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VaNews

Friday February 22, 2019

EXECUTIVE BRANCH


NORTHAM SIGNS BILL TO RAISE TOBACCO MINIMUM AGE TO 21

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

Virginia on Thursday joined six other states that ban people under 21 from purchasing tobacco and nicotine products after Gov. Ralph Northam lent his signature to Republican-led legislation on the issue.


WITHOUT NORTHAM, VIRGINIA UNION EVENT CELEBRATES RICHMOND 34 WITH CALLS FOR RACIAL HEALING

By JUSTIN MATTINGLY, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Moments after Jamon Phenix delivered a speech that brought his fellow Virginia Union University students — united in disappointment with Virginia’s embattled governor — to their feet, Elizabeth Johnson Rice had to clarify something. Phenix, the head of VUU’s student body, had asked Gov. Ralph Northam not to attend Thursday’s event at the university honoring a group of 34 former students who protested segregation. Johnson Rice, the Richmond 34’s leader, said Northam should have been there.


VIRGINIA HOUSE SPEAKER: DEMOCRATS RESISTING PROPOSAL FOR PANEL TO INVESTIGATE FAIRFAX

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

Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox said Thursday that he has been quietly laying the groundwork for a bipartisan investigation of sexual assault allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax but Democrats have refused to cooperate.


HOUSE REPUBLICANS SAY DEMOCRATS ARE BLOCKING FAIRFAX INVESTIGATION; DEMOCRATS ACCUSE GOP OF PURSUING 'POLITICAL SHOW'

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

Republican leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates on Thursday accused their Democratic counterparts of resisting a potential General Assembly investigation into the sexual assault claims against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.


VIRGINIA REPUBLICANS WANT COMMITTEE TO HEAR FAIRFAX ACCUSERS' TESTIMONY. DEMOCRATS WANT MORE DETAILS.

By MARIE ALBIGES, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

House Republicans say they’ve come up with a way for the General Assembly to hear testimony from the two women accusing Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault. But House Democrats say they need more information — in writing, preferably — before they sign off on state lawmakers getting involved in such an investigation.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY


TENTATIVE VIRGINIA BUDGET DEAL INCLUDES MONEY FOR STATE EMPLOYEES, LOW-INCOME SCHOOL DIVISIONS

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

State employees would receive an extra boost in pay under a tentative agreement that General Assembly budget negotiators were close to completing on Thursday night. The 1 percent increase — a combination of across-the-board raises and merit pay — would go on top of the 2 percent raise and 2 percent merit pay already scheduled to take effect on July 1 for state employees. It would eliminate a one-time, 1 percent bonus that Gov. Ralph Northam proposed.


VA. HOUSE GOP DEFEATS LAST-DITCH EFFORT TO FORCE ERA VOTE, DOOMING GENDER-EQUALITY PROPOSAL FOR THE YEAR

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

The Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates defeated two efforts to ratify the federal Equal Rights Amendment on Thursday, dooming the gender equality measure in the final stretch of the legislative session.


ERA BILL DIES FOR GOOD IN GOP-CONTROLLED VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES

By JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The Republican-controlled House of Delegates killed Democrats’ last-ditch efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment on Thursday, as advocates promised retribution at the ballot box.


VIRGINIA DEMOCRATS' LAST-DITCH EFFORT TO PASS EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT FAILS

By MARIE ALBIGES, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

In a last-ditch effort to force a vote on the Equal Rights Amendment during the final week of session, Democratic delegates — encouraged by advocates — attempted to finagle a rule change Thursday that goes against a longstanding tradition in the General Assembly. And they almost accomplished it. Del. David Yancey, R-Newport News, was the lone Republican to vote for the rule change


BID TO REVIVE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT FAILS BY 1 VOTE

Associated Press

A last-ditch effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia — which would have been a key milestone in a nearly half-century old campaign — came up a single vote short Thursday. The House of Delegates deadlocked 50-50 on a bid to force a full floor vote on the gender-equality measure, with the tie vote meaning the effort failed.


