VA News Digest 2/3/2020 to 2/9/2020

Clockwise from Upper Left:

“Trump acquitted, with just one GOP senator joining with Democrats on removal” – Robin Bravender, Virginia Mercury

“General Assembly closes the door to marijuana legalization until 2021” – Ned Oliver, Virginia Mercury

“With a big decision coming on redistricting reform, House Democrats fine-tune their options” -Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

“After long delay, Democrats unveil Clean Economy Act energy omnibus” – Sarah Vogelsong, Virginia Mercury

VA News Digest 1/27 to 2/2/20

Clockwise from upper left:
“Speaker Eileen Filler-corn addresses 2020 House of Delegates” –  WAVY TV  on Jan.8, 2020

“Absent timely federal vaping regulation, Virginia and other states cobble together a regulatory patchwork” – Bob Lewis, Virginia Mercury

“Setting a deadline for farm conservation practices would be a major step for Virginia water quality” -Matt Kowalski

“Va. has 5 U.S. House rookies. Here’s how they spent their first year.” – Robin Bravender, Virginia Mercury

Article summaries and Speaker Filler-Corn video inside this post.

VA News Digest 1/20 to 1/26/20

Clockwise from upper left:
“One day after the big gun rally, House Democrats wipe out GOP firearm bills” –  Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Virginia Senate passes red flag gun law after tightening due process protections” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Va. Senate votes to prohibit conversion therapy, create transgender school policy, repeal gay marriage ban” – Ned Oliver,Virginia Mercury

“My students will not be silenced on climate change — or anything else” – Christine Hirsh-Putnam

Article summaries inside this post.

Weekly Digest – 1/13 to 1/19/20

Clockwise from upper left:
“As Virginia Democrats advance new gun restrictions, militias organize, promising to resist” – Ned Oliver and Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

What US election officials could learn from Australia about boosting voter turnout” – Steven Mulroy, Law professor

Va. Democrats face a growing menu of redistricting reform options. Only one binds them for 2021”- Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Democrats seek repeal of mandatory ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period for abortions” -Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Article summaries inside this post.

Repealing mandatory abortion regulations

Title: “Democrats seek repeal of mandatory ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period for abortions”
Author: Graham Moomaw
SourceVirginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 17, 2020

Republicans imposed a 24-hour-waiting period and mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions in 2012 when they last controlled both branches of the General Assembly and the Executive Mansion.

Now that Democrats have locked down their own trifecta, party leaders have filed an array bills to roll those and other restrictions back.

“It’s a woman’s right to choose, period,” said Sen. Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax, who has filed legislation that would eliminate the ultrasound requirement, waiting period, requirement that women under age 18 obtain parental consent prior to a procedure and eliminate strict building-code requirements imposed on abortion clinics.

Redistricting reform options

Title: “Va. Democrats face a growing menu of redistricting reform options. Only one binds them for 2021”
Author: Graham Moomaw
SourceVirginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 15, 2020;

Virginia’s new Democratic majorities will have at least three different redistricting reform proposals to choose from in the 2020 session. But only one would take away the General Assembly’s constitutional power to redraw the state’s political maps next year.

For years, Democrats have called for the creation of an independent redistricting commission that would reduce or eliminate politicians’ ability to draw safe districts for themselves or their party. After taking power just before the 2021 redistricting process, they’re under a time crunch to figure out how to do it.

 

Australia boosts voter turnout

Title: “What US election officials could learn from Australia about boosting voter turnout
AuthorSteven Mulroy
Source: The Conversation
Date: Jan. 14, 2020

Not every country is plagued by rules that limit voters’ participation in elections, as is common in the United States.

In the past five years, restrictions on voting and voter registration purges have limited the number of Americans eligible to cast ballots.

In addition, the U.S. is the only major democracy that still allows politicians to draw their own district lines, an often-criticized conflict of interest in which public officials essentially pick their voters, rather than the voters picking their officials. That computer-aided gerrymandering of electoral districts reduces the number of districts with competitive races, contributing to low voter turnout.

Perhaps the fundamental problem, though, is that the system yields results the people don’t actually want. Twice in the last two decades, U.S. voters chose a president, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, who got fewer votes than his rival, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton.

