• 2/28-5/5 VA onAir 2/28-5/5 VA onAir 2/28-3/18 VA onAir

    Sen. Louise Lucas, president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate, has described her chamber as a “brick wall” against some of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s biggest educational priorities, from charter schools to a proposed ban on what he’s described as “divisive concepts.”

    But Thursday several Democrats on the Senate’s influential Education and Health committee, which Lucas chairs, voted with Republicans to advance one of Youngkin’s top issues — a bill aimed at undoing recent admissions changes at Virginia’s prestigious governor’s schools.

    The original legislation by Del. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, specifically targeted policies at Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology — consistently ranked as the best public school in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

    The school has made national headlines for significantly shifting its admissions process in 2020 amid a nationwide reckoning on race following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

    VIRGINIA...ABC puts $77K worth of Russian vodka into storage
    Virginia Mercury, GRAHAM MOOMAWFebruary 28, 2022

    The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority says the $77,000 worth of Russian-sourced vodka it pulled from shelves won’t be thrown out but will be stored at its facilities “until further notice.”

    The government-run liquor monopoly announced Sunday it was removing seven vodka brands from its stores in response to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s call for the state to show solidarity against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Combined, those brands accounted for just over $1 million in sales in fiscal year 2021, according to ABC spokesperson Dawn Eischen, a small fraction of the $57 million in sales for the American vodka brand Tito’s, Virginia’s top-selling liquor. An estimated $68,000 in Russian-sourced vodka was pulled from store shelves, Eischen said, with another $9,500 idled at ABC’s distribution center that won’t be shipped out to stores.

    US...Billions in aid for Ukraine eyed in struggle against Russian invasion
    Virginia Mercury, JENNIFER SHUTTFebruary 28, 2022

    Congress is working quickly to determine how much military and humanitarian aid it should send to Ukraine as the war in that country continues to claim lives and send hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing as refugees.

    Lawmakers are working with the Biden administration to provide billions in funding at the same time negotiators continue to work towards bipartisan agreement on more than $1.5 trillion in government funding ahead of a March 11 deadline.

    Democrats and Republicans reached a framework earlier this month on that government funding package and have since been drafting the bills behind closed doors. But the five-day-old war in Ukraine and concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s potential ambitions beyond that country have led to calls for a significant uptick in U.S. military and humanitarian aid.

    YOUNGKIN... calls for severing of state ties to Russia and more Va. headlines
    Virginia Mercury, Staff Report February 28, 2022

    In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Gov. Glenn Youngkin is asking the state government and Virginia universities to sever any financial ties to Russia. He also urged Norfolk and Roanoke to end sister city partnerships with Russian cities.

    In a push to end “divisive concepts” in Virginia education, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration is ending virtually all equity initiatives launched by the state’s Department of Education prior to the governor’s inauguration last month.

    The policy changes, announced in an interim report from the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow, hew closely to directives already issued by Youngkin in his first executive order.

    According to Balow, every resource listed on the department’s EdEquityVA website falls under the category of a “divisive concept,” including a 52-page “roadmap to equity” developed by the department under former Gov. Ralph Northam and Secretary of Education Atif Qarni.

    Last week, Republicans in the House of Delegates passed a bill to exempt any business with 10 or fewer employees from the state’s minimum wage law.

    On Monday, Democrats in the Senate voted it down alongside a half dozen other bills aimed at rolling back employee and union-friendly legislation the party passed last year before it lost its House majority.

    “So they would be exempt from the current minimum wage? …  Just out of curiosity, where in the state can you live on $14,000 a year?” asked Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax.

    Virginia’s minimum wage currently sits at $11 an hour and will rise to $12 an hour next year under legislation Democrats passed in 2020.

    The $14,000 figure cited by Saslaw represents about what someone would earn working full-time for the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25-an-hour, which is what small businesses could start paying their employees again if the bill were to pass.

  • Virginia onAir 2/21-2/25 Virginia onAir 2/21-2/25 Virginia State Senate

    SUPREME COURT...Biden to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson
    CNN, Melissa Macaya et al.February 25, 2022

    President Biden has selected Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to the Supreme Court, according to a source who has been notified about the decision, setting in motion a historic confirmation process for the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in the nation.

    Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed that whoever Biden nominates will be confirmed with “all deliberate speed.”

    In the 50-50 Senate, all Democrats will need to stay united to confirm Biden’s nominee, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking a potential tie in the event no Republicans break ranks.

    Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., is cautioning that a major cyberattack against Ukraine could have possible ripple effects on nearby NATO members – and force NATO allies to come to their defense.

    Warner made the comments Thursday afternoon in an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered.

    “If you shut down Polish hospitals because they can’t get power to take care of their people, you’re rapidly approaching what could be viewed as an Article 5 violation of NATO, which basically says if you attack one NATO nation – and Poland is a NATO nation – all of the remaining 29 nations need to come to their assistance,” he said. “We are in an uncharted territory.”

