VaNews

Monday February 19, 2018


Today's Sponsor:

CGI

Proving IT jobs and Southwest Virginia go together, CGI celebrates 11 years and 400 employees at its Center of Excellence in Lebanon, Russell County. cgi.com/virginia

General Assembly


VIRGINIA’S HOUSE REPUBLICANS FINALLY PUT THEIR WEIGHT BEHIND MEDICAID EXPANSION

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

Virginia’s Republican-controlled House of Delegates has created a draft state budget that expands Medicaid, dropping years of partisan resistance in the face of pressure from newly empowered Democrats. But the plan sets up a confrontation with the state Senate, which is also controlled by Republicans and did not include Medicaid expansion in the plan passed unanimously out of the Senate Finance Committee on Sunday evening.



VIRGINIA HOUSE EMBRACES MEDICAID EXPANSION IN BUDGET

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Virginia’s Republican-controlled House of Delegates is embracing Medicaid expansion after years of opposition. The House included Medicaid expansion in the proposed state budget Sunday, saying President Barack Obama’s health care law is here to stay and it’s no longer reasonable to block health coverage for about 300,000 low-income Virginians. Republicans want to mandate work requirements and cost-sharing provisions for some Medicaid recipients.



THE FIREWALL AGAINST MEDICAID EXPANSION HAS FALLEN IN THE VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES, BUDGET PROPOSAL SHOWS

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

The firewall against Medicaid expansion has fallen in the Virginia House of Delegates. The House Appropriations Committee on Sunday will consider a proposed two-year budget that includes extending Medicaid coverage to more than 300,000 uninsured Virginians under the Affordable Care Act and using the savings to pay for a blockbuster higher education initiative in Northern Virginia, a big infusion of cash into K-12 and early childhood programs, and a targeted expansion of raises for public employees.



VIRGINIA HOUSE AND SENATE BUDGET PLANS ARE MORE THAN $600 MILLION APART BECAUSE OF MEDICAID EXPANSION, CASH RESERVE

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

The stage is set for a showdown between the House of Delegates and Senate over expansion of Virginia’s Medicaid program, but the old roles have reversed in the five-year political battle. The House Appropriations Committee reversed course on its longstanding opposition to Medicaid expansion on Sunday by adopting a proposed budget that would accept more than $3 billion in federal funding to extend health coverage for more than 300,000 uninsured Virginians.



HOUSE, SENATE SPLIT ON MEDICAID EXPANSION

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The General Assembly’s budget-writers split over expanding Medicaid to cover some 300,000 uninsured, low-income Virginians, with the House saying yes — with a requirement that enrollees help with the cost — and the state Senate saying no. The centerpiece of the House Appropriations Committee’s budget recommendation is to tap federal Affordable Care Act funds to cover 90 percent of the cost of health care for those 300,000 Virginians.



VIRGINIA HOUSE BUDGET INCLUDES $40 MILLION FOR NEW, VIRGINIA TECH CYBERSECURITY PROGRAM

By CARMEN FORMAN, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Virginia lawmakers have backed plans to expand cybersecurity education in the state by creating a $40 million master’s degree program led by Virginia Tech. Tech will develop and lead the five-year master’s degree and research program centered on cybersecurity and other technologies involving drones, computer science, data analysis and more.



STATES CONSIDER PROTECTING BENEFITS FOR DACA AND TPS IMMIGRANTS

By ANTONIO OLIVO, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

State lawmakers in Virginia and across the country are weighing a host of bills aimed at preserving driver’s licenses and other benefits for undocumented immigrants who may lose the protected status long afforded them by the federal government.



AFTER THRILLS OF WAVE ELECTION, FRESHMEN DEMOCRATS SEE MOST OF THEIR BILLS DIE IN GOP-CONTROLLED HOUSE

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

As a star of Virginia’s 2017 elections, all cameras seemed to be on Del. Danica Roem, D-Prince William, earlier this year when she made history as the first transgender lawmaker sworn in to the General Assembly. When the focus turned to the arduous work of taking up the 1,610 bills filed in the House of Delegates, Roem’s national profile didn’t easily translate to personal legislative victories.



IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE MAKES A DIFFERENCE

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

When Del. David Reid, D-Loudoun, asked the kids from a foster-care home where he spent part of his youth to stand up and be recognized by the House of Delegates, he did something a bit out of the ordinary. He asked to stand the three other House members who, like himself, had been adopted.



VIRGINIA BEACH STATE DELEGATE SPEAKS PASSIONATELY ABOUT SCHOOL GUN VIOLENCE

By JORDAN PASCALE, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Del. Cheryl Turpin got three minutes into her first floor speech Thursday before she got choked up and almost lost it. “How are we free when children go to school in the morning ...” she said before momentarily collecting herself, “but don’t come home? “Our hearts cannot grow callous from the prevalence of tragedies. Our call to action is not a political one, but a plea for mercy. A plea to put politics aside and address this crisis head-on.”



LOOKING HARDER AT HOUSE VOTES

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Maybe it’s the sunshine in House of Delegates subcommittees and committees, where votes on bills are now recorded on electronic voting machines, or maybe it’s just what happens in a 51-49 Republican-Democratic split, but there’s plenty of attention paid these days to where legislators stand. “Whew,” said Del. Gordon Helsel, R-Poquoson, “Did you see that vote on sanctuary cities? I really sweated that.”



DOMINION RATE BILL SPLITS PRINCE WILLIAM DELEGATION, REGARDLESS OF LOCAL POWER LINE PITCH

By ALEX KOMA, Inside NOVA

A controversial bill to restore state regulation of electric utility rates contains a provision squarely aimed at sweetening the pot for Prince William County lawmakers; but almost all of the county’s delegation in Richmond voted against it, all the same.

Federal Elections


DEMOCRAT CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES TAKE SHOTS AT COMSTOCK, TRUMP AT FORUM

By JOSH JANNEY, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

Seven Democratic candidates vying for their party’s nomination in November’s 10th Congressional District race called for gun control, a higher minimum wage and the protection of minorities of during a candidate forum on Saturday afternoon at James Wood Middle School. More than 300 people attended the event, which was hosted by lndivisible Winchester, Clarke Democrats and the Winchester-Frederick County Democratic Committee.



IN FIRST FORUM, DEMOCRATS VYING TO FACE COMSTOCK TALK GUNS, HOW TO WIN

By JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Tighten gun laws. Reform campaign finance laws. Increase the minimum wage. Seven of the Democrats running to unseat Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) agreed on nearly every issue lobbed at them Saturday in the first major forum of the primary, except one: how to beat the congresswoman.



HOPEFULS PARTICIPATE IN DEMOCRATS FORUM

By ALEX BRIDGES, Northern Virginia Daily

The seven people seeking the Democratic Party nomination to run for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District showed unity Saturday against two people: President Donald Trump and U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock.



SIXTH DISTRICT CANDIDATES SHARE VIEWS AT LU FORUM

By JOSH MOODY, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A crowded field of candidates made their cases at a 6th District GOP forum at Liberty University on Saturday, where seven of those seeking to replace outgoing Congressman Bob Goodlatte spoke to local voters....For two hours candidates fielded questions from moderators before closing with short speeches.



5TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATS FACING FEB. 27 DEADLINE TO TWEAK NOMINATION PROCESS

By TYLER HAMMEL, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The 5th District Democratic Committee might change its nomination process from a convention to a primary, but the time to make that decision is running out. The committee decided by a body vote of 17-2 in October to use a convention in deciding which candidate would receive the nomination, and, a few weeks ago, it was set to occur May 5 in Farmville. However, questions have arisen about the practicality of the convention, said committee Chair Suzanne Long.

State Government


PROPOSED DRONE FACILITY IN YORK COUNTY WINS GO VIRGINIA MONEY

By JOSH REYES, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A proposed unmanned systems facility for testing drones in York County is getting some money to get off the ground. The idea is to turn a 192-acre former state fuel farm off Penniman Road into a place for businesses to test drones, possibly leading to an industrial park for those businesses and a park for drone hobbyists. The land is now unused and is an approved Federal Aviation Administration fly zone.