All these problems are avoidable and don’t happen in countries that have different voting laws. Perhaps the best example is Australia, a country which is culturally, demographically and socioeconomically similar to the U.S. In my book “Rethinking U.S. Election Law,” written while I lived and studied their system Down Under, I outline many of the ways Australia has solved voting quandaries that persist in the U.S.

Militias organize, promise to resist

Title: “As Virginia Democrats advance new gun restrictions, militias organize, promising to resist
Author: Ned Oliver and Graham Moomaw
Source: Virginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 13, 2020

Opponents of new gun laws in Virginia are organizing militias in the state, but promise they’re not planning to use the new paramilitary organizations to launch a violent insurrection against the government.

“We’re just a group of like-minded individuals trying to protect our rights,” said a man standing in the gravel parking lot of an auto repair shop in rural King William County Sunday, where a “call to muster” had asked anyone interested in forming a local militia to meet for preliminary discussions. “We’re not trying to overthrow anyone.”

Weekly Digest – 1/6 to 1/12/20

Clockwise from upper left:
“No, Virginia. The governor’s budget doesn’t fund an 18-officer gun confiscation squad.” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Culpeper rally rouses hundreds for gun rights” – Clint Schemmer, Culpeper Star-Exponent

“‘Madam Speaker’: After 400 years, Filler-Corn becomes first woman to lead Virginia House” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

ERA begins its journey to near certain ratification in Virginia” – Ned Oliver, Virginia Mercury

More articles from past week inside post …

First Madam Speaker of the House

Title: “‘Madam Speaker’: After 400 years, Filler-Corn becomes first woman to lead Virginia House
Author: Graham Moomaw
Source: Virginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 8, 2020

On Wednesday, Del. Eileen Filler-Corn of Fairfax became the first woman ever elected to lead the House of Delegates, taking the gavel as Democrats prepare to use their hard-won majority power to dramatically reshape state policy.

On what is usually a light day filled with organizational formalities, a crowd packed the House chamber to watch Filler-Corn, a 55-year-old government relations consultant, make history as the first woman and the first Jewish person to lead the body.

No funds for gun confiscation

Title: “No, Virginia. The governor’s budget doesn’t fund an 18-officer gun confiscation squad.”
Author: Graham Moomaw
Source: Virginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 7, 2020

Amid a conspiracy theory-tinged uproar over the possibility of Virginia passing new gun-control laws, pro-gun activists have scoured the state budget for evidence validating their fears about the government coming for their firearms.

But much of the pro-gun rhetoric surrounding Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed budget doesn’t match reality.

According to the governor’s office, the funding is for administrative workers who would oversee the registration/permitting process Democrats are proposing to allow gun owners to keep firearms they already have. The 18 jobs mentioned in the budget are not trooper positions, said Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky.

VA News Digest 2/3/2020 to 2/9/2020VA News Digest 2/3/2020 to 2/9/2020

Clockwise from Upper Left:

“Trump acquitted, with just one GOP senator joining with Democrats on removal” – Robin Bravender, Virginia Mercury

“General Assembly closes the door to marijuana legalization until 2021” – Ned Oliver, Virginia Mercury

“With a big decision coming on redistricting reform, House Democrats fine-tune their options” -Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

“After long delay, Democrats unveil Clean Economy Act energy omnibus” – Sarah Vogelsong, Virginia Mercury

Summary

Clockwise from Upper Left:

“Trump acquitted, with just one GOP senator joining with Democrats on removal” – Robin Bravender, Virginia Mercury

“General Assembly closes the door to marijuana legalization until 2021” – Ned Oliver, Virginia Mercury

“With a big decision coming on redistricting reform, House Democrats fine-tune their options” -Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

“After long delay, Democrats unveil Clean Economy Act energy omnibus” – Sarah Vogelsong, Virginia Mercury

Federal

Trump acquitted, with just one GOP senator joining with Democrats on removal
By: Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – February 5, 2020

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has survived impeachment, but he didn’t emerge unscathed.

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday acquitted Trump on charges that he abused his power by pressuring a foreign government to interfere in a U.S. presidential election and then obstructed a congressional investigation into his actions.

The vote was almost entirely partisan, but Democrats scored a major political coup by winning the support of Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, who was the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee. And Democrats will continue to use Trump’s behavior and his status as an impeached president against him heading into the 2020 election.