    Warner said he believed the Ukrainian people would continue to fight back against the Russian invasion and form an “insurgency,” which would be harder for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces to counter.

    “It’s again one thing to knock out a government. It’s another thing to fight an insurgency led by the Ukrainian people across all of this captured territory,” he said.

    U.S. lawmakers are condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine overnight.

    This morning on Twitter, Governor Glenn Youngkin says Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is an assault on a sovereign nation and will have devastating consequences for Ukrainian citizens.

    Senator Tim Kaine who serves as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and the Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) released the following statement:

    “Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine is an unacceptable affront to Ukraine’s sovereignty and to democracies everywhere. This is a crisis of Putin’s own making.

    The United States and the international community have offered Putin every opportunity to de-escalate diplomatically. Instead, he chose a path of conflict, risking the lives of citizens in both Ukraine and Russia.

    America’s commitment to Ukraine is absolute and has the steadfast, bipartisan support of Congress. Make no mistake: Russia’s aggression will continue to have significant consequences, including through additional crippling economic sanctions.”

    Finally, Virginia Representative Abigail Spanberger says we must be united in condemning Putin’s war and act of aggression that serves only the irrational self-interest of one man.

    PBS NewsHour full episode, Feb. 23, 2022
    February 24, 2022 – 6:41 am (ET)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2Zl7WoZ8gc

    US...sanctions on Russia mainly hit banks, miss energy sector
    Politico, ALEXANDER WARD et al.February 24, 2022

    President Joe Biden announced a second and larger sanctions package on Russia, punishing Vladimir Putin for ordering a full-scale invasion of Ukraine but stopping short of targeting some critical sectors of his nation’s economy.

    Speaking in generalities from the White House, Biden said his administration would stunt the Russian military’s ability to finance and grow its force; freeze U.S. assets held by Russian banks, including VTB; target elites and members of Putin’s inner circle; and curtail Russia’s high-tech imports in a way that could damage Moscow’s aerospace industry.

    Minutes later, the White House and Treasury Department released fact sheets detailing the moves: cutting off Sberbank from the U.S. financial system; placing full blocking sanctions on VTB and three other Russian financial institutions; imposing new debt and equity restrictions on 13 enterprises and entities; targeting seven Russian elites and their families; and hitting 24 Belarusians for supporting Russia’s invasion.

    YOUNGKIN... schools bill is bad policy and in bad faith
    Virginia Mercury, Akshay Deverakonda and Carrie KahwajyFebruary 22, 2022

    A new bill seeks to deprive local school boards of the tools needed to achieve diversity at governor’s schools throughout the commonwealth.

    This regressive bill, which has passed Virginia’s House of Delegates and is now in the Senate, must be defeated. The bill defines “proxy discrimination” broadly when it comes to efforts to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and access to education and narrowly when it comes to outdated “traditional academic success factors.”

    As alumni of two of those governor’s schools, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies, we know that this bill would not eliminate discrimination.

    Rather, it would only further entrench discrimination that has festered at our alma maters and other elite public schools for generations.

    The bill misrepresents what current governor’s school admissions processes actually do. At both TJ and Maggie Walker, for example, admissions decision-makers review candidates based on their applications, not demographic information.

    Despite this fact, the bill seeks to ban the collection of any demographic information in admissions so as to render it impossible to identify underrepresentation in total applications, application rates and admission rates.

    This bill would codify bad policy and obstruct the ability of local school boards, schools and community members to prioritize outreach efforts where they are needed most. It prevents them from achieving diversity and preventing racial isolation — compelling state interests affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007.

    VA SENATE... kills GOP push to let voters self-impose photo ID rule
    Virginia Mercury, GRAHAM MOOMAWFebruary 22, 2022

    A proposal to let Virginia voters self-impose photo ID rules for their own ballot failed in the state Senate Tuesday along with every other Republican effort to reinstate mandatory photo ID in state elections.

    In a meeting Tuesday afternoon, the nine Democrats on the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee repeatedly overruled six Republicans to kill the first batch of GOP-sponsored voting bills coming over from the House of Delegates.

    In addition to blocking several photo ID bills, the committee defeated efforts to cut the early voting window from 45 days to 14 days, repeal the same-day voter registration system set to be implemented this year and ban absentee drop boxes.

    As a result of those votes, all bills to bring back photo ID, a policy priority for Gov. Glenn Youngkin, are dead for the year. Though most Virginia voters still show a photo ID before casting their ballot, Democrats changed the law in 2020 to allow voters without ID to sign a form affirming their identity.

    That includes the unconventional approach suggested by Del. Amanda Batten, R-James City, who said she filed her bill creating an opt-in photo ID system in response to an elderly constituent concerned about identity theft who “wanted to ensure that every time they were asked to purchase anything or vote that they would have to show a photo ID.”

    “It would be required so that no one else would be able to act in their stead,” Batten said.

