Weekly Digest – 12/23 to 12/29/19

Clockwise from upper left:

“A Republican senator wants students to approve tuition increases before governing boards do” – Mechelle Hankerson, Virginia Mercury

“In official opinion, Virginia AG says gun sanctuary resolutions have ‘no legal effect” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

“Like most of Congress, Va. delegation splits down party lines on impeaching Trump” – Robin Bravender – Virginia Mercury

“Interviews with 9 Northern Virginia representatives” – Virginia onAir

More articles from past week inside post …

Weekly Digest – 12/16 to 12/22/19

Clockwise from upper left:
“Northam proposes ending vehicle safety inspections, raising gas tax” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Northam’s budget: More expensive cigarettes, cheaper health care, an end to ‘tax relief’ and a $200-million olive branch – Ned Oliver, Virginia Mercury

“U.S. Workers Are Standing Up for Their Rights. A New Law Would Back Them Up” – Alan Barber and Liz Watson, Common Dreams

State of the Commonwealth 2020 Survey Report – Dr. Quentin Kidd, Director, Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy

More articles from past week inside post …

December 9 to December 15, 2019

InterviewsNine NoVA representatives

VA SenateDick Saslaw  District 35

Delegate:  Eileen Filler-Corn – District 41

DelegateDavid Bulova – District 37

Delegate:  Kaye Kory – District 38

2019 Election:  VA House 40 

2019 Election:  Competitive Districts

Congress:  Virginia’s Three Amiga’s

OnAir:  What’s streaming on 1/14/20

About Virginia onAirHow can I impact politics

Dec. 8 to Dec. 14

Federal: Virginia Democrat in swing district faces heat at town hall  (Abigail Spanberger)

Republicans don’t budge as Democrats cite ‘overwhelming’ evidence; Cline calls impeachment a ‘stain’ on House

State Executive: 3 questions with Attorney General Mark Herring at his cannabis summit

State Legislature: Why I oppose a partisan judicial Virginia gerrymander (Mark Levine)

Environment: Environmental Priorities for Virginia Virginia Conservation Network Hosts 2019 General Assembly Preview

Economy: Yes Virginia, your economic future looks good. But watch out for storm clouds.

Right to Work: Virginia Explained: The growing debate (and divide) on right to work

Education: Northam proposes $94 million boost for early childhood education

November 25 to December 2, 2019

OnAir:  What’s streaming on 1/14/20

US House:  Rob Wittman (R)

Governor:  Ralph Northam (D)

Senate Minority LeaderDick Saslaw (D)

VA DelegateJennifer Carroll Foy (D)

Interview (5:07):  David Bulova (D)

SupporterKaye Kory (D)

2019 Election:  Competitive Districts

2019 ElectionVA House 10

Video (2:15)About Virginia onAir 

November 18 to November 24, 2019

2019 Election: VA House 13 – Danica Roem (D) received 12,055 votes  and Kelly McGinn (R) 9,463 votes

District Map:  Northern Virginia House Districts – 28 Democrats and 2 Republicans – GMU onAir Chapter

Interview (5:07): Karrie Delaney (D) – Delegate for House District 67 – interviewed by Kerrie Thompson

Supporter:  Delegate Kaye Kory (D) – says she proud of the Mason students curating the Virginia onAir Hub

Event: Fairfax Redistricting Forum – 11/17/19 – sponsored by LWV of Fairfax and One Virginia2021 

Video (2:15): About Virginia onAir – Elections & Governance Hub and onAir Chapters – “Learn. Discuss. Engage.”

November 4 to 10, 2019 – VA News

Federal: Virginia Hates Tyrants: Senator Tim Kaine reflects on what it took to make his commonwealth bluer than Massachusetts

State Executive: Virginia Democrats win control of General Assembly, sealing Trump-era power shift;Va. Gov. Northam starts making plans for his new Democratic legislature

State Legislature: Voters give Democrats control of the General Assembly

Civil Rights: Democratic sweep in Virginia gives new life to Equal Rights Amendment

Energy: Democratic sweep sets up confrontation with corporate that has loomed over Virginia politics for a century

Gun Control: As Democrats triumph in Virginia, pro-gun groups confront ‘worst scenario’

 

Weekly Digest – 12/23 to 12/29/19Weekly Digest – 12/23 to 12/29/19

Clockwise from upper left:

“A Republican senator wants students to approve tuition increases before governing boards do” – Mechelle Hankerson, Virginia Mercury

“In official opinion, Virginia AG says gun sanctuary resolutions have ‘no legal effect” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

“Like most of Congress, Va. delegation splits down party lines on impeaching Trump” – Robin Bravender – Virginia Mercury

“Interviews with 9 Northern Virginia representatives” – Virginia onAir

More articles from past week inside post …

Summary

Clockwise from upper left:

“A Republican senator wants students to approve tuition increases before governing boards do” – Mechelle Hankerson, Virginia Mercury

“In official opinion, Virginia AG says gun sanctuary resolutions have ‘no legal effect” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

“Like most of Congress, Va. delegation splits down party lines on impeaching Trump” – Robin Bravender – Virginia Mercury

“Interviews with 9 Northern Virginia representatives” – Virginia onAir

More articles from past week inside post …

Federal

Like most of Congress, Va. delegation splits down party lines on impeaching Trump”
By: Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – December 19, 2019

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House voted to impeach President Donald Trump Wednesday night, making him the third president to be impeached in U.S. history.

Trump was impeached on largely party line votes on charges that he abused power and obstructed Congress. The charges surround allegations that Trump improperly pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival in an effort to interfere with the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

State Legislature

Interviews with 9 Northern Virginia representatives
By: Virginia onAir
December 26, 2019

This post has video interviews of nine Northern Virginia representatives and short overviews of each of them. These interviews were among the first interviews conducted by Virginia onAir.

A Republican senator wants students to approve tuition increases before governing boards do
By: Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – December 24, 2019

Stuart wants to make other cost increases at public colleges more understandable. He filed separate legislation that requires university governing boards  to provide written notice of why they want to increase a president’s compensation and where the funding for the raise would come from. The boards must allow public comment on the change and the increase has to be voted on in an open meeting.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s database of state employee salaries, seven of the 10 highest paid state employees were university presidents this past year:

  • Michael Rao at VCU made $1 million
  • University of Virginia President James Ryan made $962,875
  • J.H. Binford Peay at Virginia Military Institute made $837,267
  • Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands made $775,000
  • Paul Trible at Christopher Newport made $771,287
  • Angel Cabrera, who left his position as president of George Mason this summer, made $763,226
  • John Broderick at Old Dominion made $638,217

Those amounts include housing, cell phone allowances, transportation, bonuses and other items that made up the presidents’ total compensation.

