Oct. 28 to Nov. 3

Federal: In 2018, nearly 7,000 absentee ballots arrived too late to be counted

State Executive: Gov. Northam announces grant awards for addiction recovery programs at eight Virginia colleges

State Legislature: Virginia state elections offer early political test ahead of 2020 US race

Health and Safety: Record drug overdose deaths projected in Virginia

Civil Rights: Equal Rights Amendment activists are eyeing a win in Virginia. Is now the time?

Campaign Finance: Massive money flows into Virgia as voters signal high interest

Elections: Is the anti-Trump suburban revolt escalating? Watch as Virginia votes on Tuesday

Education: A governor-appointed commission begins work on improving black history education in Virginia

Oct. 21 to Oct. 27, 2019

Federal: Northam kick off statewide investment program at event in Charlottesville

State Legislature: A multi-millionaire set out to counter Dominion. Now he’s the state’s biggest campaign donor.

Voter Guide: A Q&A with candidates in 18 Richmond-area legislative contests

Technology and Security: Wexton grills Zuckerberg on doctored Pelosi video; Riggleman won’t play ‘stump the dummy’

Education: Virginia’s spending on schools expected to rise by $596 million over two years

Criminal Justice: Black students bear brunt of enforcement as police file more disorderly conduct charges in schools

Campaign Finance: Pink in a field of blue: Female candidates bring in top donations

Oct. 14 thru Oct. 20, 2019

Federal: Federal Commission orders work stopped on Mountain Valley Pipeline

State Legislature: The Blue Wave Faces Its First Test After 2018

Virginia Republicans join with Democrats to codemn Trump’s Syrian troop withdrawal

Civil Rights: Virginia Beach will ask the General Assembly to ban conversion therapy

Redistricting: Not time to abandon redistricting reform

Unemployment: Virginia’s unemployment rate is lowest in 18+ years

Voter Turnout: Uptick in student absentee ballots might indicate higher turnout

 

 

Oct. 7 to Oct. 13, 2019

Federal: Supreme Court denies appeal of eminent domain for Mountain Valley Pipeline

State Executive: Northam announces $8.79M for community-based justice programs

State Legislature: Mass shooting takes center stage in Virginia Beach State Senate campaign

Economy: This county has the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia

Healthcare: VCU will halt lawsuits against patients for unpaid bills

Environment: For decades, maple syrup was one of Virginia’s best-kept secrets. Now climate change may spell its end.

Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, 2019

Federal: Virginia Department of Corrections weighs prison nursery for new mothers

State Executive: Attorney General Mark Herring supports legalizing recreational marijuana

State Legislature: Chesterfield GOP kicks Sen. Amanda Chase out of the county party

Civil Rights: Judge upholds Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound, waiting period for abortions

Environment: Virginia’s Dominion Energy to Invest $594 Million in Clean Energy

Education: School accreditation stagnant across state, but Richmond sees some improvement

Sept. 23 to Sept. 29, 2019

Federal: Republican leaders accuse Northam of breaking deal on Medicaid work rules

State Legislature: Luria, McEachin and Spanberger join calls for impeachment inquiries

Higher Education: How Virginia’s new student loan ombudsman helps borrowers

Environment: Critics warn Trump EPA’s new coal-ash plan will let polluters off the hook

Abortion: Report: Abortion Rate Drops in Virginia, More than Almost Any Other State

Civil Rights: Same-sex unions make up 4 percent of Virginia marriages

Sept. 16 to Sept. 22, 2019

State Executive: Justin Fairfax lawsuit aims to settle scores, but it could open new chapter in Virginia politics

Issues: Virginia Governor Issues Executive Order for State’s Renewable Energy Goal: 100% by 2050

 

Sept. 9 to Sept.15, 2019

Federal: 3 couples are suing Virginia after being denied marriage licenses because they refused to disclose their race

Executive: Northam names ODU’s Janice Underwood as Virginia’s first diversity officer

General Assembly:
Will the anti-Trump wave that powered two years of Democratic wins flow into Virginia’s unusual off-off-year elections?

Issues: As cleanup deadline looms, Virginia mulls pushing Chesapeake Bay Act’s reach westward

Sept. 2 to Sept. 8, 2019

Featured Article: Cheat sheet: The House and Senate races most likely to decide control of Virginia’s statehouse

Federal:The Shocking Paper Predicting the End of Democracy

Executive: Virginia Republicans thought calling Ralph Northam ‘Gov. Blackface’ would help them. That’s changed.

General Assembly:  Republicans fear drubbing in next round of redistricting

Agriculture:
‘A small renaissance’: Pawpaws, George Washington’s favorite fruit, seeing a resurgence

Health and Safety: Virginia deaths rising despite opioid overdose drug spending

Education: Seventeen Questions Every College Should Be Asking

Aug. 26 to Aug. 31, 2019

Featured Article:
Va. military families are living with mold and pests. Will Congress fix it?

Virginia onAir:
Tim O’Shea, Executive Director of Democracy, publishes first update

Federal:
When You’re Not the ‘Pick of the Establishment’

Executive: 

Dominion earned $278 million more than permitted in 2018, regulators find

General Assembly:
What happens if voters spell Del. Nick Freitas’ name wrong during his write-in campaign
‘Willing to take the political risk’: Del. Ibraheem Samirah explains his brash brand of activist politics

Education:
Decades after Brown decision, Virginia is still grappling with school segregation

Health:
Virginia Department of Health issues warning on vaping illness

August 19 thru 25, 2019

Featured Article
Virginia finance chief says recession likely: ‘We just need to be prepared’

Executive
In effort to ‘modernize’ agency, DEQ is hampered by lack of funding, outdated laws, report finds

Governor Ralph Northam:
‘Farmer’ Northam says Trump’s trade war has cut profits for growers

General Assembly
3 laws that could cut homicides 36 percent and more numbers on guns in Virginia

Virginia Groundwater:
In James City County, a water crisis by 2.83 million (gallon) cuts

Student censorship
Frederick School Board tightens oversight of student publications

Environment
Why the Mountain Valley Pipeline is uniquely risky
No moratorium on solar projects in Culpeper County

Fort Monroe 400th Anniversary
Virginia’s other 400-year anniversary

 

August 12 thru 18, 2019

Featured Article
Sentries, not ‘squad’: Moderate Dems ones to watch for 2020 

Federal:
Wittman shifts stance on background checks
Female Candidates May Finally Crush the ‘Electability Paradox’

Executive
Herring challenging Trump Administration immigration rule, ex-AG Cuccinelli

General Assembly
Virginia Incumbents and Their Challengers Often Have More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Why a Virginia Democrat says he launched a political fundraiser off of a mass shooting that was still unfolding

Health Care
Cleared to leave Virginia’s overcrowded mental hospitals, many patients have nowhere to go
Poll finds most Virginians approve of Medicaid expansion
Health officials have distributed 28,000 clean needles to prevent hep C and HIV, but the law allowing them sunsets next year.

Democracy and the Internet:
New book looks at digital culture’s impact on politics

Safety:
To stem killings, GOP lawmaker wants to boost violence intervention programs in Virginia

Universities:
Conservative activist rebukes Virginia Tech’s ‘leftist’ freshman orientation

 

Aug. 5 thru 11, 2019

Feature Article – Education:
Yearly cost of college increase was the smallest since 2000, new report finds

Federal:
Va. Dems to Mitch McConnell: Pass languishing gun control bill

General Assembly:
Trump renews calls for red flag laws … Va. GOP voted down earlier this year

Board of Elections member makes unsuccessful push to get Del. Nick Freitas on the ballot

Democracy:
The wrong US response to Russia and China may trigger a “new Cold War,” warns Stanford University’s Larry Diamond

Environment:
Getting in the way:’ Inside the standoff over the Mountain Valley Pipeline
DEQ orders work stopped on Mountain Valley Pipeline section
SCC partially approves Dominion rider that will increase bills
Northern Virginia continues to dominate advanced energy jobs, report shows

New Richmond Arena:
Richmond considers committing millions in tax revenue to build the state’s largest arena

 

July 29 thru Aug. 4, 2019

  • Why I Disrupted Trump’s Speech at Jamestown
  • ‘Unjustified and unreasonable’: Navy, Walmart, attorney general and legal aid workers oppose Dominion’s profit push
  • Virginian-Pilot alums launch statewide investigative reporting center
  • Virginia’s Board of Education is considering recommendations to ‘force the hand of the General Assembly’
  • Blue Ridge Caucus: Local GOP committee passes motion of no confidence in Riggleman
  • Black and Latino students may struggle with ‘unsustainable’ student debt, report says
  • Varshini Prakash and the Sunrise Movement’s plan for the Green New Deal
  • Trump shows he can take the high road. He just usually chooses not to.
  • Trump interrupted by state delegate’s protest at Jamestown as black lawmakers boycott president’s appearance
  • Hemp is legal. Marijuana isn’t. State forensic scientists say soon they’ll have tests to tell the two apart
  • Fort Monroe is better protected in the state’s hands, for now
  • Finding peace on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

July 22 thru July 28, 2019

  • ‘Send Him Back’; Va. Democrats say they’ll boycott Trump at Jamestown commemoration
  • ICE ordered her deportation. Instead she’s spent the last year living in a Richmond church. ‘I will not dare to put a foot outside’
  • Twenty-year high: Where Virginia police are making the most marijuana arrests
  • Coal-dependent counties facing ‘fiscal tsunami,’ report finds
  • Dominion’s new renewable programs are about limiting choice
  • As Democrats debate campaign finance reform, an intimate mountain retreat with corporate lobbyists continues
  • Mueller says report doesn’t exonerate Trump; Va. congressman says it’s time to ‘move on’Trump’s Interior Department is sidelining scientists, experts warn lawmakers; Virginia congressmen skip hearing
  • General registrars were given a raise, but some may not be seeing it
  1. 400 years of representative government in Virginia
  2. Will Reddit un-quarantine its biggest pro-Trump community? CEO Steve Huffman isn’t holding his breath.

July 15 to July 21, 2019

  1. In Appalachia, a massive forest is conserved, but mining can still proceed beneath its root
  2. It’s not the NRA’s money that sways Virginia politics: It’s the members.
  3. Dominion’s carbon cutting plans aren’t good enough
  4. Congressional Republicans mostly keep quiet on Trump’s tweets
  5. Virginia plans two new cross-state bus lines, citing success of Blacksburg-D.C. route
  6. House Insurrections Are Here to Stay
  7. Trump effect the top question in Virginia’s key elections
  8. Virginia’s community colleges will offer programs with guaranteed transfer credits next fall
  9. Bill to boost federal minimum wage passes House, likely to fizzle in Senate
  10. Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood

July 8 to July 14, 2019

  • Special session on guns: A big crowd, a quick adjournment, a post-election punt and a confusing charade
  • Gerrymandering fights aren’t over, as states ready remedies
  • Gun control special session: Here’s what to expect
  • Kaine says it’s ‘completely bogus’ to compare his Virginia Tech panel to GOP’s gun plan
  • How will GOP’s get-out-of-Dodge move play in November?
  • Rep. Scott on $15 minimum wage bill: ‘I’d love to campaign on it’
  • Republicans introduce bills restricting guns in government buildings
  • Students activism should shame officials into action
  • Virginia regains No. 1 ranking by CNBC of best states for business

July 1 to July 7, 2019

  • A Day of Sorrow for American Democracy
  • The important 2020 elections not talked about: state legislatures
  • ‘They want our state’: Virginia Republicans and NRA say gun control is just the start of upheaval
  • Elk reintroduction ignites backlash in Southwest Virginia
  • Board of Elections allows Kilgore on ballot
  • Thousands Take Advantage of New License Reinstatement Policy
  • Charlottesville pledges to become carbon neutral by 2050

June 24 to June 30, 2019

  1. We shouldn't get to precipice of disaster: Rep. Spanberger
  2. Poll suggests support for a Democratic majority in the General Assembly has fallen since last year
  3. Virginia’s immigrants making strong contribution to state economy
  4. The Boomers Ruined Everything
  5. Change Virginia’s ‘hush and hurry’ tendency on environmental regulation
  6. State approves new teacher education programs to fight shortage
  7. Bipartisan senators want Big Tech to put a price on your data
  8. Spanberger panel hears from farmers, stockmen
  9. After paperwork lapse, senior House Republican asks state board to put him on the ballot
  10. Kaine met privately with Northam ahead of visit with Va. congressional delegation. ‘It was a positive meeting’
  11. U.S. Senate passes border aid bill, heads to battle with House

June 17 to June 23, 2019

  • Why the last Democrat in the Va. legislature endorsed by the NRA says he now backs gun control efforts
  • The number one form of gun violence in Virginia isn’t homicide. It’s suicide
  • Supreme Court upholds Virginia’s ban on uranium mining
  • Supreme Court rejects Republicans’ appeal in gerrymandering case
  • Terry McAuliffe: What voters really care about isn't what obsesses Washington

June 10 to June 16, 2019

  • After Virginia Tech, survivors advocated for tighter gun laws. Instead they’ve gotten looser
  • Virginia delegation, like rest of U.S. House, splits on party lines on Trump subpoena fight
  • "It’s not a happy election": Primaries see low turnout and confusion over new district
  • Primary Tuesday: GOP delegate felled from the right; Democratic giant barely fends off progressive hopeful; and Morrissey wins (but not from jail this time)
  • Special session on guns could test Virginia Beach delegation
  • Do you have a primary to vote in?
  • VPAP Visualization: How often do voters from one party crash the other party's primary?
  • Democratic legislators call on court to overturn Union Hill permit
  • Solar is powering part of Danville’s resurgence

June 3 to June 9, 2019

> Del. Filler-Corn Awarded for Legislative Excellence - June 3
> McAuliffe Steps In As Virginia’s ‘Surrogate Governor’ For Democrats This Election Season - June 5
> Sen. Kaine: Disturbing pattern of deals with Saudi Arabia - June 6
> A Southwest Virginia primary streetfight mirrors Republican divisions statewide - June 7
> Virginia Explained: State’s primary process is ‘something of a free for all’

Oct. 28 to Nov. 3Oct. 28 to Nov. 3

Federal: In 2018, nearly 7,000 absentee ballots arrived too late to be counted

State Executive: Gov. Northam announces grant awards for addiction recovery programs at eight Virginia colleges

State Legislature: Virginia state elections offer early political test ahead of 2020 US race

Health and Safety: Record drug overdose deaths projected in Virginia

Civil Rights: Equal Rights Amendment activists are eyeing a win in Virginia. Is now the time?

