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April 18, 2024
Top of the News

Youngkin, Virginia lawmakers agree to seek new state budget, avert crisis

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

Virginia lawmakers and Gov. Glenn Youngkin have reached a deal aimed at averting a nasty confrontation over the state budget, agreeing to set aside the current spending plan and work toward a new budget document by the middle of next month. The deal leaves a lot of ground to cover in settling tax and spending policy, but marks a profound improvement in adversarial relations between Democratic lawmakers and the Republican governor that had the state lurching toward a possible government shutdown.

Future of skill games in Virginia still unclear as Senate rejects Youngkin’s proposal

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Virginia Mercury

The fate of slots-like skill games in Virginia convenience stores and truck stops remained in limbo Wednesday as the state Senate voted to reject Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s sweeping changes to a proposal to legalize and tax the gambling machines. The Senate voted 34-6 to reject the governor’s tougher amendments to the bill, sending the legislation back to Youngkin in its original form. The bipartisan move raises the risk Youngkin could veto the legislation, an outcome that would leave skill games prohibited throughout Virginia by a ban enacted under former Gov. Ralph Northam. But lawmakers also announced Wednesday that they’re planning a special session later this spring to reach a deal on the state budget, creating an opening to reconsider the skill game issue over the next few weeks.

Veto of school construction sales tax referendum bill stands; lawmakers pave way for Petersburg casino vote

By CHARLOTTE RENE WOODS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

After years of trying — on both sides of the aisle — lawmakers will have to try again to give localities the option to levy local sales taxes to fund school construction. An effort to overturn Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s veto of the proposal failed during the reconvened session on Wednesday. But lawmakers backed a Youngkin amendment that will enable Petersburg residents to vote this year on whether to build a casino resort.

Youngkin amendment allowing utilities to seek approval to charge customers for nuclear development costs passes

By SUSAN CAMERON, Cardinal News

Changes made by Gov. Glenn Youngkin to bills that would allow two electric utilities to seek approval to charge customers for early development costs for small modular nuclear reactors were approved Wednesday by the House of Delegates and Senate. The governor’s amendments to HB 1491, which apply only to Appalachian Power, were approved by the House in a 64-34 vote with one abstention, while the vote in the Senate was 26-14.

Prince William supervisors green light 70% tax hike on data centers

By JILL PALERMO, Prince William Times

Data centers in Prince William County would get hit with higher tax bills this year, while homeowners will see an average tax bill increase of just $26 if county supervisors approve their budget plan next week. On Tuesday, the supervisors moved to advance a 70% increase in the tax rate that data centers pay on their computer equipment while cutting the real estate tax rate to 92 cents per $100 in assessed value. The latter cuts the tax bill increase on a home valued at about $500,000 to $26 from the initially proposed $243, according to Nikki Brown, a Prince William County spokeswoman.

HRBT expansion marks breakthrough as boring machine completes first new tunnel


Crews of Spaniards who have worked on digging an 8,000-foot tunnel under Hampton Roads for the last year waved Spanish flags and cheered from the top of a huge pit on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel’s north island. First, moisture started seeping through tiny cracks in the concrete wall. Then, a larger crack formed and water poured through. Then, after a few seconds more of the tinkling crackling sound, a three-story tall circular section of concrete fell with an earth-shaking thud. Water used to cool the 430-foot long boring machine, nicknamed Mary, poured out as the massive drill broke through concrete and into fresh air for the first time in a year.

Trains, Trucks and Tractors: The Race to Reroute Goods From Baltimore

By PETER EAVIS, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 1 to 2 articles a month)

New John Deere tractors made their way last week through the sprawling port of Brunswick, Ga., their distinctive green paint glinting in the sunshine. Stevedores drove the tractors up a ramp into the belly of the Leo Spirit, a ship that would take them to Asia. As orderly as everything looked, the tractor convoy was an example of the enormous lengths to which East Coast ports, railways, truckers and shipping lines have gone to remake supply chains after a container ship crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore last month. The bridge’s collapse closed most of the Port of Baltimore, which last year handled 1.3 million tons of farm and construction machinery and 850,000 cars and light trucks.

