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VaNews

Tuesday May 22, 2018

FROM VPAP


VISUALIZATION: EARLY VOTING IN GOP U.S. SENATE PRIMARY

The Virginia Public Access Project

Nearly 1,800 voters have cast absentee ballots in next month's GOP primary. That is up slightly compared to the same point -- three weeks before Election Day -- in last year's Republican gubernatorial primary. VPAP's latest data visualization breaks down the numbers, locality by locality.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH


GOV. NORTHAM SIGNS BILL RAISING FELONY LARCENY THRESHOLD

By EVANNE ARMOUR, WRIC

At $200, Virginia is tied with New Jersey for having the lowest felony larceny threshold in the country. But on Monday, Gov. Ralph Northam ceremonially signed legislation that gives it a significant boost.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY


HANGER, JONES REACH BUDGET DEAL OVER MEDICAID EXPANSION IN VIRGINIA

By REEMA AMIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A key senator who wants to expand Medicaid but has voiced reservations reached a compromise with a top Suffolk Republican delegate on Monday, potentially paving the way for a budget deal that includes Medicaid expansion. State Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon, could get the votes necessary to pass a budget out of the Senate with a form of Medicaid expansion. However, a plan must go through the Senate’s Republican-controlled finance committee first, where he is not likely to find enough support.


VIRGINIA LEADERS PROPOSE SPENDING PLAN THAT EXPANDS MEDICAID

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Top Republican lawmakers in Virginia unveiled a new budget proposal Monday that will expand Medicaid, give state workers raises and boost the state’s rainy-day fund. Sen. Emmett Hanger and Del. Chris Jones said they’d hammered out a compromise spending plan they hope will have the support of a majority in both chambers of the General Assembly.


ASSEMBLY SHOWDOWN SET AS MEDICAID DEAL IS MADE

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The stage is set for a showdown in the Virginia Senate on Tuesday over a budget compromise negotiated by Senate Finance Co-Chairman Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta, and House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, to expand the state’s Medicaid program and pay for the state’s share through a new tax on hospital revenues that also would boost Medicaid payments for inpatient provider care. The proposal, hammered out over almost a week of negotiations between Hanger and Jones, also would bank an expected $500 million revenue windfall to boost Virginia’s reserve funds to almost $1 billion.


MEET VIRGINIANS WHO WOULD BE HELPED BY A MEDICAID EXPANSION

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Virginia’s General Assembly is poised to expand Medicaid coverage to 400,000 low-income residents as early as Tuesday. While the Republicans who control the legislature are divided over the move, supporters of expansion appear to have enough votes to overcome years of resistance to pass the measure. Prospects for passage looked more likely than ever Monday, as Sen. Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) announced that he’d struck a deal with House leaders on a specific expansion plan. Hanger has long backed expansion under certain conditions, and expansion foes had been hoping that his demands would not be met.


HOW WILL THE STATE’S PROPOSED TAX AFFECT SOVAH HEALTH?

By PAUL COLLINS, Martinsville Bulletin

In the proposed state budget being debated in Richmond this week, there is a tax on hospital revenues, put there as a way to help pay Virginia’s portion of the cost to expand Medicaid. But what will that do to local services and the cost for local hospitals? That’s still unclear.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY'S YOUNGEST DELEGATE REFLECTS ON PAST LEGISLATIVE SESSION

By DAVID ALAN, WVEC

At 28 years old, Jay Jones went to Richmond in January as the youngest member of the General Assembly. The Norfolk Delegate rode the wave election to become part of the most diverse legislative body in the history of the Commonwealth, carrying expectations that a more progressive agenda may be pursed.

STATE ELECTIONS


VIRGINIA ELECTIONS BOARD FINES GILLESPIE CAMPAIGN $2K OVER TV ADS

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Virginia’s State Board of Elections has approved a $2,000 penalty against Republican Ed Gillespie’s 2017 gubernatorial campaign, despite both parties asking state regulators to disregard complaints they filed against each other in the heat of battle.

FEDERAL ELECTIONS


INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE WITHDRAWS FROM 6TH CD RACE; ENDORSES DEMOCRAT

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

An independent candidate in the race for the 6th Congressional District bowed out over the weekend and threw his support behind a Democratic candidate. Michael Frend said in a statement he decided to leave the race following the Republicans’ nomination of Del. Ben Cline at Saturday’s convention in Harrisonburg.


