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VaNews

Monday April 22, 2019

FROM VPAP


TOP DONORS TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY CANDIDATES

The Virginia Public Access Project

VPAP has integrated the latest campaign finance reports throughout its site. One result is a list of the individuals, companies and groups that have donated the most money to state legislative candidates. The amounts shown are from January 2018 through March 2019.

STATE ELECTIONS


WAR ON PEACE: CONSERVATIVE FACTION TRIES TO OUST GOP INCUMBENT OVER MEDICAID EXPANSION

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

As hundreds of Republicans gathered in a high school gym for an exercise in raw democracy, several people came down from the bleachers to ask Del. Chris Peace a question: Why would someone from a strongly conservative district vote to expand Medicaid?


LIBERAL DEMOCRATS IN VA. HOPE SMALL-DOLLAR DONATIONS CAN SWAY MORE VOTERS

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

Liberal Democrats in Virginia’s General Assembly elections are proving that every dollar counts in a political campaign — or, in at least one case, every $1.43. In a year when both major parties are raking in large amounts to try to win November elections that will decide who controls the state legislature, “small dollar” donations are also on the rise, particularly among Democrats who have sworn against taking corporate money and are instead using social media to raise funds, political analysts say.


MORRISSEY APPEALS LAW LICENSE REVOCATION

By FRANK GREEN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Lawyers for Joe Morrissey, a former state delegate and now a candidate for state Senate, on Friday asked the Virginia Supreme Court to reverse a three-judge panel’s decision revoking his law license last year.

STATE GOVERNMENT


VIRGINIA REGULATORS VOTE TO LIMIT CARBON EMISSIONS BUT FACE GOP ROADBLOCK

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

Virginia regulators have voted to join a regional carbon cap-and-trade program, becoming the first Southern state to do so. The effort could lead to a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from the state’s largest power plants. But there’s a hitch.


STATE AIR BOARD RECOMMENDS JOINING REGIONAL CARBON REDUCTION GROUP; NEW MEMBERS APPOINTED BY NORTHAM TAKE SEATS

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

A citizen board that regulates air pollution in Virginia voted Friday to enter a cooperative effort among states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Republican legislators are trying to block the move.


VIRGINIA TRAILS NATION IN PLACING FOSTER CHILDREN WITH RELATIVES

By CAITLIN MORRIS, VCU Capital News Service

Only 7% of Virginia’s foster children are placed with relatives, according to a new study — well below the national average of 32%. The Annie E. Casey Foundation tracked changes in foster care in each state from 2007 to 2017. For Virginia, the data snapshot contained some good news: There were fewer children in foster care, and fewer foster children were placed in group homes.

CONGRESS


MUELLER REPORT DOESN’T CHANGE PRIORITY OF SOME DEMOCRATS

By KRISTINA PETERSON AND NATALIE ANDREWS, Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

At Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s town hall Thursday night, special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on President Trump and his associates didn’t come up on the first, or even the second, question. ...Two hours south of Washington, residents in this Richmond suburb indicated the report wasn’t foremost on their minds. For lawmakers like Ms. Spanberger, who helped Democrats take back the House majority in November by ousting a Republican in a district Mr. Trump carried in 2016, the town hall showed the political risk that would likely accompany any efforts to try to impeach Mr. Trump when voters largely want to see their lawmakers focused on other issues.


VULNERABLE HOUSE DEMOCRATS TREAD CAREFULLY IN WAKE OF MUELLER REPORT

Reuters

Vulnerable House Democrats, mindful of President Donald Trump's continued strength among Republican voters, are using caution in how they respond to the special counsel's report, which detailed Trump's efforts to thwart the investigation into Russian efforts to help him win the White House....Hours after Mueller's findings were released, Abby Spanberger, a Democratic congresswoman from Virginia, held a town hall that saw virtually no discussion of the report.


WEXTON CALLS FOR HEARING, RELEASE OF FULL MUELLER REPORT

By ONOFRIO CASTIGLIA, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-10th, is calling for the release of the full report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. The 448-page report released Thursday states that an investigation did not find evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russia.