The Full Report
34 articles, 19 publications


Youngkin, lawmakers seek fresh start on budget in May special session

By MICHAEL MARTZ AND DAVE RESS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Gov. Glenn Youngkin and General Assembly leaders are starting with a clean slate in an effort to reach a new state budget, avoid a potential government shutdown and buy time to determine how much new revenue they will have to spend over the next two years. Youngkin and assembly leaders of both parties gathered in the state Capitol around Houdon’s statue of George Washington on Wednesday afternoon to declare a working truce in their ongoing battle over taxes and spending. They have been at odds over the $188 billion two-year budget that the Democratic-controlled legislature adopted last month and the Republican governor tried unsuccessfully to amend this week.

Virginia legislature will consider reworked state budget in May 13 special session


Gov. Glenn Youngkin and lawmakers have agreed to work together on the biennium budget, after clashing for weeks over two distinctly different spending plans. A special session will be held on May 13, Youngkin and lawmakers in both chambers announced Wednesday, to consider the revamped budget and prevent a shutdown ahead of July 1, when the current budget expires. On Wednesday, the House of Delegates voted to reject all 233 of the governor’s amendments to the budget, and agreed to seek a new budget to present to the legislature May 13, with voting on it expected May 15. They also took up the governor’s other bill amendments and 153 vetoes.

In a bipartisan move, Youngkin and Democrats agree to take the state budget back to the drawing board

By MARKUS SCHMIDT, Cardinal News

Just hours before lawmakers returned to Richmond for the General Assembly’s reconvened session Wednesday, Gov. Glenn Youngkin and key Democrats put their irreconcilable differences over the state’s biennial budget aside and agreed to start over with a clean slate. Using a procedural maneuver, the House of Delegates by a unanimous vote essentially killed the $64 billion spending plan for fiscal years 2024-26, which the Democratic-controlled legislature sent to the governor’s desk last month.

Virginia lawmakers agree to extend budget talks as they take up Youngkin amendments, vetoes


Democrats who control the Virginia General Assembly reached an 11th-hour compromise with Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin to extend the timeline for negotiations over the state budget, a move that lawmakers said Wednesday would offer a reset for what has so far been a bitter and unproductive process. Lawmakers were meeting in Richmond for a one-day session to consider Youngkin’s vetoes and proposed amendments to legislation, including the budget. As recently as Tuesday afternoon, legislative leaders had indicated they were prepared to reject the substance of Youngkin’s proposed changes to the new two-year spending plan, a move that would have set up a likely budget veto, leaving lawmakers facing the looming prospect of a government shutdown if they failed to strike a deal by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

Youngkin, Virginia lawmakers agree to fresh start for budget; less consensus on bills

By KATIE KING, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

After months of heated budget negotiations, the legislature’s Democratic majority and Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin have agreed it’s best to scrap the current proposals and start from scratch. “We’ve got work to do,” said Youngkin, speaking to reporters Wednesday at the Capitol. “We will be calling a special session — we believe this is a good path forward for the commonwealth.” The governor said legislators will return May 13 to review the newly crafted two-year budget plan and vote May 15. The state’s fiscal year starts July 1.

Legislators, governor break budget deadlock, extend negotiations


The Virginia General Assembly aims to finish and pass a budget by mid-May, after Democratic leadership agreed with Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin to extend and restart the negotiating process. The extension of budget negotiations avoids the prospect of a gubernatorial veto — at least for the moment, amid an increasingly tense political atmosphere — that could put a dent in Virginia’s financial reputation. It also provides time for policymakers to gain a clearer picture of a predicted revenue surplus. The Virginia House of Delegates took a pair of votes Wednesday that put the Legislature on a path to restart the budget process. House Speaker Don Scott told VPM News the motion looks “drastic,” but reflected an agreement on how to move forward.