Campaign Finance: Massive money flows into Virgia as voters signal high interest

Elections: Is the anti-Trump suburban revolt escalating? Watch as Virginia votes on Tuesday

Education: A governor-appointed commission begins work on improving black history education in Virginia

Summary

Federal: In 2018, nearly 7,000 absentee ballots arrived too late to be counted

State Executive: Gov. Northam announces grant awards for addiction recovery programs at eight Virginia colleges

State Legislature: Virginia state elections offer early political test ahead of 2020 US race

Health and Safety: Record drug overdose deaths projected in Virginia

Civil Rights: Equal Rights Amendment activists are eyeing a win in Virginia. Is now the time?

Campaign Finance: Massive money flows into Virgia as voters signal high interest

Elections: Is the anti-Trump suburban revolt escalating? Watch as Virginia votes on Tuesday

Education: A governor-appointed commission begins work on improving black history education in Virginia

Federal

In 2018, nearly 7,000 absentee ballots arrived too late to be counted

By Capital News Service/Aliviah Jones

Virginia Mercury-October 29, 2019

Virginia voters have already returned more absentee ballots in 2019 than in the November 2015 election — the last time all 140 seats in the General Assembly were up for reelection. In the last few elections there has been an uptick in absentee ballots, but not all returned ballots are counted.

A Virginia Department of Elections 2018 post-election report found that 6,771 absentee votes did not count in the 2018 election because they were returned to the registrar’s office after Election Day. Eleven were returned late in person and 6,760 were mailed late.

 

 

State Executive

Gov. Northam announces grant awards for addiction recovery programs at eight Virginia colleges

By C. Suarez Rojas

The News Virginian-October 30, 2019

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday announced a $675,000 award for Virginia Commonwealth University to help eight other universities develop addiction recovery programs modeled on the school’s over the next two years.

Speaking to university delegations, recovery advocates and state health officials in front of the Executive Mansion, Northam said the use of federal grant money to combat the opioid epidemic will help college students with substance abuse disorders realize their full potential.

Rams in Recovery at VCU will serve as a model for programs at Longwood University, Radford University, University of Mary Washington, University of Richmond, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Union University, and Washington and Lee University.

State Legislature

Virginia state elections offer early political test ahead of 2020 U.S. race

By John Whitesides

Reuters-October 30, 2019

The off-year elections for the Virginia state legislature are often a quiet, little-noticed interlude before the frenzy of the U.S. presidential campaign. But not this year.

Democrats are pouring money and star power into races that could give the party complete control of the legislative and executive branches of Virginia state government for the first time in more than a quarter-century. State Republicans, meanwhile, say the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has fired up the Republican base.

The results next Tuesday could provide an early gauge of the staying power of the grassroots anti-Trump movement that propelled Democrats to victory in last year’s midterm congressional elections, particularly in suburban swing districts that are common in Virginia and will be vital again in the 2020 White House race.

Issues

Health and Safety

Record drug overdose deaths projected in Virginia

By Capital News Service/ Eric Everington

Virginia Mercury-October 29, 2019

After a spike in deaths during the first half of the year, Virginia officials are projecting a record number of drug overdose fatalities in 2019.

Data released Friday by Virginia’s chief medical examiner shows a big increase in deaths between January and June from overdoses of methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic prescription painkiller.

As a result, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner expects total drug fatalities in 2019 to approach 1,550 — a 4% jump from the previous year.

Civil Rights

Equal Rights Amendment activists are eyeing a win in Virginia. Is now the time?

By Sarah Rankin

The Virginian Pilot-October 27, 2019

As Carol Jenkins sees it, a nearly 100-year push to add the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is closer to reality now than it’s ever been.

That’s why there’s a “tremendous effort” underway to elect supporters of the long-stalled gender equality measure in Virginia’s elections next month, says Jenkins, co-president and CEO of the nationwide ERA Coalition. Advocates hope if they can pick up a few seats from Republican opponents, the once solidly conservative Southern state that’s voted down the ERA time and again might instead be the critical 38th to approve it.

Campaign Finance

Massive money flows into Virginia campaigns as voters signal high interest

By Gregory S. Schneider and Laura Vozzella

The Washington Post-October 29, 2019

Historic amounts of cash flooded Virginia campaigns in October, with several candidates raising more than $1 million in the span of three weeks — an amount once unthinkable even for a full year of campaigning in state legislative races.

Voter enthusiasm also appears to be high one week before the Nov. 5 election. State officials reported a surge in absentee voting, with about 132,000 ballots requested and 82,000 cast as of Tuesday morning. Absentee ballots can be returned through Election Day, but that total already exceeds the 78,000 requested and 62,000 cast in the same election cycle in 2015, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

Elections

Is the anti-Trump suburban revolt escalating? Watch as Virginia votes on Tuesday

By Steve Peoples and Alan Suderman

WJLA and the Associated Press- November 2, 2019

“I don’t want to have Washington, D.C., replicated in Virginia,” she told The Associated Press. “I’m running a campaign on state issues and getting state things done.”

Dunnavant’s dance speaks to the dire threat Trump has created for Republicans in Virginia and, more broadly, suburbs across America. This is where higher-educated and more affluent voters — particularly women — have revolted against Trump’s GOP. These areas leaned Republican in the past, but amid shifting demographics and Trump’s turbulent presidency, they have transformed into the nation’s premier political battleground.

Education

A governor-appointed commission begins work on improving black history education in Virginia

By Mechelle Hankerson

Virginia Mercury-October 29, 2019

The commission charged with making recommendations to create a more accurate and complete representation of black history in state education guidelines plans to finish its work by the time the state makes changes to the Standards of Learning again.

The 34-member Virginia Commission on African American History Education in the Commonwealth started about 10 months of work Monday at the University of Virginia.

Gov. Ralph Northam established the commission via executive order in August, the same day he spoke at an event to mark the arrival of the first slaves at Fort Monroe more than 400 years ago.

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
Oct. 21 to Oct. 27, 2019Oct. 21 to Oct. 27, 2019

Federal: Northam kick off statewide investment program at event in Charlottesville

State Legislature: A multi-millionaire set out to counter Dominion. Now he’s the state’s biggest campaign donor.

Voter Guide: A Q&A with candidates in 18 Richmond-area legislative contests

Technology and Security: Wexton grills Zuckerberg on doctored Pelosi video; Riggleman won’t play ‘stump the dummy’

Education: Virginia’s spending on schools expected to rise by $596 million over two years

Criminal Justice: Black students bear brunt of enforcement as police file more disorderly conduct charges in schools

Campaign Finance: Pink in a field of blue: Female candidates bring in top donations

Summary

Federal: Northam kick off statewide investment program at event in Charlottesville

State Legislature: A multi-millionaire set out to counter Dominion. Now he’s the state’s biggest campaign donor.

Voter Guide: A Q&A with candidates in 18 Richmond-area legislative contests

Technology and Security: Wexton grills Zuckerberg on doctored Pelosi video; Riggleman won’t play ‘stump the dummy’

Education: Virginia’s spending on schools expected to rise by $596 million over two years

Criminal Justice: Black students bear brunt of enforcement as police file more disorderly conduct charges in schools

Campaign Finance: Pink in a field of blue: Female candidates bring in top donations

Federal

Northam kicks off statewide investment program at event in Charlottesville

By Bryan McKenzie

The Roanoke Times-October 23, 2019

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam joined business people, investors, financiers and government officials in Charlottesville on Tuesday to kick off Opportunity Virginia, a statewide initiative to bring economic development into distressed and disadvantaged communities.

“I want to do everything I can to make sure Virginia stays the most business friendly state,” Northam told the crowd of about 300 gathered at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business to mingle, network and negotiate at the kickoff.

State Legislature

A multi-millionaire set out to counter Dominion. Now he’s the state’s biggest campaign donor.

By Ned Oliver

Virginia Mercury- October 21, 2019

Michael Bills, who helms a $1.5 billion hedge fund based in Charlottesville, said he was thinking like an investor when he decided to personally take on the state’s largest publicly regulated utility, Dominion Energy.

He viewed Dominion and its influence over state lawmakers as bad for the environment and bad for customers. And after looking up how much they were spending on campaign contributions, he decided he couldn’t pass up the potential return that might flow from overtaking the company with an influence campaign of his own.

Election 2019

Voter Guide: A Q&A with candidates in 18 Richmond-area legislative contests

The Roanoke Times-October 25, 2019

Ahead of the Nov. 5 legislative elections in which all 140 seats are at stake, the Richmond Times-Dispatch news department posed three questions to candidates running in 18 contests in the Richmond area.

Answers that exceeded 100 words were edited for length in Sunday’s print version, but run here at full length.

RTD Opinions asked candidates five additional questions. Look for excerpts of those responses in Sunday’s Commentary section and for the full responses this weekend on Richmond.com.

Issues

Technology and Security

Wexton grills Zuckerberg on doctored Pelosi video; Riggleman won’t play ‘stump the dummy’

By Allison Stevens

Virginia Mercury-October 24, 2019

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday that he was personally involved in his company’s handling of a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that portrayed her as drunk.

Zuckerberg’s comments came in response to questioning from U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton, a freshman Democrat from Northern Virginia’s 10th District.

Asked whether he played a role in deciding whether to keep up the video that went viral or to take it down, Zuckerberg paused and then said “yes.”

 

 

Education

Virginia’s spending on schools expected to rise by $596 million over two years

By Dave Ress

The Virginian-Pilot-October 22, 2019

One of the two big immovable objects in Virginia’s budget — the every-two-years update to public school costs — looks like it will be a lot bigger this year.

The state’s payments to local school boards will rise by $596 million over the next two years, assistant superintendent of public instruction Kent Dickey told the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday.

There are still some final adjustments to come based on updated school enrollment figures, retirement plan costs and projections for Lottery and sales tax revenue, which play key roles in funding schools. Two years ago, the projected increase at this stage was $492 million.

Criminal Justice

Black students bear brunt of enforcement as police file more disorderly conduct charges in schools

By Ned Oliver

Virginia Mercury-October 24, 2019

Advocates say one student was charged for singing a rap song on a school bus. Another for cutting in line. A third for running and shouting in the cafeteria.

The crime: disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor that’s drawing more and more kids in Virginia schools into the criminal justice system.

The number of disorderly cases filed by school resource officers increased by 45 percent over the past four years – up from 360 in 2016 to 523 this fiscal year, according to data provided by the state and analyzed by the Legal Aid Justice Center.

Campaign Finance

Pink in a field of blue: Female candidates bring in top donations

By McKenzie Lambert, Capital News Service

Henrico Citizen-October 27, 2019

With less than two weeks until the election, campaign finance reports show that not only are Democrats bringing in the most money, but Democratic women are leading the pack with donations received.

“Their strong fundraising is indicative of the incredible support they have, particularly from grassroots donors,” said Kathryn Gilley, communications director for Virginia House Democrats.

Gilley said more Democratic women in the House would provide a greater voice and support for female-friendly policies, including providing equal pay for women and increasing access to affordable child care and reproductive choices.

