VaNews

Friday November 17, 2017


Today's Sponsor:

Mary Jo Fields

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Executive Branch


TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY AUBREY LAYNE WILL BE FINANCE SECRETARY IN NORTHAM ADMINISTRATION

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

Aubrey Layne, the Hampton Roads native who has served as secretary of transportation the past four years, will serve another term – in a different role. Layne will be secretary of finance for Gov.-elect Ralph Northam, who introduced Layne and other appointments at a Thursday news conference at the Capitol.



MCAULIFFE TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY MOVING TO TOP FINANCE JOB UNDER NORTHAM

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

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey L. Layne Jr. will become the state’s top finance official in Gov.-elect Ralph Northam’s administration, filling an opening created by the retirement of longtime Secretary of Finance Ric Brown.



GOV.’S TRANSITION TEAM LACKS VALLEY REPS

By ELLIE POTTER , Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

The Shenandoah Valley covers more than 4,000 square miles, including six Virginia cities and eight counties. In 2016, roughly 521,500 people — about 6.2 percent of Virginians — lived in the Valley, according to estimates based on the 2010 census by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia. And yet, Democrat Gov.-elect Ralph Northam did not include a single person from the area in his 85-member transition committee



MARTINSVILLE RESIDENTS NAMED TO NORTHAM'S TRANSITION TEAM

By MICKEY POWELL, Martinsville Bulletin

Two city residents have been chosen to serve on Governor-elect Ralph Northam’s transition committee. Former mayor Kim Adkins and current Martinsville City Councilwoman Jennifer Bowles are among 85 people from across Virginia to be appointed.



SHERMAN LEA, SAM RASOUL, MIKE HAMLAR, OTHERS FROM SWVA NAMED TO NORTHAM'S TRANSITION TEAM

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

Governor-elect Ralph Northam has named 85 Virginians to his Transition Committee. The transition team will help Northam shape his administration and prepare for his four-year term. Northam, a Democrat, succeeds Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

McDonnell Case


CORRUPTION TRIAL OF SENATOR MENENDEZ ENDS IN MISTRIAL

Reuters

The corruption trial of New Jersey's Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez ended in a mistrial on Thursday, after the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked on bribery, fraud and other charges....The case was seen as a test for prosecutors in the wake of last year's Supreme Court ruling vacating the bribery conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. In doing so, the high court narrowed the grounds for corruption cases.

State Elections


DID GILLESPIE ADS TURN OFF AFRICAN AMERICAN VOTERS IN VIRGINIA?

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

Surveys of African American voters leading up to Virginia’s elections found that Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie had surprisingly strong support among black voters in October but that he lost their votes in the final weeks of the campaign, according to a coalition of minority advocacy groups.



LATEST 28TH DISTRICT FIGHT FOCUSED ON FREDERICKSBURG PRECINCTS

By ALEX KOMA, Sun Gazette

Democrats and Republicans continue to trade barbs over a tightly contested race for the House of Delegates in Stafford County, with the latest dispute centering around the results in several precincts in Fredericksburg. Now that all the votes have been counted, Democrat Josh Cole fell 82 votes short of beating Republican Bob Thomas in the 28th District race to replace retiring House Speaker Bill Howell. Since then, Democrats have been raising challenges to the results, including a pending federal lawsuit,

Federal Elections


PLACES LIKE VIRGINIA BEACH COULD GIVE EARLY READ ON POSSIBLE 2018 DEMOCRATIC WAVE

By DANTE CHINNI AND BRIAN MCGILL, Wall Street Journal (Paywall)

The Democrats’ unexpectedly large, nine-point victory in the Virginia governor’s race last week has sparked hopes within the party that a “suburban surge” will carry it in next year’s elections to a majority in the House....The more important signal may have come from further south in Virginia, in places that Democrats weren’t expected to carry. They include Chesterfield County, outside Richmond, and Virginia Beach, both of which Mr. Northam “flipped” to the Democrats’ column after long histories of leaning Republican.



DEMOCRAT DAVE BELOTE DROPS OUT OF 2ND DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL RACE FOR FAMILY REASONS

By BILL BARTEL , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Democrat Dave Belote announced Thursday he’s ending his campaign to take on Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor in the 2018 congressional election. Belote told supporters in an email that he’s withdrawing to help take care of his ailing mother and assist his father.

