VA News Digest 2/10 to 2/16

VA News Digest 2/10 to 2/16 1

Summary

Clockwise from Upper Left:

“On a bipartisan vote, U.S. Senate approves Kaine’s measure to curb Trump’s military power”-Allison Stevens, Virginia Mercury

“Democratic megadonor backs out of fundraising gala, citing party’s decision to let LG Justin Fairfax speak”-Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

“House, Senate pass long-anticipated immigrants’ rights bills”-Kate Masters, Ned Oliver, Virginia Mercury

“Lawmakers from both parties agree: It’s time to step up state aid for needy school districts”-Kate Masters, Virginia Mercury

Federal

On a bipartisan vote, U.S. Senate approves Kaine’s measure to curb Trump’s military power
By: Allison Stevens
Virginia Mercury – February 14, 2020

The U.S. Senate issued a rare bipartisan rebuke to President Donald Trump Thursday when it approved a resolution that would curtail his ability to take military action against Iran without first securing congressional approval.

The resolution passed with support from 55 senators, including eight Republicans.

“The resolution before the body today is about Congress reclaiming its rightful role in decisions about war,” Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who authored the proposal and who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, said during the Senate debate.

State Executive

Democratic megadonor backs out of fundraising gala, citing party’s decision to let LG Justin Fairfax speak
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – February 14, 2020

A top donor to Virginia Democrats has pulled his group’s sponsorship of the Democratic Party of Virginia’s annual fundraising gala, saying party officials had told him they will allow Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to speak despite the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him last year.

In a statement Friday, Michael Bills, a Charlottesville investor who donated almost $1.5 million to Democratic committees last year, said he was withdrawing a “top-tier” gala sponsorship by Clean Virginia, the energy reform group whose board he chairs. Clean Virginia had agreed to be a $10,000 sponsor for the Democrats’ Blue Commonwealth Gala, which will take place Saturday night at Main Street Station in downtown Richmond.

State Legislature

House, Senate pass long-anticipated immigrants’ rights bills
By: Kate Masters and Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – February 12, 2020

Legislation extending driver privileges and in-state tuition regardless of immigration status, pushed for years by advocates for Virginia immigrants, cleared both chambers of the General Assembly Tuesday. “There’s a growing cognizance that these are communities who need licenses and in-state tuition,” said Monica Sarmiento, the executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights. “They’re filled with talented people who already contribute to the Virginia economy and need a path forward to build their own prosperity.”

Issues

Education

Lawmakers from both parties agree: It’s time to step up state aid for needy school districts
By: Kate Masters
Virginia Mercury – February 14, 2020

When it comes to stressing the needs of cash-strapped school districts, Keith Perrigan, president of the state’s Coalition of Small and Rural Schools, likes to let other educators do the talking.

Members of the coalition shared plenty of anecdotes at a news conference on Thursday outlining their priorities in the ongoing legislative session. Among them: school construction funding, coping with enrollment loss and a bill from Del. Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond, that would increase the ratio of school counselors to students.

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