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VaNews

Monday July 22, 2019

FROM VPAP


VISUALIZATION: COMPARING CANDIDATES' SOURCE OF FUNDS

The Virginia Public Access Project

VPAP ranks General Assembly candidates by the percentage of money from six types of campaign donors, ranging from small donors who give $100 or less to businesses that lobby the state legislature. There's also an option to view each category by dollar amount. The campaign finance numbers cover 18 months through June 30.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY


NORTHAM, REPUBLICANS INFURIATE DEMOCRATS BY INVITING TRUMP TO JAMESTOWN

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

Efforts to celebrate the origins of American democracy at Jamestown are becoming embroiled in modern politics as Virginia Democrats express outrage over an invitation to President Trump to attend a commemoration later this month. But their party leader, Gov. Ralph Northam (D), had joined with Republican lawmakers to invite Trump to the July 30 celebration


STATE DEMS PLAN TO BOYCOTT TRUMP VISIT

By PETER DUJARDIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Lawmakers in Virginia are now sparring over Democrats’ plans to boycott a major event at Jamestown later this month if President Trump attends.


VA. DEMOCRATS THREATEN BOYCOTT OVER TRUMP IN JAMESTOWN

By BILL ATKINSON, Progress Index (Metered paywall - 5 free articles a month)

If President Donald Trump accepts an invitation to attend the 400th anniversary of the Virginia General Assembly later this month in Jamestown, then count the legislature’s Democrats out of it. The House and Senate Democratic caucuses released a joint statement late Friday saying that if Trump does attend the July 30 “American Evolution” commemoration, they will not be attending “any part” of the event where he appears.


HERE’S HOW YOU CAN WEIGH IN ON VIRGINIA’S PROPOSED NEW GUN LAWS

By MARIE ALBIGES, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

A few dozen bills originally scheduled to be heard during a special session on guns have been punted to a group that will study the legislation instead, and the public is invited to share its thoughts on them.

STATE ELECTIONS


HARDING KICKS OFF DEEDS CHALLENGE IN 25TH SENATE DISTRICT

By NOLAN STOUT, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

In the sweltering Friday heat, Elliott Harding stood on the steps of the Albemarle County Circuit Courthouse and pleaded to both sides of the political aisle in his bid to unseat state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath..


VIRGINIA ELECTIONS BOARD TAKES NO ACTION ON FREITAS CASE, LEAVING GOP-HELD HOUSE DISTRICT IN LIMBO

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

The status of a Republican-leaning Virginia legislative district that suddenly has no Republican candidate remained unclear Friday as the State Board of Elections met behind closed doors to discuss the situation. The elections board emerged after 20 minutes, took no action, and declined to comment on the possible fate of Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper,


CAMPAIGN STAFFERS FOR VIRGINIA DELEGATE JOIN GROWING UNION EFFORT

By ANTONIO OLIVO, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The field director for Virginia Del. Lee J. Carter’s reelection effort has experienced poor working conditions in other political campaigns he’s joined, where aides labor up to 80 hours a week for little pay and no health insurance.


ASSEMBLY FUNDRAISING TIGHTENS

By MARIE ALBIGES, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Virginia Democrats say they “dominated” the latest round of campaign fundraising. Meanwhile, Republicans are showing off their large cash reserves, confident their advantage over Democrats there will get them across the finish line with enough votes in their favor.


DEMOCRATS AHEAD IN FUNDRAISING IN VIRGINIA EASTERN SHORE RACES: REPORT

By CAROL VAUGHN, Eastern Shore News (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Democratic candidates for General Assembly are ahead in fundraising, according to second quarter reporting of donations. Democrat Lynwood Lewis, the incumbent in the Senate District 6 race, raised $16,860 from 47 donors during the reporting period and had $75,030 on hand as of June 30, according to the non-profit Virginia Public Access Project.

STATE GOVERNMENT


MARIJUANA ARRESTS IN VA. REACH HIGHEST LEVEL IN AT LEAST 20 YEARS, SPURRING CALLS FOR REFORM

By JUSTIN JOUVENAL, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Marijuana arrests in Virginia hit their highest levels in at least 20 years in 2018, a climb that has sparked calls for overhauls and bucked trends in a number of other states that have moved toward decriminalizing the drug.


AMID TEACHER SHORTAGES, VIRGINIA TAKES STEPS TO LURE STUDENTS INTO THE PROFESSION

By DEBBIE TRUONG, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

They have sought help from employment agencies. They have fanned up and down the East Coast. And when they weren’t able to find teachers before the start of the school year, officials in Petersburg City Public Schools in Virginia had students live-stream classes.


