARKER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The City Council approved a non-binding term sheet on Tuesday for an entertainment attraction and surf park to be built at the Oceanfront, setting in motion an ambitious project that still faces other hurdles.


FROM TACOS TO DOGGIE DAYCARE: HAMPTON ROADS HELPING GOVERNMENT WORKERS GET THROUGH SHUTDOWN

By KATHERINE HAFNER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Ernesto Alonso, owner of Ghent's Plaza Del Sol restaurant, said he remembers serving in the Marine Corps as an E-1, living paycheck to paycheck at best. It all came back to him on Sunday, when a Coast Guard couple came into his restaurant on Colonial Avenue for free tacos. He's giving them out to any federal workers affected by the shutdown — a chance, he said, to "do the right thing."


FRANKLIN COUNTY SUPERVISORS APPROVE PERMIT FOR NATURAL GAS GATE STATION

By CASEY FABRIS, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Roanoke Gas Co. secured a special-use permit Tuesday to build a natural gas gate station in Franklin County. The gate station will be located on a 2.9-acre parcel in the county’s 550-acre Summit View Business Park, where it will tap the Mountain Valley Pipeline.


SOME SCHOOL DISTRICTS MAY STRUGGLE TO FIND LOCAL MATCH FOR PROPOSED TEACHER PAY RAISE

By MECHELLE HANKERSON, Virginia Mercury

Danielle Kinder has teaching in her family tree — her mom presides over a high school classroom down the hallway from her in Russell County and her sister used to be with them too before switching to elementary school. But teaching in Russell County is difficult. It’s the second lowest-paying county in Virginia for teachers and a 45-minute trip to Tennessee or a shorter ride to neighboring Washington County, where teachers make, on average, about $10,000 per year more in either location.

EDITORIALS


REPEAL ARCHAIC KINGS DOMINION LAW

Free Lance-Star Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Public schools in Virginia can’t start the new academic year until after Labor Day unless they obtain a waiver from the Virginia Department of Education due to a 1986 state law dubbed the “Kings Dominion law” after a popular amusement park in Doswell.


FORECASTS PREDICT GRIM CLIMATE FUTURE

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

A little more than two weeks in to the new year, foreboding predictions about the looming environmental crisis continue unabated. Last week, a new report in the journal Science concluded that average ocean temperatures are rising at a more rapid pace than previously thought. While those changes are tricky to measure, the findings indicate that previous studies may have been far too cautious in their conclusions.


MOUNTAIN STATE LAWMAKERS HIT NAIL

Winchester Star Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

While legislators here in the Old Dominion — particularly our two senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine — either preen before the cameras and cast aspersion on President Trump or do nothng (Messrs. Warner and Kaine are preeners supreme), over in West Virginia, U.S. Rep. David McKinley, who represents the Wheeling area (Northern Panhandle), at least has something meaningful to say. And he is absolutely right in saying, “Enough is enough” in regard to the so-called “government shutdown.”


IN PUSHING SOLAR SCHOOLS, STANLEY THINKS OUT OF THE BOX. WHY IS HE ALONE?

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

One of the most conservative legislators in the General Assembly has proposed one of the most creative uses of renewable energy in the country. Let that sink in. Once it does, you’ll have a better sense of just how much state Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, has discombobulated both parties in his quest to modernize Virginia’s most outdated school buildings.

COLUMNISTS


SCHAPIRO: NORTHAM ONE YEAR ON - THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

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

Only a few minutes after he was sworn in on a chilly Saturday last January, Democrat Ralph Northam, in a raw display of gubernatorial power he apparently had been cautioned to avoid, pardoned cadets at his alma mater, the Virginia Military Institute, for minor infractions. It was a so-called amnesty ordinarily issued by a governor later in his term.

OP-ED


WAUGH: VIRGINIA DESERVES A BETTER I-81

By JOYCE WAUGH, Published in the Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Roanoke Regional Chamber’s roots in advocacy — specifically, transportation advocacy — date back to our founding in 1890, when a group of merchants banded together to improve roadways to City Market. Then called the Merchant’s Association, this group recognized that shared challenges with road conditions were impeding everyone’s ability to sell goods.

Waugh is president and CEO of the Roanoke Regional Chamber.


SPANBERGER: END THE SHUTDOWN, PROTECT THE LIVELIHOODS OF FEDERAL WORKERS & THEIR FAMILIES

By ABIGAIL SPANBERGER, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Earlier this month, I was sworn into office as a U.S. representative serving the people of central Virginia. The moment was special. Before I took the oath of office, I was surrounded by the warm presence of hundreds of old and new friends from Virginia’s 7th. Together, we talked about the need to pursue smart policies in Congress

Abigail Spanberger represents Virginia’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.