VaNews

Wednesday July 26, 2017


General Assembly


SHOULD VIRGINIA DECRIMINALIZE MARIJUANA? STATE WANTS YOUR FEEDBACK

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Virginia officials are accepting comments by email until Aug. 25 about whether simple possession of marijuana should no longer be a crime, and advocates for changing the law are encouraging participation. The study being conducted this year by the Virginia State Crime Commission came at the request of the legislature.



QUESTIONABLE JAIL DEATHS IN FUTURE EXPECTED TO GET CLOSER SCRUTINY UNDER NEW VIRGINIA LAW

By BILL BARTEL , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Any future questionable deaths in Hampton Roads Regional Jail and other Virginia jails will require closer state scrutiny under a new law that took effect this month. The legislation also puts more law enforcement and health care professionals on the State Board of Corrections.



WOULD CHANGES IN STATE LAW HELP DOMESTIC ABUSE VICTIMS?

By PAUL COLLINS, Martinsville Bulletin

Members of Henry County’s delegation to the Virginia General Assembly say they support legislation to protect domestic violence victims. The problem as they see it, however, is that for the last two years, laws have been passed in the House and Senate and each time, they were vetoed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The bill in question was House Bill 1852/Senate Bill 1299,

State Elections


NATIONAL MONEY POURS INTO VIRGINIA GOVERNOR’S RACE

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Republican and the Democrat running for Virginia governor each picked up seven-figure campaign contributions from national groups after their first debate. Not 30 minutes after Ed Gillespie and Ralph Northam stepped off the debate stage Saturday, the Republican Governors Association announced it would plow $2 million into Gillespie’s campaign — on top of a previous ­$1 million donation.



ED GILLESPIE LAUNCHING TV ADS IN RACE FOR GOVERNOR

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

TV ads from Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie will begin airing Wednesday in markets across Virginia, according to a news release.

State Government


VITA CLAIMS NORTHROP GRUMMAN PUTS STATE IT SYSTEM AT RISK OF SHUTDOWN

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Virginia warned Tuesday that its computer network could shut down in a disaster unless a Richmond court grants emergency relief to force Northrop Grumman to allow access to a data center in Southwest Virginia. The state claims it needs that access to replace disaster recovery equipment the state says is inoperable from the company’s neglect.



VRS TO REFUND INCUBATOR EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT PAYMENTS

By JESS NOCERA, Washington County News

The Virginia Retirement System — which recently informed Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator employees they aren’t eligible to participate — will refund contributions paid on behalf of current and past employees. Incubator Director Cathy Lowe, who is also the town’s mayor, is one of those employees. She said it will now be up to the incubator board to determine what type of retirement program will be established to reinvest employee retirement dollars.

Economy/Business


DOMINION GETS DELAY ON PRINCE WILLIAM TRANSMISSION LINE THAT HAS SPARKED RESISTANCE

By ROBERT ZULLO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Dominion Energy, facing a wave of determined opposition from local government, a pair of state lawmakers and residents over a planned 230-kilovolt Prince William County transmission line and associated infrastructure intended to power an Amazon data center expansion, on Monday asked state regulators for a 60-day pause in the process. The next day, the State Corporation Commission, which is considering requests from opponents of the project to reconsider its approval of the transmission line between Gainesville and Haymarket, said Dominion will get the additional time



VMRC OFFICIALLY CURBS BLUE CRAB HARVEST

By TAMARA DIETRICH, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The blue crab pot season is officially shorter than last year after the Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to reduce bushel limits and end the season 16 days earlier than in 2016. The final vote comes a month after commissioners adopted an emergency measure to end the 2017 season on Nov. 30 and start the 2018 season on March 17 following an alarming 54 percent drop reported in juvenile crab numbers.



VIRGINIA PORT AUTHORITY BOARD EXTENDS CEO'S CONTRACT ANOTHER 3 YEARS

By ROBERT MCCABE , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Let’s keep this team on track. That was the message of the board of the Virginia Port Authority on Tuesday when, like an NFL team seeking to hold on to a record-setting quarterback, it voted unanimously to extend the contract of its top executive for another three years. John Reinhart, 63, the authority’s executive director and CEO since Feb. 10, 2014, wasn’t going to become a free agent, so to speak, until five years from that date.

Transportation


FEDERAL MONEY USED FOR PEOPLE EXPRESS FROM PROGRAM WITH SPOTTY RECORD

By REEMA AMIN AND DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

In September 2014, Yeager Airport in Charleston, W.Va., finally made good on a promise to give its community more flights. It was bringing in People Express. Yeager planned to do this with funds from the same federal pool of money that Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport was using to launch People Express — a program that the U.S. Government Accountability Office says has a mixed record.



VIAAIR RESPONDS TO SVRA

By VIC BRADSHAW, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

While admitting that ViaAir has not fulfilled all of its promises and has had “some hiccups” in serving Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, a representative of the airline said Tuesday that the company remains committed to the market long term. Matthew Macri, vice president of operations for the Orlando, Fla., airline, said in a telephone interview that he thinks some ill-timed flight cancellations have frustrated members of the airport’s governing commission.