State Government


VIRGINIA REGULATORS APPROVE CARBON CAP-AND-TRADE PLAN

By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press

Virginia would regulate carbon emissions from power plants and become the first Southern state, its officials say, with a carbon cap-and-trade program under a proposal that won preliminary approval from state regulators Thursday. It's the most recent example of a state taking steps to address climate change as President Donald Trump's administration rolls back his predecessor's efforts to do so.



STATE BOARD APPROVES DRAFT CARBON RULE

By ROBERT ZULLO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board on Thursday unanimously approved a draft regulation to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and link Virginia to a carbon-trading network of nine other states. The draft rule was the product of months of study by an advisory group of industry, environmental and government representatives convened in 2016 by Gov. Terry McAuliffe



TEST SCORES TO PLAY SMALLER ROLE IN VIRGINIA SCHOOL ACCREDITATION

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

Test scores will play a smaller role in determining whether schools in Virginia receive the state’s stamp of approval, regulators decided Thursday, with credit given for signs of improvement and for narrowing long-existing achievement gaps.



VIRGINIA BOARD OF EDUCATION CHANGES ACCREDITATION, GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

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

The Virginia Board of Education on Thursday revised the state’s school accreditation and graduation requirements. Schools, starting in the 2018-19 school year, will be rated as either accredited, accredited with conditions or accreditation denied. Before Thursday’s vote, there were nine possible ratings, ranging from fully accredited to partially accredited to accreditation denied.



VIRGINIA BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES NEW ACCREDITATION STANDARDS

By JANE HAMMOND, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The state Board of Education approved new standards that will determine how schools are accredited during a meeting Thursday morning. The new standards of accreditation give more credit for progress made toward reaching benchmarks instead of just hitting a specific target, such as a minimum 75 percent pass rate for the English Standards of Learning exams.



TOBACCO COMMISSION AWARDS GRANT FOR NEW CYBERSECURITY ACADEMY

By JESS NOCERA, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 12 articles a month)

The Virginia Tobacco Commission on Thursday awarded a $190,000 grant to establish a new cybersecurity academy at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education in Abingdon. In partnership with Old Dominion University, the Higher Ed Center will use the grant to fund the new Cisco Networking and Cyber Security Academy. The grant will be used to purchase equipment to start the academy.

Congress


SHE ARGUED WITH LIBERALS ON REP. DAVE BRAT'S FACEBOOK PAGE. THEN THEY FOUND OUT HE WAS PAYING HER.

By VANESSA REMMERS AND PATRICK WILSON , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Brat’s Facebook page is a hub of activity, and members of the Liberal Women of Chesterfield County are among the major players, regularly sharing their thoughts. One person, a woman named Sara James, routinely took issue with their comments.

Transportation


FIVE PLEAD GUILTY TO VDOT SNOW REMOVAL BRIBES WORTH $10.3M

Sun Gazette

Five people, including two state transportation officials, pleaded guilty this week to a bribery scheme involving more than $10.3 million in snow removal contracts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Two supervisors at the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Burke office admitted to secretly soliciting and accepting cash bribes in exchange for lucrative snow removal work, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesperson Joshua Stueve said



VIRGINIA TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS PLEAD GUILTY IN BRIBERY, DRUG SCHEMES

By RACHEL WEINER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Two officials in the Virginia Department of Transportation took nearly a half-million dollars in cash bribes from snowplow companies in exchange for valuable winter contracts.

Virginia Other


WHERE ARE THE MOST EXPENSIVE ACA PLANS IN AMERICA? CHARLOTTESVILLE.

By COLBY ITKOWITZ, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Monthly health-care insurance premiums increased all over America this year, but nowhere as dramatically as in Charlottesville, an analysis shows. Residents of the small college city and the surrounding Albemarle County who wish to purchase individual insurance from the federal marketplace will be paying for the most expensive plans in the country, a Kaiser Family Foundation review confirmed.



MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES CONFRONT SOARING HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS

By ROBERT PEAR, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Consumers in Charlottesville at first did not believe the health insurance premiums they saw when they went shopping for coverage this month on HealthCare.gov. Only five plans were available, and for a family of four with parents in their mid-30s, the cheapest plan went typically for more than $2,400 a month, nearly $30,000 a year.



ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE SET TO SEIZE PRIVATE PROPERTY FOR 600-MILE PROJECT

By JOHN MURAWSKI, Charlotte Observer

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is set to start seizing private property in North Carolina early next year to build its proposed 600-mile natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina.

Local


MAYOR STONEY ANNOUNCES REPAIRS TO MORE THAN 1,500 RICHMOND ALLEYS

By MARK ROBINSON , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Richmond’s Department of Public Works has repaired about 103 miles of alleys in the city since April, more than half of the city’s cumulative alley lane miles. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney congratulated the department for its work on Thursday afternoon atop fresh gravel in an alley in the first block of North Nansemond Street.



VIRGINIA BEACH WANTS TO USE $5.3M OF HURRICANE MATTHEW MONEY FROM FEMA TO FIX OCEANFRONT DRAINAGE

By MECHELLE HANKERSON , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A $5.3 million reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Hurricane Matthew cleanup isn’t going back in Virginia Beach’s coffers. The city wants to use it to start a $112 million drainage project at the Oceanfront that would take at least two decades to finish.



STUDY: EXTENDED STOP ARMS CUT NUMBER OF ALBEMARLE SCHOOL BUS VIOLATIONS IN HALF

By MICHAEL BRAGG, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The use of lengthened stop arms on Albemarle County school buses cut in half the number of motorists who passed stopped buses. The results of the school division’s pilot program showed a 55 percent reduction on violations on the 10 buses outfitted with the extended stop arms.



ELECTION SURPRISE IN HALIFAX

News Progress, Chase City

Stanley Brandon wasn't on the ballot for the 6th District Board of Supervisors seat in Halifax County last week. Brandon has been quoted as saying that he had only decided to run for the seat about four weeks before Election Day. Facing off against the incumbent Supervisor, Larry Giordano, Brandon waged a write-in campaign. When the votes were tallied on Tuesday night, Brandon beat the odds, and the incumbent by a comfortable margin of 65 percent to 35 percent. The actual vote count came to 943 votes to 500.

TV/Radio


EXPERT: POSTAL SERVICE CHANGE MAY BE KEY TO LATE-ARRIVING ABSENTEE BALLOTS IN TIGHT VA. RACES

By MAX SMITH , WTOP

Changes at the U.S. Postal Service may be a key reason hundreds of absentee ballots submitted across Virginia will not count — including 55 ballots in tight races in Stafford County. Former Virginia Board of Elections Secretary Don Palmer, now a fellow with the Bipartisan Policy Center focused on election improvements, said changes that added two days to standard processing times for First Class mail, among other things, have made it less likely that even ballots mailed the Friday before an election arrive in time to be counted. In Virginia, only ballots received before polls close can be counted under current law; the postmark does not matter.



REPORT SHOWS VIRGINIA HAS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF BURDENSOME LICENSING REQUIREMENTS

By MICHAEL POPE, WVTF

Virginia is the seventh most burdensome state in terms of the requirements it puts on low-income workers to get licenses for employment. That’s according to a new report from the Institute for Justice. Painting contractors, for example, must have two years of experience and complete a business class before they can get a Virginia license.

Online News


GOP TAX PLAN COULD COME AT COST TO U.VA. GRADUATE STUDENTS

By MAGGIE SERVAIS AND NICHOLAS JUAN, Cavalier Daily

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a tax bill Thursday 227 to 205 which would majorly overhaul the current tax code and have significant ramifications for higher education. Among other conditions, the bill would consider tuition waivers — tuition breaks graduate students receive in exchange for doing work for the University — part of their taxable income, and also eliminates tax deductibles on interest for student loans and on other expenses for higher education.



VAN HOLLEN BILL WOULD TRIPLE FUNDING TO PROTECT CHESAPEAKE BAY, OTHER WATERSHEDS

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

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on Thursday will introduce legislation to increase funding for a program that keeps pollutants from running off farms and into the Chesapeake Bay and other sensitive watersheds across the country.