CLINE REFLECTS ON FIRST 100 DAYS, BRIDGING PARTISAN DIVIDE

By JERRY BLAIR, News Virginian

Rep. Ben Cline is no stranger to D.C. politics although he’s just beyond the 100-day milestone of his freshman term. The Rockbridge County Republican, who secured his first term representing Virginia’s 6th Congressional District in November, served on his predecessor’s staff for eight years starting in the mid-1990s. That isn’t to say there haven’t been a few surprises for Cline on his return to the halls of Congress.

HIGHER EDUCATION


UVA ACCEPTS STATE'S TUITION INCENTIVE, ROLLING BACK SOME INCREASES

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

The University of Virginia is the latest public university to accept the General Assembly’s budget deal to freeze some in-state tuition increases. Tuition for most incoming and returning in-state students will remain the same during the 2019-20 school year. UVA will receive a $5.52 million increase in its base appropriations to offset the freeze.

VIRGINIA OTHER


FEDERAL STRIKE FORCE COMBATING OPIOIDS EXPANDING INTO VIRGINIA

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

The Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force, a federal program that recently resulted in 60 arrests across multiple states, is expanding into Southwest Virginia.


NEW CENSUS DATA SUGGESTS SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA IS CONTINUING TO SHRINK

By MICHAEL POPE, WVTF

Large parts of Southwest Virginia are disappearing. That’s according to new numbers from the Census Bureau that show places like Wise County, Henry County, Buchanan County – they’re all are significantly smaller today than they were a decade ago. Tazewell County alone has lost 10% of its population in the last decade.


CENSUS BUREAU: FAIRFAX POPULATION UP 6.4% SINCE 2010

Inside NOVA

Fairfax County’s population growth since the 2010 federal census is in line with rates statewide and nationally, and the county retained its significant lead over all other Virginia jurisdictions in the number of residents. The U.S. Census Bureau’s new estimates for population as of July 2018 peg Fairfax County’s total at 1,150,795. That’s an increase of 0.3 percent from the year before and a growth rate of 6.4 percent from the last census eight years earlier.

LOCAL


SEVERAL LOUDOUN COUNTY INCUMBENTS TO SEE INTRA-PARTY CHALLENGES IN UPCOMING PRIMARIES

By NATHANIEL CLINE, Loudoun Times

Seven nominees for elected office will be up for a vote in upcoming party primaries as the General Election draws closer. In arguably the marquee primary race, Catoctin Supervisor Geary Higgins and Broad Run Supervisor Ron Meyer will face each other in a state-run June 11 Republican primary for the state Senate's 13th District seat.


PROSECUTOR SET TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST COUCILMAN WHO MOVED OUT OF DISTRICT

By JEREMY LAZARUS, Richmond Free Press

Parker C. Agelasto is facing the threat of a third lawsuit seeking his removal from the 5th District City Council seat for moving to the 1st District. Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring told the Free Press that he would file his own lawsuit to remove Mr. Agelasto if the City Council member fails to notify Richmond City Council soon that he will resign his office by the end of the year.


HANOVER OFFICIALS PUSHING FOR $800,000 PROFFER FROM DEVELOPER OF PROSPECTIVE ABC HQ RELOCATION PROJECT

By C. SUAREZ ROJAS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Hanover County Planning Commission voted Thursday to recommend approval of a rezoning change for a development project tied to the state’s liquor monopoly only if the developer pays an $800,000 cash proffer because a state-owned building exempt from taxes would create more traffic on an already congested road.


AFTER MORE FLOODING IN SOUTHERN VIRGINIA BEACH, LOCALS WORRY THEY'RE IN FOR ANOTHER WET YEAR

By PETER COUTU, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Heavy rain coupled with strong winds from the south pushed significant amounts of water into Pungo, Sandbridge and other southern Virginia Beach communities this weekend, threatening homes, flooding roads and cutting off access to some neighborhoods. For some, the early springtime flood brought back the headaches of the previous year, which featured three serious floods that longtime locals describe as among the worst the area has ever seen.


HOW ONE INCIDENT BECAME A RACIAL FLASHPOINT IN THE PORTSMOUTH POLICE DEPARTMENT

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

Standing beneath the Confederate monument downtown last month, the president of the Portsmouth NAACP spoke out against the abrupt resignation of the city’s police chief. Just that morning, former Chief Tonya Chapman had issued a letter to city residents, saying she was forced to resign after she was met with resistance from some members of the force when she tried to change the department's culture.