STATE RESPONDS TO CVTC FEEDING LAWSUIT, CLAIMS RESIDENT CAN’T ASK FOR ENFORCEMENT OF SETTLEMENT

By RACHEL MAHONEY, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Virginia officials have responded to a lawsuit over the transfer and feeding of a Central Virginia Training Center resident, saying she can’t ask for the court’s enforcement of a settlement agreement requiring her to be moved from the center.

ECONOMY/BUSINESS


VIRGINIA'S COMMERCIAL HEMP RUSH LAUNCHES AFTER CHANGES IN LAWS

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

Despite the buzz around industrial hemp, which Virginians can now grow commerciall y for the first time in decades, many farmers are exercising caution, choosing to start small. Matt Hagan is not among them. Hagan, a racecar driver and cattle farmer, is the owner of truharvest farms in Christiansburg.


CHRONIC ENTREPRENEURS BLAZE AHEAD AS LAWMAKERS CLEAR WAY FOR HEMP BUSINESSES

By JACOB DEMMITT, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill March 21, suddenly allowing the hemp industry to blossom in a state where it couldn’t before. The green rush was on, and entrepreneurs across the state began jockeying for their place.


88,000 HEMP PLANTS LAND AT CHESAPEAKE FARM AFTER LAW ALLOWS COMMERCIAL FARMING OF MARIJUANA LOOK-ALIKE

By BRIANA ADHIKUSUMA, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

A sea of green flashed when the tractor trailer’s doors were opened. At first glance, it looked like a truckload of marijuana had landed in Chesapeake. Although they looked like the psychoactive plants, the new crop of 2-foot tall plants were hemp.


BLACKJEWEL NETS $3 MILLION BRIDGE FINANCING TO AVOID LIQUIDATION

By ANDREW SCURRIA, Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

Coal-mining company Blackjewel LLC found $3 million in emergency bridge financing to honor payroll obligations that the troubled business fell behind on after filing for bankruptcy protection.


EMPLOYEES SAY THEY WILL MISS WORKING AT IKEA

By CALEB AYERS, Danville Register & Bee

John Cosby has worked at three manufacturing plants, and all of them have closed down. First he worked at Tultex in Martinsville, but it closed down. Then he worked at EMS in Gretna, and that also closed. Now a heavy forklift driver at the Ikea furniture plant just outside Danville, Cosby was disappointed to hear the plant will discontinue production in December. But with all that experience, he knows what to do.

TRANSPORTATION


WHY SECOND PHASE OF METRO’S SILVER LINE HAS BEEN MORE PROBLEM-PLAGUED THAN THE FIRST

By LORI ARATANI, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

When the first phase of Metro’s Silver Line was under construction, large sections of track had to be built over the Capital Beltway. Workers had to bore a tunnel in the middle of Tysons, one of the busiest retail and office centers in the country. In the end, the ­11.7-mile rail-line extension was completed six months late and more than $220 million over budget. Officials were confident construction of Phase 2 would be much smoother.

HIGHER EDUCATION


UVA BEGINS PROJECT TO IDENTIFY, CONTACT DESCENDANTS OF SLAVES

By RUTH SERVEN SMITH, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Handprints are visible in some of the University of Virginia’s oldest bricks. Underneath attic stairs, chalk letters are found, faint traces of an illicit education. Bones in small cemeteries have been found in several locations. For six years, UVA has made a sustained effort to learn more about the enslaved people who lived and worked at the university during its building and founding. But until this month, it had not made a large-scale attempt to identify their living relatives.

VIRGINIA OTHER


DATA SHOWS VIRTUAL OPIOID BELT STRETCHING THROUGH SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA

By ROBERT SORRELL, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Newly released federal data shows some Southwest Virginia counties and independent cities among the highest in the nation for prescription pills per person — but law enforcement officials said Friday they aren’t surprised by the numbers.


80 MILLION PAIN PILLS FLOODED ROANOKE VALLEY IN 6 YEARS, DATA SHOWS

By HENRI GENDREAU, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Pharmaceutical companies shipped at least 80 million pain pills to the Roanoke Valley between 2006 and 2012, according to newly released data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Suppliers sent nearly 39 million pills to Roanoke and 25 million to Roanoke County during those six years. Another 16 million pills went to Salem, enough for 94 pills per person each year.