  • Virginia onAir 2/11-2/18 Virginia onAir 2/11-2/18 VA onAir - 2/4/2022 2

    YOUNGKIN... shifts focus from masks to taxes and more Virginia headlines
    Virginia Mercury, STAFF REPORT February 18, 2022

    Gov. Glenn Youngkin says he’s optimistic about the remainder of his agenda for the General Assembly’s 2022 session. “This legislative process is one that I find incredibly encouraging,” he said. ”I’m inspired by it.” Democrats in the Senate said they welcomed his sunny outlook, but said his bills are “going to get voted down over here.”—Associated Press

    • Youngkin’s administration turned its attention from masks to taxes at a series of campaign-style appearances Thursday.—Washington Post

    • Youngkin’s push for lab schools echoes a similar effort pursued by former Gov. Bob McDonnell, whose 2012 push never got off the ground.—VPM

    • Attorney General Jason Miyares returned four campaign donations totaling $70,000 he reported depositing Monday in violation of a state ban on accepting contributions during the legislative session. Miyares’ spokeswoman said the donations were received prior to the cutoff but deposited late in error.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

    VIRGINIA HOUSE... sends Youngkin bill ending school mask mandates
    Virginia Mercury, Graham MoomawFebruary 14, 2022

    The Virginia House of Delegates approved a bill ending school mask mandates Monday on a party-line vote, fast-tracking the proposed law to Gov. Glenn Youngkin just five days after it was passed by the state Senate.

    Youngkin is expected to recommend an emergency clause that could cause the legislation to take effect immediately rather than July 1, the default effective date for new laws approved by the General Assembly. Youngkin, who briefly walked onto the House floor Monday to mark the legislation’s passage, confirmed he plans to send a bill revised with an emergency clause to the House as early as tomorrow. That means the legislature could be taking its final votes on the matter later this week.

    “It’s time we end the insanity and let our kids be kids again,” House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said in a news release. “Virginia is behind the curve for states ending masking mandates and I’m proud of the legislature for getting this done quickly.”

    To emphasize the speediness of the effort, House Republicans immediately took the bill to Youngkin’s office at the Capitol to deliver it to the governor in person.

    Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is asking a circuit court for one of the state’s most populous counties to allow him to join in a lawsuit filed by a group of parents who oppose their local school board’s mask mandate.

    It’s the latest effort by the recently inaugurated Republican governor to roll back school Covid-prevention measures championed by state Democrats, including Youngkin’s predecessor, Ralph Northam.

    Youngkin, Attorney General Jason Miyares and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow are also seeking a temporary injunction and a temporary restraining order against the Loudoun County School Board, court documents filed on Wednesday show.

    Upon taking office last month, Youngkin, who campaigned heavily on what he characterized as restoring parents’ influence in public education, issued an executive order that allowed parents and guardians to “elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program.” Northam had previously issued a public health emergency order mandating masks in schools.

    YOUNGKIN... hustles to push swing state Virginia to the right
    Associated Press, WILL WEISSERT and SARAH RANKINJanuary 31, 2022

    Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has used his first two weeks in office to push Virginia firmly to the right, attempting a dramatic political shift in a state once considered reliably Democratic that’s being closely watched by others in the GOP.

    In his opening days, the new governor issued executive orders methodically checking off his top campaign promises. The orders undermined classroom mask mandates, aimed to restrict how students are taught about racism, approved an investigation into a wealthy suburban Washington school district that’s become a national symbol for battles over so-called parents’ rights, and attempted to scrap Virginia’s participation in a carbon-limiting initiative meant to combat climate change.

    Youngkin has also expanded the duties of a state diversity officer created by his Democratic predecessor to include being an “ambassador for unborn children” as Virginia dropped its opposition before the Supreme Court to a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

2/28-3/18 VA onAir2/28-5/5 VA onAir

Sen. Louise Lucas, president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate, has described her chamber as a “brick wall” against some of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s biggest educational priorities, from charter schools to a proposed ban on what he’s described as “divisive concepts.”

But Thursday several Democrats on the Senate’s influential Education and Health committee, which Lucas chairs, voted with Republicans to advance one of Youngkin’s top issues — a bill aimed at undoing recent admissions changes at Virginia’s prestigious governor’s schools.

The original legislation by Del. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, specifically targeted policies at Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology — consistently ranked as the best public school in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

The school has made national headlines for significantly shifting its admissions process in 2020 amid a nationwide reckoning on race following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

VIRGINIA...ABC puts $77K worth of Russian vodka into storage
Virginia Mercury, GRAHAM MOOMAWFebruary 28, 2022

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority says the $77,000 worth of Russian-sourced vodka it pulled from shelves won’t be thrown out but will be stored at its facilities “until further notice.”

The government-run liquor monopoly announced Sunday it was removing seven vodka brands from its stores in response to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s call for the state to show solidarity against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Combined, those brands accounted for just over $1 million in sales in fiscal year 2021, according to ABC spokesperson Dawn Eischen, a small fraction of the $57 million in sales for the American vodka brand Tito’s, Virginia’s top-selling liquor. An estimated $68,000 in Russian-sourced vodka was pulled from store shelves, Eischen said, with another $9,500 idled at ABC’s distribution center that won’t be shipped out to stores.