WHY A REPUBLICAN CO-SPONSOR SAYS SHE HELPED BLOCK ERA RESOLUTION

By NED OLIVER, Virginia Mercury

The Equal Rights Amendment only needed two Republican votes to pass the House of Delegates. And two Republican delegates signed on as co-patrons to the ratification resolution that passed the Senate, where the chief sponsor was also a Republican. So what happened?


AFTER RELEASE FROM JAIL, PRO-ERA PROTESTER WHO EXPOSED BREAST SAYS FEMALE INMATES NEED MORE SUPPORT

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The pro-Equal Rights Amendment protester who was being held in the Richmond jail without bond after exposing herself in a protest is being released, according to her attorney. A magistrate set bond at $700 for Michelle Renay Sutherland, 45, of Brooklyn, N.Y., after she exposed her breast during a bit of performance art on Monday in which she and another activist mimicked the Virginia seal.


JUDGE AGREES TO FREE PROTESTER WHO BARED HER CHEST FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN VIRGINIA

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

The women’s rights protester who was arrested for exposing her chest outside the Virginia Capitol was released from jail on Thursday after being initially held without bail.


VIRGINIA TO ESSENTIALLY GET EARLY VOTING IN 2020

By MAX SMITH, WTOP

Significant shifts to make it easier to vote in Virginia were among the changes that got final approval Thursday from the General Assembly. Starting in November 2020, Virginia voters would no longer need a reason to vote early through in-person absentee voting, starting two Saturdays before Election Day.


VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY REPEALS ‘JIM CROW’ MINIMUM WAGE EXEMPTIONS

By DANIEL BERTI, VCU Capital News Service

A Democratic bill to repeal a Jim Crow era-law that legalized wage discrimination against many African-Americans is headed to the governor’s desk after being approved by the House of Delegates. The bill, SB 1079, rescinds the law that allows employers to pay less than minimum wage to “newsboys, shoe-shine boys, ushers, doormen, concession attendants and theater cashiers” — jobs to which many African-Americans were relegated decades ago.


ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL THAT BANS ‘SPOOF’ PHONE CALLS

By JULIA VARNIER, WTKR

A bill to get rid of the annoying spam calls that pop up on your caller ID and also appear as a familiar phone number has passed both the Virginia House and Senate. Delegate Emily Brewer introduced HB 2170 that says it would give law enforcement another unique approach to being able to go after scammers.


VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY PASSES LEGISLATION TO CREATE MATERNAL MORTALITY REVIEW TEAM

WVEC

The Virginia General Assembly has passed legislation creating a maternal mortality review team within the Virginia Department of Health. House Bill 2546 will require the Department of Health to review the rate of pregnancy-associated and pregnancy-related deaths in the Commonwealth.


VIRGINIA LAWMAKER SAYS STATE MUST FACE THE 'CHASM BETWEEN BLACK VIRGINIA AND WHITE VIRGINIA'

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

One of the youngest members of the Virginia House of Delegates received a standing ovation Thursday after delivering a deeply personal floor speech detailing his family’s experiences with racism and urging colleagues to respond to the state’s blackface scandals by working to “address the chasm between black Virginia and white Virginia.”


DELEGATE: BIAS DEFINES DAILY LIFE FOR BLACKS

By MARIE ALBIGES, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Nearly a month after Virginia’s governor admitted wearing blackface in college and apologized for a racist photo in his medical school yearbook, the state’s youngest black delegate shared the story of the racial injustice his grandparents and parents faced in Norfolk. Del. Jay Jones, a first-term Democratic lawmaker, chose the second-to-last day of the session to give his speech for Black History Month, something legislators typically do on the chamber floor each year in February.


NUMEROUS PROSECUTORS ARE SEEKING JUDGESHIPS

By PETER VIETH, Virginia Lawyers Weekly (Paywall for some articles)

Eight Virginia commonwealth’s attorneys were among the 63 candidates interviewed for vacant Virginia trial court judgeships that could be filled in the current General Assembly session. Another five of the prospective judges are working as prosecutors. But would-be judges come from a variety of legal backgrounds,


SMITH APPOINTED TO JDR COURT

By KIM ROBBINS, Gazette-Journal

The General Assembly voted last Thursday to appoint Gloucester Commonwealth’s Attorney Holly B. Smith as a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court judge in the 9th Judicial District.