NORFOLK WILL PLAN A WHOLE NEW ARENA, WON'T EXPAND SCOPE, MAYOR SAYS

By RYAN MURPHY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The much-discussed expansion of the Scope arena isn’t going ahead, Mayor Kenny Alexander said Friday, after expert analysis found that building out the 48-year-old downtown venue to add seating and event space wasn’t feasible. However, Alexander said Norfolk will put together a plan for a brand-new arena to capture major events he said the region is missing out on.


RESIDENTS HAVE MIXED VIEWS ON ROLLING THE DICE TO BRING CASINO TO DANVILLE

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

Angie McAdams is not thrilled with the idea of a casino in Danville. “I’m not really excited about it,” she said during an interview at the Danville Mall on Wednesday afternoon. A large employer with better-paying jobs requiring higher skills would be more desirable, she said.


OFFICIALS HOPE FUNDING BOOST WILL INCREASE TOURISM REVENUES

By BRIAN BREHM, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Frederick County’s decision to raise its lodging tax in fiscal year 2020 will make it possible for local tourism officials to ramp up their efforts to attract more visitors to the region. On April 10, the county Board of Supervisors voted to raise the lodging tax from 2.5% to 3.5%. State code mandates that any amount above 2% must be earmarked for tourism spending, which means the Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau will receive an estimated $420,000 to $470,000 in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

EDITORIALS


FIXING REGIONAL JAIL REQUIRES URGENCY, SHARED BURDEN

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

More than four years have passed since Portsmouth police arrested 24-year-old Jamycheal Mitchell for allegedly stealing $5 is snacks and soda from a convenience store. He would die in custody about four months later, of what the medical examiner concluded was heart failure accompanying rapid weight loss, or “wasting syndrome” as it’s known. It is a tragedy that should continue to haunt the commonwealth.


NO TO THE MAYOR'S TAX PROPOSAL

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

Early last month, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney unveiled his fiscal year 2020 budget proposal. The ambitious $758 million plan — it calls for increasing the city’s real estate tax by 9 cents, imposes a first-ever city cigarette tax of 50 cents per pack and raises utility rates that would average about $6 per household — received a less than exuberant reception.

OP-ED


GIBSON: WHERE IS VIRGINIA'S POLITICAL MIDDLE?

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

Where is the center of Virginia, and can it hold the Commonwealth together? America’s 12th largest state, the Old Dominion has geographic, population and political centers, all somewhat related and, at least occasionally, evolving. Virginia’s geographic center hasn’t changed much since the Civil War when, in 1863, the Mountain State of West Virginia broke off for the Union.

Gibson is communications director and senior researcher at the University of Virginia’s Cooper Center for Public Service


ALLEN AND HODGES: RATIFYING USMCA WILL BENEFIT VIRGINIA, NATION

By GEORGE ALLEN AND JIM HODGES, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Although we affiliate with different political parties, one thing that should always bring us together is the opportunity to secure and preserve American prosperity. That’s why we’re coming together, having served as governors from different states and different parties, in support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

George Allen, a Republican, was governor of Virginia from 1994 to 1998. Jim Hodges, a Democrat, was governor of South Carolina from 1999 to 2003


SHERLOCK: BUILD A BETTER HEALTH CARE SYSTEM FOR VA.

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

Hospitals serving Danville, Martinsville, Portsmouth and Petersburg have been found by the federal government to need improvement. Those four cities also have been ranked by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation between 121st (Portsmouth) and 133rd (Petersburg) in public health among 133 Virginia cities and counties. All four areas are poor.

James Sherlock is a retired naval officer living in Virginia Beach


LYON-HILL, ALWANG AND MCNAB: THE FALSE PROFITS OF ECONOMIC IMPACT: BEWARE THE BIG NUMBER

By SARAH LYON-HILL, ALBERT ALWANG AND BOB MCNAB, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Recently, Virginians have read about studies touting the potential monetary benefits of bringing casinos to the commonwealth. Under the guise of “data-driven decision-making,” these studies tend to promote development projects and shape political debates.

Sarah Lyon-Hill is a faculty member at the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development; Albert Alwang is an economic development researcher formerly with Virginia Tech; Robert McNab is a professor of economics at Old Dominion University