US...Billions in aid for Ukraine eyed in struggle against Russian invasion
Virginia Mercury, JENNIFER SHUTTFebruary 28, 2022

Congress is working quickly to determine how much military and humanitarian aid it should send to Ukraine as the war in that country continues to claim lives and send hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing as refugees.

Lawmakers are working with the Biden administration to provide billions in funding at the same time negotiators continue to work towards bipartisan agreement on more than $1.5 trillion in government funding ahead of a March 11 deadline.

Democrats and Republicans reached a framework earlier this month on that government funding package and have since been drafting the bills behind closed doors. But the five-day-old war in Ukraine and concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s potential ambitions beyond that country have led to calls for a significant uptick in U.S. military and humanitarian aid.

YOUNGKIN... calls for severing of state ties to Russia and more Va. headlines
Virginia Mercury, Staff Report February 28, 2022

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Gov. Glenn Youngkin is asking the state government and Virginia universities to sever any financial ties to Russia. He also urged Norfolk and Roanoke to end sister city partnerships with Russian cities.

In a push to end “divisive concepts” in Virginia education, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration is ending virtually all equity initiatives launched by the state’s Department of Education prior to the governor’s inauguration last month.

The policy changes, announced in an interim report from the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow, hew closely to directives already issued by Youngkin in his first executive order.

According to Balow, every resource listed on the department’s EdEquityVA website falls under the category of a “divisive concept,” including a 52-page “roadmap to equity” developed by the department under former Gov. Ralph Northam and Secretary of Education Atif Qarni.

Last week, Republicans in the House of Delegates passed a bill to exempt any business with 10 or fewer employees from the state’s minimum wage law.

On Monday, Democrats in the Senate voted it down alongside a half dozen other bills aimed at rolling back employee and union-friendly legislation the party passed last year before it lost its House majority.

“So they would be exempt from the current minimum wage? …  Just out of curiosity, where in the state can you live on $14,000 a year?” asked Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax.

Virginia’s minimum wage currently sits at $11 an hour and will rise to $12 an hour next year under legislation Democrats passed in 2020.

The $14,000 figure cited by Saslaw represents about what someone would earn working full-time for the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25-an-hour, which is what small businesses could start paying their employees again if the bill were to pass.

News

Sen. Louise Lucas, president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate, has described her chamber as a “brick wall” against some of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s biggest educational priorities, from charter schools to a proposed ban on what he’s described as “divisive concepts.”

But Thursday several Democrats on the Senate’s influential Education and Health committee, which Lucas chairs, voted with Republicans to advance one of Youngkin’s top issues — a bill aimed at undoing recent admissions changes at Virginia’s prestigious governor’s schools.

The original legislation by Del. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, specifically targeted policies at Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology — consistently ranked as the best public school in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

The school has made national headlines for significantly shifting its admissions process in 2020 amid a nationwide reckoning on race following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

VIRGINIA…ABC puts $77K worth of Russian vodka into storage
Virginia Mercury, GRAHAM MOOMAWFebruary 28, 2022

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority says the $77,000 worth of Russian-sourced vodka it pulled from shelves won’t be thrown out but will be stored at its facilities “until further notice.”

The government-run liquor monopoly announced Sunday it was removing seven vodka brands from its stores in response to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s call for the state to show solidarity against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Combined, those brands accounted for just over $1 million in sales in fiscal year 2021, according to ABC spokesperson Dawn Eischen, a small fraction of the $57 million in sales for the American vodka brand Tito’s, Virginia’s top-selling liquor. An estimated $68,000 in Russian-sourced vodka was pulled from store shelves, Eischen said, with another $9,500 idled at ABC’s distribution center that won’t be shipped out to stores.

US…Billions in aid for Ukraine eyed in struggle against Russian invasion
Virginia Mercury, JENNIFER SHUTTFebruary 28, 2022

Congress is working quickly to determine how much military and humanitarian aid it should send to Ukraine as the war in that country continues to claim lives and send hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing as refugees.

Lawmakers are working with the Biden administration to provide billions in funding at the same time negotiators continue to work towards bipartisan agreement on more than $1.5 trillion in government funding ahead of a March 11 deadline.

Democrats and Republicans reached a framework earlier this month on that government funding package and have since been drafting the bills behind closed doors. But the five-day-old war in Ukraine and concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s potential ambitions beyond that country have led to calls for a significant uptick in U.S. military and humanitarian aid.

YOUNGKIN… calls for severing of state ties to Russia and more Va. headlines
Virginia Mercury, Staff Report February 28, 2022

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Gov. Glenn Youngkin is asking the state government and Virginia universities to sever any financial ties to Russia. He also urged Norfolk and Roanoke to end sister city partnerships with Russian cities.

