VaNews

Thursday January 18, 2018


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JazzRVA.com

The Richmond jazz calendar. Your web connector to live music for the anatomy: heart, guts, brains. JazzRVA.com has a crush on VPAP.

General Assembly


HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS CHAIRMAN MEETS WITH GOVERNOR, PROMISES 'NONPARTISAN' BUDGET

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

The Republican budget leader in the House of Delegates promised a “nonpartisan” spending document after an hourlong breakfast meeting with Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday, signaling a return to harmony after the Democratic governor’s inaugural speech to legislators sparked a GOP backlash.



SENATE REPUBLICANS STOP BILL TO GIVE LOCALITIES POWER TO MOVE CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS

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

Senate Republicans indicated this week that they aren’t going to let localities in Virginia decide whether they want to move or take down Confederate monuments. House Democratic Leader David Toscano of Charlottesville has filed a bill to allow localities to have control, following the white supremacist violence in his city in August that stemmed from a rally around the city’s public monument to Robert E. Lee.



VIRGINIA LEGISLATOR CALLS LAW THAT FROZE ELECTRICITY RATES 'CORRUPT'

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

A state legislator took to the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday to blast the state’s 2015 move to strip state regulators of their power to review electric rates, calling it a “corrupt” law that should be repealed to restore working-class trust in government.



BILLS WOULD FORCE LAWMAKERS TO UNDERGO HARASSMENT TRAINING

By PETER GALUSZKA, Chesterfield Observer

Two legislators representing Chesterfield have introduced bills that would require all members of the General Assembly and various state staff members to undergo sexual harassment training at least every other year.Del. Roxann Robinson Del. Roxann Robinson Del. Roxann Robinson, R-27th District, and state Sen. Glen Sturtevant, R-10th District, have introduced bills that would require legislators, full-time staff members and full-time employees of each legislative branch to undergo training by the state Department of Human Resource Management.



KIRK COX TAKES OVER A HOUSE DIVIDED

By JIM MCCONNELL , Chesterfield Observer

After an occasionally dramatic, contentious two-month battle for control of the Virginia House of Delegates, the selection of its leader felt almost anticlimactic. On the opening day of the 2018 General Assembly session, delegates unanimously chose Kirk Cox last week to serve as speaker of the House for the next two years.



GENERAL ASSEMBLY ELECTS BOTETOURT PROSECUTOR JOEL BRANSCOM TO JUDGESHIP

By ALISON GRAHAM, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Joel Branscom, Botetourt County commonwealth’s attorney, was elected to a judgeship by the Virginia General Assembly Tuesday. Branscom will serve an eight-year term starting Feb. 1, succeeding retired Circuit Judge Malfourd “Bo” Trumbo



DEL. CHRIS HURST INTRODUCES BILL AIMED AT PREVENTING WORKPLACE VIOLENCE LIKE 2015 WDBJ SHOOTING

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

After the violent deaths of WDBJ reporting duo Alison Parker and Adam Ward, Del. Chris Hurst has introduced legislation that he hopes will reduce similar incidents of workplace violence. Hurst, D-Blacksburg, introduced a measure to grant civil immunity to employers who share information about violent acts or threats made by current or former employees to potential employers or law enforcement.



POLL: VIRGINIA SCHOOLS DON'T HAVE FUNDING THEY NEED

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

Three in five Virginians don’t think public schools have the funding they need. A new Virginia Commonwealth University poll shows that 61 percent of the 788 adults surveyed don’t think the government gives schools enough money. That’s lower than the two-thirds of people who said schools were underfunded in a poll last year, the House of Delegates Education Committee learned during a presentation Wednesday.



BILL WOULD ALLOW NON-FLASHING LIGHTS ON COP CARS

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

A bill in the General Assembly would allow police to leave on their blue lights while patrolling, which could promote greater visibility, deter crime and help community policing, the bill’s sponsor says. But some senators say the lights could confuse the public and might put the officers in more danger. The bill, SB410, sponsored by Sen. Ryan McDougle, R-Hanover, passed out of committee and onto the full Senate with a 10-3 vote, but it was one of the most-debated bills in the Senate Transportation committee on Wednesday.

Federal Elections


GOP 6TH RACE GETS MORE CROWDED

By ELLIE POTTER , Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

The race for the Republican nomination for the 6th Congressional District swelled by two candidates Wednesday evening, bringing the pool to eight. Both candidates — Douglas Wright and Mike Desjadon — gave their first campaign speeches at the Rockingham County Republican Party’s meeting just hours after filing their paperwork.

State Government


FEDERAL TAX OVERHAUL LIKELY MEANS MORE REVENUE FOR VIRGINIA

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

The recent federal tax overhaul probably means Virginia will collect more state tax revenue — but from whom and how much are still unknown. Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne told lawmakers Wednesday that the impact of the federal tax changes is so complicated that the state needs an outside consultant and a couple more months to figure it all out.

Congress


REPUBLICANS WANT TO RENAME GRAVELLY POINT AFTER NANCY REAGAN

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

A House committee on Wednesday advanced a bill that would rename Gravelly Point Park after former first lady Nancy Reagan, roiling local residents who are still upset about the renaming of Washington National Airport for Ronald Reagan 20 years ago.