Va. Senate rejects Youngkin’s tougher rules for skill games

By DAVE RESS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

The state Senate on Wednesday rejected Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s amendments that would toughen state oversight when Virginia legalizes skill games. The 34 votes against Youngkin’s proposals versus six supporting them move the measure back to the governor, who has the power to veto the measure. If he does, there is no opportunity to override it. With the bill now headed back to Youngkin’s desk, “we hope that he reconsiders the future of the tens of thousands of small businesses struggling to make ends meet here in his own commonwealth,” said Rich Kelly, president of the Virginia Merchants and Amusement Coalition, a group of stores that lobbied for legalization.

State Senate sends Youngkin’s skill games amendments back to his desk

By MARKUS SCHMIDT, Cardinal News

The state Senate on Wednesday soundly rejected Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s far-reaching slate of amendments to legislation that would legalize so-called skill games in Virginia and create a regulatory framework and tax structure for the electronic devices. By a 34-6 bipartisan vote, the body sent SB 212, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Rouse, D-Virginia Beach, and Sen. Timmy French, R-Frederick County, among others, back to Youngkin’s desk for a signature or a veto. The bill had passed in the Senate by 32-8 in February and in the House by 51-45.

Petersburg hits the jackpot in General Assembly following formal vote on city referendum

By BILL ATKINSON, Progress Index (Metered paywall - 10 articles a month)

It will now be up to Petersburg’s voters to decide if their city will become Virginia’s fifth casino home. On votes of 32-8 in the state Senate and 80-19 in the House of Delegates Wednesday, the General Assembly has agreed to move the question of a Petersburg casino to a November referendum. Senate Bill 628 cleared the legislature earlier this year with a House-generated amendment calling for a second legislative vote, but Gov. Glenn Youngkin sent the bill back to lawmakers with a suggestion to strike the re-enactment.

Va. lawmakers pave way for Petersburg casino vote in 2024


The city of Petersburg can hold a casino vote this November after Virginia lawmakers approved a change to a bill from Gov. Glenn Youngkin. The Virginia General Assembly approved a bill to make Petersburg eligible for a casino vote, but there was a re-enactment clause added to the legislation to require a second vote to put it into effect. Gov. Youngkin (R) proposed an amendment to remove that clause that was approved by the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate during the General Assembly’s reconvened session on April 17.

Petersburg casino referendum could take place in 2024

By KATE ANDREWS, Virginia Business

Petersburg voters will likely get the opportunity to vote on a casino referendum this fall, as a Virginia General Assembly obstacle has been removed from its path. SB 628, sponsored by Sen. Lashrecse Aird, D-Petersburg, replaces Richmond with Petersburg among Virginia cities eligible to host a casino following approval by voters on a ballot. An earlier version of the bill had required a second General Assembly vote in 2025 before the law could take effect, but Gov. Glenn Youngkin removed that section of the measure this spring. On Wednesday, both legislative bodies passed Youngkin’s version — meaning a vote could take place this fall in Petersburg, expediting the possible development of a casino resort in the city.

General Assembly agrees with governor’s change to broadband deployment bill

By TAD DICKENS, Cardinal News

The Virginia General Assembly on Wednesday took its final steps on a bill intended to solve disputes and speed work in the state’s quest for full broadband deployment. Both the Senate and the House of Delegates voted unanimously to concur with Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s only recommendation to the so-called “make-ready” bill that centers on utility pole access for broadband cable. Youngkin recommended that the State Corporation Commission, which will arbitrate any disputes, get an extra 60 days to make such decisions, on top of the 180 days the General Assembly granted.