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
Oct. 14 thru Oct. 20, 2019Oct. 14 thru Oct. 20, 2019

Federal: Federal Commission orders work stopped on Mountain Valley Pipeline

State Legislature: The Blue Wave Faces Its First Test After 2018

Virginia Republicans join with Democrats to codemn Trump’s Syrian troop withdrawal

Civil Rights: Virginia Beach will ask the General Assembly to ban conversion therapy

Redistricting: Not time to abandon redistricting reform

Unemployment: Virginia’s unemployment rate is lowest in 18+ years

Voter Turnout: Uptick in student absentee ballots might indicate higher turnout

 

 

Summary

Federal: Federal Commission orders work stopped on Mountain Valley Pipeline

State Legislature: The Blue Wave Faces Its First Test After 2018

Virginia Republicans join with Democrats to codemn Trump’s Syrian troop withdrawal

Civil Rights: Virginia Beach will ask the General Assembly to ban conversion therapy

Redistricting: Not time to abandon redistricting reform

Unemployment: Virginia’s unemployment rate is lowest in 18+ years

Voter Turnout: Uptick in student absentee ballots might indicate higher turnout

 

 

Federal

Federal commission orders work stopped on Mountain Valley Pipeline

By Sarah Vogelsong

Virginia Mercury-October 16, 2019

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday ordered that all work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline stop except stabilization and restoration activities.

The order, outlined in a Tuesday letter from FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, follows on the heels of a federal appeals court ruling Friday that pressed pause on a key permit for the 300-hundred natural gas pipeline from West Virginia into Pittsylvania County issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until further review can be conducted.

State Legislature

The Blue Wave Faces Its First Test After 2018

By Russell Berman

The Atlantic- October 14, 2019

It’s a bit too on the nose: The prettiest street in Virginia’s capital city happens to be the one with all the monuments to men who fought for slavery, a boulevard lined with mansions on either side and, in the middle, towering tributes to the likes of Confederate leaders Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson.

The Lee statue is centered in a traffic circle, which means drivers literally have to go around this reminder of a disgraced era to get where they’re going. That is also an apt metaphor for the Democratic Party in Virginia, which is on the cusp of capturing full control of the state’s government for the first time in more than a quarter century.

Virginia Republicans join with Democrats to condemn Trump’s Syrian troop withdrawal

Robin Bravender

Virginia Mercury- October 16, 2019

The U.S. House on Wednesday approved a resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria.

The resolution passed the House with broad bipartisan support, delivering a stinging rebuke to the president. The final vote was 354-60.

All four of Virginia’s Republican congressmen joined six Democrats in the delegation in supporting the measure. (U.S. Rep. Don McEachin, D-4th, did not vote).

Issues

Civil Rights

Virginia Beach will ask the General Assembly to ban conversion therapy

By Mechelle Hankerson

Virginia Mercury-October 16, 2019

The state’s largest city unanimously added a request to its legislative agenda Tuesday night to ban conversion therapy in the state.

Virginia Beach’s only gay councilmember, Michael Berlucchi, and the city’s Human Rights Commission added the issue to the city’s package of statewide priorities.

Being the state’s largest city puts weight behind the effort, Berlucchi said, and it means the city council should set the tone for other localities.

Redistricting

No time to abandon redistricting reform

By The Virginian-Pilot Editorial Board

The Virginian-Pilot- October 20, 2019

BRIAN CANNON, the executive director of OneVirginia2021, spent years building grassroots support and a bipartisan coalition in Richmond to reform the commonwealth’s protocol for redistricting.

And if a recent interview with him in the Virginia Mercury is an indication, he doesn’t intend to concede that ground now that Virginia stands on the precipice of substantial and promising change.

Cannon spent years crisscrossing the commonwealth to explain the deeply flawed way in which lawmakers draw district lines that favor themselves and the party in power, rather than respecting community cohesion, natural geographic boundaries and ensuring equal representation to all.

Unemployment

Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Is Lowest in 18+ Years

By Capital News Service

Virginia Patch-October 17, 2019

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 2.8% to 2.7% in September, state and federal officials announced Friday.

Virginia was one of seven states where the unemployment rate fell last month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment in the commonwealth continues to be well below the national rate of 3.5%.

Voter Turnout

Uptick in student absentee ballots might indicate higher turnout

By Capital News Service

Virginia Mercury-October 15, 2019

In addition to hitting the books this fall, more Virginia college students may hit the polls next month.

Virginia Department of Elections data show that 10,923 students in Virginia have applied for absentee ballots this year. That’s more than double the number of absentee ballot applications (4,878) received in 2015, the last year all 140 seats were up for reelection in the General Assembly, according to Christopher Piper, commissioner of the department.

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Oct. 7 to Oct. 13, 2019Oct. 7 to Oct. 13, 2019

Federal: Supreme Court denies appeal of eminent domain for Mountain Valley Pipeline

State Executive: Northam announces $8.79M for community-based justice programs

State Legislature: Mass shooting takes center stage in Virginia Beach State Senate campaign

Economy: This county has the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia

Healthcare: VCU will halt lawsuits against patients for unpaid bills

Environment: For decades, maple syrup was one of Virginia’s best-kept secrets. Now climate change may spell its end.

Summary

Federal: Supreme Court denies appeal of eminent domain for Mountain Valley Pipeline

State Executive: Northam announces $8.79M for community-based justice programs

State Legislature: Mass shooting takes center stage in Virginia Beach State Senate campaign

Economy: This county has the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia

Healthcare: VCU will halt lawsuits against patients for unpaid bills

Environment: For decades, maple syrup was one of Virginia’s best-kept secrets. Now climate change may spell its end.

Federal

Supreme Court denies appeal of eminent domain for Mountain Valley Pipeline

By Laurence Hammack

The Roanoke Times- October 7, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will not hear an appeal from a group of Southwest Virginia landowners whose property was taken, before they were paid, for a controversial natural gas pipeline.

An order filed on the court’s first day of a new term gave no reason why it declined to consider the case, which involves land seized by eminent domain for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

A group of about a dozen landowners had hoped the court would overturn a ruling by a Roanoke-based federal judge, who last year gave Mountain Valley immediate possession of about 300 properties in a decision that cleared the way for tree-cutting to begin.

State Executive

Northam announces $8.79M for community-based justice programs

Augusta Free Press- October 11, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday the award of $8.79 million in grants to support local enforcement agencies and community-based criminal justice programs.

The grants were approved by the Criminal Justice Services Board, the policy board for the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), at its Oct. 10 meeting in Richmond.

Included in these awards is $3,769,370 in federal funding from the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program. Byrne JAG funds were awarded for a range of equipment needs and program support, including community-based gun violence prevention programs, trauma-informed care for local pretrial and probation officers and law enforcement officers, automated notification systems for court appearances, community policing, gang- and drug-related crime reduction, and youth engagement initiatives.

State Legislature

Mass shooting takes center stage in Virginia Beach State Senate campaign

By Mechelle Hankerson

Virginia Mercury- October 8,2019

Karen Havekost was in Virginia Beach’s Municipal Building 2 when a shooter opened fire in May.

“I walked out of the bathroom and saw the gunman on the other end of the hallway,” she says in a political ad released at the end of September. “I saw a coworker in the middle, and he looked at me and he yelled, ‘Go.’ So I was lucky, but not everyone was.”

Missy Cotter Smasal, Democratic candidate for the 8th State Senate District, sponsored and released the ad. She’s one of the first candidates in Virginia Beach to explicitly mention in campaign materials the mass shooting that left 13 people dead, including the gunman, and injured four more.

 

A majority of Virginia voters want Democrats to control legislature, CNU poll finds

By Laura Vozzella

The Washington Post- October 7, 2019

By a hefty margin, Virginia voters favor having Democrats take control of the General Assembly in November elections over leaving it in GOP hands, according to a poll released Monday by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

Fifty-three percent of likely voters say they want the Democrats to lead the legislature, the poll found, compared to 37 percent who’d like to keep Republicans in power.

The GOP is defending slim majorities in the state Senate (20-19) and House of Delegates (51-48), with one vacancy in each chamber. All 140 seats are on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Issues

Economy

This county has the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia

By Capital News Service

WTVR-October 7, 2019

The Staunton-Waynesboro area had the lowest unemployment rate in August of all metropolitan areas in Virginia — and one of the lowest in the country, according to data released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment in Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County was 2.5% in August. Of the approximately 390 metro areas in the U.S., only 21 had a lower unemployment rate.

All Virginia metro areas were below August’s national unemployment rate of 3.7%. Unemployment was below 3% in the Charlottesville, Winchester, Harrisonburg, Roanoke, Richmond and Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metro areas.

Healthcare

VCU will halt lawsuits against patients for unpaid bills

By Kaiser Health News

Virginia Mercury- October 10, 2019

VCU Health, the major Richmond medical system that includes the state’s largest teaching hospital, said it will no longer file lawsuits against its patients, ending a practice that has affected tens of thousands of people over the years.

VCU’s in-house physician group filed more than 56,000 lawsuits against patients for $81 million over the seven years ending in 2018, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of district court data. Those suits will end and VCU will increase financial assistance for lower-income families treated at the $2.16 billion system, according to Melinda Hancock, VCU’s chief administrative and financial officer.

Environment

For decades, maple syrup was one of Virginia’s best-kept secrets. Now climate change may spell its end.

By Sarah Vogelsong

Virginia Mercury- October 9, 2019

For years, the chirping of the spring peeper frogs was one of Valerie Lowry’s signals that the maple sugar season was coming to an end. Twice the frogs would emerge, filling the Highland County air with their familiar call, and twice they would quiet. On their third appearance, Lowry knew, the sap would stop running, and “you quit making syrup.”

But this past winter, that long-running pattern changed.

“This year, we heard the peep-frogs barely one time, and then the trees shut off,” she said. “It’s just a very different sequence.”

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September 30 thru October 6, 2019Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, 2019

Federal: Virginia Department of Corrections weighs prison nursery for new mothers

State Executive: Attorney General Mark Herring supports legalizing recreational marijuana

State Legislature: Chesterfield GOP kicks Sen. Amanda Chase out of the county party

Civil Rights: Judge upholds Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound, waiting period for abortions

Environment: Virginia’s Dominion Energy to Invest $594 Million in Clean Energy

Education: School accreditation stagnant across state, but Richmond sees some improvement

Summary

Federal: Virginia Department of Corrections weighs prison nursery for new mothers

State Executive: Attorney General Mark Herring supports legalizing recreational marijuana

State Legislature: Chesterfield GOP kicks Sen. Amanda Chase out of the county party

Civil Rights: Judge upholds Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound, waiting period for abortions

Environment: Virginia’s Dominion Energy to Invest $594 Million in Clean Energy

Education: School accreditation stagnant across state, but Richmond sees some improvement

Federal

Virginia Department of Corrections weighs prison nursery for new mothers

By Ned Oliver

Virginia Mercury-October 3, 2019

Virginia prison officials say they want to stop separating mothers who give birth while incarcerated from their newborns by opening a nursery in one of their women’s prisons.

The proposal is part of what the Department of Corrections is billing as a “gender responsivity plan” they’ll begin rolling out next month, when they’ll move 300 inmates across the state to consolidate operations and management of the four facilities that currently house women.

State Executive

Attorney General Herring supports legalizing recreational marijuana

By Jeff Raines

Loudon Times-Mirror-October 3, 2019

Attorney General Mark Herring tweeted his support for the legalization of recreational marijuana in Virginia Tuesday night.

“Virginians know we can do better. It’s time to move toward legal, regulated adult use,” Herring said in his retweet of a study that revealed more than half of Virginians agree with him.

The study, published by the University of Mary Washington last month, showed that 61% of Virginians support legalization of recreational marijuana, while 34% oppose legalization. The remaining respondents said they were uncertain.

 

State Legislature

Chesterfield GOP kicks Sen. Amanda Chase out of the county party

By Patrick Wilson

Richmond Times-Dispatch- September 30, 2019

The Chesterfield County GOP notified hometown state Sen. Amanda Chase on Monday that she was being kicked out of the local party following a series of controversies that upset other Republicans, including public attacks by Chase on Republican Sheriff Karl Leonard.

Chesterfield GOP Chairwoman Tara Carroll sent a letter to Chase on Monday saying that her refusal to adhere to requests the party made in a letter on Friday triggered Chase’s automatic removal. The action is mostly symbolic. Chase remains the Republican nominee on the Nov. 5 ballot against Democrat Amanda Pohl, but can no longer be a voting member of her local Republican unit.

 

Issues

Civil Rights

Judge upholds Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound, waiting period for abortions

By Ned Oliver

Virginia Mercury-September 30, 2019

A U.S. District Court judge issued a ruling Monday upholding Virginia laws mandating an ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period prior to receiving an abortion, but striking down portions of a law mandating hospital-style building standards in clinics.

“The Court recognizes that the waiting period following the ultrasound adds a logistical complexity to an existing myriad of hardships faced by those with limited resources and support networks,” wrote U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. But he said he wasn’t convinced they constituted “a substantial obstacle preventing women’s access to abortion in Virginia.”