In a push to end “divisive concepts” in Virginia education, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration is ending virtually all equity initiatives launched by the state’s Department of Education prior to the governor’s inauguration last month.

The policy changes, announced in an interim report from the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow, hew closely to directives already issued by Youngkin in his first executive order.

According to Balow, every resource listed on the department’s EdEquityVA website falls under the category of a “divisive concept,” including a 52-page “roadmap to equity” developed by the department under former Gov. Ralph Northam and Secretary of Education Atif Qarni.

Last week, Republicans in the House of Delegates passed a bill to exempt any business with 10 or fewer employees from the state’s minimum wage law.

On Monday, Democrats in the Senate voted it down alongside a half dozen other bills aimed at rolling back employee and union-friendly legislation the party passed last year before it lost its House majority.

“So they would be exempt from the current minimum wage? …  Just out of curiosity, where in the state can you live on $14,000 a year?” asked Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax.

Virginia’s minimum wage currently sits at $11 an hour and will rise to $12 an hour next year under legislation Democrats passed in 2020.

The $14,000 figure cited by Saslaw represents about what someone would earn working full-time for the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25-an-hour, which is what small businesses could start paying their employees again if the bill were to pass.

X
Virginia State SenateVirginia onAir 2/21-2/25
SUPREME COURT...Biden to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson
CNN, Melissa Macaya et al.February 25, 2022

President Biden has selected Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to the Supreme Court, according to a source who has been notified about the decision, setting in motion a historic confirmation process for the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in the nation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed that whoever Biden nominates will be confirmed with “all deliberate speed.”

In the 50-50 Senate, all Democrats will need to stay united to confirm Biden’s nominee, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking a potential tie in the event no Republicans break ranks.

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., is cautioning that a major cyberattack against Ukraine could have possible ripple effects on nearby NATO members – and force NATO allies to come to their defense.

Warner made the comments Thursday afternoon in an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered.

“If you shut down Polish hospitals because they can’t get power to take care of their people, you’re rapidly approaching what could be viewed as an Article 5 violation of NATO, which basically says if you attack one NATO nation – and Poland is a NATO nation – all of the remaining 29 nations need to come to their assistance,” he said. “We are in an uncharted territory.”

Warner said he believed the Ukrainian people would continue to fight back against the Russian invasion and form an “insurgency,” which would be harder for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces to counter.

“It’s again one thing to knock out a government. It’s another thing to fight an insurgency led by the Ukrainian people across all of this captured territory,” he said.

U.S. lawmakers are condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine overnight.

This morning on Twitter, Governor Glenn Youngkin says Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is an assault on a sovereign nation and will have devastating consequences for Ukrainian citizens.

Senator Tim Kaine who serves as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and the Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) released the following statement:

“Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine is an unacceptable affront to Ukraine’s sovereignty and to democracies everywhere. This is a crisis of Putin’s own making.

The United States and the international community have offered Putin every opportunity to de-escalate diplomatically. Instead, he chose a path of conflict, risking the lives of citizens in both Ukraine and Russia.

America’s commitment to Ukraine is absolute and has the steadfast, bipartisan support of Congress. Make no mistake: Russia’s aggression will continue to have significant consequences, including through additional crippling economic sanctions.”

Finally, Virginia Representative Abigail Spanberger says we must be united in condemning Putin’s war and act of aggression that serves only the irrational self-interest of one man.

PBS NewsHour full episode, Feb. 23, 2022
February 24, 2022 – 6:41 am (ET)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2Zl7WoZ8gc

US...sanctions on Russia mainly hit banks, miss energy sector
Politico, ALEXANDER WARD et al.February 24, 2022

President Joe Biden announced a second and larger sanctions package on Russia, punishing Vladimir Putin for ordering a full-scale invasion of Ukraine but stopping short of targeting some critical sectors of his nation’s economy.

Speaking in generalities from the White House, Biden said his administration would stunt the Russian military’s ability to finance and grow its force; freeze U.S. assets held by Russian banks, including VTB; target elites and members of Putin’s inner circle; and curtail Russia’s high-tech imports in a way that could damage Moscow’s aerospace industry.

Minutes later, the White House and Treasury Department released fact sheets detailing the moves: cutting off Sberbank from the U.S. financial system; placing full blocking sanctions on VTB and three other Russian financial institutions; imposing new debt and equity restrictions on 13 enterprises and entities; targeting seven Russian elites and their families; and hitting 24 Belarusians for supporting Russia’s invasion.

YOUNGKIN... schools bill is bad policy and in bad faith
Virginia Mercury, Akshay Deverakonda and Carrie KahwajyFebruary 22, 2022

A new bill seeks to deprive local school boards of the tools needed to achieve diversity at governor’s schools throughout the commonwealth.

This regressive bill, which has passed Virginia’s House of Delegates and is now in the Senate, must be defeated. The bill defines “proxy discrimination” broadly when it comes to efforts to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and access to education and narrowly when it comes to outdated “traditional academic success factors.”