Democrat questions Youngkin veto on bill that could have released people on marijuana-related felonies


A bill that would have allowed hundreds of people incarcerated in Virginia on cannabis-related felonies to reduce their sentences or be released was vetoed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin. The bill from state Sen. Angelia Williams Graves (D-Norfolk) was among the seven pieces of legislation from Democrats that the Republican governor axed the day after his hopes of luring two professional sports teams to Alexandria collapsed. It would have given incarcerated people convicted of certain felonies tied to the possession, selling, manufacture, giving, transportation, distribution or delivery of cannabis before July 2021 – when recreational possession was legalized – an automatic hearing to modify their sentence.


Virginia lawmakers call on USPS to address mail delivery issues ahead of 2024 election


Virginia lawmakers are calling on the United States Postal Service (USPS) to address mail delivery issues ahead of the 2024 election. According to the office of Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan, who represents the fourth district of Virginia, McClellan and her colleagues are calling on the USPS to ensure the efficient and secure delivery of election mail. McClellan, as well as Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA-03) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), wrote a letter to the USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the USPS Virginia District Manager Gerald Roane.


Too many cubicles, too few homes spur incentives to convert offices to housing


Juan Ramirez, watching his dog play in Chandon Park here in suburban Virginia on a Saturday morning, tries to imagine the massive office buildings next to the park becoming apartments and townhouses. “I guess it’s inevitable. People don’t use offices as much now. I hope it’s affordable. Maybe it’ll bring more young people to town, more taxes for parks,” said Ramirez, 38, who grew up in the area and returned recently to take a restaurant management job after living in Minnesota and Ohio. Cities and suburbs around the country are struggling with vacant office space as remote work becomes an established post-pandemic reality.


HRBT expansion’s first tunnel boring is complete

By ROBYN SIDERSKY, Virginia Business

Mary, the tunnel boring machine that has been paving the way for the expanded Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, hit a milestone Wednesday when she finished the first of twin tunnels that are part of the bridge-tunnel’s expansion. Launched from the HRBT’s South Island a year ago, the $70 million custom-built tunnel boring machine has been busy

Mary the machine completes first tunnel in HRBT expansion

By GAVIN STONE, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project reached another milestone Wednesday as Mary, the affectionate name for the massive tunnel boring machine doing much of the heavy lifting, broke through onto the North Island, marking roughly the halfway point of her journey. Mary will now have to be turned around to dig back toward Norfolk to create the second tunnel of what will be two new eastbound lanes on I-64, a process expected to take about five months. Once that’s complete, the Virginia Department of Transportation aims to make the return trip in about 11 months, slightly faster than the 51 weeks on the first tunnel. VDOT hopes to use the lessons from the first tunnel to expedite the second, according to Ryan Banas, VDOT project director.

White’s Ferry may reopen after owners offer to donate it to Md. county

By JUSTIN WM. MOYER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Montgomery County officials said Wednesday that they hope to reopen White’s Ferry — a centuries-old service between Maryland and Virginia that was shut down in 2020 amid a legal dispute — after the owner this week offered to donate it to the county. Chuck Kuhn, chief executive of JK Moving Services, and his wife Stacy Kuhn — who purchased the ferry in 2021 — said in a statement Tuesday that they are offering to donate the ferry to Montgomery County “contingent on Montgomery and Loudoun counties working together to find a solution to gain access to the Virginia shoreline and reopen the ferry in a timely manner.” At a news conference Wednesday, County Executive Marc Elrich (D) said it could take a year to get it reopened.


UVa. Jewish Leadership Advisory Board criticizes politicization of Jewish student experiences

By THOMAS BAXTER, Cavalier Daily

The Jewish Leadership Advisory Board, an elected organization of Jewish student leaders, criticized the (UVa.) Board of Visitors for politicizing the experiences of Jewish students at the University in an April 3 letter acquired by The Cavalier Daily. The letter came after the March 1 meeting of the Board of Visitors, where Bert Ellis, Board member and College and Darden alumnus, criticized the University and Rector Robert Hardie for their responses to allegations of rising antisemitism on Grounds. JLAB is composed of students elected to govern the Hillel Jewish Leadership Council.