Environment

Virginia’s Dominion Energy to Invest $594 Million in Clean Energy

By Emily Holbrook

Environment and Energy Leader- October 1, 2019

Dominion Energy has announced a new proposal filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC), which aims to give all customers greater access to clean energy sources. The proposal outlines expanded details of the first three years of implementation of the company’s 10-year plan to transform the state’s energy grid.

With SCC approval, the initiative will enhance service to customers through implementation of new technologies and a series of new programs developed with input from stakeholders and customers over the past several months.

 

Education

School accreditation stagnant across state, but Richmond sees some improvement

By Justin Mattingly

Richmond Times-Dispatch- September 30, 2019

Nearly the exact same number of Virginia schools meet the state’s standards of accreditation in the second year of a system that officials have trumpeted as being a better way to judge schools.
The Virginia Department of Education released its annual accreditation ratings Monday, revealing that 92% of the state’s public schools — 1,682 of 1,825 — are accredited this year, the same percentage as last year but higher than the 86% the year before. Last year, 1,683 schools met the state’s full standards.

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September 23 thru 29, 2019 1Sept. 23 to Sept. 29, 2019

Federal: Republican leaders accuse Northam of breaking deal on Medicaid work rules

State Legislature: Luria, McEachin and Spanberger join calls for impeachment inquiries

Higher Education: How Virginia’s new student loan ombudsman helps borrowers

Environment: Critics warn Trump EPA’s new coal-ash plan will let polluters off the hook

Abortion: Report: Abortion Rate Drops in Virginia, More than Almost Any Other State

Civil Rights: Same-sex unions make up 4 percent of Virginia marriages

Summary

Federal: Republican leaders accuse Northam of breaking deal on Medicaid work rules

State Legislature: Luria, McEachin and Spanberger join calls for impeachment inquiries

Higher Education: How Virginia’s new student loan ombudsman helps borrowers

Environment: Critics warn Trump EPA’s new coal-ash plan will let polluters off the hook

Abortion: Report: Abortion Rate Drops in Virginia, More than Almost Any Other State

Civil Rights: Same-sex unions make up 4 percent of Virginia marriages

Federal

Republican leaders accuse Northam of breaking deal on Medicaid work rules

By Michael Martz

Richmond Times-Dispatch- September 26, 2019

The political deal that allowed Virginia to expand its Medicaid program could be falling apart over a promised work requirement less than six weeks before voters decide control of the General Assembly.

While expansion of Medicaid is not imperiled, Republican legislative leaders said Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, is breaking faith with the political bargain they made with him last year by telling President Donald Trump’s administration that Virginia’s commitment to the work requirement depends on the federal government paying for services to help people find jobs.

State Legislature

Luria, McEachin and Spanberger join calls for impeachment inquiries

By Robin Bravender

Virginia Mercury-September 24, 2019

Virginia Reps. Elaine Luria, D-Virginia Beach, and Abigail Spanberger, D-Henrico, joined five other freshman House Democrats on Monday night saying that — if true — recent allegations leveled against President Trump “represent an impeachable offense.”

Rep. Don McEachin, D-Richmond, issued a separate statement joining calls for impeachment late Tuesday morning, leaving Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Newport News, as the only Democratic member of the Virginia delegation who has not voiced support for an inquiry.

Issues

Higher Education

How Virginia’s new student loan ombudsman helps borrowers

By Mechelle Hankerson

Virginia Mercury- September 23, 2019

Student loans: Just over a million Virginians have $38 billion worth of them and have made thousands of complaints about confusing rules, ballooning balances and misapplied payments to the federal government in the past three years.

Since January, students have been able to send concerns to Scott Kemp, the state’s first student loan ombudsman.

He’s worked on 107 cases in his first nine months.

Environment

Critics warn Trump EPA’s coal-ash plan will let polluters off the hook

By Allison Winter

Virginia Mercury-September 25, 2019

The Trump administration wants to give electric utilities a pass on proving they could finance a hazardous waste cleanup in the event of a Superfund disaster.

The proposed rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says electric utilities should not have to make “financial assurances” to cover the risk the industry will produce pollution it cannot afford to clean up. Virginia has more than 28 million tons of coal ash stored in pits in the state, according to the Virginia Conservation Network. Much of Virginia’s coal ash is part of a cleanup agreement the state legislature passed earlier this year, but some remains unaddressed. The state’s waterways can also be affected by coal ash in neighboring states.

Abortion

Report: Abortion Rate Drops in Virginia, More than Almost Any Other State

By Mallory Noe-Payne

WVTF Public Radio- September 23, 2019

A new report by the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that supports abortion rights, shows that between 2011 and 2017 the abortion rate in Virginia fell by 41.5 percent. Elizabeth Nash worked on the report.

“Compared to other states it was a very large drop,” says Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues manager at Guttmacher.

During that same time period, the nationwide drop in abortion rates was 20.1 percent.

Civil Rights

Same-sex unions make up 4 percent of Virginia marriages

By Patricia Cason

Virginia Mercury-September 27, 2019

Same-sex couples have made up 1 of every 26 marriages in Virginia since such unions were legalized in the commonwealth in 2014. In a half-dozen localities — ranging from cities such as Richmond and Norfolk to rural communities like Buena Vista — same-sex couples represent approximately 1 of every 15 marriages.

Norfolk, for example, recorded about 12,400 marriages from 2014 through 2018, according to the Virginia Department of Health. About 850 of those weddings were same-sex marriages, the agency’s data showed.

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September 16 thru 22, 2019Sept. 16 to Sept. 22, 2019

State Executive: Justin Fairfax lawsuit aims to settle scores, but it could open new chapter in Virginia politics

Issues: Virginia Governor Issues Executive Order for State’s Renewable Energy Goal: 100% by 2050

 

Summary

State Executive: Justin Fairfax lawsuit aims to settle scores, but it could open new chapter in Virginia politics

Issues: Virginia Governor Issues Executive Order for State’s Renewable Energy Goal: 100% by 2050

 

Federal

Sen. Mark Warner meets with Mason students to talk about college affordability
By: John Hollis
Mason News – September 13, 2019

His father paid for his first semester of college, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner said Friday, but that after that, he was on his own and took out student loans to pay for his education.

Speaking in The Hub Ballroom to an estimated 200 Mason students, faculty and staff, the two-term Virginia Democrat and former Virginia governor said he wants to ensure college remains affordable for all students. Warner highlighted legislation and other measures he supports that could ease the financial pinch many college students face nationwide amidst soaring tuition costs that can result in crippling student debt.

“We have to figure out how we can slow the growing costs of college education,” Warner said. “We’re not going to be able to stop it, but we can slow it and provide a series of other options.”

That likely came as welcome news to Mason President Anne Holton, whose introduction of Warner noted that more than a third of Mason students are first-generation college students, and almost a third of them are Pell Grant-eligible. Yet Mason boasts among the lowest student default rates in the state and virtually no disparity in graduation rates among both Pell Grant recipients and nonrecipients.

“That doesn’t mean, Sen. Warner, that we don’t have an affordability issue,” said Holton, a longtime friend of Warner, along with her husband, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). “We absolutely do because of the students we’re serving and the high quality of work we’re doing with them.”

Virginia’s senior senator noted that student debt is a detriment to the national economy because it often hinders young people from taking entrepreneurial risks, buying homes or even getting married.

“It’s a crushing burden,” Warner said.

Warner cited legislation currently under consideration that would lower student debt by refinancing loans “to a manageable level.” He also cited proposed “know before you go” legislation that would provide better financial guidance to prospective college students in the hopes of creating better informed consumers. He said he also supports increased Pell Grant funding and a more simplified financial aid system.

That’s just what Sarah Kurian had hoped to hear. The junior global affairs major from Reston, Virginia, said that she came to hear Sen. Warner because higher education affordability especially resonates with college students.

“It’s really an important issue for us,” she said. “So it was really nice to hear a politician talking about it.”

Not everybody went away completely satisfied, however. Sophomore government and international politics major Will McLauchlin asked Warner if he’d support legislation that would mandate free college for students and cancellation of all student debt, but didn’t get the answer for which he hoped.

Warner said it wouldn’t be responsible to leave his children a country that couldn’t afford to pay its bills.

“I don’t think there’s anything progressive about promising you free stuff if we can’t pay for it,” Warner said.

State Executive

Justin Fairfax lawsuit aims to settle scores, but it could open new chapter in Virginia politics

By Norman Leahy

The Washington Post-September 19, 2019

Let’s get the big issue out of the way: Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax’s (D) $400 million defamation lawsuit against broadcaster CBS isn’t likely to succeed.

Proving CBS acted with actual malice when it aired interviews between correspondent Gayle King and the two women who have accused Fairfax of sexual assault — Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson — is a tough standard to meet. Particularly for a public official such as Fairfax.

But the real question isn’t whether Fairfax is seeking redemption or even a big payday. It’s whether his lawsuit is intended to settle scores with some of his fellow Democrats for what he contends is a political hit job intended to derail Fairfax’s climb to the top of Virginia politics.

State Legislature

Incumbent state lawmakers in Western Virginia hold fundraising edge

By Amy Freidenberger

The Roanoke Times- September 16, 2019

Incumbent lawmakers in Western Virginia running for re-election to the General Assembly hold the fundraising advantage as they head into final stretch of the election season.

It doesn’t appear that the Del. Chris Hurst, D-Blacksburg, will have to spend as much money as he did two years ago when he competed in one of the most expensive races in Virginia to unseat a Republican incumbent. He raked in $135,686 during July and August and has $241,874 in the bank. Republican Forrest Hite raised $13,711 and has $19,239 on hand, according to campaign finance reports.

All 140 seats of the General Assembly are up for election on Nov. 5. Republicans are clinging to slim majorities in the House and Senate.

How State Races Starting This Fall Will Shape Congress for the Next Decade
By: Phillip Elliott
Time Magazine – September 5, 2019

But Chambers has been warning donors that Post’s efforts cannot be written off, lest Republicans suffer the way their opponents have at the state level. “What happens in a few state legislative races over the next year and a half will determine the balance of Congress for at least the next decade or longer,” Chambers says. “The importance of this cannot be overstated. It’s as serious as anything we’ve ever faced.”

Issues

Energy

Virginia Governor Issues Executive Order for State’s Renewable Energy Goal: 100% by 2050

By Associated Press

Time Magazine -September 17, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam has issued an executive order setting a goal for Virginia to produce 100% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050.

The order announced Tuesday says the goal will help address climate change, a challenge that “poses potentially devastating risk to Virginia.”

The order sets an intermediate goal of reaching 30% renewable energy by 2030. It also says the Commonwealth’s agencies and executive branch institutions will aim to procure at least 30 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2022.

Education

‘My community doesn’t have a voice’: Are Virginia schools meeting the needs of an increasing Hispanic population?

By Mechelle Hankerson

Virginia Mercury- September 16, 2019

Over the last five years, Jimmy Trujillo’s stepdaughter has moved through elementary and middle school in Richmond with average grades but below-average and stagnating English skills.

His daughter, now in high school, can only read, write and speak a handful of English words, according to her standardized language test results.  Without a better grasp of the English language, Trujillo knows his daughter’s chances of graduating are low.

The family’s experience is one of the most pressing concerns for schools with large and ever-growing populations of Hispanic and Latino students: accessing English-language education and navigating an unfamiliar system complicated by language barriers.

Better Government

Stoney fires Richmond’s top administrator after scathing inspector general report finds city hired 5 of her relatives

By Mark Robinson

Richmond Times-Dispatch- September 18, 2019

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney fired his top administrator Wednesday on the heels of a scathing report laying out how five of her relatives secured jobs with city departments she oversaw.

At least one — Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn’s daughter Alexis K. Glenn — received higher pay than nearly everyone in a similar job with the city even after the city’s Human Resources Department initially refused to sign off on it, according to the report by city Inspector General James Osuna that was sent to the City Council on Wednesday. Another relative, Cuffee-Glenn’s niece, received a background check and a job offer for a position paying $70,000 before ever filling out an application.

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September 9 thru 15, 2019Sept. 9 to Sept.15, 2019

Federal: 3 couples are suing Virginia after being denied marriage licenses because they refused to disclose their race

Executive: Northam names ODU’s Janice Underwood as Virginia’s first diversity officer

General Assembly:
Will the anti-Trump wave that powered two years of Democratic wins flow into Virginia’s unusual off-off-year elections?

Issues: As cleanup deadline looms, Virginia mulls pushing Chesapeake Bay Act’s reach westward

Summary

Federal: 3 couples are suing Virginia after being denied marriage licenses because they refused to disclose their race

Executive: Northam names ODU’s Janice Underwood as Virginia’s first diversity officer

General Assembly:
Will the anti-Trump wave that powered two years of Democratic wins flow into Virginia’s unusual off-off-year elections?

