The hiring of former Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell by one of the country’s biggest consulting firms illustrates a weakness in Virginia’s ethics laws, according to a watchdog group that wants to reduce the influence of money in politics.
Although state law forbids Howell from lobbying his former colleagues in the General Assembly for one year, Howell started a job Monday in a non-lobbying capacity as a consultant with McGuireWoods Consulting.
Former Virginia Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, has joined McGuireWoods Consulting — a lobbying, advocacy and public affairs powerhouse — in a non-lobbying capacity, according to the organization.
As a senior adviser, Howell will work to “help clients achieve business goals in statehouses nationwide,” according to McGuireWoods Consulting.
The percentage of bills killed on unrecorded votes plummeted this year following changes to increase transparency at the General Assembly, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
The percentage of measures spiked without a recorded vote dropped from about 55 percent in 2017 to less than 30 percent in 2018, according to VPAP, a nonpartisan tracker of money and trends in state politics.
“I’m very encouraged to see that culture change,” said Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield
Shouting “Shame, shame!” and singing “We Shall Overcome,” more than 100 women’s rights activists from across Virginia poured into the state Capitol on Friday to try to force the legislature to take action on the federal Equal Rights Amendment.
Republicans on a Senate committee Monday killed a bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana by changing the punishment from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil penalty.
The Virginia ACLU and a representative of the Northam administration both backed Senate Bill 111 from Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, and the bill was opposed by the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys.
Prince William recorded the most expensive races for the House of Delegates in the county’s history in 2017, with candidates in each of the six contested races for the General Assembly’s lower chamber smashing records for previous fundraising efforts in those districts.
At 9 a.m. Jan. 10, Republican Bob Thomas sat in his Richmond office overlooking the Virginia Capitol. With three hours to go until the beginning of the 2018 legislative session, the results of his seeming victory in the 28th District had yet to be confirmed.
Thirty minutes later he was told that he had won, and at noon the House of Delegates was gaveled into session.
A Democratic-aligned law firm faces an uphill battle in its latest effort to block Stafford County Republican Del.-elect Bob Thomas from being sworn in Wednesday, legal and political experts said Monday.
Outgoing Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, who underwent emergency heart surgery on Tuesday, is “making tremendous progress” in his recuperation at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, according to the speaker’s office.
“He is awake, talking with family, and most importantly, making everyone laugh again,” said Matthew Moran, a spokesman for Howell.
Voters who say they were disenfranchised in the error-marred 28th District House of Delegates contest announced Sunday that they will appeal a federal judge’s decision not to order a do-over election in the Fredericksburg-area contest.