Loudoun Supervisors ask NextEra to use existing corridors for transmission lines

By JESS KIRBY, Loudoun Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Echoing concerns from county residents and activist groups, county supervisors unanimously passed a resolution April 16 calling for NextEra Energy’s proposed transmission lines to be routed on existing transmission corridors rather than building a new path through western Loudoun.

NextEra Power Line Route Opposed by Supervisors


The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution opposing the preliminary route of a proposed electric power transmission line across western Loudoun. The action comes two weeks after supervisors voted to intervene in the State Corporation Commission’s review of a separate Dominion Energy application to construct new transmission lines across eastern Loudoun. The western Loudoun line is planned by Florida-based NextEra Energy and has been approved by PJM Interconnection, the organization that coordinates power transmission in the region.

Prince William County expected to hike data center taxes while cutting homeowner’s rate


The Prince William Board of County Supervisors appears likely to raise taxes on data centers in hopes of making good on the promise that data center revenue will help to offset the county’s residential tax burden. In a related move, the board unanimously agreed to cut next year’s real estate tax rate to 92 cents per $100 in assessed value. At that rate, the average tax bill will be about $26 more than the current year, according to county officials.

Here’s how much each Richmond mayoral candidate has raised so far

By EM HOLTER, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

With less than seven months to go before Richmonders elect a new mayor, six candidates have launched campaigns so far. As Election Day approaches, advertisements and campaign events are starting to pop up across the city — all of which are largely funded by campaign donations. Here are the latest finance tallies reported to the Virginia Department of Elections for candidates along with their top donors as of Monday.

A political newcomer is outraising everyone in the Richmond mayor race


Harrison Roday, a first-time candidate vying for Richmond mayor, has raised more money than any other person running for local office in Virginia this year. That’s according to an Axios analysis of campaign finance reports out this week, which show him raising nearly six times as much as Andreas Addison and 6.5 times more than Michelle Mosby — two other Richmond mayoral candidates. More than half of Roday’s $365,822 comes from 10 of his former colleagues at a New York-based private equity firm, where he worked until 2022.

Richmond planning $30M improvement to Brown’s Island

By ERIC KOLENICH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

The city of Richmond will partner with nonprofit marketing firm Venture Richmond to plant trees, install bathrooms and beautify Brown’s Island, Mayor Levar Stoney announced Tuesday. The plan, which will cost up to $30 million, is designed to make one of downtown Richmond’s biggest attractions better for locals and visitors. The announcement comes as real estate analytics company CoStar continues building a nearby office tower and construction continues on an outdoor amphitheater, both of which will bring more people to the banks of the James River. “The riverfront is going to be a different place in a few years,” said Lisa Sims, CEO of Venture Richmond.

Hampton Roads Regional Jail board OKs sale of facility to Portsmouth

By NATALIE ANDERSON, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority officially approved Portsmouth’s pitch to buy the now closed facility. The jail, on Elmhurst Lane, opened to fanfare in 1998 with a capacity of 1,300. The publicly owned facility housed overflow inmates from Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Hampton and Newport News. But in October, the full HRRJ board — including city managers, sheriffs and council members from each jurisdiction — voted unanimously to close the jail April 1 after several cities began pulling back on the number of inmates housed there.

Portsmouth’s interim city manager fires deputy city manager


Vernell Woods is one of the latest Portsmouth city officials to be let go. He worked as deputy city manager for seven months and was fired by interim city manager, Dr. Lydia Pettis-Patton. “I really thought I was coming to Portsmouth to improve it, “ Woods said. With more than 30 years of city government experience, he reluctantly left a city job in Newport News after being encouraged by then-Portsmouth interim city manager Mimi Terry to take the leap.