Issues

Gun Sanctuaries

In official opinion, Virginia AG says gun sanctuary resolutions have ‘no legal effect
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – December 20, 2019

Attorney General Mark Herring says the Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions being passed by Virginia localities have “no legal effect,” according to an official opinion issued Friday.

Even if the resolutions were written to explicitly defy the new gun-control laws expected to be passed next year under a Democratic-controlled General Assembly, Herring said localities have no such power

College Tuition

A Republican senator wants students to approve tuition increases before governing boards do
By: Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – December 24, 2019

Senator Richard Stuart wants to make other cost increases at public colleges more understandable. He filed separate legislation that requires university governing boards  to provide written notice of why they want to increase a president’s compensation and where the funding for the raise would come from. The boards must allow public comment on the change and the increase has to be voted on in an open meeting.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s database of state employee salaries, seven of the 10 highest paid state employees were university presidents this past year:

  • Michael Rao at VCU made $1 million
  • University of Virginia President James Ryan made $962,875
  • J.H. Binford Peay at Virginia Military Institute made $837,267
  • Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands made $775,000
  • Paul Trible at Christopher Newport made $771,287
  • Angel Cabrera, who left his position as president of George Mason this summer, made $763,226
  • John Broderick at Old Dominion made $638,217

Those amounts include housing, cell phone allowances, transportation, bonuses and other items that made up the presidents’ total compensation.

Feedback

The lead Curator for this post is Virginia onAir. If you have any content you would like to add to this post, submit it to virginia@onair.cc.  See Terms of Service to learn about the guidelines curators use to evaluate submissions and forum comments.

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December 16 to December 22, 2019Weekly Digest – 12/16 to 12/22/19

Clockwise from upper left:
“Northam proposes ending vehicle safety inspections, raising gas tax” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Northam’s budget: More expensive cigarettes, cheaper health care, an end to ‘tax relief’ and a $200-million olive branch – Ned Oliver, Virginia Mercury

“U.S. Workers Are Standing Up for Their Rights. A New Law Would Back Them Up” – Alan Barber and Liz Watson, Common Dreams

State of the Commonwealth 2020 Survey Report – Dr. Quentin Kidd, Director, Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy

More articles from past week inside post …

Summary

Clockwise from upper left:
“Northam proposes ending vehicle safety inspections, raising gas tax” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Northam’s budget: More expensive cigarettes, cheaper health care, an end to ‘tax relief’ and a $200-million olive branch – Ned Oliver, Virginia Mercury

“U.S. Workers Are Standing Up for Their Rights. A New Law Would Back Them Up” – Alan Barber and Liz Watson, Common Dreams

State of the Commonwealth 2020 Survey Report – Dr. Quentin Kidd, Director, Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy

More articles from past week inside post …

Federal

Like most of Congress, Va. delegation splits down party lines on impeaching Trump
By: Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – December 18, 2019

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House voted to impeach President Donald Trump Wednesday night, making him the third president to be impeached in U.S. history.

Trump was impeached on largely party line votes on charges that he abused power and obstructed Congress. The charges surround allegations that Trump improperly pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival in an effort to interfere with the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

State Executive

State of the Commonwealth 2020 Survey Report
By: Dr. Quentin Kidd, Director
Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy – December 16, 2019

Voters support gun control, ERA, redistricting reform, minimum wage hike and marijuana decriminalization, but oppose local control over Confederate monuments

Summary of Key Findings

  1. Voters strongly support requiring background checks on all gun sales (86%-13%) and passing a ‘red flag’ law (73%-23%); a slight majority (54%-44%) support banning assault-style weapons
  2. Voters strongly back the Equal Rights Amendment (80%-13%)
  3. A slight majority oppose giving localities authority to remove or alter Confederate monuments (51%-44%)
  4. Voters strongly support decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana (83%-14%)
  5. Voters strongly support raising the minimum wage (72%-28%)
  6. Voters strongly support automatic voter registration (64%-31%), but slightly oppose no-excuse absentee voting (74%-23%)
  7. Voters strongly support second passage of the redistricting reform constitutional amendment (70%-15%)

Northam’s budget: More expensive cigarettes, cheaper health care, an end to ‘tax relief’ and a $200-million olive branch
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – December 17, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam has already sketched out some of his biggest budget investments in a series of announcements over the past week. Among them, $1.2 billion for K-12 education, $733 million for environmental initiatives like cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, $92 million for affordable housing and eviction prevention, and $22 million to lower maternal mortality rates.

On Tuesday, though, we got our first look at the whole picture when Northam released the entirety of his two-year, $135 billion spending plan, which he called “one of the most progressive budgets probably that’s ever been presented.”

Issues

Worker Rights

U.S. Workers Are Standing Up for Their Rights. A New Law Would Back Them Up.
By: Alan Barber and Liz Watson
Common Dreams – May 31, 2019

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would force employers to the bargaining table if the union has the support of a majority of employees and the employer interferes with the union election. If the National Labor Relations Board believes a worker has been illegally terminated for engaging in union activity, the PRO Act would require the company to reinstate the worker while the case is pending.

Under current law, bargaining for a first contract can drag on for years. To address this, the Act establishes a process for mediation and if necessary, binding arbitration, to reach a first contract.
The PRO Act would also prohibit employers from permanently replacing employees who strike, give stronger protections to contract workers, and provide compensatory damages for employees while penalizing employers that illegally fire or retaliate against workers. Among other protections, the Act would also ban captive audience meetings.

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the legislation, which now has 141 co-sponsors, including Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI).

Fact sheet on the PRO Act

Commentary from the Economic Policy Institute

Our economy is out of balance. Corporations and CEOs hold too much power and wealth, and working people know it. Workers are mobilizing, organizing, protesting, and striking at a level not seen in decades, and they are winning pay raises and other real change by using their collective voices.

But, the fact is, it is still too difficult for working people to form a union at their workplace when they want to. The law gives employers too much power and puts too many roadblocks in the way of workers trying to organize with their co-workers. That’s why the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act—introduced today by Senator Murray and Representative Scott—is such an important piece of legislation.

The Virginia Plantation by John Flannery on Sept. 2, 2019

We “celebrate” Labor Day but it’s a false “celebration”– a sham.

In Virginia, you can be fired at will.

Commentary by Kim Bobo in the Virginia Mercury on Dec. 13, 2019

Over the last decade, Virginia’s House and Senate Commerce and Labor committees pretty much ignored the labor side of the equation. Ranked the top state for doing business, Virginia is also ranked the worst state for workers.

