November 25 to December 2, 2019

November 25 to December 1, 2019

Summary

OnAir:  What’s streaming on 1/14/20

US House:  Rob Wittman (R)

Governor:  Ralph Northam (D)

Senate Minority LeaderDick Saslaw (D)

VA DelegateJennifer Carroll Foy (D)

Interview (5:07):  David Bulova (D)

SupporterKaye Kory (D)

2019 Election:  Competitive Districts

2019 ElectionVA House 10

Video (2:15)About Virginia onAir 

Federal

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

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

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

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

State Executive

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

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

State Legislature

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

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

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

Issues

Environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gambling

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

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

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

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

Politics and Food

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

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

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

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