FREND BOWS OUT OF RACE

By ELLIE POTTER, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

Independent Michael Frend bowed out of the race to represent the 6th District in the House of Representatives and said Monday he supports Democrat Jennifer Lewis. On Saturday evening, Frend announced that he was withdrawing from the race, despite having collected the required 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

STATE GOVERNMENT


HIGH COURT TO HEAR CHALLENGE TO VIRGINIA URANIUM MINING BAN

Associated Press

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a challenge to Virginia’s decades-old ban on uranium mining. The state has had a ban on uranium mining in place since 1982, soon after the discovery of a massive uranium deposit in the state’s Pittsylvania County. It’s the largest known deposit in the United States and one of the largest in the world.


U.S. HIGH COURT TO TAKE UP ISSUE OF WHETHER VIRGINIA CAN BAN A URANIUM MINE

By GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to consider whether Virginia has the right to ban a uranium mine, reviving discussion about a deposit on the state’s southern border that’s said to be the nation’s richest source of the mineral used in nuclear reactors. The massive uranium deposit in Pittsylvania County, at the midpoint of the state’s border with North Carolina, was discovered decades ago, but in the 1980s the General Assembly prohibited mining because of concerns about radioactivity.


VIRGINIA SETS DATE FOR FINAL SPLIT WITH NORTHROP GRUMMAN

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

As Tammy Wynette would say, it’s finally D-I-V-O-R-C-E after a 13-year, $2.4 billion information technology marriage between Virginia and Northrop Grumman. The Virginia Information Technologies Agency set a date on Monday for the final split in an increasingly messy legal separation with the Fairfax-based technology giant.


VIRGINIA WILL PAY $100,000 TO SETTLE LAWSUIT OVER INMATE'S SUICIDE IN CHESAPEAKE PRISON

By SCOTT DAUGHERTY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Locked in solitary confinement three years ago at a state prison – and facing the possibility of more time – Dai’yaan Longmire was in crisis. The Virginia Beach man, who had a documented history of mental health problems, had been alternating between screaming and crying throughout most of the day, another inmate said later. “I feel like I’m going (expletive) nuts,” Longmire told a correctional officer. “I feel like I’m going to (expletive) hurt myself.”

ECONOMY/BUSINESS


ORBITAL LAUNCHES ANOTHER RESUPPLY MISSION FROM VIRGINIA TO THE SPACE STATION

By TAMARA DIETRICH, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

With a ground-rumbling roar, an Antares rocket blasted off from Virginia’s spaceport in the wee hours Monday on a mission to resupply the International Space Station. The lift-off at 4:44 a.m. was at the tail end of a strict five-minute launch window, the better to avoid the last vestiges of lightning and rain clouds that had threatened to derail the launch.

TRANSPORTATION


GROUP OF CORPORATE HEAVYWEIGHTS PUSHES FOR REGIONAL TOLL NETWORK

By LUZ LAZO, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A group of corporate leaders is pushing for a robust, interconnected network of toll lanes from Baltimore to Richmond, saying the region should embrace tolling to improve the reliability of the region’s roadways and reduce congestion while generating a funding stream to pay for transportation infrastructure.

HIGHER EDUCATION


SULLIVAN COMMENDS UVA GRADUATES’ RESPONSE TO INFAMOUS INCIDENTS

By RUTH SERVEN, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Teresa Sullivan strode to a podium at Old Cabell Hall, looked down at her notes and then beamed at her final crop of University of Virginia graduates. At Final Exercises on Saturday, she focused not on her accomplishments as U.Va.’s first female president, but instead on difficulties the university has faced in the past four years and students’ resilience during challenging times.

VIRGINIA OTHER


CONGRESSMAN, OTHERS TALK ABOUT HOW TO TACKLE VIRGINIA’S SKY-HIGH EVICTION RATES

By RYAN MURPHY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

In the wake of a report that showed Hampton Roads had some of the highest eviction rates in the nation, officials are talking about how to lower the numbers – even as others dispute the extent of the problem. In April, Princeton researchers released a report on eviction rates in large cities that included five Virginia cities among the top 10. At a forum Monday, U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott said he was embarrassed by the rankings.


