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VaNews

Wednesday September 18, 2019

FROM VPAP


VISUALIZATION: HOUSE DEMOCRATS GAIN CASH ADVANTAGE

The Virginia Public Access Project

At the same point two years ago, House Democratic candidates were $3.7 million behind House Republican candidates. This year House Democrats collectively had $900,000 more in the bank than Republican candidates on August 31. After a summer of fundraising, Senate Republicans still have more cash on hand than Senate Democrats.


VISUALIZATION: INCUMBENTS WHO LOST THEIR MONEY LEAD

The Virginia Public Access Project

Seven Republican legislators who started the summer with a campaign cash advantage finished the summer with less money in the bank than their Democratic challengers. One GOP lawmaker -- who is now waging a write-in campaign -- bucked the trend and blew past the Democrat seeking his House seat.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH


NORTHAM LAYS OUT RENEWABLE ENERGY GOALS FOR VIRGINIA, CALLS FOR CARBON-FREE ELECTRICITY BY 2050

By MEL LEONOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Gov. Ralph Northam called on state agencies and public institutions Tuesday to create a plan that will make Virginia’s electric grid solely dependent on carbon-free energy sources by 2050. Northam announced an executive order to that end during the Virginia Clean Energy Summit in Richmond.


VIRGINIA GOVERNOR SETS RENEWABLE ENERGY GOAL: 100% BY 2050

By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday he signed an executive order setting a goal for the state to produce 100% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050. Such a shift will help address climate change, a challenge that “poses potentially devastating risk to Virginia,” the order said.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY


LOOKING FOR AN UNUSUALLY TENSE BUDGET DEBATE

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

With state revenues softening, the story state Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico shared from her shift at a Richmond area E.R. was an early signal of tough budget talk to come. In that emergency room, Dunnavant, whose day job is as a physician, spotted someone under a temporary detention order, because of a mental health crisis, and discovered that the person had been there for 24 hours because there was no bed available.

STATE ELECTIONS


VIRGINIA DEMOCRATS SEE SURGE IN CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISING

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Virginia Democrats are outraising Republicans in the lead up to a closely watched legislative election, according to newly filed campaign finance reports for July and August. New campaign finance reports show House Democratic candidates leapfrogged Republicans to gain a $1 million cash on hand advantage


DEMOCRATS HAVE NEARLY $1 MILLION CASH ADVANTAGE IN HOUSE

By MEL LEONOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

House Democrats have a nearly $1 million cash advantage over Republicans in their bid to take control of the state’s lower chamber ahead of November’s pivotal elections. New campaign finance filings show Democratic candidates in the House had $8.6 million on hand as of Aug. 31, compared with Republicans’ $7.7 million.


DEMOCRATS LEAD IN FUNDRAISING FOR VIRGINIA’S HARD-FOUGHT LEGISLATIVE RACES

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

Virginia Democrats surged in fundraising over the summer, building a lead over Republicans in total cash reserves heading toward this fall’s crucial legislative elections. Democratic candidates for the House of Delegates reported a total of $8.6 million cash on hand as of Aug. 31, compared with $7.7 million for Republican House candidates, according to the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project.


REPUBLICANS LARGELY OUTRAISE DEMOCRATS IN CENTRAL VA. STATE RACES

By TYLER HAMMEL, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The latest campaign finance reports for General Assembly candidates in Central Virginia mostly show Republicans outraising their Democratic competitors by thousands of dollars. ... The most striking gap appears in Virginia’s 30th House District, where write-in candidate Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, raised $521,345 during that period, compared to Democrat Ann Ridgeway’s $30,184. However, $500,000 of the money raised by Freitas came from a single donor — Richard Uihlein.


INCUMBENT STATE LAWMAKERS IN WESTERN VIRGINIA HOLD FUNDRAISING EDGE

By AMY FRIEDENBERGER, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Incumbent lawmakers in Western Virginia running for re-election to the General Assembly hold the fundraising advantage as they head into final stretch of the election season. It doesn’t appear that the Del. Chris Hurst, D-Blacksburg, will have to spend as much money as he did two years ago


COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS VOTES TO RETAIN SATURDAY ABSENTEE VOTING HOURS

By JILL PALERMO, Prince William Times

Absentee voting for the upcoming Nov. 5 election begins this Friday in Prince William County and will be offered on Saturdays – as usual – thanks to a unanimous vote by the local board of elections in an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon. The three-member Prince William County Board of Elections called the 1 p.m. meeting after they learned county Registrar Michele White decided to restrict weekend absentee voting hours to the last two Saturdays before the election.