Issues: As cleanup deadline looms, Virginia mulls pushing Chesapeake Bay Act’s reach westward

Federal

3 couples are suing Virginia after being denied marriage licenses because they refused to disclose their race

By Hollie Silverman

CNN-September 10, 2019

Three couples are suing the state of Virginia to overturn a law that requires marriage applicants to disclose their race in order to get a marriage license.

“The requirement to identify by ‘race’ uses terms grounded in ignorance and bigotry, not in science,” the couples’ lawsuit says, and it reflects “Virginia’s historical repression of non-white persons.”

The lawsuit, filed in a federal court on Thursday, says Virginia’s requirement is unconstitutional.

State Executive

Northam names ODU’s Janice Underwood as Virginia’s first diversity officer

By Marie Albiges

The Virginian-Pilot- September 9, 2019

In his latest move aimed at addressing racial disparities, Virginia’s governor has selected an Old Dominion University administrator as the state’s first diversity officer.

Janice Underwood, currently the director for diversity initiatives in the institutional equity and diversity office at ODU, starts next week. She said she took the job partly because she respected how much Gov. Ralph Northam has tried to rebuild trust and make amends following the blackface scandal that nearly cost him his job in February.

State Legislature

Will the anti-Trump wave that powered two years of Democratic wins flow into Virginia’s unusual off-off-year elections?
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – September 9, 2019

How low will it go? Democrats are banking on anti-Trump fervor to continue to put wind in their sails as they attempt to take control of the General Assembly this fall. But with no statewide races at the top of the ticket, turnout usually plummets in Virginia’s off-off-year elections.

Issues

Environment

As cleanup deadline looms, Virginia mulls pushing Chesapeake Bay Act’s reach westward

By Sarah Vogelsong

Virginia Mercury- September 9, 2019

You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, the saying goes.

But when it comes to persuading Virginia’s western localities to join Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts, it’s far less clear whether promises of water quality improvements will be enough to win over local officials wary of interfering with development and agriculture.

“Anyone who’s not going to be impacted financially is going to say, ‘Sure, this is a great idea,’” said Ann Mallek, a member of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. But for small farmers like herself, who would face heightened reporting requirements and increased land-use restrictions if they were brought under the purview of state regulations governing the bay cleanup, “it’s a risky business,” she noted.

Gun Control

Va. Rep. Cline joins GOP lawmakers in opposing gun control bills

By Robin Bravender

Virginia Mercury- September 11, 2019

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee committee advanced three gun safety bills on Tuesday over unified Republican opposition.

The committee voted along partisan lines to approve “red flag” legislation that seeks to limit access to firearms for those deemed a risk to themselves or others. The committee also voted to advance legislation that would ban high-capacity magazines and another measure to prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from possessing firearms.

Republican Rep. Ben Cline of Botetourt County, the lone Virginia lawmaker on the committee, voted against all three bills.

Health Care

Virginia hospitals oppose plan to stop some surprise medical bills

By Ned Oliver

Virginia Mercury-September 13, 2019

At this point, most people have either gotten stuck with a surprise medical bill they thought would be covered by their health insurance or know someone who has.

And during a two-and-a-half-hour hearing on the issue before the State Corporation Commission on Thursday, Judge Mark Christie made clear he falls firmly within the latter category.

Christie — one of three commissioners who will decide whether the state will adopt new regulations requiring hospitals to notify patients in advance if they’re likely to be treated by an out-of-network provider — repeatedly returned to the experience of a man he knows whose wife needed surgery.

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September 2 thru 8, 2019 1Sept. 2 to Sept. 8, 2019

Featured Article: Cheat sheet: The House and Senate races most likely to decide control of Virginia’s statehouse

Federal:The Shocking Paper Predicting the End of Democracy

Executive: Virginia Republicans thought calling Ralph Northam ‘Gov. Blackface’ would help them. That’s changed.

General Assembly:  Republicans fear drubbing in next round of redistricting

Agriculture:
‘A small renaissance’: Pawpaws, George Washington’s favorite fruit, seeing a resurgence

Health and Safety: Virginia deaths rising despite opioid overdose drug spending

Education: Seventeen Questions Every College Should Be Asking

Summary

Featured Article: Cheat sheet: The House and Senate races most likely to decide control of Virginia’s statehouse

Federal:The Shocking Paper Predicting the End of Democracy

Executive: Virginia Republicans thought calling Ralph Northam ‘Gov. Blackface’ would help them. That’s changed.

General Assembly:  Republicans fear drubbing in next round of redistricting

Agriculture:
‘A small renaissance’: Pawpaws, George Washington’s favorite fruit, seeing a resurgence

Health and Safety: Virginia deaths rising despite opioid overdose drug spending

Education: Seventeen Questions Every College Should Be Asking

Federal

The Shocking Paper Predicting the End of Democracy

Richard Shenkman
Politico  – Sept. 8, 2019

Democracy is hard work. And as society’s “elites”—experts and publicfigures who help those around them navigate the heavy responsibilities that come with self-rule—have increasingly been sidelined, citizens have proved ill equipped cognitively and emotionally to run a well-functioning democracy. As a consequence, the center has collapsed and millions of frustrated and angst-filled voters have turned in desperation to right-wing populists.

And therein lies the core of his argument: Democracy is hard work and requires a lot from those who participate in it. It requires people to respect those with different views from theirs and people who don’t look like them. It asks citizens to be able to sift through large amounts of information and process the good from the bad, the true from the false. It requires thoughtfulness, discipline and logic.

State Executive

Virginia Republicans thought calling Ralph Northam ‘Gov. Blackface’ would help them. That’s changed.

By Gregory S. Schneider

The Washington Post- September 6, 2019

 No one mentioned resignation when Gov. Ralph Northam recently hobnobbed at Rep. Bobby Scott’s annual Labor Day picnic in Newport News. No students protested when Northam attended a seminar at historically black Virginia Union University last week. And when Northam spoke about the legacy of slavery at Fort Monroe late last month, there were no boos, only standing ovations.

Northam is still wounded by a blackface scandal that almost cost him his job in February. But with campaign season in full swing during a crucial election year, he is far from the pariah that most people expected.  Instead, Northam is making big donations to a few campaigns, attending fundraisers throughout the state and rallying fellow Democrats on issues such as health care and gun control.

State Legislature

Republicans fear drubbing in next round of redistricting

By Alex Isenstadt

POLITICO – September 5, 2019

Democrats were caught napping in the 2010 election ahead of the last round of redistricting — and it cost them control of Congress for nearly a decade.

Now Republicans are warning the same thing could happen to them. Senior Republicans concede they’re at risk of losing dozens of state-level elections that will determine who wields power over the post-2020 congressional map — and potentially which party controls the chamber for the following 10 years. While Republicans are establishing a massive national infrastructure devoted to reelecting President Donald Trump and winning congressional majorities, party officials say the state legislative races are being overlooked.

 

If the new General Assembly gets it done, ‘suddenly, college is worth it.’

By Davis Burroughs

The Dogwood- September 3, 2019

As millions of students in the Commonwealth return to school this week, the coming months could define whether a new generation of Virginia college students are (or are not) saddled with historic student debt.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) made free community college a flagship issue in his bid for governor in 2017. Last month, he said a formal announcement would be coming soon on his G3 — “get skilled, get a job and give back” — program, which would allow Virginians to attend community colleges and graduate debt-free if they spend one year working in a high-demand field like healthcare or cybersecurity.

The Virginia Department of Education declined to provide an update for this story, but state Sen. Barbara Favola, a Democrat who represents parts of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudon Counties, said she is “absolutely convinced” a framework will be released by the first week of December as part of the administration’s 2020-21 state budget proposal.

Cheat sheet: The House and Senate races most likely to decide control of Virginia’s statehouse
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – September 4, 2019

All 140 seats in the Virginia House and Senate are up for reelection this year. But control of both closely divided chambers will come down to just a relative handful of elections in the state’s populous suburbs.

With campaigns kicking into gear with the passing of Labor Day weekend, here’s a look at some of the races expected to be most competitive. The following guide is based on interviews with Democratic and Republican strategists as well as candidate fundraising and past election results compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project.

Issues

Agriculture

‘A small renaissance’: Pawpaws, George Washington’s favorite fruit, seeing a resurgence

By Mechelle Hankerson 
Virginia Mercury – September 3, 2019

Michael McConkey can’t keep enough pawpaw trees in stock at his landscaping business in Afton.

“There’s a small renaissance going on with it. There are an awful lot of backyard growers,” McConkey said. He’s stocked the fruit tree at his store, Edible Landscaping, since the business opened in 1987. 

And as popularity of the once-obscure fruit grows, state agriculture experts say they see an opportunity for farmers and are taking steps to encourage them to grow the native plant. To that end, the Virginia Cooperative Extension is holding an event at Virginia State University with national pawpaw guru Neal Peterson in September.

Health and Safety

Virginia deaths rising despite opioid overdose drug spending

By Associated Press

The Washington Post- September 2, 2019

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia’s death toll from opioid overdoses keeps rising despite state and local governments spending millions on making an antidote available.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that figures through the first three months of this year show Virginia was on pace to record its highest opioid overdose death toll since it began tracking the data in 2007.

That’s despite the state health department spending nearly $2 million dispensing the drug naloxone since late 2016, almost three times what it spent on all other harm reduction services combined. Emergency response agencies have spent more.

Education

Seventeen Questions Every College Should Be Asking

By Ben Sasse – U.S. senator from Nebraska

The Atlantic – September 4, 2019

Our oldest kid is a senior in high school, so like a lot of American households, our whole family is visiting campuses and comparing colleges. One of the striking aspects of this process is how similarly many schools seek to present themselves—and how few make any clear promises about how our daughter would be changed, improved, better habituated, or made more thoughtful by investing four of her most valuable years in their care.

Environment

Virginia Mercury

As a revitalized Hurricane Dorian continues its sweep up the East Coast, Virginians concerned about the environmental impacts of flooding can rest easy about at least one site: the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, where a Norfolk Southern train derailed in June, spilling 36 cars full of coal into the sensitive terrain.

On Thursday, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Ann Regn confirmed that cleanup of the site is complete. Planting and seeding activities that aim to restore the land to its previous condition are ongoing.

“Erosion and sediment controls are still in place and should capture/control any impacts seen from the storm,” Regn wrote in an email.

Feedback

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

X
An aerial view of Norfolk Naval Station, the largest naval base in the worldAug. 26 to Aug. 31, 2019

Featured Article:
Va. military families are living with mold and pests. Will Congress fix it?

Virginia onAir:
Tim O’Shea, Executive Director of Democracy, publishes first update

Federal:
When You’re Not the ‘Pick of the Establishment’

Executive: 

Dominion earned $278 million more than permitted in 2018, regulators find

General Assembly:
What happens if voters spell Del. Nick Freitas’ name wrong during his write-in campaign
‘Willing to take the political risk’: Del. Ibraheem Samirah explains his brash brand of activist politics

Education:
Decades after Brown decision, Virginia is still grappling with school segregation

Health:
Virginia Department of Health issues warning on vaping illness

Summary

Featured Article:
Va. military families are living with mold and pests. Will Congress fix it?

Virginia onAir:
Tim O’Shea, Executive Director of Democracy, publishes first update

Federal:
When You’re Not the ‘Pick of the Establishment’

Executive: 

Dominion earned $278 million more than permitted in 2018, regulators find

General Assembly:
What happens if voters spell Del. Nick Freitas’ name wrong during his write-in campaign
‘Willing to take the political risk’: Del. Ibraheem Samirah explains his brash brand of activist politics

Education:
Decades after Brown decision, Virginia is still grappling with school segregation

Health:
Virginia Department of Health issues warning on vaping illness

VA onAir

Tim O’Shea, Executive Director of Democracy, publishes first update

By Tim O’shea
August 29, 2019

This post, my initial update post as Democracy onAir Executive Director, focuses on Virginia onAir – our model state elections and governance Hub created and managed by GMU alumni and students and curated by Virginia students throughout the state.

We welcome your feedback, suggestions, and donations to assist us in establishing theVirginia onAir Hub as the first of many go-to elections and governance Hubs. 

Thank you in advance for your contributions.

Tim O’Shea – tim.oshea@onair.cc

Federal

When You’re Not the ‘Pick of the Establishment’

By Caitlin Moscatello
The Cut – August 27, 2019

On being asked about self-care while campaigning:
“I think it’s because I’m a woman. All these women will be like, ‘Are you doing okay? How’s your self-care?’ I’m like, I don’t have fucking self-care! I’m running for Congress. I’ll take a nap in November. Do you want me to win this, or do you want me to go to yoga?”

State Executive

Dominion earned $278 million more than permitted in 2018, regulators find

By Sarah Vogelsong 
Virginia Mercury- August 29, 2019

In prior years, the commission had the ability to compel the utility to return a large proportion of those overearnings — about 70 percent — to customers. But among other provisions, Virginia’s sweeping 2018 Grid Transformation and Security Act deferred the calculation of customer refunds to a triennial review that for Dominion won’t be conducted until 2021.