VIRGINIA'S HISTORIC TAX CREDITS HAVE SPURRED ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENT, STUDIES SHOW

By JOHN REID BLACKWELL , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Thousands of historic buildings around Virginia have been restored and put back into commercial or residential use under state and federal programs that offer tax credits for developers, lenders and investors in historic building rehabilitation projects. Two recent studies show those tax credits have been worth the cost, producing benefits through job creation, higher property values and economic revitalization in otherwise neglected neighborhoods.



IN VA., INVESTIGATIVE RECORDS RELEASED AT DISCRETION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT; IN TENN., LAW OFFERS GREATER TRANSPARENCY

By ALYSSA OURSLER, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 12 articles a month)

His dog’s loyalty may have given him away. On Oct. 8, 2017, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team arrived at a trailer on Golden View Lane in Abingdon to serve a search warrant for suspected drug possession and distribution. Hours later, Roberto Avendano was dead.

Higher Education


UVA SEEKS TO PLACE LIMITS ON OUTSIDE SPEAKERS, RALLIES

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

The University of Virginia Deans Working Group has proposed new limits on outside speakers on Grounds in response to the Aug. 11 white supremacist rally on the Lawn. The policy is aimed at non-university-affiliated people who want to speak, hold rallies or pass out pamphlets at the university and would restrict those activities to certain places and times, adding a new layer of scrutiny to a growing trend of time, place, manner restrictions at universities.

Virginia Other


MVP'S CONTRACTOR RAN INTO ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS DURING CONSTRUCTION OF OTHER PIPELINES

By LAURENCE HAMMACK, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

A construction company hired to build the Mountain Valley Pipeline worked on three similar projects that were cited by environmental regulators, who found mountainsides turned to muddy slopes and streams clogged with sediment. The three developers of the natural gas pipelines, two in West Virginia and one in Pennsylvania, failed to comply with plans to control erosion, sediment or industrial waste, according to enforcement actions taken by state regulators.

Local


SCHOOL BOARDS INCREASINGLY EMBRACE THE ABCS OF SOCIAL ACTIVISM

By DEBBIE TRUONG, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

In Arlington County, the school board lamented the persistence of gender inequality and harassment in the #MeToo era. In Prince George’s County, the board issued an order encouraging schools to spend a week recognizing the Black Lives Matter movement. And in Minneapolis and Denver, school boards promulgated rousing memos of support for immigrant students and their families.

TV/Radio


A WORK IN PROGRESS: VIRGINIA'S EFFORTS TO EXPAND MENTAL HEALTH ACCESS

By MEGAN PAULY, WCVE

Virginia has one of the worst rankings for access to mental health care in the country – according to the Mental Health America. “It might surprise you to learn that Virginia is ranked 42nd for access to care," said Republican Senator Glen Sturtevant, speaking on the Senate floor this week about a bill that would exempt new psychiatric facilities from a state certificate process in an effort to expand access to care.

Online News


DEL. SIMON WANTS NORTHAM TO ‘SEND DOWN A GUN CONTROL BILL’

By NICHOLAS F. BENTON, Falls Church News-Press

At a town hall forum at the Falls Church Community Center today(Saturday), Virginia State Del. Marcus Simon said he would like Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to exercise his power to introduce a new gun control bill into the State Legislature in the wake of the Florida high school murders last week. Simon told the audience of 50 that the governor has the prerogative to do such a thing, and it would force the legislators to take a public stand.


Today's Sponsor:

CGI

Proving IT jobs and Southwest Virginia go together, CGI celebrates 11 years and 400 employees at its Center of Excellence in Lebanon, Russell County. cgi.com/virginia

Editorials


KILGORE CHANGES THE POLITICS OF MEDICAID EXPANSION

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

That tremor you just felt was a mild earthquake that may be a precursor to The Big One. This seismic activity, however, was political, not geological. For years, Democrats and Republicans in Richmond have been locked like two tectonic plates pushing in different directions. Democrats want to expand Medicaid. Republicans don’t, and since they’re in the majority in the General Assembly, their will has prevailed.



