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VaNews for Scott Surovell

Va. General Assembly wraps up regular session but still can’t solve Medicaid

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

Virginia’s General Assembly wrapped up its 2018 regular session Saturday with its most important task unfinished. At an impasse over whether to expand Medicaid to some 400,000 eligible Virginians, the legislature failed to pass a state budget before adjournment and will have to take that up at a special session.

VaNews March 11, 2018

Coal ash pond closure moratorium bill heads to Governor

By KIRBY FARINEAU, Capital News Service

A bill extending the moratorium on the permanent closure of coal ash ponds has won House approval and awaits the signature of Gov. Ralph Northam to become the only legislation on the issue to survive the 2018 session.

VaNews March 8, 2018

Lawmakers poised to leave town without passing budget

By MICHAEL LEE POPE, Connection Newspapers

Budget showdowns are rare in Virginia, but not unprecedented. Back in 2004, Gov. Mark Warner clashed with Republicans over a sales tax increase. Then in 2014, Gov. Terry McAuliffe engaged in brinkmanship over expanding Medicaid. Now lawmakers are poised to end the session once again without passing a budget. The final deadline for reaching an agreement is the end of June, when the new fiscal year begins.

VaNews March 8, 2018

Virginia Senate votes for "hands free" use only of cell phones while driving

By JORDAN PASCALE , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Hands off. That’s the message the Virginia state senators sent to drivers Tuesday when it voted 29-11 to outlaw any handheld use of a cellphone while driving.

VaNews March 7, 2018

Updated distracted driving bill passes Virginia Senate

By REEMA AMIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 1 article a month)

A bill that would make it illegal for drivers to use cell phones that are not mounted somewhere in their cars passed through the state Senate on Tuesday, but not without a second day of debate. But with a budgeting amendment that came with the Senate’s decision, the bill could be a tough sell in the House of Delegates, said Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Alexandria, who rewrote the original bill from the House of Delegates.

VaNews March 7, 2018

Legislation to compensate ‘Norfolk Four’ heads to conference committee

Capital News Service

Nearly 20 years after the sentencing of the “Norfolk Four,” a bill before the Virginia General Assembly could provide nearly $3.5 million in compensation for the wrongfully convicted and imprisoned men.

VaNews March 2, 2018

Lawmakers near deal on moratorium at controversial coal ash sites


State lawmakers have nearly reached a deal to extend a moratorium on Dominion Energy’s plans to bury millions of tons of coal ash at four sites around the state, including one at the Possum Point power station outside Dumfries.

VaNews March 2, 2018

Republicans on Senate committee advance 'sanctuary cities' bill to floor vote

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Like last year, the Virginia Senate soon will get a chance to vote on a bill to ban so-called “sanctuary cities.” Virginia doesn’t have them. GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie campaigned on the issue with controversial TV ads and lost by 9 points. And should the Senate send the House bill to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk, he says he will veto it.

VaNews February 28, 2018

House and Senate adopt budgets separated by 'chasm'

By MICHAEL MARTZ AND GRAHAM MOOMAW , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Senate Finance Co-Chairman Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta, spoke against a budget amendment proposed by Sen. Janet Howell (foreground), D-Fairfax, a senior member of the Finance Committee, on Thursday in Richmond. How big is the gap between the budgets the House of Delegates and Senate adopted on Thursday?

VaNews February 23, 2018

Freshman delegates learn even the simplest of bills are tough to pass

By JORDAN PASCALE , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Let’s check in with the four new delegates from Hampton Roads just over halfway through their first session. Many of them expressed awe at the office and the historic Capitol designed by Jefferson and the little stuff – like the official stationary. They also said it was a lot harder to pass bills than they thought. They submitted 42 bills, and 11 of them have passed the House.

VaNews February 20, 2018