JUDGES ELECTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Virginia Lawyers Weekly (Paywall for some articles)

Here is the list of trial court judges elected Feb. 14 by the General Assembly: Circuit Judges General District Judge Stephen J. Telfeyan, 1st Circuit General District Judge Matthew A. Glassman, 5th Circuit Juvenile & Domestic Relations Judge Carson E. Saunders Jr., ...


LAW WOULD PROTECT ELDERLY AGAINST FINANCIAL CRIMES IN VIRGINIA

By JAYLA MARIE MCNEILL, VCU Capital News Service

With bipartisan support, legislation headed toward approval in the General Assembly may help protect elderly residents and other vulnerable adults against financial exploitation by giving financial institutions more tools to help prevent this crime. Both the House and Senate have passed versions of SB 1490, but the two chambers must resolve their differences over the measure.


BILL ALLOWS STATE TO OPERATE ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING STATIONS

By SERENA FISCHER, VCU Capital News Service

State agencies would be able to operate charging stations for the growing number of electric vehicles on Virginia roads under legislation approved by the General Assembly on Thursday. HB 1934 would allow the Department of General Services, Department of Motor Vehicles and Virginia Department of Transportation to operate retail fee-based charging stations for EVs on any property or facility controlled by the agency. The charging services must be offered at prevailing market rates.


SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE REJECTS CVTC BILL

By JUSTIN FAULCONER, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A bill proposing to clarify the definition of Virginia’s training centers with hopes of preventing further transfers of Central Virginia Training Center residents out of the Madison Heights facility has failed to advance. Sen. Mark Peake, R-Lynchburg, introduced the bill in the current General Assembly session seeking to limit the definition of training centers


POLITICS — BUT NOT THE D AND R KIND

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

Just in case you think the rivalries in the General Assembly are all about Democrats and Republicans, some ill feelings about what senators (more or less politely) call “the other body” (that is, the House of Delegates) erupted Thursday. The issue was a bill sponsored by Del. Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach, stating that appointments and promotions in state government should be made solely on the basis of merit and fitness.


NORRIS BRIDGE FUND BILL PASSES IN ASSEMBLY

By MEGAN SCHIFFRES, Rappahannock Record (Paywall)

A bill to create the Robert O. Norris Bridge and Statewide Special Structure Fund unanimously passed both the Virginia House and Senate earlier this month and is now awaiting approval by Gov. Ralph Northam. The bill, which was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ryan McDougle of Mechanicsville and in the House by Del. Keith Hodges of Urbanna, would establish a fund to support the maintenance and replacement of large structures, like the Norris Bridge, throughout the Commonwealth.

STATE ELECTIONS


IN AN UNUSUAL MOVE, MANASSAS DEMOCRATS TAKE TO TWITTER, SLAM HOUSE INCUMBENT

By URIAH KISER, Potomac Local (Subscription Required)

Democrats in Manassas appear to favor Mark Wolfe as the candidate to run for House of Delegates in the 50th District. The seat is held by Lee Carter, a Democrat and the state’s first elected member of the Democratic Socialists of America activist group. Wolfe, a Republican turned Democrat announced his campaign earlier this month, more than two years after being elected to another term on the Manassas City Council.

CONGRESS


‘WE’VE SEEN A REAL RENAISSANCE IN THIS CITY,’ WARNER SAYS OF DANVILLE TOUR

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner swung by Danville’s River District on Thursday morning, where he grabbed an iced mocha at Links Coffee House Café before touring parts of downtown in a trolley bus and on foot with local officials.


SEN. MARK WARNER TOURS RESTORED ACADEMY THEATER

By CARRIE DUNGAN, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., was nearly speechless Thursday afternoon when he saw completed renovations to the Academy of Music Theatre. “Wow. Wow!” he said as he walked onstage and surveyed the restored theater. Warner visited Lynchburg as part of a three-day visit to Southwest and Central Virginia to meet with local business and community leaders and discuss ways to increase economic opportunity in the region.