Addressing Virginia’s pitiful labor protections and raising a few core standards is long overdue. A recent study by Oxfam America named Virginia the worst state in the nation for workers based on three categories — wage policies, worker protections and workers’ rights to organize.

 

 

 

 

Auto Safety

Northam proposes ending vehicle safety inspections, raising gas tax
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – December 17, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam wants to end state-mandated vehicle safety inspections and cut vehicle registration fees in half, proposals his administration says would eventually save Virginians more than $280 million per year.

But motorists would have to pay a few dollars more each time they fill up on gas under a proposal to increase the state’s motor vehicle fuels tax from about 22 cents per gallon to 34 cents per gallon over three years, putting Virginia more in line with Maryland and North Carolina.

By the third year, the gas tax proposal could generate more than $491 million in additional revenue for the state, according to projections released by the Northam administration.

The two-year budget proposal the governor unveiled Tuesday included significant transportation policy changes that Northam said would modernize an “outdated” funding system.

Feedback

The lead Curator for this post is Virginia onAir. If you have any content you would like to add to this post, submit it to virginia@onair.cc.  See Terms of Service to learn about the guidelines curators use to evaluate submissions and forum comments.

X
December 9 to December 15, 2019December 9 to December 15, 2019

InterviewsNine NoVA representatives

VA SenateDick Saslaw  District 35

Delegate:  Eileen Filler-Corn – District 41

DelegateDavid Bulova – District 37

Delegate:  Kaye Kory – District 38

2019 Election:  VA House 40 

2019 Election:  Competitive Districts

Congress:  Virginia’s Three Amiga’s

OnAir:  What’s streaming on 1/14/20

About Virginia onAirHow can I impact politics

Summary

InterviewsNine NoVA representatives

VA SenateDick Saslaw  District 35

Delegate:  Eileen Filler-Corn – District 41

DelegateDavid Bulova – District 37

Delegate:  Kaye Kory – District 38

2019 Election:  VA House 40 

2019 Election:  Competitive Districts

Congress:  Virginia’s Three Amiga’s

OnAir:  What’s streaming on 1/14/20

About Virginia onAirHow can I impact politics

Federal

Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat
By: Reid Wilson
The Hill – December 9, 2019

Former Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) will drop his challenge to Sen. Mark Warner (D) and will instead run for his old seat in Congress.

Two sources familiar with Taylor’s thinking said he has begun making calls in recent days to Virginia Republicans to tell them of his decision. Taylor’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday morning.

Spanberger, Luria say they aren’t part of push to censure Trump
By: Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – December 10, 2019

WASHINGTON — Two freshman Virginia lawmakers in swing districts said Tuesday that they’re not among the U.S. House Democrats reportedly considering an effort to censure President Donald Trump rather than impeach him.

“I’ve not been involved in any of those conversations, so I have nothing to comment on,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Henrico) told the Mercury in a brief interview on Capitol Hill.

State Legislature

Virginia Republicans look for a way out of the woods
By: Laura Vozzella
Washington Post – December 7, 2019

HOT SPRINGS, Va. — Virginia Republicans, deep in the political wilderness after yet another election loss, gathered at a posh mountain resort to try to reverse their decade-long slide.

For members of a party that has not won a statewide election since 2009 and just lost control of the state House and Senate, the most fervent hope was that the GOP’s fortunes can’t sink any lower.

“We’re at rock bottom,” said Matt Colt Hall, a southwest Virginia native and political commentator for the conservative blog Bearing Drift. “We can only go up from there.”

Va. General Assembly reaches highest women representation in history
By: Mario Sequeira Quesada
Service – November 6, 2019

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) – Election Day concluded and women now have the biggest representation in the General Assembly in the history of Virginia politics.

The House of Delegates saw the biggest increase of the two chambers. Four women gained seats and pushed the total of female-held seats to 30. The Senate added two more female representatives, including Ghazala Hashmi, who is also the first Muslim woman in the history of the chamber. Now women will hold 41 of the 140 seats in the General Assembly.

Over 85 women – Republicans and Democrats – ran for the House and Senate, and that is a volume never seen before, according to Deirdre Condit, associate professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Virginia gun rights activists vow to fight new restrictions
By: Denise Lavoie
AP – December 9, 2019

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — More than 200 gun rights activists wearing “Guns SAVE Lives” stickers rallied Monday in Virginia, vowing to fight any attempt by the new Democratic majority in the state legislature to pass new restrictions on gun ownership.

The “God. Family. Guns” rally was held just a month before the General Assembly is set to begin a session that is almost certain to include a variety of gun control proposals, including requiring universal background checks for gun buyers, prohibiting the sale of assault weapons and a ’“red flag” law allowing police or family members to petition a court to temporarily take away guns from people who may present a danger to themselves or others.

‘Historic’ Northam budget prioritizes Bay cleanup, clean energy and agency funding
By: Sarah Vogelsong
Virginia Mercury – December 11, 2019

The Chesapeake Bay, clean energy and the Department of Environmental Quality are the big winners among environment and energy priorities in Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed 2020-22 budget.

The proposal, unveiled by Northam in Virginia Beach Wednesday, would commit a ‘historic’ $733 million in new funding to a variety of environment and energy aims.

Issues

‘Rumors of War’

Monumental addition: ‘Rumors of War’ statue unveiled in Richmond Tuesday
By: Mario Sequeira Quesada
Capital News Service – December 11, 2019

RICHMOND — A monumental, contemporary statue of an African American man on a horse rode into Richmond this week via truck from New York.

On Tuesday, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts held the official welcoming celebration for the arrival of the statue Rumors of War, created by the artist Kehinde Wiley. The sculpture was first unveiled on Sept. 27 in Times Square in New York City, and was on display on Broadway Plaza.

Now the monument will permanently remain in Richmond.

Feedback

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X
Dec. 8 to Dec. 14Dec. 8 to Dec. 14

Federal: Virginia Democrat in swing district faces heat at town hall  (Abigail Spanberger)

Republicans don’t budge as Democrats cite ‘overwhelming’ evidence; Cline calls impeachment a ‘stain’ on House

State Executive: 3 questions with Attorney General Mark Herring at his cannabis summit

State Legislature: Why I oppose a partisan judicial Virginia gerrymander (Mark Levine)

Environment: Environmental Priorities for Virginia Virginia Conservation Network Hosts 2019 General Assembly Preview

Economy: Yes Virginia, your economic future looks good. But watch out for storm clouds.