ELECTIONS OFFICIALS URGE OVERSEAS VOTERS TO MAIL BALLOTS EARLY

By MECHELLE HANKERSON, Virginia Mercury

State elections officials have asked deployed service members and other overseas voters to submit their absentee ballots three weeks before Election Day in case the United States leaves an international postal agreement. “It may be that mail won’t get delivered from these locations,” said Chris Piper, elections commissioner. “That obviously affects our uniformed and overseas citizens.”


CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR VIRGINIA HOUSE CANDIDATE RESIGNS AMID DWI CHARGE

By ANDY FOX, WAVY

The campaign manager for a candidate running for the Virginia House of Delegates 85th District has resigned amid a DWI charge. Taylor Blume was charged with driving while intoxicated and disorderly conduct on Sept. 5. She has since resigned as the campaign manager for Rocky Holcomb.

STATE GOVERNMENT


STATE REVIEW RECOMMENDS CHANGES TO IMPROVE JAIL OVERSIGHT

By DAVID SEIDEL, WVTF

Every year, 50 to 60 people die while in custody of a local or regional jail. Since 2018, each of those deaths must be reviewed by the state Board of Corrections. The General Assembly’s legislative watchdog, called JLARC for short, found the board takes its job seriously, but is understaffed and overwhelmed with a backlog of cases.


'THIS IS A CRISIS': STATE PROPOSES MORE BEDS AT ROANOKE-AREA MENTAL HOSPITAL TO RELIEVE OVERCROWDING IN NOTTOWAY

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

An overloaded state mental hospital in Nottoway County could get some help from the proposed expansion of another state psychiatric institution on the other side of Virginia, as the state struggles with worsening conditions at institutions that are operating at or beyond their capacities.


THE NEXT CHALLENGE FOR EXPANDED MEDICAID: ACCESSING CARE

By MALLORY NOE-PAYNE, WVTF

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital is a Level 1 Trauma center, one of the largest in the state. It has more than 500 beds. In this area more than 70,000 people have signed up for Medicaid since January. And they’re coming through the hospital doors, says Norfolk General President Carolyn Carpenter.


VIMS SHARES IN $4.4 MILLION GRANT TO BREED A BETTER OYSTER

By TAMARA DIETRICH, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The quest to build a better oyster got a boost with a five-year, $4.4 million grant to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Eastern Oyster Breeding Consortium. The funds will be used to identify the genes that make oysters grow faster and bigger, more tolerant of acidic waters and low oxygen and salinity, and more resistant to a pair of parasitic diseases that have decimated the population.


WATER AUTHORITY CRITICIZES STATE'S DISMISSAL OF RASSAWEK ARCHAEOLOGIST

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

The James River Water Authority is pushing back on a determination that an archaeologist consulting on its project is unqualified. The water authority received a letter from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources earlier this month that said the archaeological consultant associated with the project, Carol Tyrer of Circa~ Cultural Resource Management LLC, does not meet the requirements established by the Secretary of the Interior.Al

CONGRESS


HOUSE LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO ADD FORT MONROE COASTAL LAND WITH PARK SERVICE

By LISA VERNON SPARKS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

A bipartisan contingent of House lawmakers on Tuesday introduced legislation that would shift several acres of coastal land to the Fort Monroe National Monument. The measure would unify two divided sections on the former military post to create an unbroken and federally managed coastline along the Chesapeake Bay, according to a news release from Rep. Elaine Luria.

ECONOMY/BUSINESS


BEFORE JOBS ARE EVEN POSTED, AMAZON ‘CAREER DAY’ DRAWS THOUSANDS TO VIRGINIA

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

They arrived by foot, car, Uber and scooter. Some wore their best interview suits, others wrinkled T-shirts. Many already had jobs — no surprise in an era of historically low unemployment and a booming national economy. But now Amazon, the world’s largest Internet company, was beckoning. And these folks wanted in.

VIRGINIA OTHER


JUDGE REFUSES TO FREE EXTREMISTS WHO ATTACKED PROTESTERS

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press

A federal judge on Tuesday refused to free members of a white supremacist group on bond while they appeal their convictions for attacking protesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia. U.S. District Judge Norman Moon ruled that Rise Above Movement members Benjamin Daley, Michael Miselis and Thomas Gillen haven’t adequately shown that releasing them from custody wouldn’t pose a danger to others.