Issues

Criminal Justice

General Assembly closes the door to marijuana legalization until 2021
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – February 5, 2020

The General Assembly shut down proposals to legalize marijuana for the year, but lawmakers said this week they would study the issue and potentially move forward when they reconvene in 2021.

Both the House and the Senate are instead advancing decriminalization bills that would punish possession of a half-ounce or less of the plant — presently a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail — with a civil fine. The House is proposing a $25 penalty and the Senate is proposing $50.

Redistricting

With a big decision coming on redistricting reform, House Democrats fine-tune their options
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – February 6, 2020

Virginia Democrats haven’t decided whether they’ll put an anti-gerrymandering amendment in the state Constitution, but the possible paths forward on redistricting reform got a little clearer Thursday morning.

A House of Delegates subcommittee narrowed three options to two, keeping alive one bill tied to a constitutional amendment and an alternative bill meant to stand on its own for the 2021 redistricting process.

Environment

After long delay, Democrats unveil Clean Economy Act energy omnibus
By: Sarah Vogelsong
Virginia Mercury – February 6, 2020

After weeks of behind-the-scenes talks, Democratic lawmakers on Thursday night finally unveiled the details of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, a 75-page plan to get Virginia to zero carbon by 2050.

The legislation was hailed by its sponsor, Del. Richard “Rip” Sullivan of Fairfax, as a “historic” step on energy policy.

“This is an achievable roadmap,” he told the House Labor and Commerce Committee. “It’s an achievable directive from this General Assembly.”

Democrats agreed, passing the bill along for further consideration on a 13-9 party-line vote that frustrated some backers’ hopes for bipartisan support.

Feedback

The lead Curator for this post is Nader Momtaz. If you have any content you would like to add to this post, submit it to nmomtaz5@gmail.com.  See Terms of Service to learn about the guidelines curators use to evaluate submissions and forum comments.

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VA News Digest 1/27 to 2/2/20VA News Digest 1/27 to 2/2/20

Clockwise from upper left:
“Speaker Eileen Filler-corn addresses 2020 House of Delegates” –  WAVY TV  on Jan.8, 2020

“Absent timely federal vaping regulation, Virginia and other states cobble together a regulatory patchwork” – Bob Lewis, Virginia Mercury

“Setting a deadline for farm conservation practices would be a major step for Virginia water quality” -Matt Kowalski

“Va. has 5 U.S. House rookies. Here’s how they spent their first year.” – Robin Bravender, Virginia Mercury

Article summaries and Speaker Filler-Corn video inside this post.

Summary

Clockwise from upper left:
“Speaker Eileen Filler-corn addresses 2020 House of Delegates” –  WAVY TV  on Jan.8, 2020

“Absent timely federal vaping regulation, Virginia and other states cobble together a regulatory patchwork” – Bob Lewis, Virginia Mercury

“Setting a deadline for farm conservation practices would be a major step for Virginia water quality” -Matt Kowalski

“Va. has 5 U.S. House rookies. Here’s how they spent their first year.” – Robin Bravender, Virginia Mercury

Article summaries and Speaker Filler-Corn video inside this post.

Federal

Va. has 5 U.S. House rookies. Here’s how they spent their first year.
By: Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – January 27, 2020

WASHINGTON — Nearly half of Virginia’s U.S. House members are freshmen, hoping this year won’t be their last in Congress.

Five of the state’s 11 representatives in the U.S. House are serving their first term, and four of them are expected to face competitive reelection races in November. They’ve all spent their first year in office attempting to advance their pet issues, build up their campaign coffers and get face time with voters back in their districts.

The closest race this fall could be for the seat now held by Rep. Elaine Luria, who might face off against the same GOP lawmaker she unseated in 2018. But freshmen Democratic Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton could also have close races, as could Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman.

State Legislature

Speaker Eileen Filler-corn addresses 2020 House of Delegates
WAVY TV – January 8, 2020

Issues

Farm Conservation

Setting a deadline for farm conservation practices would be a major step for Virginia water quality
By: Matt Kowalski
January 29, 2020

As a restoration scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, I’m often out in the field with Virginia farmers putting projects on the ground that benefit both stream health and farm operations. I also follow state policy in Richmond that could lead to more conservation practices on farms.

Legislation proposed in the General Assembly would be a big step forward for this work. Lawmakers are considering setting a 2026 deadline for farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to fence cattle out of all permanent streams and develop nutrient management plans to avoid overapplying fertilizer. Agricultural practices like these are some of the most cost-effective ways to restore local and downstream waters.