Right to Work: Virginia Explained: The growing debate (and divide) on right to work

Education: Northam proposes $94 million boost for early childhood education

Summary

Federal: Virginia Democrat in swing district faces heat at town hall  (Abigail Spanberger)

Republicans don’t budge as Democrats cite ‘overwhelming’ evidence; Cline calls impeachment a ‘stain’ on House

State Executive: 3 questions with Attorney General Mark Herring at his cannabis summit

State Legislature: Why I oppose a partisan judicial Virginia gerrymander (Mark Levine)

Environment: Environmental Priorities for Virginia Virginia Conservation Network Hosts 2019 General Assembly Preview

Economy: Yes Virginia, your economic future looks good. But watch out for storm clouds.

Right to Work: Virginia Explained: The growing debate (and divide) on right to work

Education: Northam proposes $94 million boost for early childhood education

Federal

Virginia Democratic rep in swing district faces heat at town hall over impeachment
By: Devan Cole
CNN – December 9, 2019

A Virginia Democratic congresswoman who was a reluctant supporter of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump found herself in the middle of a tense town hall on Sunday when she explained her position on the matter.

Constituents in Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s moderate district — she unseated Republican Rep. Dave Brat last year — who both supported and opposed the impeachment effort shouted at times during the event in Spotsylvania, Virginia. She was discussing her record and instances when she voted against House Democratic leadership when a few audience members interrupted and told her to move on to impeachment.

Republicans don’t budge as Democrats cite ‘overwhelming’ evidence; Cline calls impeachment a ‘stain’ on House
By: Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – December 9, 2019

Lawyers for U.S. House Democrats laid out their best case for impeaching President Donald Trump on Monday, warning that his behavior continues to pose an “imminent threat” to national security.

U.S. Rep. Ben Cline, R-Botetourt, and the lone Virginian on the committee, who has called impeachment a “sham,” said the Democrats’ case is built on “witness presumption, hearsay and speculation.”

“This impeachment process is a farce and a stain on the committee and on the House of Representatives,” Cline said.

State Executive

3 questions with Attorney General Mark Herring at his cannabis summit
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – December 11, 2019

Virginia lawmakers who attended a cannabis summit convened by Attorney General Mark Herring on Wednesday called it remarkable that such an event was even taking place on Capitol Square.

“This is an extraordinary day,” said Del. Steve Heretick, D-Portsmouth, a founding member of the newly formed Cannabis Caucus. “I for one can not imagine even five years ago that we would be having this conversation in this building hosted by none other than the attorney general of Virginia.”

State Legislature

Why I oppose a partisan judicial Virginia gerrymander
By: Delegate Mark Levine
The Washington Post – December 11, 2019

A proposed amendment to Virginia’s Constitution could permanently gerrymander the commonwealth against the will of Virginia’s voters. By giving power to redraw district lines to a body — the Virginia Supreme Court — chosen by an illegally constituted former legislative majority, the amendment would allow the dead hand of the past to reconstitute itself forever, with little possibility of ever being uprooted again.

Because I believe the people should choose their elected representatives, I hope Virginia’s representatives reject the proposal.

Issues

Environment, Economy, Right to Work & Education

 

 

Environmental Priorities for Virginia Virginia Conservation Network Hosts 2019 General Assembly Preview.
By: Mercia Hobson
Alexandria Gazette – December 11, 2019

In preparation for the Virginia General Assembly, 2020 Session, the Virginia Conservation Network and its Network partners convened Saturday, Dec. 7 in Richmond, for a preview of environmental issues in the coming session of the General Assembly. The group provided information for a collective approach to advancing policy.

There were nine watch parties across the state; including the one in Reston. Kyle Gatlin, state climate organizer at Virginia Conservation Network, emceed the event held at the National Wildlife Federation Reston Office. Great Falls Group Sierra Club Virginia and Choose Clean Water Coalition hosted the location.

Yes Virginia, your economic future looks good. But watch out for storm clouds.
By: Kimberly Pierceall
The Virginian-Pilot – December 15, 2019

In their latest State of the Commonwealth report, Old Dominion University economists and researchers often get poetic discussing Virginia’s largely optimistic economic future in light of numerous known unknowns and those that can’t even be guessed at.

“A storm is coming, and when we come through it, we will be different. How we prepare now for the storm will, in part, determine how resilient we are in times of economic trouble,” the report concludes.

Virginia Explained: The growing debate (and divide) on right to work
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – December 11, 2019

Incoming Democratic majorities in Virginia agree on a lot when it comes to labor policy. They’ve pledged to raise the minimum wage, address paid family leave and ban employment discrimination against LGBT people.

But one question has sharply divided the party and even drawn the attention of two leading Democratic presidential contenders: whether they should use their newfound power to repeal the state’s so-called right to work law.

Northam proposes $94 million boost for early childhood education
By: Mel Leonor
Richmond Times-Dispatch – December 10, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam is proposing an expansive investment in early childhood education that would increase the number of state-funded preschool slots for Virginia 4-year-olds and create an incentive program for early childhood educators.

Northam’s plan for infants, toddlers and preschoolers has a $94.8 million price tag and is part of his two-year budget proposal to be unveiled Dec. 17. Northam has touted early childhood education as a top priority for his administration, one that he says will level “the playing field” for Virginia families.

Feedback

The lead Curator for this post is Kerrie Thompson. If you have any content you would like to add to this post, submit it to kerrie.thompson@onair.cc.  See Terms of Service to learn about the guidelines curators use to evaluate submissions and forum comments.

X
December 3 to December 8, 2019December 2 to December 8, 2019

Summary

Federal

Trade deal presents political conundrum for Democrats
By: Allison Stevens
Virginia Mercury – December 3, 2019

WASHINGTON — With only a few legislative days left before Congress adjourns for the year, House Democrats are eager to show that they can legislate while also pursuing an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

A massive trade deal represents their best shot at showing they can do so — but passing it would hand Trump a major political victory as he heads into the election year.

Blocking the deal, on the other hand, would also exact a heavy political toll. If Congress doesn’t ratify the “new NAFTA,” Democrats may not have a major legislative achievement to point to on the campaign trail next year — which could open them up to GOP charges of inaction and an “obsession” with impeachment.

As impeachment inquiry goes to Judiciary Committee, the only Virginian on the panel calls the process ‘patently unfair’
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – December 4, 2019

It might’ve been his Thanksgiving-themed quip about the impeachment report being a “half-baked bird.” Maybe it was his movie analogy, suggesting Democrats have reached the “Empire Strikes Back” phase of their efforts to oust President Donald Trump, but the rebels will win in the end.

Whatever it was that Rep. Ben Cline, a Republican from Western Virginia’s 6th District, said on Fox News this week, it earned him a fan in the White House.

State Executive

On redistricting reform, Democrats must not yield to temptation
By: Bobby Vassar
Virginia Mercury – December 2, 2019

In Virginia, and across the country, the Democratic Party is currently wrangling over a consequential issue — and it’s not about impeachment or the 2020 presidential candidates. It’s what to do about gerrymandering.