Today's Sponsor:

Mary Jo Fields

Thanks VPAP for publishing VaNews!

Editorials


PROGRESS ON THE JAILHOUSE DEATHS ISSUE

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

Late last month, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the reconstituted Board of Corrections was months late in getting up to speed on one of its most import new tasks: investigating and reporting on deaths of inmates in the regional and local jail systems throughout the commonwealth. This page and other Virginia newspapers called out the board for its tardiness in hiring the positions created by a state law that went into effect July 1.



LESSENING THE PENALTY FOR FIRST-TIME POT POSSESSION

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

Virginia might take a step soon to lessen the penalties for first-time marijuana possession — ending the current criminal prosecution that does more harm than good. A bill that would make first-time marijuana possession a civil offense, rather than a criminal charge, will be considered in the next session of the Virginia General Assembly, which begins in January.



SECONDING SEN. KAINE'S MOTION ON SUPERDELEGATES

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

Before the first vote in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary was ever cast, Hillary Clinton laid claim to 15 percent of the delegates at the nominating convention. That’s because she had the support of nearly all of the party’s superdelegates. Bernie Sanders was popular in the streets, but not with the high and mighty.



NEW BATTLE TACTICS NEEDED TO FIGHT OPIOID EPIDEMIC

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

LIKE ITS earlier prohibition on alcohol, the federal government’s decades-long War on Drugs, including opioids, has proven to be an abysmal failure. An estimated 59,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2016, including at least 1,420 residents of Virginia. Last month, President Trump declared opioid addiction a public health emergency—a major change from the criminalization model that has proven so ineffective in the past.



A LETTER TO NEW LEGISLATORS

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

Today, we send out greetings to Dawn Adams and Hala Ayala, to Emily Brewer and Lee Carter, to Karrie Delaney, and Kelly Fowler, to Jennifer Foy and Wendy Gooditis, to Elizabeth Guzman and Jay Jones, to John McGuire and David Reid, to Debra Rodman, and Danica Roem, to Robert Thomas and Kathy Tran, to Cheryl Turpin and Schuyler VanValkenburg.



FINALLY, SOME JUSTICE IN IRS OUTRAGE

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

Don’t write off the Justice Department’s settlement with tea party groups as a partisan product of the Trump administration. Fairness, justice and equal treatment should be non-partisan.



FOLLOWING THE RULES KEEPS ELECTIONS FAIR

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

Following the rules keeps elections fair In sports, rules are needed to keep things fair. Umpires are there to enforce the rules, which often determine who wins and who loses the game. Sometimes the rules work in your team’s favor, and sometimes they don’t. But there is no question that without the rulebook and a way to enforce it, chaos would ensue.



THE DEMOCRATS' DUBIOUS CASE IN STAFFORD

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

As we noted in an earlier editorial, Democrats won a lopsided number of the total votes cast for seats in the General Assembly. But that doesn’t mean they should try to wrangle even more through litigation.

Columnists


WILLIAMS: WILL VIRGINIA'S ELECTION RESULTS AFFECT DEBATE ON CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS?

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

The Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond is on state land. The Longwood University students stood in the Monument Avenue circle beneath the towering presence of Robert E. Lee, a bit nonplussed over the fuss this Confederate statue and others have generated. Most of the students taking this course — Exploring Public Issues through Writing — were Virginians. A handful hailed from metro Richmond but had seldom ventured to Monument Avenue.

The Friday Read


WHY COMPANIES LIKE TOYS ‘R’ US LOVE TO GO BUST IN RICHMOND

By MICHAEL CORKERY AND JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Toys “R” Us world headquarters are on a sprawling wooded campus next to a reservoir in Wayne, N.J., on a street that bears the name of the company’s iconic mascot, Geoffrey the giraffe. But in September, when Toys “R” Us filed for one of the largest bankruptcies of the year, it did not go to nearby Newark.

From vpap.org


VISUALIZATION: MAP OF STANDOUT PRECINCTS

The Virginia Public Access Project

Curious about which college campus had the biggest growth in voter turnout? Or which precinct gave Jill Vogel her highest percentage of the vote? Take a spin around Virginia to see standout precincts in last week's elections for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General.