State Legislature

What happens if voters spell Del. Nick Freitas’ name wrong during his write-in campaign

By Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – Aug. 28, 2019

What’s in a name? When Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, was forced to mount a write-in campaign after failing to get required paperwork in on time, at least one local party official fretted that it would be an uphill battle because of voters in the district who “have difficulty with language, speaking and writing.” 

“Any abbreviation, misspelling, or other minor variation in the form of the name of a candidate or a political party should be disregarded in determining the validity of the ballot, if the intention of the voter can be ascertained,” a handbook for election officials states.

House of Delegates

‘Willing to take the political risk’: Del. Ibraheem Samirah explains his brash brand of activist politics

By Ned Oliver 
Virginia Mercury – August 29, 2019

Del. Ibraheem Samirah, D-Fairfax, was so new to the General Assembly when he stood to protest President Donald Trump during a speech at Jamestown last month, it’s not clear that reporters covering the event initially recognized him as a state lawmaker.

Since then, Samirah, who won his seat in a February special election and served just six days of this year’s legislative session, has emerged as one of the body’s more outspoken members, penning an op-ed critiquing the so-called Virginia Way, debating the Roanoke Times editorial page about civility and, most recently, challenging U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Virginia Beach, in a Twitter thread that accused her of using “Republican talking points against fellow Democrats” and urged her to support an impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Issues

Health

Virginia Department of Health issues warning on vaping illness

Robert Zullo
Virginia Mercury – Aug. 26, 2019

Three cases of a severe lung illness associated with vaping have been reported in Virginia, the state Health Department reported Monday in a warning about the risks of e-cigarettes.

As of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had identified 193 potential cases of the vaping-related lung illness in 22 states.

Education

Decades after Brown decision, Virginia is still grappling with school segregation

By Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – Aug. 26, 2019

Still grappling with school segregation: Sixty-five years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, de facto racial segregation remains a problem for some Virginia school systems.

In total, 93 schools in the state have student bodies that are more than 75 percent black, the threshold the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s uses to define segregation. The majority are in Richmond, Norfolk, Henrico County, Petersburg, Portsmouth and Newport News.

 

Military Housing

Va. military families are living with mold and pests. Will Congress fix it?

By Allison Winter
Virginia Mercury – Aug. 26, 2019

Virginia lawmakers are pushing legislation to protect military families from threats in their own homes, like toxic mold, pests and disrepair.

Democrats who represent the state in the U.S. Congress want to put new requirements on the companies that manage privatized military housing. The scramble for new safeguards comes after reports of widespread problems in privatized military housing, much of it in aging homes.

Feedback

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

X
Virginia Secretary of Finance Aubrey LayneAugust 19 thru 25, 2019

Featured Article
Virginia finance chief says recession likely: ‘We just need to be prepared’

Executive
In effort to ‘modernize’ agency, DEQ is hampered by lack of funding, outdated laws, report finds

Governor Ralph Northam:
‘Farmer’ Northam says Trump’s trade war has cut profits for growers

General Assembly
3 laws that could cut homicides 36 percent and more numbers on guns in Virginia

Virginia Groundwater:
In James City County, a water crisis by 2.83 million (gallon) cuts

Student censorship
Frederick School Board tightens oversight of student publications

Environment
Why the Mountain Valley Pipeline is uniquely risky
No moratorium on solar projects in Culpeper County

Fort Monroe 400th Anniversary
Virginia’s other 400-year anniversary

 

Summary

Featured Article
Virginia finance chief says recession likely: ‘We just need to be prepared’

Executive
In effort to ‘modernize’ agency, DEQ is hampered by lack of funding, outdated laws, report finds

Governor Ralph Northam:
‘Farmer’ Northam says Trump’s trade war has cut profits for growers

General Assembly
3 laws that could cut homicides 36 percent and more numbers on guns in Virginia

Virginia Groundwater:
In James City County, a water crisis by 2.83 million (gallon) cuts

Student censorship
Frederick School Board tightens oversight of student publications

Environment
Why the Mountain Valley Pipeline is uniquely risky
No moratorium on solar projects in Culpeper County

Fort Monroe 400th Anniversary
Virginia’s other 400-year anniversary

 

VA onAir

Tim O’Shea, Executive Director of Democracy, publishes first update

This post, my initial update post as Democracy onAir Executive Director, focuses on Virginia onAir – our model state elections and governance Hub created and managed by GMU alumni and students and curated by Virginia students throughout the state.

We welcome your feedback, suggestions, and donations to assist us in establishing theVirginia onAir Hub as the first of many go-to elections and governance Hubs. 

Thank you in advance for your contributions.

Tim O’Shea – tim.oshea@onair.cc

State Executive

Governor Ralph Northam

‘Farmer’ Northam says Trump’s trade war has cut profits for growers

By Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – Aug. 20, 2019

“I’m a farmer,” said Northam, who is generally better known as a pediatric neurologist. This year, he said, his leases farm land is full of soybeans, but he and other growers in the state may not be willing to harvest crops if they won’t be able to sell them.

“They may very well stay in the fields if they can’t sell,” Northam told the Joint Money Committee. “The farmers would much rather sell at a profit than rely on federal subsidies.”

Issues

VA Groundwater

In James City County, a water crisis by 2.83 million (gallon) cuts

By Sarah Vogelsong 
Virginia Mercury – August 18, 2019

Groundwater supplies worldwide are shrinking, with a quarter of the global population facing a water crisis down the road, per news reports. But in Virginia, the Department of Environmental Quality began grappling with the dwindling groundwater supply a decade ago and has since charted an ambitious course to decrease withdrawals by two-thirds by the end of the next decade.

Student censorship

Frederick School Board tightens oversight of student publications

By Anna Merod
Winchester Star – Aug. 22, 1019

The Frederick County School Board voted to tighten oversight of school newspapers – a decision one high school journalism student criticized. “Students should be able to write about what they care about and not be censored,” one student said

Environment

Why the Mountain Valley Pipeline is uniquely risky

By Jacob Hileman (Opinion)
Virginia Mercury -Aug. 22, 2109

While the Mountain Valley Pipeline isn’t the first pipeline to cross unstable terrain in landslide-prone Appalachia, it appears to have the dubious distinction of “crossing more miles of high-risk terrain than any other major natural gas transmission pipeline in the past two decades,” guest columnist Jacob Hileman, an environmental hydrologist, contends.  

 No moratorium on solar projects in Culpeper County

Oliver Forrest (Opinion letter)
Culpeper Star -Aug. 21, 2109

“All over the world, countries are including solar as a piece of the solution to the fossil-fuel dilemma, and so should we… Stop taking away the rights of landowners, and let us choose the best use for our private land.”

 

Fort Monroe 400th Anniversary

Virginia’s other 400-year anniversary

By Editorial page staff
Free Lancer – Aug 22, 2019
 

Feedback

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

X
Spanberger squadAugust 12 thru 18, 2019

Featured Article
Sentries, not ‘squad’: Moderate Dems ones to watch for 2020 

Federal:
Wittman shifts stance on background checks
Female Candidates May Finally Crush the ‘Electability Paradox’

Executive
Herring challenging Trump Administration immigration rule, ex-AG Cuccinelli

General Assembly
Virginia Incumbents and Their Challengers Often Have More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Why a Virginia Democrat says he launched a political fundraiser off of a mass shooting that was still unfolding

Health Care
Cleared to leave Virginia’s overcrowded mental hospitals, many patients have nowhere to go
Poll finds most Virginians approve of Medicaid expansion
Health officials have distributed 28,000 clean needles to prevent hep C and HIV, but the law allowing them sunsets next year.

Democracy and the Internet:
New book looks at digital culture’s impact on politics

Safety:
To stem killings, GOP lawmaker wants to boost violence intervention programs in Virginia

Universities:
Conservative activist rebukes Virginia Tech’s ‘leftist’ freshman orientation

 

Summary

Featured Article
Sentries, not ‘squad’: Moderate Dems ones to watch for 2020 

Federal:
Wittman shifts stance on background checks
Female Candidates May Finally Crush the ‘Electability Paradox’

Executive
Herring challenging Trump Administration immigration rule, ex-AG Cuccinelli

General Assembly
Virginia Incumbents and Their Challengers Often Have More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Why a Virginia Democrat says he launched a political fundraiser off of a mass shooting that was still unfolding

Health Care
Cleared to leave Virginia’s overcrowded mental hospitals, many patients have nowhere to go
Poll finds most Virginians approve of Medicaid expansion
Health officials have distributed 28,000 clean needles to prevent hep C and HIV, but the law allowing them sunsets next year.

Democracy and the Internet:
New book looks at digital culture’s impact on politics

Safety:
To stem killings, GOP lawmaker wants to boost violence intervention programs in Virginia

Universities:
Conservative activist rebukes Virginia Tech’s ‘leftist’ freshman orientation

 

Federal

US House

Sentries, not ‘squad’: Moderate Dems ones to watch for 2020

By Laurie Kellman
Associated Press – August 12, 2019

But as the freshman Democrat from Virginia fielded a dozen questions during a recent town hall in Culpeper, she never once took on President Donald Trump directly — not even when the topic turned, fleetingly, to impeachment.

“We are making every decision, whichever way it goes, based on facts and evidence and our duty to uphold the Constitution,” she said.

This is a story about a different kind of squad.

Wittman shifts stance on background checks

By Daniel Berti
Prince William Times – Aug 13, 2019 

After a weekend of gun violence during which 31 people were killed in mass shootings, Rep. Rob Wittman says he now supports strengthening gun background checks, an apparent shift for the congressman who has an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association.

“I support strengthening our National Instant Criminal Background Check System. We must have a constructive conversation about how to put a stop to these mass shootings while protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens,” Wittman, R-1st, said in an email.

 

State Legislature

VA House of Delegates

Why a Virginia Democrat says he launched a political fundraiser off of a mass shooting that was still unfolding

By Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – August 15, 2019

It would not be the first time Levine’s response to a mass shooting has drawn ire from Republicans, who voted down his legislation last year and lectured him on civility after he sent out an email headlined “How the GOP Makes it Easy to Commit Mass Murder.”

In an interview Thursday afternoon, Levine said he stands by his fundraiser. The following Q&A has been edited for clarity and length.

Issues

Health Care

Cleared to leave Virginia’s overcrowded mental hospitals, many patients have nowhere to go

By Katie O’Connor 
Virginia Mercury – August 11, 2019

Virginia’s psychiatric hospitals are dangerously full. Though considered safest when operating at 85 percent capacity, often nearly every single bed is taken.

Yet at any given time, many of those patients have been deemed ready for discharge, but they remain in the hospital because they have nowhere else to go.

Poll finds most Virginians approve of Medicaid expansion

By Katie O’Connor 
Virginia Mercury – August 12, 2019

With more than 300,000 people now enrolled, a new poll shows that a large majority of Virginians approve of Medicaid expansion.

The poll — commissioned by the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association and conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy — found that 71 percent of the 800 Virginians polled approved of expanding the program.

Health officials have distributed 28,000 clean needles to prevent hep C and HIV, but the law allowing them sunsets next year.

By Katie O’Connor 
Virginia Mercury – August 13, 2019

n 2017, Virginia passed a law allowing some localities to launch needle exchange programs, an attempt to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like hepatitis C and HIV.

But it came with a hitch: the law is due to sunset in 2020.

Democracy and the Internet

New book looks at digital culture’s impact on politics

Morning Joe – Aug. 13, 2019

Author and professor Michael P. Lynch joins Morning Joe to discuss his new book ‘Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture’.

Safety

To stem killings, GOP lawmaker wants to boost violence intervention programs in Virginia

By Mechelle Hankerson 
Virginia Mercury – August 12, 2019

Taking cues from other states and cities that have implemented them, Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, wants Virginia to establish more programs that encourage people to leave violent lifestyles in order to curb shooting deaths.

Weeks after the General Assembly abruptly adjourned a special session called to address gun violence after a mass shooting in Virginia Beach, Gilbert, the House majority leader, filed legislation to create new group-violence reduction or intervention initiatives.

Universities

Conservative activist rebukes Virginia Tech’s ‘leftist’ freshman orientation

By Sam Wall
Roanoke Times – August 15, 2019

A Northern Virginia political activist took to a conservative website to air her grievances regarding the “leftist propaganda” she says she witnessed at her son’s orientation at Virginia Tech.
Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, wrote that she can no longer ignore “the indefensible and discriminatory behavior of the liberal campus bullies ” in her opinion piece “My Son’s Freshman Orientation At Virginia Tech Was Full Of Leftist Propaganda,” published Wednesday in the The Federalist, where she is listed as a contributor.
The university pushed back Thursday saying it doesn’t push a political agenda at orientation but rather focuses on providing a well-rounded education in and out of the classroom.