Health

Virginia lawmakers vote to repeal mandatory ultrasound, waiting period for abortion
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – January 29, 2020

New Democratic majorities in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate voted this week to roll back abortion restrictions the GOP put in place in 2012 mandating an ultra-sound and 24-hour waiting period.

“These restrictions were not designed to protect women, but rather to suppress their ability to make their own choices regarding their bodies,” said House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, who carried the legislation in the House. “This bill concerns an incredibly important decision that should be left up to a woman and her healthcare provider.”

Absent timely federal vaping regulation, Virginia and other states cobble together a regulatory patchwork
By: Bob Lewis
Virginia Mercury – January 27, 2020

As the summer of 2019 gave way to autumn, a health crisis that had festered for years became frightful front-page news: children were falling gravely ill and even dying as a result of vaping, a smoke-free option once marketed as a lifesaving choice for smokers.

But it quickly became the rage among teens, practiced by one high schooler in four. It seemed harmless enough – water vapor without the tar and known carcinogens yielded by incinerating tobacco. And the industry embraced its youthful users, enticing them with such yummy flavorings as butterscotch, mango and cinnamon roll to deliver sometimes massive jolts of highly addictive nicotine.

X
Weekly Digest – 1/13 to 1/19/20 1VA News Digest 1/20 to 1/26/20

Clockwise from upper left:
“One day after the big gun rally, House Democrats wipe out GOP firearm bills” –  Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Virginia Senate passes red flag gun law after tightening due process protections” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Va. Senate votes to prohibit conversion therapy, create transgender school policy, repeal gay marriage ban” – Ned Oliver,Virginia Mercury

“My students will not be silenced on climate change — or anything else” – Christine Hirsh-Putnam

Article summaries inside this post.

Summary

Clockwise from upper left:
“One day after the big gun rally, House Democrats wipe out GOP firearm bills” –  Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Virginia Senate passes red flag gun law after tightening due process protections” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Va. Senate votes to prohibit conversion therapy, create transgender school policy, repeal gay marriage ban” – Ned Oliver,Virginia Mercury

“My students will not be silenced on climate change — or anything else” – Christine Hirsh-Putnam

Article summaries inside this post.

Issues

Gun laws

One day after the big gun rally, House Democrats wipe out GOP firearm bills
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – January 21, 2020

The pro-gun masses had their day at the Virginia Capitol Monday. But mathematical reality quickly set in Tuesday morning as a Democratic-led House of Delegates panel easily dispatched nearly a dozen Republican-sponsored gun bills.

The proposals would have made it easier to carry guns in places of worship, allowed concealed carry without a permit, limited gun-free zones and strengthened mandatory sentencing rules for gun crimes. They hit a legislative buzzsaw in a public safety subcommittee, just as Democratic-sponsored gun-control bills did when Republicans controlled the General Assembly.

Virginia Senate passes red flag gun law after tightening due process protections
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – January 22, 2020

As a Virginia Senate committee debated how to craft a policy allowing police to take guns away from people deemed dangerous, one Republican made an ominous warning about what could happen if the state starts sending officers up “Ruby Ridge Drive” to bang on the door.

“When they don’t answer the door,” said Sen. Ben Chafin, R-Russell,  “… is this committee asking that that door be knocked down to find out what’s on the other side?”

It’s not clear how many of Chafin’s colleagues share his concern about the bill’s potential to create more armed standoffs between homeowners and police. But Democratic lawmakers spent a significant amount of time over the last week fine-tuning the process of how police will interact with people who are subject to court orders temporarily stripping their gun rights.

LGBQ

Va. Senate votes to prohibit conversion therapy, create transgender school policy, repeal gay marriage ban
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – January 21, 2020

A suite of LGBT-friendly legislation cleared the Virginia Senate on Tuesday.

Lawmakers voted to:

  • ban health professionals like counselors and psychologists from performing conversion therapy on anyone under age 18,
  • create uniform policies for transgender students attending public schools,
  • make it easier for transgender people to change the gender on their birth certificates and
  • remove language from the state code banning gay marriage.

The gay marriage ban has already been invalidated by a 2015 Supreme Court ruling and advocates said the state code should reflect that.

