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Most Read Articles Jan. 22, 2021


Emergency legislation aims to speed up vaccine rollout in Virginia

By ERIC KOLENICH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

A bipartisan group of legislators are sponsoring a piece of emergency legislation intended to accelerate the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine in Virginia. Virginia lags behind most other states in the percentage of its residents who have been vaccinated. The reason for that delay, said senator Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico), who is a medical doctor, is the inability to mobilize a vast army of volunteer workers to put shots in people’s arms. . . . Dunnavant and 13 other co-sponsors introduced Senate Bill 1445 on Thursday in an effort to make hundreds of thousands of Virginians eligible to serve as volunteer distributors.


From VPAP Maps, Timeline of COVID-19 in Virginia

The Virginia Public Access Project

Our COVID-19 dashboard makes it easy to track the latest available data for tests performed, infections, deaths and hospital capacity. We've added a link the VDH vaccination data. There's also a filter for each city and county, plus an exclusive per-capita ZIP Code map. Updated each morning around 10:30 a.m.


Chase could escape censure by ‘clarifying’ remarks about U.S. Capitol rioters

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

A Republican state senator and candidate for Virginia governor who called rioters at the U.S. Capitol "patriots" struck a deal on Thursday that could spare her from a formal censure by the state Senate over her remarks. If state Sen. Amanda F. Chase (R-Chesterfield) stands up on the floor of the Senate on Friday to “clarify” her remark about patriots and offer a general apology for insults she lobbed at Democrats, Sen. John Bell (D-Loudoun) will withdraw the resolution he introduced Jan. 13 to censure her, according to three people with direct knowledge of the deal.


Virginia Democrats seek to remove member of state’s new redistricting commission as it convenes for first meeting

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

Virginia Democrats took aim at a member of the state's new bipartisan redistricting commission as it prepared for its first meeting Thursday evening, with one lawmaker promising legislation to enable the panel to remove a Republican appointee who made comments on social media that used crude language and disparaged women. Del. Vivian E. Watts (D-Fairfax) said she was filing a bill to allow the commissioners to vote to remove a member for “neglect of duty or gross misconduct.”


Special prosecutor examining ‘allegations of campaign irregularities’ against Virginia state Senate candidate


A special prosecutor is examining “allegations of campaign irregularities” surrounding Virginia state Senate candidate Chad Dotson. Dotson was one of six candidates seeking the Republican nomination for the 38th District seat, which is currently vacant due to the death of Sen. Ben Chafin. The Tazewell County clerk of courts confirmed that Roanoke Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Holohan has been named special prosecutor in the matter.


Va. Redistricting Commission starts on bipartisan note, but census delays add uncertainty

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Virginia Mercury

Out of an abundance of bipartisanship, members of the newly created Virginia Redistricting Commission didn’t want to pick just one chairperson at its first meeting Thursday. They picked two citizen chairwomen, Democrat Greta Harris and Republican Mackenzie Babichenko, with an agreement to have them alternate running the meetings. “I think that way we’ll have a balanced approach moving forward,” said Sen. George Barker, D-Fairfax, one of the architects of the 16-member commission that will be redrawing Virginia’s congressional and legislative maps for the first time.


General Assembly Rejects Limits to Corporate Money


Virginia lawmakers rejected legislation this week that would have placed limits on corporate political donations and several other campaign finance proposals. Their actions mean Virginia will remain one of five states with no restrictions on corporate contributions. Gov. Ralph Northam will likely leave office making relatively minor changes to a system that he called a “boondoggle that alienates its citizens and makes them lose faith in government” as a candidate in 2017.


VPAP Visual State-by-State Fundraising

The Virginia Public Access Project

This visual shows which candidate for Governor has raised the most money from individual donors in each state. There's also an option to see which candidate has the most donors in each state. (There's at least one donor in all but four states, one of which borders Virginia.)


Virginia Senate passes bill to move all municipal elections from May to November

By AMY FRIEDENBERGER, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Virginia Senate narrowly passed a measure Thursday to move any municipal elections still held in the spring to November. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, a Democrat, broke a 19-19 tie on the bill by Sen. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, following a lengthy debate. Advocates said November elections allow more voter participation, while opponents worried about national partisan politics tainting local races. “I put this bill in for the people,” Spruill said.


EDITORIAL: For Amanda Chase, there are two paths: shape up or resign

Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Roughly one week ago, we condemned three state delegates — Dave LaRock, R-Loudoun, Mark Cole, R-Spotsylvania, and Ronnie Campbell, R-Rockbridge — for prodding then-Vice President Mike Pence to nullify Virginia’s election results. LaRock, Cole and Campbell are entitled to their right to free speech and to their personal beliefs, but a majority of Virginians and Americans voted to elect Joe Biden as president.