Economy/Business


BITCOIN-MINING COMPANY TO OPEN DATA CENTER WITH $500K CASH INVESTMENT FROM VIRGINIA BEACH

By STACY PARKER , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Is digital currency the next big thing? A local company thinks so and will invest nearly $65 million in a bitcoin “mining” facility. BCause LLC, which launched five years ago in Virginia Beach, is opening the first sizable commercial data center on the East Coast for customers who want bitcoins. It will also be the largest in North America, according to the company’s founder, Tom Flake.



DOMINION TO ELIMINATE NEARLY 400 POSITIONS AFTER REVIEW OF POWER GENERATION GROUP

By SARAH RANKIN , Associated Press

Dominion Energy plans to place nine of its older, inefficient and rarely used power-generating units across Virginia into a dormant status, including in Richmond and Chesterfield County, the company announced Wednesday. The change is among dozens being implemented after a monthslong review of the company’s power generation group, according to Paul Koonce, president and CEO of that division. Altogether, the initiatives will result in the elimination of about 390 positions, he said.



PULASKI PLANT TO EXPAND, ADDING 40 NEW JOBS

By JACOB DEMMITT, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Falls Stamping and Welding has so far come up well short of the economic boon the company promised Pulaski in 2013, but an upcoming expansion is set to boost employment and bring the plant closer to meeting its full potential.

Transportation


WEBSITE, APP FOR I-66 TOLLS FAILED TO DISPLAY PRICE, SOME DRIVERS PAID $39 FOR TRIP

By DANA HEDGPETH, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Some drivers along Interstate 66 in Northern Virginia paid a $39 toll in Tuesday morning’s rush hour, just as the system was also having a technical glitch of prices not showing up online and on a mobile app. The problem happened between 8:47 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., according to officials with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Higher Education


UVA, STATE ON TRACK TO BREAK DEGREE, APPLICATION RECORDS

By RUTH SERVEN, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The University of Virginia has awarded more undergraduate degrees nearly every year since 2011, the year then-Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the Top Jobs Act. And a strong application cycle puts UVa on track to enroll even more Virginians, officials say.

Virginia Other


ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE PERMITTING PROCESS UNFOLDS IN NELSON

By EMILY BROWN, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A chapter of the ongoing permitting process for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline began unfolding in Nelson on Tuesday, when the Board of Zoning Appeals took a first swing at reviewing applications for the project to cross a number of floodplains in the county.

Local


CHESAPEAKE SMALL FARMERS COULD BE ALLOWED UNLIMITED LIVESTOCK

By VICTORIA BOURNE , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Jennifer Barnes said the city’s revised livestock regulations arrived like a holiday miracle. Last month, members of the Chesapeake Small Farmers Coalition got a sneak peek of a draft of rules on keeping farm animals in rural areas, said Barnes, the group’s founder. The city had dropped much-disputed restrictions on the number of animals that could be kept on property zoned for agriculture that’s less than 10 acres and includes a residence. The change is in line with practices in Virginia Beach and Suffolk, officials said.



ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY PRINCIPAL APOLOGIZES FOR SURVEY OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

By ALISON GRAHAM, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Rockbridge County's superintendent of schools and the principal of Natural Bridge Elementary School apologized to parents after an anonymous survey asked students personal questions about their home life. The survey was given Jan. 2 to every grade level at the 277-student school and included questions about whether students lived with both of their parents, whether one of their parents was in jail, or if they attended church regularly.

TV/Radio


NORTHAM URGES CONGRESS TO AVOID SHUTDOWN

By AMANDA IACONE, WTOP

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam struck an optimistic tone that he’ll be able to push through some key piece of his legislative agenda despite pushback from Republican lawmakers on some of his policies during his first week in office.



VIRGINIA GROUP GETS FUNDING TO BUILD AN ADVANCED MANUFACTURING ACADEMY

By JEFF CLABAUGH, WTOP

The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing has received a total of $12.65 million to fund the construction of an apprentice academy in Prince George County, Virginia. The funding includes a $3.15 million grant from the U.S. Department Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, and $9.5 million appropriated from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Online News


VIRGINIA HOUSE ENDS SECRECY IN COMMITTEE VOTES

By ADAM HAMZA, Capital News Service

Advocates for government transparency are applauding the Virginia House of Delegates for ending its practice of allowing committees and subcommittees to kill legislation on unrecorded voice votes.



METRO RIDERS HAVE ADJUSTED AFTER YEARS OF SUBWAY TROUBLES: THEY EXPECT THE WORST

By FREDRICK KUNKLE, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Maybe it’s because there are so many other things to worry about these days, but Metro riders seem to have become downright philosophical about how lousy Washington’s transit system is. Few seem shocked in any way that a Metro train jumped the tracks on Monday. After all the other problems that have come to light in the past few years, it’s almost as if D.C. commuters expect a derailment now and then.