AIRLINE PERFORMANCE TAKES A DIVE AS DELAYS, CANCELLATIONS ADD UP

By BOB STUART, News Virginian

Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport Executive Director Greg Campbell has seen an all too familiar pattern with ViaAir’s service in recent months. Multiple flights delayed — some by several hours or more — and many others canceled. Scores of missed connecting flights. And hundreds of passengers hours late to their destination or stuck for a day or more in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Orlando, Florida, the two cities ViaAir flies serves from the Weyers Cave airport.

Virginia Other


COAST GUARD AGREES TO PARTIAL OPENING OF POTOMAC NEAR TRUMP GOLF COURSE

By JENNA PORTNOY , Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The commandant of the Coast Guard on Tuesday said recreational paddlers can use the Maryland side of the Potomac River when the president or senior administration officials visit Trump National Golf Club, amending a controversial policy that kicked boats off the river whenever the president was golfing.

Local


RAISES FOR RICHMOND POLICE, FIREFIGHTERS DELAYED

By NED OLIVER, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Richmond firefighters and police officers anticipating that long-promised raises would appear in their paychecks this week were told Tuesday that they may have to wait until September. They will still receive the additional money as back pay, but union officials say they’re worried that some employees may have been counting on receiving the raises as planned.



DOMINION CEO REMARK PROMPTS CALLS FOR MORE TRANSPARENCY IN RICHMOND SCHOOLS SEARCH

By K. BURNELL EVANS , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Some Richmond School Board members balked at a perceived lack of transparency in plans laid out Tuesday for how the committee tasked with steering the search for a new public schools chief will operate. The first official meeting of that group began with an admonition for its more than two dozen members from Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion’s CEO and chairman of the committee.



NEW NORFOLK TREASURER REVERSES POLICY THAT KEPT MORE TAXPAYERS DELINQUENT

By ERIC HARTLEY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The new city treasurer has reversed an unusual policy instituted by former Treasurer Anthony Burfoot that kept more people in danger of losing their property to tax auctions. Jim Oliver, who took over May 1, said he made the change within the past couple of weeks after examining how other area treasurers handle delinquent accounts.

TV/Radio


ONE LAWMAKER'S PLAN TO REGULATE ONLINE LENDING

By MICHAEL POPE, WVTF

Delegate Mark Levine of Alexandria says businesses that offer online loans in Virginia should have a license. He’d also like to hit them with an interest rate cap and other consumer protections.



THE BIGGEST POLITICAL SPENDERS DON'T ALWAYS GET THE VICTORY

By MICHAEL POPE, WVTF

Money has become an increasingly important part of politics, and candidates spend a larger portion of their time on the campaign trail dialing for dollars. But money does not always equal success.

Online News


VA SENATORS WARNER, KAINE SPEAK OUT ON SENATE ACA VOTE

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, said he hopes that Republican Senators will change course in the days ahead. Sen. Mark Warner echoed that.


Editorials


DEAD HEAT

Winchester Star Editorial (Subscription Required)

We have long contended that the race to be Virginia’s next governor will be among the most closely watched in the nation this year and likely one of the most expensive in the state’s history. And, given the results of a recent poll, it looks like the fun is just getting started and that President Donald Trump may have a significant impact on the voter’s choice for our next chief executive.



MOVING BEYOND THE RHETORIC

Daily Press Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

We were more than a little taken aback listening to the first gubernatorial debate when moderator Judy Woodruff followed up her first questions about President Donald Trump by asking Republican Ed Gillespie if he'd support the president if he decided to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.



HYRA NEEDS TO BE ALLOWED TO DEBATE

Martinsville Bulletin Editorial

When voters attend the polls in November to select the next governor of Virginia, there will be a third name on the ballot: Cliff Hyra. Hyra is running for governor as a Libertarian candidate, but for the purposes of this editorial, he could be running for the Whig Party, or the American Vegetarian Party, or the Pan-Galactic Martian Party. This is not an editorial about Hyra’s policies, nor is it an endorsement or condemnation of them.



BEACH TAKES WRONG PATH ON CITY HALL DEBATE

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The debate over Virginia Beach’s City Hall concerns a practical matter, namely what to do about the space needed for municipal employees. But, like so many things in that city, the discussion evolved into something greater, namely where the seat of municipal government should rightfully sit in that dynamic and growing community.



CHANGE J.E.B. STUART HIGH SCHOOL’S NAME

Washington Post Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Is it appropriate to make students, including those from an increasingly diverse community, attend a school that bears the name of a man who took up arms in rebellion against his country in furtherance of slavery?

Columnists


SCHAPIRO: DEBATE SPOTLIGHTS VIRGINIA'S VANISHING POLITICAL MIDDLE

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

As Virginia grows and diversifies and its electorate increasingly reflects the nation as a whole — read: polarized — the practical is subsumed to the partisan. Democrat Northam and Republican Gillespie, both innately practical fellows, played to this before the Virginia Bar Association on Saturday, talking to their voters — but not the rest of us.