STUDY: HAMPTON, NEWPORT NEWS IN NATION'S TOP 5 FOR WORST RENTAL EVICTION RATES

By REEMA AMIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The rate at which people are evicted from their rental homes has pushed Virginia into the spotlight after a Princeton University study last month placed five Virginia cities in the country’s top 10 — Newport News and Hampton in the top five. On Monday, local and state officials could not agree whether the study understated or exaggerated the problem, and no action plan was set in motion.


ANOTHER MOUNTAIN VALLEY PIPELINE PROTEST IS OFF THE GROUND IN GILES COUNTY

By LAURENCE HAMMACK, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The latest aerial blockade of the Mountain Valley Pipeline went up Monday morning in Giles County. A woman protesting plans to build the natural gas pipeline through Southwest Virginia is positioned on a platform, about 30 feet above the ground, that is suspended from ropes anchored to trees in the Jefferson National Forest.

LOCAL


CALLS FOR TRANSPARENCY PERSIST, AS RICHMOND POLICE RELEASE DATA

By MALLORY NOE-PAYNE, WVTF

Last week, police in Richmond shot and killed an unarmed man who was charging at an officer. The incident has renewed calls for more transparency around policing. Earlier this year, Richmond agreed to release monthly data on complaints against officers, as well as use of force by officers. But some community advocates are asking for more.


THOMAS JEFFERSON HIGH BE NEXT?

By JUSTIN MATTINGLY, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

It would cost $26,000 to rename Richmond’s lone school named after a Confederate general, according to an estimate from the school system’s administration. As the Richmond School Board weighs changing the name of J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School, with all signs pointing to that outcome, the panel was presented Monday with its first cost estimate for the endeavor.


IDA TAKES NO ACTION ON APPLICATION POLICY

By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 12 articles a month)

The Bristol Virginia Industrial Development Authority still hasn’t finished an application process for BVU economic development funding — some 16 months after it was first requested — and now an applicant is waiting. A 2016 audit by the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts cited BVU for the lack of any application process for funds for city economic development projects.

EDITORIALS


6TH DISTRICT ALREADY DECIDED?

Daily News Record Editorial (Subscription Required)

"Dewey Beats Truman,” The Chicago Daily Tribune famously declared, incorrectly, on Nov. 3, 1948, believing Republican Thomas Dewey had defeated incumbent President Harry S. Truman when all the dust settled. Truman instead would be seen holding a copy of the errant newspaper, smiling, in an iconic photograph that accompanies the cautionary tale in journalism 101 classes about not getting ahead of the facts, among other lessons.


A RISKY BET FOR VIRGINIA

Daily Press Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The U.S. Supreme Court handed the General Assembly yet another opportunity to introduce gambling to the commonwealth after a May 14 ruling to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Now the states, rather than Congress, can individually decide if they want to approve, regulate and tax sports betting. Hailed by federalists as a ruling that limits Congress’ power over the states, the decision also places a unique burden on Virginia, which is concurrently deciding whether (or how) historical horse racing and casino gambling might play a role in the commonwealth.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY WORKING TOWARD OPENNESS

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

WHEN TRANSPARENCY Virginia began its work in 2015, lawmakers in Richmond treated openness as an intrusion rather than a defining characteristic of good government. General Assembly committee meetings and hearings were routinely held without proper notice, and the times and locations changed without warning. Committee and subcommittee meetings were not broadcast or recorded, so citizens had to be in the room to hear lawmakers’ debate.


A PROPOSED ITINERARY FOR SENATOR JANET HOWELL'S TRIP TO SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA

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

Back during the General Assembly session earlier this year, Del. Will Morefield, R-Tazewell County, had a complicated but clever bill to grant tax breaks to companies that set up operations in certain economically-distressed localities. His intent was to create some incentive for companies to create jobs in his hard-hit district in the coalfields — and other localities in similar straits.

OP-ED


BRYANT: VIRGINIA'S INFRASTRUCTURE REVIEW PROCESS WORKS. LET IT KEEP WORKING.

By L. PRESTON BRYANT JR., Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Virginia is growing. In 60 years the population has doubled and it is estimated to exceed 10 million residents by 2040. Virginia will be one of the 10 largest states for the first time in more than a century. A growing population needs expanded education, medical, transportation, and energy infrastructure. This expansion must be done in a smart way,

L. Preston Bryant Jr. is senior vice president at McGuireWoods Consulting LLC. He served as Virginia secretary of natural resources from 2006 to 2010.