REP. BEN CLINE ASKS FOR VOTERS' THOUGHTS IN FIRST TOWN HALL SINCE JOINING CONGRESS

By RICHARD CHUMNEY, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Freshman Rep. Ben Cline, R-6th, asked Lynchburg-area voters for their thoughts on a wide range of issues Thursday in his first town hall since being sworn in to the House of Representatives last month.

ECONOMY/BUSINESS


COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG PRESIDENT SAW $100K BONUS FOR SECOND YEAR IN A ROW, RECENT TAX DOCUMENTS SHOW

By SARAH FEARING, Williamsburg-Yorktown Daily

Recently-released public tax documents for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation show the nonprofit saw another year of decreased revenues, including a nearly $900,000 drop in revenue from admissions alone. Despite the drop in overall revenues, the foundation saw some improvements with its return on investments and lower operating costs between calendar years 2016 and 2017 — a transitional time for the foundation as it worked to gain a better financial standing.

HIGHER EDUCATION


VIRGINIA UNIVERSITIES MAY SOON HAVE TO GET THE PUBLIC'S INPUT ON TUITION HIKES

By ROBERTO ROLDAN, WCVE

Last year, students and staff at Virginia Commonwealth University rallied for better pay for adjunct professors. They also questioned why the university chose to purchase another building while continuing to raise tuition. The crowd of about a dozen protesters chanted "Our school, our tuition, our voice."

VIRGINIA OTHER


FOUR LOCAL PRIESTS ‘CREDIBLY ACCUSED’ OF SEX ABUSE

By JILL PALERMO, Prince William Times

Arlington diocese names 16 priests cited since 1974. Four priests who served Catholic parishes in Prince William County were included among the 58 clergy members who church officials say have been “credibly accused of sexual abuse” against a minor. The full list was released publicly for the first time Feb. 13


BLUE CRABS COULD BE A WINNER IN WARMER, MORE ACIDIC CHESAPEAKE BAY

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

Scientists expect that in coming years there will be winners and losers as species adapt — or not — to a rapidly changing climate. In a warmer Chesapeake Bay, for instance, oysters, mussels and clams could struggle as a hike in acidity from carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere causes their shells to grow more brittle.

LOCAL


COUNTY MANAGER PITCHES TAX HIKE TO MEET SCHOOL NEEDS, BUT OTHERWISE AVOIDS MANY CUTS IN NEW BUDGET

By ALEX KOMA, ArlNow

Arlington’s top executive is calling for a real estate tax hike and some select staff cuts to meet rising expenses passed along by county schools. However, County Manager Mark Schwartz’s proposed budget for the new fiscal year is not quite as unpalatable as he’d initially feared.


‘SLAVERY IS NOT A GAME’: VIRGINIA SCHOOL APOLOGIZES OVER BLACK HISTORY MONTH EXERCISE

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

An elementary school in Northern Virginia is apologizing for trivializing slavery after students played a game in a physical education class that required them to simulate moving through the Underground Railroad.


JUDGES TO CONSIDER WHETHER VIRGINIA BEACH COUNCILMAN LIVED IN HIS DISTRICT WHILE CAMPAIGNING

By STACY PARKER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Three judges heard testimony Thursday in the case of City Councilman David Nygaard, who is facing questions about where he lived during last year's campaign. One of Nygaard's opponents, former Councilman John Uhrin, filed a petition in December contesting the results of the November election over questions about where Nygaard was living. Uhrin then asked for him to be barred from taking office.


ISLE OF WIGHT BOARD VOTES TO HAND OVER LAND FOR NEW STATE JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER

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

In the face of fierce opposition from Windsor residents, the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors voted late Thursday to turn over about 20 acres of county land to the state to build a new juvenile detention center there.


GLOUCESTER SCHOOL BOARD DELAYS ENDING TRANSGENDER BATHROOM BAN

By BEN FINLEY, Associated Press

The Gloucester County School Board said Thursday that it won't take any immediate action to overturn its transgender student bathroom ban, making what appeared to be a change in course after several community members urged the board to keep the ban in place. Just a few days ago, the School Board was talking about possibly ending the four-year ban. A new policy was proposed that could help settle the discrimination lawsuit filed by Gavin Grimm, a former student who has become a national face for transgender rights.