Powhatan School Board in planning phase to address alleged racial discrimination


Dozens of Powhatan County residents, teachers and parents showed up to yet another packed Powhatan County School Board meeting Tuesday night, with many voicing their frustrations about the alleged ongoing racial discrimination taking place in the school district. The public outcry comes in response to a series of recent incidents, including a racist death threat scrawled on a Powhatan High School student’s arm that went viral on social media in February. “There is a wildfire raging in Powhatan schools and you [Powhatan School Board] are allowing it to escalate,” said a Powhatan resident at the meeting.

Report: Christiansburg middle schoolers seem happier without cellphones

By MIKE GANGLOFF, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Students at Christiansburg Middle School were told a month ago to give up their cellphones and other electronic devices during school hours – and seem happier without them, said a report presented Tuesday to the Montgomery County School Board. There also have been numerous phones confiscated after students used them despite the ban, the report said. “I’m seeing smiles on faces instead of the cellphone zombies walking down the hallways and not paying attention to what’s going on around them,” Christiansburg Middle School Principal Danny Knott told school board members.

Roanoke Demotes Assistant City Manager. Officials Won’t Say Why.

By HENRI GENDREAU, Roanoke Rambler

Roanoke Assistant City Manager Brent Robertson has been demoted and city officials are staying tight-lipped about the circumstances. Robertson, who also served as finance director, was stripped of his titles just as city leaders are finalizing a $379-million budget that went before City Council on Monday. City Manager Bob Cowell appointed Chris Chittum, a longtime employee who leads the planning department, as acting assistant city manager. Council approved that decision late Monday — but not before tabling the motion and returning after a three-hour closed door session to approve the measure unanimously.



Schapiro: Antisemitism at UVa? Depends who you ask

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

There’s a timeless quip among Jews: If two of us are discussing a topic, expect to hear three opinions. This doesn’t mean we aren’t of one mind on the survival of Israel. It means there are multiple views on how to ensure that. That debate — along with related issues of Jewish identity, Jewish life, Jewish intellect, Jewish faith — is at full boil at a venue where diversity of opinion is supposed to be the rule, though some, particularly on the right, believe that it’s been crushed by left-leaning intellectual intolerance: the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson, an exemplar of free speech as foundational to democracy.

Yancey: Confrontation between governor and General Assembly over budget fizzles into cooperation

By DWAYNE YANCEY, Cardinal News

Winston Churchill once said: “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” That quote comes to mind after Gov. Glenn Youngkin and the General Assembly defied all expectations and came to an agreement Wednesday on the state budget. To be sure, there isn’t a budget yet — but neither is there a dramatic confrontation looming between the two branches of government, with the state’s prized AAA bond rating hanging in the balance. The Democratic legislature did not reject the governor’s 233 budget amendments and send the original spending plan back to him with a dare: Sign it or veto it. Instead, Democrats and Republicans agreed to work together on a revised budget ...


Poggendorf and Ferguson: FAFSA changes are stressing college students. Here’s how to navigate

By BRENDA POGGENDORF AND JASON FERGUSON, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Virginia’s college-bound high school seniors and families each spring decide which college or university to call home for the next four years. Typically, students choose between in-state or out-of-state and whether to attend a large public university or a small nonprofit private college. While this selection process is complex enough for a high school senior, in 2024 prospective students and families are also experiencing new concerns about affordability brought on by complications from the latest, so-called “better FAFSA,” which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The admissions process naturally combines excitement with anxiety and even some celebration or disappointment, but the federal government should not make it more difficult.

Poggendorf is vice president for enrollment management at Randolph-Macon College. Ferguson is dean of admissions at Longwood University.

Goldman: Stoney’s $280 million stadium bet is a gamble RVA cannot afford

By PAUL GOLDMAN, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Mayor Levar Stoney and City Council members — soon to leave office — are hellbent to use their waning power to put Richmond taxpayers on the hook for $280 million in unprecedented baseball stadium debt financing. Stoney unveiled his proposal on April 8. He and his Council majority say they will ram it through at a Council meeting on May 8. But having the right to do it doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

Paul Goldman is a lawyer, former chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party and author of “Remaking Virginia Politics.”