Javascript is required to run this page
VaNews

Thursday June 21, 2018

GENERAL ASSEMBLY


ABORTION RIGHTS GROUPS SUE VIRGINIA OVER RESTRICTIONS THEY CALL MEDICALLY UNNECESSARY

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

A coalition of abortion rights groups filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the state of Virginia, seeking to throw out a host of restrictions imposed over the years through laws and regulations. The suit contends that some of those restrictions, such as a ­24-hour waiting period before an abortion and a state-mandated abdominal ultrasound, are medically unnecessary and therefore unconstitutional in the wake of a 2016 Supreme Court ruling in a Texas case.


ABORTION-RIGHTS ADVOCATES FILE FEDERAL LAWSUIT CHALLENGING VIRGINIA RESTRICTIONS

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

A coalition of abortion-rights advocates announced Wednesday that they are filing a sweeping federal lawsuit challenging several Virginia laws and regulations that they said create unjust restrictions on access to abortion.

FEDERAL ELECTIONS


LT. GOV. FAIRFAX STUMPS FOR AREA DEMOCRATS

By ELLIE POTTER, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

The Democrats came out in a united front Wednesday afternoon as they head into federal and local November elections. Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax visited Harrisonburg to support Jennifer Lewis, the party’s candidate for the 6th Congressional District, as well as City Councilman Chris Jones, who is seeking re-election, and City Council candidate Sal Romero, who was unable to attend the party’s event.


CAN SPANBERGER AND THE DEMOCRATS WIN THE RED-LEANING 7TH?

By RICH GRISET, Chesterfield Observer

It’s Saturday afternoon, and a large crowd has gathered in Manchester Middle School’s dimly lit auditorium. The temperature in the parking lot is pushing 90 degrees; inside, it tops 80. It’s hot enough that U.S. Sen. Mark Warner has taken off his blue blazer as he addresses members of the Chesterfield County Democratic Committee and Liberal Women of Chesterfield County.


MCAULIFFE HITS THE ROAD TO BOOST DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS — AND HIMSELF

By DANIEL STRAUSS, Politico

Terry McAuliffe is spending 2018 on a cross-country tour promoting the next generation of Democratic governors — and hyping himself a little along the way. The former Virginia governor has already held fundraisers for candidates in swing states like Michigan and Ohio. He’s in talks about trips to Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada — key early states in the presidential nominating process — and helping out Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, who hopes to be the first Democrat to win that state's governor’s race in two decades.

STATE GOVERNMENT


AS NORTHROP GRUMMAN PREPARES TO LAY OFF DATA CENTER WORKERS, NEW CONTRACTOR PLANS TO REHIRE THEM

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

Almost 350 employees at Virginia’s main information data center in Chester will lose their jobs with Northrop Grumman in mid-August, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stop working there.


STATE PANEL DELAYS DECISION ON CALL FOR REMOVAL OF ROCKBRIDGE SOCIAL SERVICES BOARD

By ALISON GRAHAM, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The state Board of Social Services delayed a decision Wednesday on whether to remove members of Rockbridge County’s social services board. The state board discussed the investigation into the Rockbridge-area board behind closed doors for more than an hour at its regular meeting in Lynchburg. Following the closed session, board members pushed back any action until Aug. 15.


HEALTH DIRECTOR NOW RUNNING MULTIPLE DISTRICTS

By PAUL COLLINS, Martinsville Bulletin

Having one health director to lead both the West Piedmont Health District and the Central Virginia Health District should not hurt the level of services provided, according to Dr. Kerry Gateley, who is now the health director of both health districts. In fact, he hopes there will be positive effects from the new arrangement.


GROUPS VIE FOR HEMP LICENSES

By VIC BRADSHAW, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

At least one investment group has applied for a state permit to extract oil from industrial hemp in Rockingham County if and when the plant can be grown legally for commercial use. George Anas, a former Rockingham County economic development director who’s a consultant to the group, said last week that he has submitted an application and the nonrefundable $10,000 filing fee on the investors’ behalf.