NEARLY TWO YEARS AFTER CHARLOTTESVILLE TRAGEDY, MCAULIFFE RIPS CITY'S PREPARATIONS, TRUMP'S RESPONSE

By ANDREW CAIN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe says the city of Charlottesville “did itself no favors” ahead of the deadly Unite the Right rally nearly two years ago and that its “permitting process was pathetic.”

LOCAL


JUSTICE PROPERTY PLACED IN CONSERVATION EASEMENT

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

After finally paying long overdue real estate taxes, the James C. Justice Cos. donated a conservation easement for 4,500 acres it owns in Albemarle County. The conservation easement will eliminate about 450 potential dwellings on the property, which is owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s family, in the county’s rural area and still allows agricultural and forestry activities to continue on the site.


WARREN COUNTY COALITION DISCUSSES RECALLING GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

By DONALD LAMBERT, Northern Virginia Daily

Members of the Warren County Coalition held an open meeting on Saturday to discuss the process of recalling certain members of the Front Royal Town Council and Warren County Board of Supervisors. This meeting comes as more citizens of Front Royal and Warren County grow frustrated over the findings of the ongoing investigation of the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority and the feeling their elected officials aren’t representing them in local issues.


TOWN SAYS IT HAS POWER TO DISSOLVE EDA, CLAIM HALF OF ASSETS

By JOSH GULLY, Northern Virginia Daily

Interim Mayor Matt Tederick said during a Thursday town-county liaison meeting that he believes the town can force the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority's dissolution and subsequently receive half of the authority’s assets.


FRANKLIN COUNTY USING MIX OF STRATEGIES TO EXPAND BROADBAND TO RURAL AREAS

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

Homeowners in the Walnut Run community at Smith Mountain Lake long for faster, more reliable internet. They were prepared to go to great lengths to get it. Homeowners association officials, who began talking with providers two years ago, were considering a special assessment that would impose a fee perhaps as high as $900

EDITORIALS


THE STAGGERING NUMBERS OF THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC

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

Over the course of the last three decades, the opioid epidemic has cut a wide swath through American society, from the rural heartland to the largest cities, from suburban middle America to urban neighborhoods. Tens of thousands of Americans have died each year for more than 20 years from overdosing on the highly addictive synthetic painkillers pharmaceutical companies peddled as groundbreaking and non-addictive when, in fact, they were as addictive as cocaine or heroin.


MAKE COMMON-SENSE RULE PERMANENT

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

Using a combination of common sense and common decency, the Commonwealth of Virginia has done a good thing. Because of rules that went into effect July 1, about 600,000 Virginians will now be able to drive legally again. They won’t be punished for not having enough money to pay court costs related to traffic violations.


STUDY INTO BEACH SHOOTING MUST BE OPEN, THOROUGH

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

A Chicago firm with extensive experience conducting in depth investigations will be heading the independent inquiry into the shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on May 31 which left 13 people, nearly all of whom were city employees, dead. ... Critically, the city says the firm will "have unrestricted access to all employees, reports, documents, and other records necessary to complete the independent review." It’s important that be true, or else there’s little reason to proceed with this exercise.


DRUNKARD LAW CAUSES DISSENSION

Daily Progress Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

A federal court’s rejection of Virginia’s “habitual drunkard” law is important for its impact on constitutional law here in the commonwealth. But it’s also fascinating to court followers because of the elevated level of dissension it raised among the judges.


MOTHERS ARE DYING FOR NO GOOD REASON

Daily Press Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Too many of Virginia’s women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth Recently, a Harvard researcher warned that women in the U.S. are now 50 percent more likely to die during childbirth than their mothers.


STATUE RULING ON LIABILITY WAS THE RIGHT CALL

Daily Progress Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

A judge’s ruling that Charlottesville city councilors are not personally liable for their decision in the Confederate statues case should surprise no one. It was the right call. In our democracy, it is not a crime to vote for policies that are unpopular with some constituents.

COLUMNISTS


SCHAPIRO: PERHAPS MCAULIFFE SHOULD RETHINK HIS SECOND ACT

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

For some Democrats, Terry McAuliffe’s governorship represents a golden age. The party reclaimed statewide power on the strength of an increasingly nationalized electorate. McAuliffe, ever the happy warrior, was unafraid of confronting the legislature’s conservative Republican majority.

OP-ED


BAJOGHLI: NORTHAM’S VETO OF THREE HEALTH INSURANCE BILLS LIMITS CHOICES, INCREASES COSTS

By AMIR BAJOGHLI, Published in the Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) vetoed three health insurance bills that would have made it possible for small-business owners and independent contractors to band together and purchase group health insurance plans at competitive rates.