Climate Change

My students will not be silenced on climate change — or anything else
By: Christine Hirsh-Putnam
January 24, 2020

Young people usually don’t have a say in the laws we all must obey. They are deemed too young and/or naïve to make sound political choices. Yet they are passionate about major political issues because they will be affected by these issues throughout their entire lives.

Recently, young people have answered the call to act on climate change, energizing the climate movement. If our country remains stagnant and refuses to address this issue, their generation will be left with serious problems long after today’s lawmakers are gone.

I see the potential in students to effectively participate in the political process. Each year my 7th grade students from Tandem Friends School near Charlottesville travel to Washington to meet with their representatives about climate solutions. It is an eye-opening experience meeting with a member of Congress that most citizens will never experience. If we teach our children how to engage in the democratic process during these formidable years, the lesson will stick with them for years to come.

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
Weekly Digest – 1/13 to 1/19/20Weekly Digest – 1/13 to 1/19/20

Clockwise from upper left:
“As Virginia Democrats advance new gun restrictions, militias organize, promising to resist” – Ned Oliver and Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

What US election officials could learn from Australia about boosting voter turnout” – Steven Mulroy, Law professor

Va. Democrats face a growing menu of redistricting reform options. Only one binds them for 2021”- Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Democrats seek repeal of mandatory ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period for abortions” -Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Article summaries inside this post.

Summary

Clockwise from upper left:
“As Virginia Democrats advance new gun restrictions, militias organize, promising to resist” – Ned Oliver and Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

What US election officials could learn from Australia about boosting voter turnout” – Steven Mulroy, Law professor

Va. Democrats face a growing menu of redistricting reform options. Only one binds them for 2021”- Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Democrats seek repeal of mandatory ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period for abortions” -Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Article summaries inside this post.

Issues

Gun Rights

As Virginia Democrats advance new gun restrictions, militias organize, promising to resist
By: Ned Oliver and Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – January 13, 2020

Opponents of new gun laws in Virginia are organizing militias in the state, but promise they’re not planning to use the new paramilitary organizations to launch a violent insurrection against the government.

“We’re just a group of like-minded individuals trying to protect our rights,” said a man standing in the gravel parking lot of an auto repair shop in rural King William County Sunday, where a “call to muster” had asked anyone interested in forming a local militia to meet for preliminary discussions. “We’re not trying to overthrow anyone.”

Voter turnout

What US election officials could learn from Australia about boosting voter turnout
By: Steven Mulroy
January 20, 2020

Not every country is plagued by rules that limit voters’ participation in elections, as is common in the United States.

In the past five years, restrictions on voting and voter registration purges have limited the number of Americans eligible to cast ballots.

In addition, the U.S. is the only major democracy that still allows politicians to draw their own district lines, an often-criticized conflict of interest in which public officials essentially pick their voters, rather than the voters picking their officials. That computer-aided gerrymandering of electoral districts reduces the number of districts with competitive races, contributing to low voter turnout.

Perhaps the fundamental problem, though, is that the system yields results the people don’t actually want. Twice in the last two decades, U.S. voters chose a president, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, who got fewer votes than his rival, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton.

All these problems are avoidable and don’t happen in countries that have different voting laws. Perhaps the best example is Australia, a country which is culturally, demographically and socioeconomically similar to the U.S. In my book “Rethinking U.S. Election Law,” written while I lived and studied their system Down Under, I outline many of the ways Australia has solved voting quandaries that persist in the U.S.

Redistricting reform options

Va. Democrats face a growing menu of redistricting reform options. Only one binds them for 2021
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – January 15, 2020

Virginia’s new Democratic majorities will have at least three different redistricting reform proposals to choose from in the 2020 session. But only one would take away the General Assembly’s constitutional power to redraw the state’s political maps next year.

For years, Democrats have called for the creation of an independent redistricting commission that would reduce or eliminate politicians’ ability to draw safe districts for themselves or their party. After taking power just before the 2021 redistricting process, they’re under a time crunch to figure out how to do it.

Abortion

Democrats seek repeal of mandatory ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period for abortions
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – January 17, 2020

Republicans imposed a 24-hour-waiting period and mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions in 2012 when they last controlled both branches of the General Assembly and the Executive Mansion.

Now that Democrats have locked down their own trifecta, party leaders have filed an array bills to roll those and other restrictions back.