I have long believed in comprehensive redistricting reform in Virginia, and have admired the work of many organizations working toward this goal — including OneVirginia2021 (full disclosure: I serve on the board) and the group founded by former Attorney General Eric Holder, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. The NRDC is billed as a centralized hub for executing a comprehensive redistricting strategy that shifts the redistricting power, creating fair districts where Democrats can compete.

From poll taxes to segregated train cars, Virginia panel recommends repealing 98 Jim Crow-era laws
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – December 5, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam asked state lawmakers Thursday to repeal 98 racist, Jim Crow-era laws that are still on the books in Virginia — legislation that charted the state’s policy of Massive Resistance to school desegregation, mandated segregated public transportation and blocked minorities from voting.

The legislation was identified by a commission Northam appointed in June as part of his efforts to make amends after a racist photo was found on his medical school yearbook page. The group formally presented their recommendations in a report released Thursday.

From poll taxes to segregated train cars, Virginia panel recommends repealing 98 Jim Crow-era laws
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – December 5, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam asked state lawmakers Thursday to repeal 98 racist, Jim Crow-era laws that are still on the books in Virginia — legislation that charted the state’s policy of Massive Resistance to school desegregation, mandated segregated public transportation and blocked minorities from voting.

The legislation was identified by a commission Northam appointed in June as part of his efforts to make amends after a racist photo was found on his medical school yearbook page. The group formally presented their recommendations in a report released Thursday.

Issues

Environment

What’s not to like about biomass? Deforestation, pollution and overpriced power.
By: Ivy Main
Virginia Mercury – December 2, 2019

What if you could get your electricity from a fuel that destroys forests, produces more air pollution than coal, and is priced higher than alternatives?

“Wow, sign me up!” you would not say, because as a sane person you don’t like deforestation, pollution and overpriced power.

Also, because you are not Dominion Energy Virginia. Dominion burned wood at one power plant from 1994 until last year; converted three small coal plants to wood-burning in 2013; and burns wood along with coal at its Virginia City coal plant. This “biomass” energy makes up about one percent of the electricity Dominion sells to Virginia ratepayers, according to its most recent IRP.

In Virginia, Union Hill and racial tensions have put environmental justice back on the map
By: Sarah Vogelsong
Virginia Mercury – December 5, 2019

In 1991, a federal court in Virginia found that in King and Queen County, local landfill siting “had a disproportionate impact on black residents.” Three years later, a General Assembly-commissioned study concluded that statewide, minorities bore “a disproportionate share of any burdens or risks” related to living next to a landfill.

They were unusual official acknowledgements from Virginia of what is today widely accepted knowledge: that minorities and the poor are much more likely to face environmental hazards than their white or wealthy counterparts.

Military Housing

The government isn’t ensuring safe housing for military families, watchdog report says
By: Allison Stevens
Virginia Mercury – December 3, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is failing to ensure that all military families have access to safe, quality housing, according to a new government watchdog report.

The U.S. Department of Defense oversees private-sector developers who build, renovate, manage and maintain military housing.

But it doesn’t collect data about military housing conditions reliably or consistently and includes unreliable and misleading data in reports to Congress, according to the report, which was released by the General Accountability Office.

Feedback

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November 25 to December 1, 2019November 25 to December 2, 2019

OnAir:  What’s streaming on 1/14/20

US House:  Rob Wittman (R)

Governor:  Ralph Northam (D)

Senate Minority LeaderDick Saslaw (D)

VA DelegateJennifer Carroll Foy (D)

Interview (5:07):  David Bulova (D)

SupporterKaye Kory (D)

2019 Election:  Competitive Districts

2019 ElectionVA House 10

Video (2:15)About Virginia onAir 

Summary

OnAir:  What’s streaming on 1/14/20

US House:  Rob Wittman (R)

Governor:  Ralph Northam (D)

Senate Minority LeaderDick Saslaw (D)

VA DelegateJennifer Carroll Foy (D)

Interview (5:07):  David Bulova (D)

SupporterKaye Kory (D)

2019 Election:  Competitive Districts

2019 ElectionVA House 10

Video (2:15)About Virginia onAir 

Federal

Deep impeachment divisions dominate Rep. Beyer’s town hall in Northern Virginia
By: Allison Stevens
Virginia Mercury – November 22, 2019

Dems battle Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over student loan forgiveness
By: Allison Winter
Virginia Mercury – November 27, 2019

A long-simmering feud between U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and congressional Democrats over student loan forgiveness is heating up as several hundred thousand borrowers continue to wait for help on loans they claim were fraudulent.

DeVos narrowly avoided a congressional subpoena earlier this month after a lengthy fight against the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor. Her critics in Congress say they still intend to haul her in for questioning over the Trump administration’s controversial loan forgiveness rule, and some lawmakers are pushing an effort to upend her policy entirely.

State Executive

Shad Plank: Virginia attorney general’s office gives taxpayers a good bargain, JLARC says
By: Dave Ress
Daily Press – November 25, 2019

Virginia gets a deal from its in-house law firm, the Office of the Attorney General, a study by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission found.
The office has been a target of some General Assembly Republicans in recent years because of Attorney General Mark Herring’s decisions not to appeal court rulings against the state’s same-sex-marriage ban or redistricting, as well as its use of outside attorneys on some cases.
JLARC found the office billed state agencies some $2.7 million less than it could have, and that its lawyers’ hourly fees are well below private law firms’ charges. The office’s lawyers billed at a $141 per hour rate, while the median for private attorneys providing legal advice and handling non-routine litigation was $292 an hour.

State Legislature

Five women to watch in the 2020 Virginia General Assembly
By: Bob Lewis
Virginia Mercury – November 25, 2019

Never have women enjoyed as much electoral success in Virginia as they achieved in this month’s legislative election.

A record 30 women (six newly elected) will hold seats in the House of Delegates when the 2020 session convenes. And, for the first time in 400 years, a woman will preside as speaker over the oldest continuously-meeting legislative body in the Western Hemisphere.

Issues

Environment

Rep. McEachin rolls out ambitious climate bill
By: Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – November 22, 2019

Virginia Rep. Don McEachin, D-Richmond, introduced ambitious legislation this week that would commit the United States to achieve a 100% clean energy economy by 2050.

McEachin’s bill, which has more than 150 co-sponsors in the House and the backing of national environmental groups, has been in the works for months. It would require economy-wide net-zero greenhouse gas emissions; it would also direct federal agencies to draft plans to clamp down on emissions that contribute to climate change.