WITH FEWER NEW REFUGEES, RICHMOND RESETTLEMENT AGENCY SHIFTS PRIORITIES

By ANGELA MASSINO, WCVE

The Richmond office of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is shifting priorities to focus on long term services for refugees. This change comes as less than 30,000 new refugees are admitted into the country this year. Advocates say even fewer refugees are expected to come in 2020. To prepare for the potential slash, resettlement agencies are reexamining their resources to serve those already in the community. The IRC in Richmond, with help from a major donor, opened a new office space for on-site English classes, job training skills and a free “resettlement store” for clients to pick up household items.

LOCAL


DEMOCRATIC MEGADONOR GEORGE SOROS INVESTS IN ANOTHER NORTHERN VIRGINIA RACE

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

A political action committee funded by George Soros has given $50,000 to a candidate for sheriff in Prince William County, the latest in a string of contributions by the Democratic megadonor aimed at pushing criminal justice reform in Northern Virginia.


WITTMANN CLEARED TO RUN FOR COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY

By PATRICK SZABO, Loudoun Now

Circuit Court Judge Richard B. Potter on Tuesday ruled that Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicole Wittmann is qualified to run for Commonwealth’s Attorney this November. On Aug. 20, a petition filed by four Loudoun Democrats claimed Wittmann was a Herndon resident who was not qualified to run for public office in Loudoun.


NAVY MULLS OPENING UP PARTS OF OCEANA TO PUBLIC, LEASING LAND

By BROCK VERGAKIS, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The Navy is considering opening parts of Naval Air Station Oceana to the public and leasing the land to private companies so it can spend more on supporting its war-fighting mission and less on being a landlord that runs a golf course, gym and barracks.


VIRGINIA BEACH POLICE PLANS TO REVEAL FINDINGS OF MASS SHOOTING INVESTIGATION

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

Almost four months after 16 people were shot by a city employee, police plan to reveal findings from the criminal investigation next week. On Tuesday, the public will hear what police have determined happened on the day of the mass shooting, Mayor Bobby Dyer said. Police also will provide more details about the shooter and his work history, Dyer said.


DEMOCRATS OUTRAISED IN TWO ALBEMARLE SUPERVISOR RACES

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

A write-in candidate and Republican hopeful for the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors have outraised their Democratic opponents over the past two months.


BROWN RAISED DOUBLE ALL OTHER CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES OVER SUMMER

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

Bellamy Brown has raised more than twice as much money as the five other candidates for Charlottesville City Council combined. The six candidates for available three seats on the panel submitted campaign finance reports Monday covering contributions between July 1 and Aug. 31. Incumbent Democrats Mike Signer, Wes Bellamy and Kathy Galvin declined to run for another four-year term.


REGION'S LEADERS DISCUSS SUCCESSES, AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT

By CALEB AYERS, Danville Register & Bee

The top leaders for Danville and Pittsylvania County said several major announcements will be made in coming months that encompass hundreds of millions of dollars of investments into the region. Three companies have signed letters of intent, indicating they want to come to the region, Danville City Manager Ken Larking said Tuesday.


PETITION OF REMOVAL FILED AGAINST STRASBURG MAYOR

By JOSETTE KEELOR, Northern Virginia Daily

A petition to remove Mayor Richard Orndorff Jr. from office was filed in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Monday. The petition includes 112 signatures from town residents who said they were registered to vote.


COUNTY OFFICIALS AGREE TO IMPROVE DAMS

By CALEB AYERS, Danville Register & Bee

The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved plans regarding updates to the Cherrystone and Roaring Fork Lake dams to meet current dam safety standards Tuesday evening. Collectively, this project is estimated to cost the three local sponsors — Pittsylvania County, the Town of Chatham, and the Pittsylvania Soil and Water Conservation District — a total of $6.8 million. The dams currently don’t meet the criteria for integrity or seismic stability

EDITORIALS


DOMINION SHOULDN'T KEEP ALL OVERCHARGES

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

The scenario has been repeated year after year. Dominion Energy, with the State Corporation Commission looking over its shoulder, reviews its debits and credits. It then either asks the SCC to grant a rate increase to make up for a shortfall, or announces a refund that customers will see in their upcoming electricity bills.


FURTHER RESTRICTING VISITORS IS NOT SMART PRISON REFORM

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

Nearly 32,000 woke up this morning in a cell inside one of Virginia’s state prisons. They will survive today under harrowing circumstances, despite being a ward of a state agency tasked with providing basic human needs.


VOCATIONAL, TECH JOBS ARE IN ABUNDANCE

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

We’ve all heard the message for decades: Go to college, get a four-year degree and be set for life. The best jobs, the educational establishment has told us, go to those with college degrees. It’s all bunkum. Well, not 100 percent bunkum, but enough of a myth that it needs to be addressed every chance we get.