THE QUAGMIRE OF EMINENT DOMAIN AND PIPELINES

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

We all know the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence with its resounding proclamation that all men are created equal and possess the “unalienable Rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” But in early drafts on the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson leaned more explicitly on the writings of political and economic philosopher John Locke, declaring we all possessed the “unalienable” rights of “life, liberty and property.” Which may explain why Americans view private property rights almost as an article of faith today.



SOARING STAKES FOR METRO FUNDING

Washington Post Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

AFTER DETROIT failed to make the cut last month in Amazon’s second-headquarters sweepstakes, a handful of local leaders had a postmortem phone call to ask the online behemoth what went wrong. Among the company’s main concerns: Detroit’s mass transit system was not up to snuff.



DON'T CHIP AWAY AT VIRGINIA'S DUI LAWS

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

A BILL THAT WOULD MAKE an unwise exception to Virginia’s drunken driving laws has cruised through the state Senate with little discussion or attention. The misguided legislation shouldn’t make it into law. The bill would allow people to drive while intoxicated if they are on their own property.



HERE'S ONE GOVERNMENT AGENCY THAT'S DOING GREAT WORK

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Government often gets things wrong, and partisan politics makes talk about it contentious. So it is easy for good news to go unremarked. Let us take a moment to remark on some. Andrew Block Jr., who heads the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice, recently gave a presentation to state lawmakers with some eye-opening data.



FIRST SAVE ENOUGH FOR A RAINY DAY

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

The U.S. is currently in the middle of its eighth year of economic expansion, the third longest in its history. Unemployment is low (just 3.7 percent in Virginia) and consumer confidence is high. President Trump’s tax reform is putting more money in the pockets of Virginians. And with its many military installations and defense contractors, the commonwealth is likely to be one of the top state beneficiaries of the recently passed $700 billion defense reauthorization bill.



VIRGINIA HAS ITS OWN VERSION OF THE SWAMP

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Washington isn’t the only place where politics and self-interest together create a soupy swamp of conflicted interests. Plenty of that happens here in Richmond, too. Here’s a case in point. Virginia’s certificate-of-public-need system requires health care providers to get state permission before making major capital investments such as building a new hospital or buying advanced equipment. Major market incumbents, such as big hospital chains, exploit COPN to stymie competition.



NORTHAM SHOULD RECONVENE VIRGINIA TECH SHOOTING PANEL

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

Another school shooting? Once again, the nation is shocked but not surprised. The only thing fundamentally different about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was that this time we had Snapchat videos showing terrified students huddled in classrooms while gunfire cut down their classmates outside the door.

Columnists


SCHAPIRO: COATTAILS? NOW IT'S KAINE'S TURN

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Since 2001, usually Republican Chesterfield County has consistently signaled that it considers Tim Kaine among the least offensive Democrats. Seventeen years later, that could have perilous consequences for Dave Brat, the Donald Trump acolyte whom Democrats love to hate. Kaine, as a candidate for a second term in the U.S. Senate, could mean trouble, too, for Republican congressional incumbents in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.

Op-Ed


NEWMAN: INITIATIVE TO HELP BUSINESSES FIND WORKERS AND VIRGINIANS FIND JOBS IS EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS

By STEVE NEWMAN, Published in the Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Life, as they say, is complicated, and lawmakers dream of creating programs that actually accomplish what they set out to achieve. I’m happy to be able to report that, based on early results, an initiative approved by the General Assembly to help people find new careers and reinvigorate Virginia’s workforce is meeting, and even exceeding expectations.

Newman represents the 23rd Virginia State Senate District, which includes the counties of all of part of Roanoke County, Botetourt County, Craig County, Bedford and Campbell County and Lynchburg.