Environmental Groups Were Top Donors In Virginia’s Elections. Now, They Want Results
By: Daniella Cheslow
WAMU 88.5 – November 25, 2019

Virginia Democrats swept into power in the state’s General Assembly on campaign promises to tighten gun laws. But another force went almost unnoticed: environmental groups, whose donations made them the largest single-issue donors in this year’s elections. They gave $6 million, mostly to Democrats, which is more than gun control and abortion rights advocates combined. Now, these green groups want sweeping change.

Some of the donations came from national organizations like the League of Conservation Voters, Michael Bloomberg’s Beyond Carbon Fund and the Sierra Club. But the largest single contribution — a third of all environmental campaign contributions in Virginia — came from one donor: Charlottesville-based hedge fund manager Michael Bills. He gave more than $2 million independently and through his political action committee, Clean Virginia. He donated specifically to candidates who refused to accept contributions from the power company Dominion Energy. He also supports banning public utilities from political contributions, an idea that’s failed to pass in past legislative sessions but which could get traction with the new Democratic majority.

Gambling

Sports betting, addiction resources and the mob: 5 more takeaways from Virginia’s big gambling report
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury

Monday’s presentation covered the big picture, but there’s a lot more to parse in the 202-page gambling report Virginia lawmakers received this week.

The report predicts it would take four years for the first casinos to open, but Virginia has more immediate options if it wants to get into the rapidly evolving world of sports betting.

While the online-only model would eliminate the need for brick-and-mortar facilities, the report said, it would create fewer jobs and have less of an economic impact.

Politics and Food

How to bridge the political divide at the holiday dinner table
By: Andrew J. Hoffman
Virginia Mercury – November 27, 2019

We are a divided nation; that is an understatement. What’s more, we increasingly hear we are living in our own “bubble” or echo chamber that differing views cannot penetrate. To correct the problem, many are calling for people to reach out, to talk and above all, to listen. That is all well and good, but what are we supposed to talk about? We can’t hope to listen without a topic for finding common ground.

In my view, there are (at least) two prominent issues in this political season that can serve as a bridge across our political divides. The first is that the political and economic system needs fixing because it favors those with special status or access. The second is that income inequality is reaching an intolerable level.

Feedback

The lead Curator for this post is Virginia onAir. If you have any content you would like to add to this post, submit it to virginia@onair.cc.  See Terms of Service to learn about the guidelines curators use to evaluate submissions and forum comments.

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November 18 to November 24, 2019November 18 to November 24, 2019

2019 Election: VA House 13 – Danica Roem (D) received 12,055 votes  and Kelly McGinn (R) 9,463 votes

District Map:  Northern Virginia House Districts – 28 Democrats and 2 Republicans – GMU onAir Chapter

Interview (5:07): Karrie Delaney (D) – Delegate for House District 67 – interviewed by Kerrie Thompson

Supporter:  Delegate Kaye Kory (D) – says she proud of the Mason students curating the Virginia onAir Hub

Event: Fairfax Redistricting Forum – 11/17/19 – sponsored by LWV of Fairfax and One Virginia2021 

Video (2:15): About Virginia onAir – Elections & Governance Hub and onAir Chapters – “Learn. Discuss. Engage.”

Summary

2019 Election: VA House 13 – Danica Roem (D) received 12,055 votes  and Kelly McGinn (R) 9,463 votes

District Map:  Northern Virginia House Districts – 28 Democrats and 2 Republicans – GMU onAir Chapter

Interview (5:07): Karrie Delaney (D) – Delegate for House District 67 – interviewed by Kerrie Thompson

Supporter:  Delegate Kaye Kory (D) – says she proud of the Mason students curating the Virginia onAir Hub

Event: Fairfax Redistricting Forum – 11/17/19 – sponsored by LWV of Fairfax and One Virginia2021 

Video (2:15): About Virginia onAir – Elections & Governance Hub and onAir Chapters – “Learn. Discuss. Engage.”

Federal

Most U.S. aircraft carriers sit idle in Virginia ports
By: Allison Winter
Virginia Mercury – November 18, 2019

Monday November 18, 2019

The USS Gerald R. Ford is shown underway on its own power for the first time while leaving Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News on April 8, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni, via Wikipedia.)

More than half of the nation’s aircraft carriers are not currently ready for deployment, as the massive ships sit off the Virginia coastline in various states of repair or testing.

The U.S. Navy has 11 aircraft carriers, more than any other nation. Six of them are currently docked off the Virginia coast and only one is ready to deploy. Another is undergoing maintenance on the Pacific coast. The hulking warships serve as mobile airbases at sea and can allow U.S. forces to fly into areas swiftly, without a complicated process of getting permission to set up on land in neighboring nations.

Buttigieg leading in donations from Virginia
By: Adam Hamza
Capital News Service – November 19, 2019

With support from former Vice President Al Gore and other prominent Virginia residents, Pete Buttigieg has raised more money in individual donations from the commonwealth than any other candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has received nearly $950,000 from Virginians, according to data from the Federal Election Commission. That puts him ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden (about $750,000) and U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont (less than $400,000).

The money certainly helps Buttigieg’s campaign, but it may not affect his chances much in Virginia, said Miles Coleman, the associate editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a blog published by the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. (On Monday, Buttigieg became the first presidential candidate to file for the Democratic primary in Virginia, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported).

State Executive

Virginia election officials recommend 45 days of early voting
By: By Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – November 18, 2019

The Virginia State Board of Elections is recommending that the state create a 45-day early voting window for the 2020 elections, a significant expansion of the seven-day window the General Assembly authorized earlier this year.

Virginia has gradually widened its election laws to give voters more leeway to cast absentee ballots before Election Day. However, voters have had to give an excuse for why they can’t make it to their polling place, such as travel, work, a disability or military duty.

Northam plans to pitch a tuition-free community college program. How much will it cost?
By: Mel Leonor
Richmond Times-Dispatch – November 21, 2019

Virginia lawmakers are preparing for the state’s next budget cycle — one likely to be rife with new asks from empowered Democrats, including a free community college proposal from Gov. Ralph Northam.

Senate lawmakers on Thursday considered a budget recommendation from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, which called for a $20 million investment in community colleges in budget year 2021 and a $30 million investment in 2022.

The figures were part of a preliminary presentation in Harrisonburg, where Senate lawmakers began to square broad agency funding requests and state revenue outlooks.

State Legislature

Now that the Democrats own the 2021 redistricting, will they resist the temptation to derail it?
By: Bob Lewis
Virginia Mercury – November 18, 2019

Has Virginia’s new Democratic legislative majority painted itself into a corner on redistricting? Can Democrats resist the temptation to derail a long-sought nonpartisan reapportionment commission already well on the road to becoming real?

