Oct. 21 to Oct. 27, 2019

Oct. 21 to Oct. 27, 2019
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House Financial Services Committee member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) questions Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg with Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) during a hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg testified about Facebook's proposed cryptocurrency Libra, how his company will handle false and misleading information by political leaders during the 2020 campaign and how it handles its users’ data and privacy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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.

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