“It’s a woman’s right to choose, period,” said Sen. Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax, who has filed legislation that would eliminate the ultrasound requirement, waiting period, requirement that women under age 18 obtain parental consent prior to a procedure and eliminate strict building-code requirements imposed on abortion clinics.

2/ 10

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X
Current Abortion LegislationRepealing mandatory abortion regulations

Title: “Democrats seek repeal of mandatory ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period for abortions”
Author: Graham Moomaw
SourceVirginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 17, 2020

Republicans imposed a 24-hour-waiting period and mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions in 2012 when they last controlled both branches of the General Assembly and the Executive Mansion.

Now that Democrats have locked down their own trifecta, party leaders have filed an array bills to roll those and other restrictions back.

“It’s a woman’s right to choose, period,” said Sen. Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax, who has filed legislation that would eliminate the ultrasound requirement, waiting period, requirement that women under age 18 obtain parental consent prior to a procedure and eliminate strict building-code requirements imposed on abortion clinics.

Summary

Title: “Democrats seek repeal of mandatory ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period for abortions”
Author: Graham Moomaw
SourceVirginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 17, 2020

Republicans imposed a 24-hour-waiting period and mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions in 2012 when they last controlled both branches of the General Assembly and the Executive Mansion.

Now that Democrats have locked down their own trifecta, party leaders have filed an array bills to roll those and other restrictions back.

“It’s a woman’s right to choose, period,” said Sen. Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax, who has filed legislation that would eliminate the ultrasound requirement, waiting period, requirement that women under age 18 obtain parental consent prior to a procedure and eliminate strict building-code requirements imposed on abortion clinics.

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
10/24- US House Gerrymandering 1Redistricting reform options

Title: “Va. Democrats face a growing menu of redistricting reform options. Only one binds them for 2021”
Author: Graham Moomaw
SourceVirginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 15, 2020;

Virginia’s new Democratic majorities will have at least three different redistricting reform proposals to choose from in the 2020 session. But only one would take away the General Assembly’s constitutional power to redraw the state’s political maps next year.

For years, Democrats have called for the creation of an independent redistricting commission that would reduce or eliminate politicians’ ability to draw safe districts for themselves or their party. After taking power just before the 2021 redistricting process, they’re under a time crunch to figure out how to do it.

 

Summary

Title: “Va. Democrats face a growing menu of redistricting reform options. Only one binds them for 2021”
Author: Graham Moomaw
SourceVirginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 15, 2020;

Virginia’s new Democratic majorities will have at least three different redistricting reform proposals to choose from in the 2020 session. But only one would take away the General Assembly’s constitutional power to redraw the state’s political maps next year.

For years, Democrats have called for the creation of an independent redistricting commission that would reduce or eliminate politicians’ ability to draw safe districts for themselves or their party. After taking power just before the 2021 redistricting process, they’re under a time crunch to figure out how to do it.

 

Feedback

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X
Australia boosts voter turnoutAustralia boosts voter turnout

Title: “What US election officials could learn from Australia about boosting voter turnout
AuthorSteven Mulroy
Source: The Conversation
Date: Jan. 14, 2020

Not every country is plagued by rules that limit voters’ participation in elections, as is common in the United States.

In the past five years, restrictions on voting and voter registration purges have limited the number of Americans eligible to cast ballots.

In addition, the U.S. is the only major democracy that still allows politicians to draw their own district lines, an often-criticized conflict of interest in which public officials essentially pick their voters, rather than the voters picking their officials. That computer-aided gerrymandering of electoral districts reduces the number of districts with competitive races, contributing to low voter turnout.

Perhaps the fundamental problem, though, is that the system yields results the people don’t actually want. Twice in the last two decades, U.S. voters chose a president, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, who got fewer votes than his rival, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton.

All these problems are avoidable and don’t happen in countries that have different voting laws. Perhaps the best example is Australia, a country which is culturally, demographically and socioeconomically similar to the U.S. In my book “Rethinking U.S. Election Law,” written while I lived and studied their system Down Under, I outline many of the ways Australia has solved voting quandaries that persist in the U.S.

Summary

Title: “What US election officials could learn from Australia about boosting voter turnout
AuthorSteven Mulroy
Source: The Conversation
Date: Jan. 14, 2020

Not every country is plagued by rules that limit voters’ participation in elections, as is common in the United States.