As alumni of two of those governor’s schools, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies, we know that this bill would not eliminate discrimination.

Rather, it would only further entrench discrimination that has festered at our alma maters and other elite public schools for generations.

The bill misrepresents what current governor’s school admissions processes actually do. At both TJ and Maggie Walker, for example, admissions decision-makers review candidates based on their applications, not demographic information.

Despite this fact, the bill seeks to ban the collection of any demographic information in admissions so as to render it impossible to identify underrepresentation in total applications, application rates and admission rates.

This bill would codify bad policy and obstruct the ability of local school boards, schools and community members to prioritize outreach efforts where they are needed most. It prevents them from achieving diversity and preventing racial isolation — compelling state interests affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007.

VA SENATE... kills GOP push to let voters self-impose photo ID rule
Virginia Mercury, GRAHAM MOOMAWFebruary 22, 2022

A proposal to let Virginia voters self-impose photo ID rules for their own ballot failed in the state Senate Tuesday along with every other Republican effort to reinstate mandatory photo ID in state elections.

In a meeting Tuesday afternoon, the nine Democrats on the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee repeatedly overruled six Republicans to kill the first batch of GOP-sponsored voting bills coming over from the House of Delegates.

In addition to blocking several photo ID bills, the committee defeated efforts to cut the early voting window from 45 days to 14 days, repeal the same-day voter registration system set to be implemented this year and ban absentee drop boxes.

As a result of those votes, all bills to bring back photo ID, a policy priority for Gov. Glenn Youngkin, are dead for the year. Though most Virginia voters still show a photo ID before casting their ballot, Democrats changed the law in 2020 to allow voters without ID to sign a form affirming their identity.

That includes the unconventional approach suggested by Del. Amanda Batten, R-James City, who said she filed her bill creating an opt-in photo ID system in response to an elderly constituent concerned about identity theft who “wanted to ensure that every time they were asked to purchase anything or vote that they would have to show a photo ID.”

“It would be required so that no one else would be able to act in their stead,” Batten said.

News

SUPREME COURT…Biden to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson
CNN, Melissa Macaya et al.February 25, 2022

President Biden has selected Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to the Supreme Court, according to a source who has been notified about the decision, setting in motion a historic confirmation process for the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in the nation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed that whoever Biden nominates will be confirmed with “all deliberate speed.”

In the 50-50 Senate, all Democrats will need to stay united to confirm Biden’s nominee, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking a potential tie in the event no Republicans break ranks.

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., is cautioning that a major cyberattack against Ukraine could have possible ripple effects on nearby NATO members – and force NATO allies to come to their defense.

Warner made the comments Thursday afternoon in an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered.

“If you shut down Polish hospitals because they can’t get power to take care of their people, you’re rapidly approaching what could be viewed as an Article 5 violation of NATO, which basically says if you attack one NATO nation – and Poland is a NATO nation – all of the remaining 29 nations need to come to their assistance,” he said. “We are in an uncharted territory.”

Warner said he believed the Ukrainian people would continue to fight back against the Russian invasion and form an “insurgency,” which would be harder for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces to counter.

“It’s again one thing to knock out a government. It’s another thing to fight an insurgency led by the Ukrainian people across all of this captured territory,” he said.

U.S. lawmakers are condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine overnight.

This morning on Twitter, Governor Glenn Youngkin says Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is an assault on a sovereign nation and will have devastating consequences for Ukrainian citizens.

Senator Tim Kaine who serves as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and the Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) released the following statement:

“Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine is an unacceptable affront to Ukraine’s sovereignty and to democracies everywhere. This is a crisis of Putin’s own making.

The United States and the international community have offered Putin every opportunity to de-escalate diplomatically. Instead, he chose a path of conflict, risking the lives of citizens in both Ukraine and Russia.

America’s commitment to Ukraine is absolute and has the steadfast, bipartisan support of Congress. Make no mistake: Russia’s aggression will continue to have significant consequences, including through additional crippling economic sanctions.”

Finally, Virginia Representative Abigail Spanberger says we must be united in condemning Putin’s war and act of aggression that serves only the irrational self-interest of one man.

PBS NewsHour full episode, Feb. 23, 2022
February 24, 2022 – 6:41 am (ET)
US…sanctions on Russia mainly hit banks, miss energy sector
Politico, ALEXANDER WARD et al.February 24, 2022

President Joe Biden announced a second and larger sanctions package on Russia, punishing Vladimir Putin for ordering a full-scale invasion of Ukraine but stopping short of targeting some critical sectors of his nation’s economy.

Speaking in generalities from the White House, Biden said his administration would stunt the Russian military’s ability to finance and grow its force; freeze U.S. assets held by Russian banks, including VTB; target elites and members of Putin’s inner circle; and curtail Russia’s high-tech imports in a way that could damage Moscow’s aerospace industry.