EDITORIALS


DETAILS OF JAMYCHEAL MITCHELL'S DEATH INDICT THE ENTIRE SYSTEM

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales has performed an invaluable service for Virginia by injecting her office deeply into the investigation of the appalling death of Jamycheal Mitchell.


NORTHAM'S RACIAL EQUITY LIST SHOULD INCLUDE FIXING OLD SCHOOLS

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

In the wake of his blackface scandal, Gov. Ralph Northam says he intends to devote the rest of his term to addressing matters of racial equity. Some have suggested that he start by overturning the state Air Pollution Control Board’s decision to allow Dominion Energy to put a controversial natural gas compressor station in Union Hill, an African-American community in Buckingham County.


TIME TO DO AWAY WITH THE KING'S DOMINION LAW

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

We are glad to see the General Assembly has actually approved a bill that does away with much of the so-called Kings Dominion law. This outdated rule, which prevents Virginia schools from opening before Labor Day, has been around since 1986 — when the amusement park managed to persuade state legislators that to survive, the tourism industry needed late-summer guests visiting theme parks and teenagers available to operate the rides, clean the bathrooms, and sweep up the litter. The law has continued to be a source of contention since the day it passed.


FIXING I-81 REQUIRES INNOVATIVE THINKING

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

Once upon a time, in Virginia, the trucking lobby got its way, effortlessly shaped the law and casually defeated new proposals it deemed unattractive. Well, guess what? Once upon a time is now. The proposed financing schemes to improve the wretched Interstate 81, made dangerous because of its high volume of semis, are pretty much kaput, having run afoul of a trucking industry that abhors tolling.


LONGER METRO HOURS COULD MAKE THE SYSTEM LESS SAFE AND RELIABLE

Washington Post Editorial (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

“The late-night hours, I was not here when they first came into being. I did some research and saw that when they were put into being, David Gunn, who was the general manager . . . made the comment that this will be the demise of Metro. So there was a lot of opposition to these late-night hours when they were instituted. . . . David’s prediction was accurate.”

COLUMNISTS


WILLIAMS: FOR NORTHAM, TALK IS CHEAP. TRUE RECONCILIATION WON'T HAPPEN WITHOUT ACTION.

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

There’s political authority and there’s moral authority. Gov. Ralph Northam clings to the former amid a poll that suggests he may survive calls for his resignation. But three weeks into the controversy surrounding his blackface past, the governor’s moral authority remains a source of suspicion.

OP-ED


AMUNDSON: WE HAVE A LOT TO LEARN ABOUT RACE. START WITH THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

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

If the past few weeks in Virginia have taught us anything, it’s that we have a lot of lessons to learn about race. As Gov. Ralph Northam addresses this tough issue, he must address race-related issues in our public schools. Here are four things he should do:

Kristen Amundson is a former member of Virginia’s House of Delegates and the former chair of the Fairfax County School Board.


MCKINLEY: RURAL BROADBAND KEY TO VIRGINIA'S FUTURE

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

Virginia has become one of the nation’s high-tech leaders, adding thousands of jobs in recent years as companies look to build their business within the commonwealth. The investments by the private sector are due, at least in part, to the investments in high-tech infrastructure. The connectivity enabled by fiber optics are in part why a full 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic flows through Virginia, supported by a growing number of high-tech data centers in the commonwealth.

Shelley McKinley is general manager of technology and corporate responsibility at Microsoft in Redmond, Wash.


TROY: IMPEACHMENT: YES OR NO? (THE ANSWER SHOULD BE NO)

By ANTHONY F. TROY, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Lately, the I-word — impeachment — has been cavalierly thrown around. Officials on both sides of the aisle are talking about or calling for impeachment of one or more of the commonwealth’s top three elected officials. These calls are based on purported circumstances which have come to light from before these individuals took office. Since the actions in question do not involve activities that occurred while they were in office, impeachment is not available.

Anthony F. Troy is a former attorney general of Virginia, and a member of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott.

THE FRIDAY READ


REVOLUTIONARY WAR FIGHTING ENDED IN 1781. THE LAST SHOTS EXPLODED 2 MONTHS AGO

By JOANNE KIMBERLIN, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia’s capital city. Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.