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
tree-sitterAug. 5 thru 11, 2019

Feature Article – Education:
Yearly cost of college increase was the smallest since 2000, new report finds

Federal:
Va. Dems to Mitch McConnell: Pass languishing gun control bill

General Assembly:
Trump renews calls for red flag laws … Va. GOP voted down earlier this year

Board of Elections member makes unsuccessful push to get Del. Nick Freitas on the ballot

Democracy:
The wrong US response to Russia and China may trigger a “new Cold War,” warns Stanford University’s Larry Diamond

Environment:
Getting in the way:’ Inside the standoff over the Mountain Valley Pipeline
DEQ orders work stopped on Mountain Valley Pipeline section
SCC partially approves Dominion rider that will increase bills
Northern Virginia continues to dominate advanced energy jobs, report shows

New Richmond Arena:
Richmond considers committing millions in tax revenue to build the state’s largest arena

 

Summary

Feature Article – Education:
Yearly cost of college increase was the smallest since 2000, new report finds

Federal:
Va. Dems to Mitch McConnell: Pass languishing gun control bill

General Assembly:
Trump renews calls for red flag laws … Va. GOP voted down earlier this year

Board of Elections member makes unsuccessful push to get Del. Nick Freitas on the ballot

Democracy:
The wrong US response to Russia and China may trigger a “new Cold War,” warns Stanford University’s Larry Diamond

Environment:
Getting in the way:’ Inside the standoff over the Mountain Valley Pipeline
DEQ orders work stopped on Mountain Valley Pipeline section
SCC partially approves Dominion rider that will increase bills
Northern Virginia continues to dominate advanced energy jobs, report shows

New Richmond Arena:
Richmond considers committing millions in tax revenue to build the state’s largest arena

 

Federal

Va. Dems to Mitch McConnell: Pass languishing gun control bill

By Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – August 5, 2019

After the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, which killed at least 29 people and injured many more, Virginia members of the U.S. Congress joined Democratic leadership in assailing the GOP-led Senate for refusing to take up a bill to strengthen background checks that passed the House but has gone nowhere in the upper chamber. The House legislation would require federal criminal background checks on all gun sales, including private transactions.

State Legislature

Trump renews calls for red flag laws … Va. GOP voted down earlier this year

But over the course of remarks Tuesday morning, he did renew his administration’s calls for so-called red flag laws, or extreme risk protective orders, which have been implemented in 17 states, according to the Giffords Law Center.

Virginia is not one of them.

While Republican legislatures elsewhere have supported the bills, including in Indiana and Florida, GOP committees in the Virginia House and Senate voted down the measures in January.

VA House of Delegates

Board of Elections member makes unsuccessful push to get Del. Nick Freitas on the ballot

By Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – August 6, 2019

John O’Bannon, the lone Republican on the Board of Elections, made two failed motions Tuesday to give the Republican Party of Virginia another chance to get a nominee on the ballot in a House of Delegates race.

O’Bannon first made a motion to allow Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, on the ballot despite late and missing paperwork. When that failed, O’Bannon made a motion to allow the Republican Party to nominate someone else.

Issues

Environment

‘Getting in the way:’ Inside the standoff over the Mountain Valley Pipeline

By Mason Adams
Virginia Mercury August 4, 2019

The encampment on Yellow Finch Lane has become a hotspot over the summer. In July, three protesters were arrested at the camp after others walked onto an MVP work site on a nearby road. An Austin man who had sat in a tree on the site for several months was also arrested after locking himself to a concrete structure and halting pipeline construction for several hours.

DEQ orders work stopped on Mountain Valley Pipeline section

By Sarah Vogelsong
Virginia Mercury – August 2, 2019

DEQ Director David Paylor said in a statement that the department was “appalled that construction priorities and deadline pressures would ever rise above the proper and appropriate use of erosion control measures.”

An inspection Thursday found that Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, a joint venture headed by EQM Midstream Partners, had failed to construct and maintain sediment and erosion control measures in line with site plans and that some existing controls weren’t working correctly.

SCC partially approves Dominion rider that will increase bills

By Sarah Vogelsong
Virginia Mercury – August 5, 2019

Schrad said that a “ball park estimate” of bill increases is just under $2 per month, but no final number will be available until Dominion files its Rider E tariff with the commission in the next 30 days.

The rider will take effect no later than Nov. 1. It is the fifteenth rider that the utility has been allowed to add to customer bills since 2007.

Northern Virginia continues to dominate advanced energy jobs, report shows

By Sarah Vogelsong
Virginia Mercury – August 8, 2019

Advanced energy jobs continue to be largely clustered in major metro areas in eastern Virginia, a report released this week by a national energy industry business group shows.

Education

Yearly cost of college increase was the smallest since 2000, new report finds

By Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – August 6, 2019

The agency attributed the relatively small increase in cost (about $479 more a year) to the General Assembly’s approval of additional state funding if colleges agreed to keep tuition level. Every public college and university did it.

The average total cost of public college tuition and mandatory fees for an in-state undergraduate is now $12,836, with community colleges being the cheapest option at $4,620 a year. The College of William & Mary was the most expensive at $23,628 a year.

Democracy

The wrong US response to Russia and China may trigger a “new Cold War,” warns Stanford University’s Larry Diamond

By Eric Johnson
Recode – August 7, 2019

I’ve been looking at how democracies struggle to emerge and improve and avoid failing in Africa, Asia, to some extent, Latin America. I spent three months in Iraq after the invasion trying to do what could be done to help the Iraqi people in that ill-fated situation. I never dreamed I’d have to worry about defending liberal democracy in the United States or that it would be at risk within the European Union, but the growing evidence that that was the case and that we were descending into something very deep and dangerous in terms of the trends for freedom in the world, that’s what motivated me to write the book.

New Richmond Arena

Richmond considers committing millions in tax revenue to build the state’s largest arena

By Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – August 9, 2019

Richmond’s mayor promises taxpayers won’t be left holding the bag and the city’s financial advisers say it’ll fill public coffers, not drain them.

But a proposal to build a 17,500-seat arena downtown is fueling deep skepticism in a city where residents have long complained about neglect of basic services like schools and roads in favor of shiny development deals that don’t always pan out.

The proposal, spearheaded by Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell, includes eye-popping promises: the largest arena in the state, 9,300 new jobs, 2,000 apartments, a 500-room hotel, dozens of new restaurants.

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
Ibraheem Samirah at JamestownJuly 29 thru Aug. 4, 2019
  • Why I Disrupted Trump’s Speech at Jamestown
  • ‘Unjustified and unreasonable’: Navy, Walmart, attorney general and legal aid workers oppose Dominion’s profit push
  • Virginian-Pilot alums launch statewide investigative reporting center
  • Virginia’s Board of Education is considering recommendations to ‘force the hand of the General Assembly’
  • Blue Ridge Caucus: Local GOP committee passes motion of no confidence in Riggleman
  • Black and Latino students may struggle with ‘unsustainable’ student debt, report says
  • Varshini Prakash and the Sunrise Movement’s plan for the Green New Deal
  • Trump shows he can take the high road. He just usually chooses not to.
  • Trump interrupted by state delegate’s protest at Jamestown as black lawmakers boycott president’s appearance
  • Hemp is legal. Marijuana isn’t. State forensic scientists say soon they’ll have tests to tell the two apart
  • Fort Monroe is better protected in the state’s hands, for now
  • Finding peace on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Summary

  • Why I Disrupted Trump’s Speech at Jamestown
  • ‘Unjustified and unreasonable’: Navy, Walmart, attorney general and legal aid workers oppose Dominion’s profit push
  • Virginian-Pilot alums launch statewide investigative reporting center
  • Virginia’s Board of Education is considering recommendations to ‘force the hand of the General Assembly’
  • Blue Ridge Caucus: Local GOP committee passes motion of no confidence in Riggleman
  • Black and Latino students may struggle with ‘unsustainable’ student debt, report says
  • Varshini Prakash and the Sunrise Movement’s plan for the Green New Deal
  • Trump shows he can take the high road. He just usually chooses not to.
  • Trump interrupted by state delegate’s protest at Jamestown as black lawmakers boycott president’s appearance
  • Hemp is legal. Marijuana isn’t. State forensic scientists say soon they’ll have tests to tell the two apart
  • Fort Monroe is better protected in the state’s hands, for now
  • Finding peace on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Federal

Trump interrupted by state delegate’s protest at Jamestown as black lawmakers boycott president’s appearance

By Mechelle Hankerson| Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – July 30, 2019

For once, President Donald Trump avoided courting controversy, sticking to history and the blessings of representative democracy during his remarks Tuesday in Jamestown.

But new Virginia state Del. Ibraheem Samirah, D-Fairfax, refused to let the president’s presence, which had already resulted in a boycott by the Legislative Black Caucus and other Democrats, go unchallenged.

Trump shows he can take the high road. He just usually chooses not to.

By Robert Zullo, commentary
Virginia Mercury – July 30, 2019

The speakers who delivered remarks before President Donald Trump at the 400th anniversary events in Jamestown Tuesday appeared to be making strenuous exercises in preemption.

Then, something unexpected happened.

US House

Blue Ridge Caucus: Local GOP committee passes motion of no confidence in Riggleman

By Amy Friedenberger
Roanoke Times, July 30, 2019

The Cumberland County Republican Committee was chaired by Diana Shores, who was involved in a failed effort on Saturday to have Riggleman, R-Nelson, censured for similar reasons.
“I make this motion of no confidence in Congressman Denver Riggleman for his recent act in officiating a homosexual marriage and his lack of support for stronger border security and immigration policies,” the motion read.

State Executive

State Corporation Commission

‘Unjustified and unreasonable’: Navy, Walmart, attorney general and legal aid workers oppose Dominion’s profit push

By Sarah Vogelsong
Virginia Mercury – July 28, 2019

State Corporation Commission seal

Federal and state agencies, Walmart and a group advocating on behalf of low-income Virginians have emerged as unlikely bedfellows in an effort to push back against a proposal by Dominion Energy Virginia to increase the profits that its shareholders can reap.

The proposal in question was put forward by Dominion this spring, when the investor-owned utility asked the State Corporation Commission to increase its allowable return on equity from 9.2 percent to 10.75 percent.

Board of Education

Virginia’s Board of Education is considering recommendations to ‘force the hand of the General Assembly’

By Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – July 29, 2019

The Virginia Board of Education is considering a recommendation that would lay out minimum funding requirements for a state budget item used to help at-risk students, a move intended to put pressure on the General Assembly to increase education spending.

State Legislature

VA House of Delegates

Why I Disrupted Trump’s Speech at Jamestown

By Ibraheem S. Samirah
The Atlantic – August 2, 2019

On Tuesday, Virginia’s general assembly celebrated 400 years since a legislative body was formed by the colonists of old Jamestown. As a member of the House of Delegates, I was given a front-row seat at the festivities. Unfortunately, the celebration, which was intended to be a nonpartisan reflection on our commonwealth’s complicated history, was tarnished by the presence of President Donald Trump, a man whose views are antithetical to the values that the event sought to celebrate: democracy, representation, and the ability of immigrants to seek refuge and self-governance in a new land.

All the Democratic lawmakers found their own way to show their displeasure with the president’s presence. I chose what, for me, was the only sufficient option: I waited for the president’s speech, stood in front of his podium, and told him to his face that he can’t send us back, because Virginia is our home.

Issues

Democracy

Virginian-Pilot alums launch statewide investigative reporting center

By Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – July 26, 2019

Two former staffers at The Virginian-Pilot have teamed up to launch a nonprofit investigative newsroom that plans to partner with media outlets and universities around the state to produce in-depth local reporting.

The Virginia Center for Investigative Journalism aims to post its first story within the next month and hopes to begin publishing on a routine basis by the end of September, said Chris Tyree, the fledgling organization’s executive editor and cofounder.

Education

Black and Latino students may struggle with ‘unsustainable’ student debt, report says

By Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – July 29, 2019

A new report from the Center for Responsible Lending and the NAACPsaid black and Latino college graduates may struggle with higher and more difficult-to-manage student loan debt than their white counterparts.

“Historically, access to higher education has been dramatically unequal,” the report stated. “This pattern persists today as African-American and Latino students struggle to fund their college experiences due to broad societal discrimination …  As a result, students of color accumulate high levels of unsustainable debt.”

Environment

Varshini Prakash and the Sunrise Movement’s plan for the Green New Deal 

By Ezra Klein
Vox Media – Jul 31, 2019

A year ago, environmentalists were still struggling to get the political system to even mention climate change. Today, climate strikes are being held across the world, 82 percent of Democratic voters are listing climate change as a top priority, and the Green New Deal has become a progressive litmus test for 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

So — what the hell happened?

The Sunrise Movement happened. Sunrise is part of a new generation of youth-led climate change movements that emerged out of the failure of the global political system to address the climate crisis. They’re the ones who made the Green New Deal a household term. They’re the reason CNN and MSNBC are hosting the 2020 Democrats for forums all about climate change. And they’re just getting started.