GASTAÑAGA: THESE 'CRIMINAL JUSTICE' PROPOSALS CAN'T TRULY BE CALLED 'REFORMS'

By CLAIRE GUTHRIE GASTAÑAGA, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Lawmakers, opinion leaders, and some in the media have characterized several proposals making their way through the Virginia legislature this year as welcome “criminal justice reform.” They are anything but. First, there’s the proposal to make teen sexting a criminal misdemeanor (SB 607).

Claire Guthrie Gastañaga is the executive director of ACLU of Virginia.



MORSE: NORTHAM PROVIDES DEMOCRATS A LESSON IN HOW TO GOVERN

By GORDON C. MORSE, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

While it's early yet to make any sweeping conclusions, Gov. Ralph Northam’s collegial, non-dogmatic, non-ideological, non-in-your-face approach to governance appears to be winning adherents and getting results. But will the governor’s Democratic Party colleagues take a lesson from the new chief executive? Can they resist the dead-end populism tempting them toward short-term gain? It’s an open question.

After writing editorials for The Daily Press and The Virginian-Pilot in the 1980s, Gordon C. Morse wrote speeches for Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, then spent nearly three decades working on behalf of corporate and philanthropic organizations.



GIBSON: SHOULD CHARLOTTESVILLE AND MARTINSVILLE GIVE UP THEIR CITY STATUS?

By BOB GIBSON, Published in the Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Changing a city’s form of local government is a pesky problem that many Virginia localities have wrestled with during the past 50 years. It remains a tough debate today in some localities, such as Martinsville and Henry County where current discussion is about the city reverting to become a town in the county. That region of Virginia is losing jobs and population, and Martinsville is the latest city considering reversion to town status, an option rejected in Charlottesville in recent decades.

Bob Gibson is communications director and senior researcher at the University of Virginia’s Cooper Center for Public Service. The opinions expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of the academy.



KILBERG: MOVE VIRGINIA'S ENERGY GRID TO THE 21ST CENTURY WITH THE GRID TRANSFORMATION AND SECURITY ACT OF 2018

By BOBBIE KILBERG, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Northern Virginia’s affordable and reliable energy system has played a key role in our region’s emergence as a global technology center. With almost 1,000 member companies and organizations, the Northern Virginia Technology Council stands as evidence of this rapid growth.

Bobbie Kilberg is president & CEO of the Northern Virginia Technology Council.



MCNAB AND AGARWAL: FEDERAL BUDGET DEAL IS GOOD NEWS FOR HAMPTON ROADS

By BOB MCNAB AND VINOD AGARWAL, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Shutdowns of the federal government are typically not good news, but the three-day closure in January might prove to be a turning point for Congress and Hampton Roads. Republicans and Democrats appeared to be testing messages for a prolonged shutdown, but neither message resonated with the public.



FRANTZ AND WHITE: LEVERAGING VIRGINIA'S HIGHER-EDUCATION ASSETS

By THOMAS R. FRANTZ AND PRESTON WHITE , Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The wake-up calls have come through loud and clear. Hampton Roads has a lot of economic ground to make up, due chiefly to federal sequestration and defense cuts. We are losing talented young people to better opportunities and higher-paying jobs elsewhere. Recently, the discussion has turned to solutions. Through initiatives such as Reinvent Hampton Roads and GO Virginia, innovators in business, government, and education are beginning to think strategically and act collaboratively.

Thomas R. Frantz, a partner at Williams Mullen in Virginia Beach, is a founding member of the Hampton Roads Business Roundtable. Preston White, the CEO of Century Concrete in Virginia Beach, serves on the tourism and resort development task force of Virgi



NACHMINOVITCH: SUPPORT BILL THAT RESTRICTS DOG TETHERING

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

For all of us who don’t flee to Florida in the winter, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel — we will soon have a respite from freezing temperatures, biting winds, ice cold rains, and having to bundle up just to go get the mail. We are not alone in looking forward to warmer weather. Spring cannot come soon enough for Crazy, either. She is a brindle-and-white pit bull mix and one of countless dogs in Virginia who are tied by the neck to a stake in the ground — 24/7, year round.