DEMOCRATS UNVEIL VOTING RIGHTS AGENDA TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR VIRGINIANS TO VOTE

Capital News Service

Democratic legislators are pushing for a package of bills to make it easier for Virginians to vote, including proposals to let people register on Election Day and to cast an absentee ballot for any reason.



BILLS SEEK TO DISRUPT 'SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE'

By KIRBY FARINEAU, Capital News Service

Ryan Turk was an eighth-grader in Prince William County when a misunderstanding with a school resource officer over a 65-cent carton of milk escalated to theft charges. The incident happened in May 2016 when Turk said he forgot his carton of milk that came with his school-issued free lunch. The police said Turk tried to "conceal" the carton of milk. When Turk separated himself from the resource officer, the incident ended with a suspension from school and a summons to juvenile court.



AFTER A “PAWS,” DELEGATE BACK WITH PET PROTECTION BILL

By KATRINA TILBURY AND DEFORREST BALLOU, Capital News Service

As temperatures across Virginia plunged to the single digits, many pets no doubt have been left in the cold.


Today's Sponsor:

JazzRVA.com

The Richmond jazz calendar. Your web connector to live music for the anatomy: heart, guts, brains. JazzRVA.com has a crush on VPAP.

Editorials


THE VICE-CHAIR DOESN'T CARE

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

First things first: State Sen. Richard Stuart, R-Montross, should resign his position as vice-chair of our commonwealth’s Freedom of Information Act Council. Actually, he should resign his seat on the council altogether. We could have made this call much earlier than this, considering the senator's lack of attention to a council that is supposed to be a defender of government transparency and accountability.



CAN DAWN ADAMS SERVE IN THE ASSEMBLY?

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

A little more than half the states in America prohibit members of the legislature from holding other public employment. Whether Virginia does so depends on whom you ask. Dawn Adams, a freshman delegate who beat Manoli Loupassi in November, asked state human-resources officials and the attorney general’s office, and they decided she could keep her job with the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services.



REGIONAL JAIL NEEDS HIGHER STAFFING

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

AS THE Virginia General Assembly considers a bevy of funding requests filed by lawmakers eager to address problems in their districts, special attention should be paid to one made on behalf of the Hampton Roads Regional Jail. A budget amendment — identical requests have been filed in the House and the Senate — proposes to provide an additional $5 million in the next two years to tackle a dangerous staffing shortfall at the facility. Approval will ensure a safer environment for inmates and staff alike.



DEMOCRATS IN VIRGINIA SENATE CAST AN UGLY VOTE AGAINST RURAL VIRGINIA

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

To: Democrats in the Virginia Senate Re: Your recent vote on the hospital in Patrick County. Come on, people. Really? Really?! You vote against a bill that could re-open a closed hospital in a rural part of the state? Do you realize how bad that looks?



LEGALIZATION ‘DARK AGES,’ OR COLORADO?

Winchester Star Editorial (Subscription Required)

Ever since Sen. Jill Vogel decided to throw her political hat in the ring back in 2007, we’ve endorsed her enthusiastically, right down to her run for lieutenant governor last year. We have no reason, we believe, to step back from or temper that support, though comments made to The Star last week relative to marijuana and marijuana laws are sufficient to give pause. To wit: “We are living in the Dark Ages in how we address marijuana in Virginia,” Mrs. Vogel, R-Upperville, said.



SNOOKERED?

Winchester Star Editorial (Subscription Required)

Ever felt snookered? Well, conservatives across Virginia have this past week — us included — but none more so than new House Speaker Kirk Cox. So upbeat and hopeful were Mr. Cox and the other 71 Republicans in the General Assembly after Gov. Northam’s repeated paeans to bipartisanship last week that they prepared a statement expressing their eagerness to start working together with Democrats in the closely divided Legislature.

Columnists


CASEY: SOME GOOD BILLS THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY HAS ALREADY KILLED

By DAN CASEY, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Every now and then, a Virginia delegate or senator proposes legislation that’s honest, sincere, and makes perfect sense. Sometimes those bills close silly loopholes or resolve strange inconsistencies. Occasionally, they cure glaring ills or prevent highway robbery. And as often as not, such efforts suffer a quick death in Richmond. The 2018 General Assembly is barely a week old, and already we have evidence of that.



CHESLEY: DISTANT SITES FOR PUBLIC HEARING WON'T GET ALL VIEWS ON OFFSHORE DRILLING

By ROGER CHESLEY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Let’s do a thought exercise about seeking advice: If you’re trying to find the best way to invest money – and avoid pitfalls – you’d go ask folks on Wall Street. Maybe your farm isn’t yielding the amount of crops that it could. A trip to your cooperative extension service might do the trick.

Op-Ed


RINZEL: THE CALL FOR MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY CHOICES

By JOE RINZEL, Published in the Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Everyday, the emerging modern economy continues to reshape the marketplace as we know it. For example, we just emerged from a holiday season in which more products were purchased online than ever before.in traditional retail stores. The online marketplace has in a very small window of time, literally transformed how customers do their shopping.

Rinzel is the Executive Director of the Employers for Renewable Energy, a coalition of businesses and job creators who support state policies that enable greater customer choice of renewable energy and strong competition among producers.