In the past five years, restrictions on voting and voter registration purges have limited the number of Americans eligible to cast ballots.

In addition, the U.S. is the only major democracy that still allows politicians to draw their own district lines, an often-criticized conflict of interest in which public officials essentially pick their voters, rather than the voters picking their officials. That computer-aided gerrymandering of electoral districts reduces the number of districts with competitive races, contributing to low voter turnout.

Perhaps the fundamental problem, though, is that the system yields results the people don’t actually want. Twice in the last two decades, U.S. voters chose a president, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, who got fewer votes than his rival, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton.

All these problems are avoidable and don’t happen in countries that have different voting laws. Perhaps the best example is Australia, a country which is culturally, demographically and socioeconomically similar to the U.S. In my book “Rethinking U.S. Election Law,” written while I lived and studied their system Down Under, I outline many of the ways Australia has solved voting quandaries that persist in the U.S.

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
Militias organize, promise to resist 1Militias organize, promise to resist

Title: “As Virginia Democrats advance new gun restrictions, militias organize, promising to resist
Author: Ned Oliver and Graham Moomaw
Source: Virginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 13, 2020

Opponents of new gun laws in Virginia are organizing militias in the state, but promise they’re not planning to use the new paramilitary organizations to launch a violent insurrection against the government.

“We’re just a group of like-minded individuals trying to protect our rights,” said a man standing in the gravel parking lot of an auto repair shop in rural King William County Sunday, where a “call to muster” had asked anyone interested in forming a local militia to meet for preliminary discussions. “We’re not trying to overthrow anyone.”

Summary

Title: “As Virginia Democrats advance new gun restrictions, militias organize, promising to resist
Author: Ned Oliver and Graham Moomaw
Source: Virginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 13, 2020

Opponents of new gun laws in Virginia are organizing militias in the state, but promise they’re not planning to use the new paramilitary organizations to launch a violent insurrection against the government.

“We’re just a group of like-minded individuals trying to protect our rights,” said a man standing in the gravel parking lot of an auto repair shop in rural King William County Sunday, where a “call to muster” had asked anyone interested in forming a local militia to meet for preliminary discussions. “We’re not trying to overthrow anyone.”

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Weekly Digest – 1/6 to 1/12/20Weekly Digest – 1/6 to 1/12/20

Clockwise from upper left:
“No, Virginia. The governor’s budget doesn’t fund an 18-officer gun confiscation squad.” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Culpeper rally rouses hundreds for gun rights” – Clint Schemmer, Culpeper Star-Exponent

“‘Madam Speaker’: After 400 years, Filler-Corn becomes first woman to lead Virginia House” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

ERA begins its journey to near certain ratification in Virginia” – Ned Oliver, Virginia Mercury

More articles from past week inside post …

Summary

Clockwise from upper left:
“No, Virginia. The governor’s budget doesn’t fund an 18-officer gun confiscation squad.” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

Culpeper rally rouses hundreds for gun rights” – Clint Schemmer, Culpeper Star-Exponent

“‘Madam Speaker’: After 400 years, Filler-Corn becomes first woman to lead Virginia House” – Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

ERA begins its journey to near certain ratification in Virginia” – Ned Oliver, Virginia Mercury

More articles from past week inside post …

VA onAir

State Legislature

‘Madam Speaker’: After 400 years, Filler-Corn becomes first woman to lead Virginia House
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – January 8, 2020

On Wednesday, Del. Eileen Filler-Corn of Fairfax became the first woman ever elected to lead the House of Delegates, taking the gavel as Democrats prepare to use their hard-won majority power to dramatically reshape state policy.

On what is usually a light day filled with organizational formalities, a crowd packed the House chamber to watch Filler-Corn, a 55-year-old government relations consultant, make history as the first woman and the first Jewish person to lead the body.

Title: “Virginia General Assembly to convene with Democrats in charge. Expect big changes.”
Author: Gregory S. Schneider and Laura Vozzella
Source: Washington Post
Date: Jan. 7, 2019

RICHMOND — The Virginia General Assembly that convenes here Wednesday will look different from any other in the body’s 401-year history, with diverse Democratic leadership aiming to set a new course after a quarter-century of Republican dominance.