Amir Bajoghli is president of the Medical Society of Northern Virginia.


ROMANO: VIRGINIA LEGISLATORS MUST PROTECT HEALTH CARE SAFETY NET FOR VULNERABLE PATIENTS

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

Rising health care costs continue to be a challenge for patients and their families in the commonwealth of Virginia and across the country, particularly those living with rare and chronic conditions. Unfortunately, a safety net that has helped provide patients access to care is being threatened, and action is needed from Virginia’s legislators to ensure patients have access to life-saving treatments and services.

James Romano lives in Midlothian and is director of government relations at Patient Services, Inc.


WEGBREIT: EVICTIONS IGNORE THE SOCIETAL COSTS THEY IMPOSE

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

One major cause of evictions can be explained in eight words: Evictions in Virginia are too easy for landlords. To evict, a landlord sends a notice. Six days later if the eviction is for unpaid rent, or 31 days later if the eviction is for some other reason, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit in court. No attorney is needed.

Martin Wegbreit is director of litigation at Central Virginia Legal Aid Society in Richmond.


MILLER: BEACH TOO TIMID IN SEA-LEVEL RISE PLANNING

By CHRISTOPHER MILLER, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Hampton Roads has wisely begun incorporating future sea level rise in its long-range planning. Unfortunately, Virginia Beach is requiring developers to plan for only 3 feet of sea level rise for the period 2065-2085. The science indicates that Virginia Beach should plan for at least 7 feet of relative sea level rise by the end of the century — and recognize that sea level rise won’t stop there.

Christopher Miller is the ocean issues chair for the Sierra Club, Virginia Chapter.


KILGORE: RURAL VIRGINIA, ESPECIALLY THE FAR SOUTHWEST, IS BEING LEFT OUT OF THE INTERNET BOOM

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

Billions of public dollars have been spent to boost jobs in rural America, yet there seems to be a huge disconnect among policymakers trying to determine if our countryside, especially the Appalachian region, has the DNA and capacity to handle internet-based tech jobs. Thousands of these high-paying jobs go unfilled in urban areas — or worse, outsourced to other countries — while the capacity to perform this type of work in rural America is overlooked due to hardened stereotypes held by urban-based policymakers.

Frank Kilgore is an attorney in St. Paul.


GIBSON: THE MONUMENTS VIRGINIA DOESN'T HAVE YET

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

Bryan Stevenson’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice ties every known lynching of a black American to the very county in which they were terrorized and slain. Stevenson, founder of the Montgomery (Ala.)-based Equal Justice Initiative and author of “Just Mercy,” created a monument that challenges people to think about the history of racial injustice and brilliantly creates links to community-based efforts to tell individual stories that can heal racial divisions.


KOCH: ECONOMIC DIVERSITY AT VIRGINIA'S PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES

By JAMES V. KOCH, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Virginia’s public colleges and universities frequently publicize their commitments to diversity and inclusion. However, the institutions have not exhibited similar concern for the creeping economic inequality that has been developing in the student bodies of Virginia’s four-year public colleges and universities.

James V. Koch is Board of Visitors Professor of Economics Emeritus and President Emeritus at Old Dominion University.


MORSE: TRUMP RHETORIC PUTS MCAULIFFE INSIGHT IN NEW LIGHT

By GORDON C. MORSE, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

President Donald Trump held a rally Wednesday in Greenville, N.C., and gave former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s new book — “Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism” — a sales boost and a half. With every rafter-lifting chant of “Send her back,” the president’s less-than-joyous message directed towards Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born Muslim refugee, McAuliffe must have leaned back and muttered to himself, “Thanks, Don.”

Gordon C. Morse wrote editorials for the Daily Press and The Pilot in the 1980s. He later wrote speeches for Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, then worked for corporate and philanthropic organizations


STRONG: CALDWELL BUTLER'S WATERGATE WISDOM

By ROBERT A. STRONG, Published in the Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

On July 27, 1974, the members of the House Judiciary Committee voted on the first article of impeachment against Richard Nixon. One of the “ayes” was called out by Roanoke’s Caldwell Butler, U. S. Representative for Virginia’s 6th District. Butler was elected to the House of Representatives in 1972 when Nixon won his landslide reelection. He escorted Nixon on a campaign swing across the Old Dominion and welcomed the president’s support in his run for Congress.

Strong is the Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University and is currently completing a book on the presidency of George H.W. Bush.