Back when they were the minority party (just two weeks ago), Democrats criticized majority Republicans for muscling brazenly partisan redistricting bills through the legislature that gave the GOP significant numerical advantages in the new congressional and state district boundaries. Republicans had similarly cried foul for the whole 20th century until they secured their first unchallenged legislative majority in 1999.

A kinder, gentler Todd Gilbert? ‘It depends on the day and the issue.’
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – November 19, 2019

Tuesday November 189, 2019

AP Photo from Advocate

Over the weekend, deposed Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates chose Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, to lead them through their next two years in the minority.

Of the two leaders reportedly under consideration (Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, also made a bid), Gilbert was the more conservative choice. He continued to oppose Medicaid expansion last year and is known for combative debate on the House floor and in committee meetings. It was his persistent questioning of Del. Kathy Tran, D-Fairfax, which yielded the infamous video that ignited a furor over her failed bill on late-term abortion restrictions.

First bills of the 2020 session: early voting, universal background checks, LGBTQ non-discrimination and casinos
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – November 19, 2019

• HB1, filed by Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, would allow no excuse, in-person absentee voting.

• HB2, filed by Del. Ken Plum, D-Fairfax, would mandate universal background checks.

• HB3, filed by Del. Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond, would prohibit housing discrimination against LGBTQ people. (Which, yes, is currently legal.)

• And Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Prince William, filed a resolution, HJ1, to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

Social issues will loom large in Virginia Senate
By: Norman Leahy
The Washington Post – November 21, 2019

A measure sure to set the pyrotechnics off right: Saslaw’s proposed constitutional amendment on “personal reproductive liberty.”
The very clever use of the right’s phrasing (how can anyone oppose personal liberty?) masks a much larger political purpose. According to the amendment’s summary, it would add a section to the Virginia constitution:

… establish the individual right to personal reproductive autonomy. The amendment prohibits the denial or infringement upon this right unless justified by a compelling interest of the Commonwealth and achieved by the least restrictive means.

Issues

LGBTQ+ Rights

From housing to restaurants to school bathrooms, Virginia LGBTQ advocates plan broad 2020 agenda

By Graham Moomaw

Virginia Mercury-November 19, 2019

With Republicans in control of the General Assembly, LGBTQ rights advocates trying to pass stronger anti-discrimination laws in Virginia knew they had to think small.

After Election Day, that’s all over.

In an interview, James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, said his group is widening its policy agenda in preparation for the first Democratic-controlled legislative session in more than two decades.

Criminal Justice Reform

Group seeks abolition of death penalty in Va. as Democrats prepare to take control of legislature

By Frank Green

Richmond Times-Dispatch-November 19, 2019

With Democrats soon to be in control of the state legislature, the group Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is seeking an end to the death penalty in Virginia.

The group announced Monday that 13 Virginians who have lost a family member to homicide are asking the General Assembly to make Virginia the 22nd state to abolish the death penalty.
One of them will be speaking at a news conference in Richmond on Thursday.

 

Higher Education and Technology

‘The demand for talent is tremendous’ — Virginia boosts investment as push for high-tech degrees gains speed

By Michael Martz

Richmond Times-Dispatch-November 20, 2019

Virginia’s commitment to invest in educating high-tech talent won the sweepstakes for Amazon’s second headquarters a year ago, but now some big bills are coming due in the next state budget to help public colleges and universities deliver on the promise.

The $1.1 billion, 20-year plan will require an additional $30.4 million in the two-year budget that Gov. Ralph Northam will present next month, on top of $16.6 million in annual funding already assumed in the budget.

The state money will go to at least 11 higher-education institutions to add at least 31,000 degrees in computer sciences and related fields to feed graduates into the “tech talent investment pipeline” that was central to the Amazon deal.

Fifteen Va. Superfund sites threatened by climate change, watchdog agency says
By: Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – November 20, 2019

Fifteen of the most contaminated sites in Virginia are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, according to a new report from a government watchdog agency.

The Government Accountability Office, an independent agency that works for the U.S. Congress, assessed how impacts of climate change — including flooding, storm surge, wildfires and sea level rise — might affect some of the most dangerous hazardous waste sites around the country. The agency looked at 1,336 “active” sites on U.S. EPA’s National Priorities List and 421 “deleted” sites where EPA had determined no further cleanup was needed.

Marijuana

Attorney General Mark Herring to host ‘Cannabis Summit’ ahead of 2020 session
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – November 19, 2019

Thursday November 21, 2019

Source: NBC 29.

Attorney General Mark Herring has invited state lawmakers to a “Cannabis Summit” next month that will feature policymakers from states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana and academics who study cannabis-related issues.

The Dec. 11 event hosted by a top Democratic official suggests cannabis reform will be a more serious topic in the 2020 legislative session than in years past. Virginia has authorized a limited medical cannabis program, but legislation to decriminalize or or legalize cannabis has gained no traction in Republican-controlled committees. In elections earlier this month, Democrats won enough seats to take control of the General Assembly for the first time in decades.

Medicaid

Medicaid expansion may be the most important thing the General Assembly has done in a generation
By: Brian Chiglinsky
Virginia Mercury – November 20, 2019

Making policy is often pretty bland and frustrating. Long hours and detailed analyses often lead to an endless spool of problems to solve, and results that can take decades to fully grasp. A hundred years ago, Max Weber called it the “strong and slow boring of hard boards,” and that’s not because he was particularly riveted by carpentry.

But every once in a while, things move fast and results come quickly. Medicaid expansion could very well be one of those rare situations. As more data accumulates and more studies come together, it’s beginning to look like the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is one of the most important advances in public health in nearly a generation.

Gun Sanctuaries

After Democratic victories, rural Virginia counties rush to declare themselves gun sanctuaries
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – November 20, 2019

In an overflowing meeting room, speakers repeatedly invoked the Virginia-born Founding Fathers who saw fit to enshrine firearms in the U.S. Constitution.

One man said the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump — which he suggested could be a “coup” — shows the need for an armed citizenry capable of standing up to tyranny. Another raised the possibility that, if Americans can’t keep their guns, they may one day have to “do like in Hong Kong,” where pro-democracy protesters are using improvised weapons like bows, firebombs and catapults to resist authorities

Health insurance

Study: Virginia workers’ health insurance premiums are among the highest in the country
By: https://www.virginiamercury.com/blog-va/study-virginia-workers-health-insurance-premiums-are-among-the-highest-in-the-country/
Virginia Mercury – November 21, 2019

A national study of health care costs released Thursday confirmed what many workers already know from looking at their pay stubs: Premiums and deductibles for employer-sponsored healthcare plans are rising faster than wages.