But the new blue majorities in both the House of Delegates and state Senate will face challenges in holding onto power. Young, progressive lawmakers are impatient to tack harder left. Rural, red parts of the state feel more disconnected than ever.

New leadership — with women and minorities reaching several historic firsts — will have to reconfigure every committee and set out arcane but crucial rules of operation. They have 60 days to craft a two-year state budget and tackle a generation’s worth of hot-button issues.

Also see “Newly empowered Virginia Democrats promise action” from AP News

ERA begins its journey to near certain ratification in Virginia
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – January 9, 2020

A Senate panel voted Wednesday to advance the Equal Rights Amendment to the chamber’s floor, sending the long-stalled constitutional amendment down a pathway to near certain ratification in Virginia.

“We have waited too long,” said Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, one of the measure’s patrons.

Advocates launched a push for Virginia to become the 38th and final state to ratify the amendment last year. The measure cleared the Republican controlled Senate with bi-partisan support but stalled in the House, where GOP leaders blocked a floor vote despite a majority of lawmakers in the chamber signaling their support.

Issues

Gun Rights

Culpeper rally rouses hundreds for gun rights
By: Clint Schemmer
Culpeper Star-Exponent – January 12, 2020

If a Culpeper rally offers a taste, Virginia lawmakers are in for quite a show of force when gun-rights advocates descend on Richmond next week.

Despite a light drizzle, nearly 500 men, women and children turned out for three hours Saturday to hear a dozen speakers defend the Second Amendment and attack Gov. Ralph Northam and Democratic legislators proposing background checks and red-flag restrictions.

Speakers included three GOP candidates for Central Virginia’s 7th Congressional District challenging U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, as well as Republican Daniel Gade, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Mark Warner.

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Big Changes in 2020First Madam Speaker of the House

Title: “‘Madam Speaker’: After 400 years, Filler-Corn becomes first woman to lead Virginia House
Author: Graham Moomaw
Source: Virginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 8, 2020

On Wednesday, Del. Eileen Filler-Corn of Fairfax became the first woman ever elected to lead the House of Delegates, taking the gavel as Democrats prepare to use their hard-won majority power to dramatically reshape state policy.

On what is usually a light day filled with organizational formalities, a crowd packed the House chamber to watch Filler-Corn, a 55-year-old government relations consultant, make history as the first woman and the first Jewish person to lead the body.

Summary

Title: “‘Madam Speaker’: After 400 years, Filler-Corn becomes first woman to lead Virginia House
Author: Graham Moomaw
Source: Virginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 8, 2020

On Wednesday, Del. Eileen Filler-Corn of Fairfax became the first woman ever elected to lead the House of Delegates, taking the gavel as Democrats prepare to use their hard-won majority power to dramatically reshape state policy.

On what is usually a light day filled with organizational formalities, a crowd packed the House chamber to watch Filler-Corn, a 55-year-old government relations consultant, make history as the first woman and the first Jewish person to lead the body.

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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No funds for gun confiscationNo funds for gun confiscation

Title: “No, Virginia. The governor’s budget doesn’t fund an 18-officer gun confiscation squad.”
Author: Graham Moomaw
Source: Virginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 7, 2020

Amid a conspiracy theory-tinged uproar over the possibility of Virginia passing new gun-control laws, pro-gun activists have scoured the state budget for evidence validating their fears about the government coming for their firearms.

But much of the pro-gun rhetoric surrounding Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed budget doesn’t match reality.

According to the governor’s office, the funding is for administrative workers who would oversee the registration/permitting process Democrats are proposing to allow gun owners to keep firearms they already have. The 18 jobs mentioned in the budget are not trooper positions, said Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky.

Summary

Title: “No, Virginia. The governor’s budget doesn’t fund an 18-officer gun confiscation squad.”
Author: Graham Moomaw
Source: Virginia Mercury
Date: Jan. 7, 2020

Amid a conspiracy theory-tinged uproar over the possibility of Virginia passing new gun-control laws, pro-gun activists have scoured the state budget for evidence validating their fears about the government coming for their firearms.

But much of the pro-gun rhetoric surrounding Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed budget doesn’t match reality.

According to the governor’s office, the funding is for administrative workers who would oversee the registration/permitting process Democrats are proposing to allow gun owners to keep firearms they already have. The 18 jobs mentioned in the budget are not trooper positions, said Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky.

Feedback

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