JOHNSON, ABC REACH $250K SETTLEMENT OVER 2015 ARREST

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

The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and former University of Virginia student Martese Johnson have reached a $249,950 settlement in the $3 million lawsuit Johnson filed after his bloody arrest in 2015.


U-VA. STUDENT BLOODIED IN ARREST REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH THE STATE

By SUSAN SVRLUGA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

A former University of Virginia student and the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority have reached a settlement in a case that drew national attention to issues of race and policing.


LYNCHBURG HOSTS STATE BOARD OF SOCIAL SERVICES MEETING

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

Lynchburg hosted a meeting of the Virginia Board of Social Services at its downtown headquarters Wednesday, bringing discussion on social services policy changes to the Hill City.

CONGRESS


GARRETT'S INDEPENDENT STREAK FLOURISHES SINCE REELECTION ANNOUNCEMENT

By MICHAEL POPE, WVTF

Since he announced that he would not seek reelection, Fifth District Congressman Tom Garrett was one of seven Republicans to vote against a bill setting aside housing vouchers for people recovering from opioid abuse. And he was one of 12 Republicans to vote against a bill giving the feds new authority to crack down on fentanyl.

ECONOMY/BUSINESS


COAL IN THE CROSSFIRE-CHINESE TRADERS WARY OF BEING BURNT BY TRADE WAR

Reuters

At least three U.S. coal shipments on their way to China may end up casualties of the escalating trade dispute after Beijing said it would impose steep tariffs that may kick in before the ships reach their destinations....Another Vessel, named partnership, carrying 164,000 tonnes of coal from Virginia, is due to arrive at Jingtang port on June 26.

HIGHER EDUCATION


CVCC OFFERS STUDENTS FREE ONLINE TEXTBOOKS

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

After tuition, textbook costs remain a staggering expense for many college students. That’s why Central Virginia Community College is trying to draw those costs down by introducing open educational resources — free online textbooks — into the curriculum.

VIRGINIA OTHER


YOUNG IMMIGRANTS DETAINED IN VIRGINIA CENTER ALLEGE ABUSE

By MICHAEL BIESECKER, JAKE PEARSON AND GARANCE BURKE, Associated Press

Immigrant children as young as 14 housed at a juvenile detention center in Virginia say they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells. The abuse claims against the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center near Staunton, Virginia, are detailed in federal court filings


COMMISSION WON’T RENEW CONTRACT TO HOUSE MIGRANT CHILDREN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA

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

A Northern Virginia commission announced Wednesday that it will not renew a federal contract to provide housing for migrant children after growing outrage about a Trump administration policy to separate parents and children who cross the border illegally. The Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Commission (NVJDC) maintains 30 beds at a secure Alexandria facility for minors who arrive at the border alone and have violent criminal backgrounds or gang affiliations.


THOUSANDS OF ACCOMACK HOMES AT RISK OF TIDAL FLOODING: REPORT

Eastern Shore News (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Thousands of homes in Accomack County and the Hampton Roads area of Virginia are at risk of tidal flooding by 2045 due to sea level rise, according to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The report said more than 9,000 Virginia homes are at risk of tidal flooding by 2045 due to sea level rise, and that number jumps to nearly 115,000 by the year 2100.


GILLESPIE JOINS IMGE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

By SCOTT BLAND, Politico

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie has joined the board of directors of the GOP consulting firm IMGE. The move puts Gillespie among the leadership of the digital agency — a first for a former RNC chairman, the firm said in an announcement. Last fall, IMGE announced a slew of new partners and board members, including former Republican Governors Association Executive Director Phil Cox, the current chairman of the company’s board.

LOCAL


RICHMOND, STATE LEADERS RESPONDING TO REPORTED HIGH EVICTION RATES

By TIM DODSON AND MICHAEL O’CONNOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority on Wednesday defended the agency’s record on eviction cases to the authority’s board, a day after state housing committee appointees cast about for common ground on landlord-tenant issues. The conversations — jump-started by reporting that showed half of the 10 large U.S. cities with the highest eviction rates are in Virginia — considered what is happening, to whom, and how to safeguard vulnerable renters.