The average Virginia worker’s out of pocket cost amounted to nearly 11 percent of the state’s median income in 2018, up from just under 7 percent in 2008, according to the analysis of federal data The Commonwealth Fund released Thursday.

Feedback

The lead Curator for this post is Kerrie Thompson. If you have any content you would like to add to this post, submit it to kerrie.thompson@onair.cc.  See Terms of Service to learn about the guidelines curators use to evaluate submissions and forum comments.

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Nov. 4 to Nov. 10November 4 to 10, 2019 – VA News

Federal: Virginia Hates Tyrants: Senator Tim Kaine reflects on what it took to make his commonwealth bluer than Massachusetts

State Executive: Virginia Democrats win control of General Assembly, sealing Trump-era power shift;Va. Gov. Northam starts making plans for his new Democratic legislature

State Legislature: Voters give Democrats control of the General Assembly

Civil Rights: Democratic sweep in Virginia gives new life to Equal Rights Amendment

Energy: Democratic sweep sets up confrontation with corporate that has loomed over Virginia politics for a century

Gun Control: As Democrats triumph in Virginia, pro-gun groups confront ‘worst scenario’

 

Summary

Federal: Virginia Hates Tyrants: Senator Tim Kaine reflects on what it took to make his commonwealth bluer than Massachusetts

State Executive: Virginia Democrats win control of General Assembly, sealing Trump-era power shift;Va. Gov. Northam starts making plans for his new Democratic legislature

State Legislature: Voters give Democrats control of the General Assembly

Civil Rights: Democratic sweep in Virginia gives new life to Equal Rights Amendment

Energy: Democratic sweep sets up confrontation with corporate that has loomed over Virginia politics for a century

Gun Control: As Democrats triumph in Virginia, pro-gun groups confront ‘worst scenario’

 

Federal

Virginia Hates Tyrants: Senator Tim Kaine reflects on what it took to make his commonwealth bluer than Massachusetts.

By Edward Isaac Dovere

The Atlantic-November 7, 2019

Life under President Donald Trump has Tim Kaine thinking a lot lately about the Book of Job. The results of last night’s election in Virginia, where Kaine is a U.S. senator, had him thinking of Job too.

“He thought, I’d been such a good person. So is it just all pointless? I’m going to suffer just pointlessly,” the onetime missionary paraphrased the story for me, sitting in his office on Capitol Hill and reflecting on the election. What Job experienced is not unlike what the country is going through, Kaine was telling me. “There’s been pain and there’s going to be more, in my view. But I think the outcome is going to be: We held fast to our principles. We’re sadder but wiser, but we held fast to our principles. And we’ve continued to show the ability to move forward.”

State Executive

Va. Gov. Northam starts making plans for his new Democratic legislature

By Laura Vozzella and Gregory S. Schneider

The Washington Post-November 6, 2019

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) used a Cabinet meeting Wednesday to showcase all he expects to get done with a state government under Democratic control for the first time in a generation.

Northam, still buoyant after his party wrested control of the General Assembly from Republicans on Tuesday, assembled his team in a ceremonial meeting room in the State Capitol, instead of the workaday Patrick Henry Building, where they typically meet.

“Virginia spoke and we’re going to listen and we’re going to take action,” said Northam, who is halfway through is four-year term.

State Legislature

Voters give Democrats control of the General Assembly

By Patrick Wilson

Richmond Times-Dispatch- November 5, 2019

Fueled by President Donald Trump’s unpopularity, Virginia voters on Tuesday handed control of the state’s General Assembly to Democrats, setting up the most progressive legislature in modern times.

Democrats have not held both the state House and Senate and the governor’s mansion in 26 years, and Tuesday’s results give them power to pass an agenda and allow Gov. Ralph Northam to sign his party’s bills into law.

Democrats celebrated across the state Tuesday night. Their momentum began two years ago when Democrats flipped 15 seats in the House of Delegates.

Virginia Democrats win control of General Assembly, sealing Trump-era power shift
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – November 6, 2019

Virginia Democrats won enough seats in Tuesday’s elections to take control of the General Assembly next year, ushering in an era of unified Democratic governance for the first time in a quarter-century.

Powered by a spike in voter turnout for a legislative election year, Democrats gained at least eight seats, locking in majorities in both the state Senate and the House of Delegates.

Issues

Civil Rights

Democratic sweep in Virginia gives new life to the Equal Rights Amendment

By Gregory Krieg

CNN-November 6, 2019

The coming Democratic takeover of the Virginia legislature has cleared the path for the state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which would ban discrimination on the basis of sex and guarantee equality for women under the Constitution.

Earlier this year, the state Senate voted to advance the ERA. But the bipartisan progress was halted in the House of Delegates, where Republican opponents blocked a full floor vote. The new Democratic legislative majority is poised now to finish the job — and make Virginia the critical 38th state to back the amendment.

As they celebrated their sweep in Richmond, top Virginia Democrats promised the ERA would be a priority in 2020.

Energy

DEMOCRATIC SWEEP SETS UP CONFRONTATION WITH CORPORATE GIANT THAT HAS LOOMED OVER VIRGINIA POLITICS FOR A CENTURY

By Lee Fang

The Intercept-November 6, 2019

THE STUNNING VICTORY on Tuesday by Virginia Democrats, seizing control of both chambers of the state legislature and bringing the state under unified party control, sets up a new confrontation with a powerful adversary: Dominion Energy.

Dominion Energy, the privately owned utility company, has long cast a shadow across the state, buying favor in both parties as the most generous donor in state history, writing its own lax regulatory rules, and funneling consumer bills into billions of dollars of investor dividends and executive compensation.

The election results mark a turning point that will likely transform into a brutal legislative fight in 2020 over the future of energy policy, corporate consolidation, and climate change.

Gun Control

As Democrats triumph in Virginia, pro-gun groups confront ‘worst scenario’

By Graham Moomaw

Virginia Mercury-November 8, 2019

In a victory speech in Richmond Tuesday night, Shannon Watts, the founder of gun-safety group Moms Demand Action, finished by mentioning a get-out-the-vote tweet from the National Rifle Association. In the video posted a few days before Virginia’s General Assembly elections, a woman in an NRA hat said people who didn’t go vote to protect their gun rights should “pack your shit and git.”

“Tonight, all my thoughts and prayers go out to the NRA’s leaders and lapdogs,” Watts told the jubilant crowd as Virginia’s statehouse flipped blue. “And tomorrow, they can pack their shit and git.”

Feedback

The lead Curator for this post is Kerrie Thompson. If you have any content you would like to add to this post, submit it to kerrie.thompson@onair.cc.  See Terms of Service to learn about the guidelines curators use to evaluate submissions and forum comments.

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