Minutes later, the White House and Treasury Department released fact sheets detailing the moves: cutting off Sberbank from the U.S. financial system; placing full blocking sanctions on VTB and three other Russian financial institutions; imposing new debt and equity restrictions on 13 enterprises and entities; targeting seven Russian elites and their families; and hitting 24 Belarusians for supporting Russia’s invasion.

YOUNGKIN… schools bill is bad policy and in bad faith
Virginia Mercury, Akshay Deverakonda and Carrie KahwajyFebruary 22, 2022

A new bill seeks to deprive local school boards of the tools needed to achieve diversity at governor’s schools throughout the commonwealth.

This regressive bill, which has passed Virginia’s House of Delegates and is now in the Senate, must be defeated. The bill defines “proxy discrimination” broadly when it comes to efforts to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and access to education and narrowly when it comes to outdated “traditional academic success factors.”

As alumni of two of those governor’s schools, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies, we know that this bill would not eliminate discrimination.

Rather, it would only further entrench discrimination that has festered at our alma maters and other elite public schools for generations.

The bill misrepresents what current governor’s school admissions processes actually do. At both TJ and Maggie Walker, for example, admissions decision-makers review candidates based on their applications, not demographic information.

Despite this fact, the bill seeks to ban the collection of any demographic information in admissions so as to render it impossible to identify underrepresentation in total applications, application rates and admission rates.

This bill would codify bad policy and obstruct the ability of local school boards, schools and community members to prioritize outreach efforts where they are needed most. It prevents them from achieving diversity and preventing racial isolation — compelling state interests affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007.

VA SENATE… kills GOP push to let voters self-impose photo ID rule
Virginia Mercury, GRAHAM MOOMAWFebruary 22, 2022

A proposal to let Virginia voters self-impose photo ID rules for their own ballot failed in the state Senate Tuesday along with every other Republican effort to reinstate mandatory photo ID in state elections.

In a meeting Tuesday afternoon, the nine Democrats on the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee repeatedly overruled six Republicans to kill the first batch of GOP-sponsored voting bills coming over from the House of Delegates.

In addition to blocking several photo ID bills, the committee defeated efforts to cut the early voting window from 45 days to 14 days, repeal the same-day voter registration system set to be implemented this year and ban absentee drop boxes.

As a result of those votes, all bills to bring back photo ID, a policy priority for Gov. Glenn Youngkin, are dead for the year. Though most Virginia voters still show a photo ID before casting their ballot, Democrats changed the law in 2020 to allow voters without ID to sign a form affirming their identity.

That includes the unconventional approach suggested by Del. Amanda Batten, R-James City, who said she filed her bill creating an opt-in photo ID system in response to an elderly constituent concerned about identity theft who “wanted to ensure that every time they were asked to purchase anything or vote that they would have to show a photo ID.”

“It would be required so that no one else would be able to act in their stead,” Batten said.

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VA onAir - 2/4/2022 2Virginia onAir 2/11-2/18
YOUNGKIN... shifts focus from masks to taxes and more Virginia headlines
Virginia Mercury, STAFF REPORT February 18, 2022

Gov. Glenn Youngkin says he’s optimistic about the remainder of his agenda for the General Assembly’s 2022 session. “This legislative process is one that I find incredibly encouraging,” he said. ”I’m inspired by it.” Democrats in the Senate said they welcomed his sunny outlook, but said his bills are “going to get voted down over here.”—Associated Press

• Youngkin’s administration turned its attention from masks to taxes at a series of campaign-style appearances Thursday.—Washington Post

• Youngkin’s push for lab schools echoes a similar effort pursued by former Gov. Bob McDonnell, whose 2012 push never got off the ground.—VPM

• Attorney General Jason Miyares returned four campaign donations totaling $70,000 he reported depositing Monday in violation of a state ban on accepting contributions during the legislative session. Miyares’ spokeswoman said the donations were received prior to the cutoff but deposited late in error.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

VIRGINIA HOUSE... sends Youngkin bill ending school mask mandates
Virginia Mercury, Graham MoomawFebruary 14, 2022

The Virginia House of Delegates approved a bill ending school mask mandates Monday on a party-line vote, fast-tracking the proposed law to Gov. Glenn Youngkin just five days after it was passed by the state Senate.

Youngkin is expected to recommend an emergency clause that could cause the legislation to take effect immediately rather than July 1, the default effective date for new laws approved by the General Assembly. Youngkin, who briefly walked onto the House floor Monday to mark the legislation’s passage, confirmed he plans to send a bill revised with an emergency clause to the House as early as tomorrow. That means the legislature could be taking its final votes on the matter later this week.

“It’s time we end the insanity and let our kids be kids again,” House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said in a news release. “Virginia is behind the curve for states ending masking mandates and I’m proud of the legislature for getting this done quickly.”

To emphasize the speediness of the effort, House Republicans immediately took the bill to Youngkin’s office at the Capitol to deliver it to the governor in person.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is asking a circuit court for one of the state’s most populous counties to allow him to join in a lawsuit filed by a group of parents who oppose their local school board’s mask mandate.