SCHOOL TASK FORCE WEIGHS ARMED MENTORS

By RICH GRISET, Chesterfield Observer

Following the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead and 17 wounded in Parkland, Florida, the conversation about how to secure America’s schools has received renewed attention....Chesterfield is considering a novel approach: arming former and retired law enforcement officers to work as student mentors in schools.


VIRGINIAN-PILOT REPORTER SUBPOENAED IN MARK WHITAKER CASE; PRESS ADVOCATES CITE "CHILLING EFFECT"

By MARGARET MATRAY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

A Virginian-Pilot reporter has been subpoenaed by a special prosecutor to testify at the upcoming trial of City Councilman Mark Whitaker, a step that First Amendment experts say can have a “chilling effect” on press freedom.


AFTER CONTROVERSIES, VIRGINIA BEACH CITY COUNCIL DOESN'T GIVE CITY MANAGER A RAISE

By ALISSA SKELTON, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The City Council had planned to give raises to all five city leaders it appoints, but on Tuesday it voted to exclude City Manager Dave Hansen. The decision came a week after the council met in closed session about Hansen’s performance. That discussion followed public statements by two council members calling for Hansen to be fired.


THERE ARE NO WINNERS: INSIDE THE EVICTION OF A NORFOLK FAMILY

By ANA LEY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Brittany McPherson scanned her apartment for the bare essentials before a man with a badge showed up to kick her out. The family hoisted what they could – a pile of sneakers dumped behind the driver’s seat of their sedan, plastic shopping bags stuffed with clothes, the kids’ folded up playpen. The big stuff, the expensive things – couches, mattresses, bed frames – those would have to stay.


CITY CONFIRMS POLICE EMPLOYEE SPOKE ON WHITE NATIONALIST'S PODCAST

By CHRIS SUAREZ, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Charlottesville Police Department is conducting a review of an employee after it received a recording of a phone call between her and a white nationalist charged with pepper-spraying anti-racist activists on Aug. 11. Published on his website as part of a commentary on the arrest of activists who were protesting the conviction of Corey Long earlier this month, Chris Cantwell played a recording of his brief conversation with a department employee.

EDITORIALS


MENTAL HEALTH CRISES REQUIRE LONGER HOLDS

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

VIRGINIA SEN. Creigh Deeds knows better than most the shortcomings of emergency custody orders as they now exist in the commonwealth. When his son, Austin “Gus” Deeds, experienced a mental health crisis in 2013, owing to the young man’s bipolar disorder, Deeds was able to have him undergo a psychological evaluation and to have a magistrate issue an emergency custody order so that he could receive care in a psychiatric facility.

COLUMNISTS


CHESLEY: DON'T LEAVE OUT SEA-LEVEL RISE FROM THE DEVELOPMENT EQUATION IN BEACH, ELSEWHERE

By ROGER CHESLEY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

I wonder whether housing developers are reading the same news as everybody else. Maybe they’re simply too consumed by their rapacious desire to build – whatever the future cost to taxpayers. To wit: The Union of Concerned Scientists reported this week that 848 homes in South Hampton Roads could be lost by 2030 because of sea level rise and flooding.

OP-ED


BANKS: FOSSIL FUELS ARE ESSENTIAL TO ECONOMY

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

Not too long ago, I wrote to the president of my university about the folly of the school’s decision to alter its investment portfolio by divesting from stocks in the fossil fuel industry. My letter also included a pledge to end my contributions to the institution. I have no way to know how many others might have felt the same way. But the intense campaign to stir feelings of guilt about the use of fossil fuels, directly or indirectly, is misguided and should be resisted.

Banks, a retired energy industry communicator with experience in the oil, gas and coal industries, now lives in Rockingham County.


TOBIAS: FILLING JUDGE CONRAD'S WESTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA VACANCY

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

In December, Western District of Virginia Judge Glen Conrad assumed senior status after more than forty years of dedicated service as Chief District Judge, District Judge and Magistrate Judge on the court, which encompasses the western half of the Commonwealth. Because the district requires all of the court’s members when discharging its constitutional responsibility to deliver justice, Virginia Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine should cooperate with President Donald Trump to swiftly fill Judge Conrad’s vacancy.

Tobias is the Williams Chair in Law at the University of Richmond