Fort Monroe is better protected in the state’s hands, for now

By Daily Press Editorial Board
August 3, 2019

The National Park Service is no longer the best steward for protecting Fort Monroe
Last week, Virginia’s U.S. senators introduced legislation to expand the Fort Monroe National Monument by 44 acres, uniting the two disjointed pieces of the property under National Park Service ownership.

Finding peace on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

By Linda J. White
Free Lance Star – August 4, 2019

The 20-mile trip across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel from Norfolk to the Eastern Shore of Virginia signals me to decompress, shed the pressures and challenges of daily life and focus ahead, to the place where sun and sand, sky and sea promise respite.

Beneath the bridge, the gray–green waters of the Atlantic and the Chesapeake Bay embrace, fall apart, and embrace again. Above, sea gulls perch on light posts, keeping an eye on the bobbing boats of fishermen below.

I look ahead, to where the flat expanse of Fisherman Island, edged in bright sand, acts as my welcome mat.

 

Marijuana

Hemp is legal. Marijuana isn’t. State forensic scientists say soon they’ll have tests to tell the two apart

By Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – July 31, 2019

Hemp test: The state forensic science lab plans to distribute 15,000 field tests to police departments around Virginia that will help officers distinguish between hemp and marijuana plants, which can appear identical but carry very different legal implications.

Law enforcement agencies have had no way to tell the difference since the state legalized industrial hemp production earlier this year — a nationwide problem that has seen tractor tailors seized and, in Fredericksburg, a CBD vendor charged with felony distribution of marijuana.

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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Trump talking to reportersJuly 22 thru July 28, 2019
  • ‘Send Him Back’; Va. Democrats say they’ll boycott Trump at Jamestown commemoration
  • ICE ordered her deportation. Instead she’s spent the last year living in a Richmond church. ‘I will not dare to put a foot outside’
  • Twenty-year high: Where Virginia police are making the most marijuana arrests
  • Coal-dependent counties facing ‘fiscal tsunami,’ report finds
  • Dominion’s new renewable programs are about limiting choice
  • As Democrats debate campaign finance reform, an intimate mountain retreat with corporate lobbyists continues
  • Mueller says report doesn’t exonerate Trump; Va. congressman says it’s time to ‘move on’Trump’s Interior Department is sidelining scientists, experts warn lawmakers; Virginia congressmen skip hearing
  • General registrars were given a raise, but some may not be seeing it
  1. 400 years of representative government in Virginia
  2. Will Reddit un-quarantine its biggest pro-Trump community? CEO Steve Huffman isn’t holding his breath.

Summary

  • ‘Send Him Back’; Va. Democrats say they’ll boycott Trump at Jamestown commemoration
  • ICE ordered her deportation. Instead she’s spent the last year living in a Richmond church. ‘I will not dare to put a foot outside’
  • Twenty-year high: Where Virginia police are making the most marijuana arrests
  • Coal-dependent counties facing ‘fiscal tsunami,’ report finds
  • Dominion’s new renewable programs are about limiting choice
  • As Democrats debate campaign finance reform, an intimate mountain retreat with corporate lobbyists continues
  • Mueller says report doesn’t exonerate Trump; Va. congressman says it’s time to ‘move on’Trump’s Interior Department is sidelining scientists, experts warn lawmakers; Virginia congressmen skip hearing
  • General registrars were given a raise, but some may not be seeing it
  1. 400 years of representative government in Virginia
  2. Will Reddit un-quarantine its biggest pro-Trump community? CEO Steve Huffman isn’t holding his breath.

Federal

Send Him Back’; Va. Democrats say they’ll boycott Trump at Jamestown commemoration

By Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – July 20, 2019

Republicans were quick to point out that Trump was invited by Gov. Ralph Northam, who wrote in a letter signed jointly by Republican leaders in the House and Senate that, “Your presence and remarks on this important anniversary would be most appropriate. By lending your voice and insights, you would continue a tradition that has brought numerous prior presidents and world leaders, including Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, to Jamestown to reflect on the significance of the place.”

Mueller says report doesn’t exonerate Trump; Va. congressman says it’s time to ‘move on’

By Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – July 24, 2019

Rep. Ben Cline (R-6th), a freshman and the lone Virginia lawmaker to sit on either of the panels that questioned Mueller on Wednesday, slammed what he called Mueller’s “creative” legal theories.

Cline asked whether Attorney General William Barr disagreed with Mueller’s interpretation of the law, but Mueller declined to answer. “I leave that to the attorney general to identify,” he told Cline.

US House

Trump’s Interior Department is sidelining scientists, experts warn lawmakers; Virginia congressmen skip hearing.

By Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – July 25, 2019

A climate change scientist and a former senior executive staffer at the Interior Department told the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee at a hearing Thursday that their work on climate change was stifled and that they experienced retaliation after the Trump administration took offices.

State Executive

Campaign Financing

As Democrats debate campaign finance reform, an intimate mountain retreat with corporate lobbyists continues

By Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – July 24, 2019

Democratic state senators and delegates spent the end of last month holed up with dozens of lobbyists at the Omni Homestead, a remote luxury resort in Bath County.

They soaked up poolside hospitality sponsored by the bankers’ association, took in a golf clinic courtesy of the state’s credit unions and paired off with lobbyists representing telecoms, utilities and other big business interests for activities ranging from ziplining to shotgun shooting.

Elections

General registrars were given a raise, but some may not be seeing it

By Mechelle Hankerson

Virginia Mercury – July 24, 2019

Some Virginia registrars might not be seeing the pay raise the General Assembly approved this year on their checks, Mechelle Hankerson reports. It could have something to do with how the cost sharing between the state and localities for registrars’ salaries works.

State Legislature

400 years of representative government in Virginia

Editorial
Richmond Times-Dispatch – July 27,2019

For a history lesson on the House of Burgesses that met in 1619.

Issues

Immigration

ICE ordered her deportation. Instead she’s spent the last year living in a Richmond church. ‘I will not dare to put a foot outside’

By Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – July 21, 2019

On the day she was scheduled to be deported, Abbie Arevalo-Herrera took up residence at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond, where congregants have agreed to shield her from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Just over a year later, the 32-year-old Honduran woman who came to the U.S. seeking asylum says she hasn’t stepped outside once.

Marijuana Legalization

Twenty-year high: Where Virginia police are making the most marijuana arrests

By Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – July 22, 2019

According to the state police, marijuana accounted for 60 percent of drug arrests in the state.

Economy

Coal-dependent counties facing ‘fiscal tsunami,’ report finds

By Sarah Vogelsong
Virginia Mercury – July 22, 2019

Dickenson and Buchanan counties in Southwest Virginia were listed in a new report by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and the Brookings Institution as the fifth and sixth most mining-dependent localities in the nation. The struggles of the industry “jeopardizes the fiscal health of local governments, degrading their abilities to provide adequate public services and issue and serve debt,” Sarah Vogelsong reports.

Environment

Dominion’s new renewable programs are about limiting choice

By Ivy Main
Virginia Mercury – July 22, 2019

Virginia’s largest utility, Dominion Energy, has developed solar projects and new tariffs to serve tech companies and other large customers, but ordinary residents still lack meaningful choices.

“So this spring, Dominion decided to do something about that,” she writes. “The wrong thing, of course. … There is always money to be made by suckering well-meaning folks, but that’s not a good enough reason for the State Corporation Commission to let Dominion do it.

Underwater grass, a key indicator of bay health, stays strong in survey

By Diana Revilla
Virginia Mercury – July 22, 2019

Democracy

Will Reddit un-quarantine its biggest pro-Trump community? CEO Steve Huffman isn’t holding his breath.

By Eric Johnson
Recode – July 26, 2019

/r/The_Donald was punished for hosting “violent content,” and Huffman isn’t convinced the community’s moderators are taking that problem seriously enough.

“Quarantining” does not prevent people from reading or contributing to /r/The_Donald, but it asks new visitors if they’re sure they want to check it out, and a notice at the top of the page reminds everyone to be on better behavior. On the latest episode of Recode Decode With Kara Swisher, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said the goal of the restriction was to put /r/The_Donald on notice but give them a chance to change.

 

 

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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Highlands-Lonesome PinJuly 15 to July 21, 2019
  1. In Appalachia, a massive forest is conserved, but mining can still proceed beneath its root
  2. It’s not the NRA’s money that sways Virginia politics: It’s the members.
  3. Dominion’s carbon cutting plans aren’t good enough
  4. Congressional Republicans mostly keep quiet on Trump’s tweets
  5. Virginia plans two new cross-state bus lines, citing success of Blacksburg-D.C. route
  6. House Insurrections Are Here to Stay
  7. Trump effect the top question in Virginia’s key elections
  8. Virginia’s community colleges will offer programs with guaranteed transfer credits next fall
  9. Bill to boost federal minimum wage passes House, likely to fizzle in Senate
  10. Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood

Virginia

It’s not the NRA’s money that sways Virginia politics: It’s the members.

Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – July 14, 2019

But the NRA’s money in Virginia doesn’t go very far. Instead, analysts and people who work in Virginia politics say the power of the NRA comes from the sheer number of voters who align themselves with the organization and show up at the polls and in front of lawmakers, especially in solid red districts where politicians’ biggest fear is a primary challenge from the right.

“It’s their capacity to mobilize people at election time, ” said Bob Holsworth, a longtime Virginia political analyst. “It’s a better strategy to have the grassroots support than it is to pump dollars in.”

Dominion’s carbon cutting plans aren’t good enough

Ivy Main
Virginia Mercury – July 14, 2019

Other utilities have avoided the gas trap. National leaders like Minneapolis-based Xcel, Consumers Energy in Michigan, and NIPSCO in Indiana are replacing coal with renewables and leapfrogging over new gas. That puts them in a position to deliver on their promises of rapid emissions cuts.

In Appalachia, a massive forest is conserved, but mining can still proceed beneath its roots

By Sarah Vogelsong
Virginia Mercury – July 15, 2019

Early Monday morning, the global environmental nonprofit announced it had added 153,000 acres in Virginia known as Highlands-Lonesome Pine to its Cumberland Forest Project. When combined with an existing 100,000 acres of forest in Kentucky and Tennessee, the total footprint of the site amounts to a quarter-million acres, larger than Shenandoah National Park.

Virginia plans two new cross-state bus lines, citing success of Blacksburg-D.C. route

After a state-run bus line between Blacksburg and Washington beat ridership estimates by more than 200 percent, state officials are planning to introduce two new routes connecting Southside Virginia with points north.

Trump effect the top question in Virginia’s key elections

By Alan Suderman
Associated Press – July 19, 2019

“That is the big thing I wrestle with every single day: Do we have the same intensity that we had in ’17?” said former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has been actively raising money and campaigning with state Democrats this year.

Republicans are cautiously optimistic that Trump, having been in office for more than two years now, will have less of an impact on voters this year.

Virginia’s community colleges will offer programs with guaranteed transfer credits next fall

Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – July 14, 2019

Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R- Henrico, and Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk introduced legislation in 2018 to create the Passport and the Uniform Certificate of General Studies. The certificate requires twice as many classes as the Passport to cut out about a year of college for students.

The programs come amid heightened attention to the cost of Virginia’s public colleges and universities. In Norfolk Thursday, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam said he will roll out a plan for a “tuition for service” model for free community college.

 

US House

Congressional Republicans mostly keep quiet on Trump’s tweets

By Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – July 15, 2019

After remaining largely silent about Trump’s remarks over the weekend, congressional Republicans began weighing in on social media and in press releases Monday. Some were pressed on the president’s comments on Capitol Hill as they returned to Washington from their districts.

House Insurrections Are Here to Stay

By Steve Israel
The Atlantic – July 16, 2019

There’s nothing new about a speaker managing insurrection. It’s a safe bet, moreover, that these battles will only intensify and grow more frequent, no matter who grips the gavel or which party controls the House.

Bill to boost federal minimum wage passes House, likely to fizzle in Senate

By Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – July 19, 2019

“The Raise the Wage Act is not just good for workers, it’s good for the economy,” House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-3rd) said on the House floor. Scott is the lead sponsor of the bill.

Politics  & Government

Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood

By Drew Gilpin Faust
The Atlantic – August 2019 issue

We stopped first at the cemetery. My brother had picked me up at the Philadelphia airport, and we had driven south and west from there—to Baltimore and Frederick, then down through the hills of the Blue Ridge, past the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers at Harpers Ferry and into the Valley of Virginia. Civil War country. The route of the Antietam and Gettysburg campaigns. The site of John Brown’s incendiary attempt to foment a slave uprising. The place where we grew up.

Apart from one brief drive-through, I hadn’t been back in nearly two decades—not since a visit the year after my father died. Now we could see next to his grave the dirt already unearthed to make a place for my stepmother’s ashes the next day. We had come for her funeral and in my father’s memory.

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