It’s the latest effort by the recently inaugurated Republican governor to roll back school Covid-prevention measures championed by state Democrats, including Youngkin’s predecessor, Ralph Northam.

Youngkin, Attorney General Jason Miyares and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow are also seeking a temporary injunction and a temporary restraining order against the Loudoun County School Board, court documents filed on Wednesday show.

Upon taking office last month, Youngkin, who campaigned heavily on what he characterized as restoring parents’ influence in public education, issued an executive order that allowed parents and guardians to “elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program.” Northam had previously issued a public health emergency order mandating masks in schools.

YOUNGKIN... hustles to push swing state Virginia to the right
Associated Press, WILL WEISSERT and SARAH RANKINJanuary 31, 2022

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has used his first two weeks in office to push Virginia firmly to the right, attempting a dramatic political shift in a state once considered reliably Democratic that’s being closely watched by others in the GOP.

In his opening days, the new governor issued executive orders methodically checking off his top campaign promises. The orders undermined classroom mask mandates, aimed to restrict how students are taught about racism, approved an investigation into a wealthy suburban Washington school district that’s become a national symbol for battles over so-called parents’ rights, and attempted to scrap Virginia’s participation in a carbon-limiting initiative meant to combat climate change.

Youngkin has also expanded the duties of a state diversity officer created by his Democratic predecessor to include being an “ambassador for unborn children” as Virginia dropped its opposition before the Supreme Court to a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

News

YOUNGKIN… shifts focus from masks to taxes and more Virginia headlines
Virginia Mercury, STAFF REPORT February 18, 2022

Gov. Glenn Youngkin says he’s optimistic about the remainder of his agenda for the General Assembly’s 2022 session. “This legislative process is one that I find incredibly encouraging,” he said. ”I’m inspired by it.” Democrats in the Senate said they welcomed his sunny outlook, but said his bills are “going to get voted down over here.”—Associated Press

• Youngkin’s administration turned its attention from masks to taxes at a series of campaign-style appearances Thursday.—Washington Post

• Youngkin’s push for lab schools echoes a similar effort pursued by former Gov. Bob McDonnell, whose 2012 push never got off the ground.—VPM

• Attorney General Jason Miyares returned four campaign donations totaling $70,000 he reported depositing Monday in violation of a state ban on accepting contributions during the legislative session. Miyares’ spokeswoman said the donations were received prior to the cutoff but deposited late in error.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

VIRGINIA HOUSE… sends Youngkin bill ending school mask mandates
Virginia Mercury, Graham MoomawFebruary 14, 2022

The Virginia House of Delegates approved a bill ending school mask mandates Monday on a party-line vote, fast-tracking the proposed law to Gov. Glenn Youngkin just five days after it was passed by the state Senate.

Youngkin is expected to recommend an emergency clause that could cause the legislation to take effect immediately rather than July 1, the default effective date for new laws approved by the General Assembly. Youngkin, who briefly walked onto the House floor Monday to mark the legislation’s passage, confirmed he plans to send a bill revised with an emergency clause to the House as early as tomorrow. That means the legislature could be taking its final votes on the matter later this week.

“It’s time we end the insanity and let our kids be kids again,” House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said in a news release. “Virginia is behind the curve for states ending masking mandates and I’m proud of the legislature for getting this done quickly.”

To emphasize the speediness of the effort, House Republicans immediately took the bill to Youngkin’s office at the Capitol to deliver it to the governor in person.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is asking a circuit court for one of the state’s most populous counties to allow him to join in a lawsuit filed by a group of parents who oppose their local school board’s mask mandate.

It’s the latest effort by the recently inaugurated Republican governor to roll back school Covid-prevention measures championed by state Democrats, including Youngkin’s predecessor, Ralph Northam.

Youngkin, Attorney General Jason Miyares and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow are also seeking a temporary injunction and a temporary restraining order against the Loudoun County School Board, court documents filed on Wednesday show.

Upon taking office last month, Youngkin, who campaigned heavily on what he characterized as restoring parents’ influence in public education, issued an executive order that allowed parents and guardians to “elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program.” Northam had previously issued a public health emergency order mandating masks in schools.

YOUNGKIN… hustles to push swing state Virginia to the right
Associated Press, WILL WEISSERT and SARAH RANKINJanuary 31, 2022

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has used his first two weeks in office to push Virginia firmly to the right, attempting a dramatic political shift in a state once considered reliably Democratic that’s being closely watched by others in the GOP.

In his opening days, the new governor issued executive orders methodically checking off his top campaign promises. The orders undermined classroom mask mandates, aimed to restrict how students are taught about racism, approved an investigation into a wealthy suburban Washington school district that’s become a national symbol for battles over so-called parents’ rights, and attempted to scrap Virginia’s participation in a carbon-limiting initiative meant to combat climate change.

Youngkin has also expanded the duties of a state diversity officer created by his Democratic predecessor to include being an “ambassador for unborn children” as Virginia dropped its opposition before the Supreme Court to a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

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