VaNews

Thursday July 20, 2017


Today's Sponsor:

Sabena Moretz

Remembering the extraordinary Betty Jolly, who served the Commonwealth in many roles and was also very sweet. (I promised to say it!) Rest well.

Executive Branch


MCAULIFFE: TRUMP HAS 'ABDICATED HIS RESPONSIBILITY AS PRESIDENT'

By JOHN BOWDEN , The Hill

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) ripped President Trump on Tuesday for his comments on ObamaCare, saying that Trump has "abdicated" his responsibility as president by saying he would let the healthcare law fail. By letting the Affordable Care Act fail as health insurance premiums rise around the country, McAuliffe said in an interview on MSNBC's "Hardball," Trump is ensuring that Americans will be burned by Congress's inaction.



MCAULIFFE INVITES MCCONNELL TO HEALTH CLINIC FOR POOR

Associated Press

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is extending an invitation to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to visit a free health clinic for the state's poor later this week. McAuliffe, a Democrat, said the Republican majority leader could hear firsthand stories from people who struggle to obtain adequate health care.



RAM CLINIC IN WISE TO PROVIDE HEALTHCARE TO THOSE IN NEED

By REECE RISTAU, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 12 articles a month)

A Remote Area Medical clinic will set up shop in Wise County this Friday through Sunday. Known as a RAM clinic, the mobile medical clinic administers free medical, dental and vision care to underserved and uninsured individuals, children and families.

General Assembly


LEGISLATION MAY AFFECT WIRELESS ZONING ORDINANCES

By CATHY KUEHNER, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

Draft wireless infrastructure legislation currently being evaluated by the General Assembly’s Committee on Wireless Communication Infrastructure could undo much of what Clarke County accomplished over the past year with its Wireless Communication Facilities text amendment and its Telecommunications Infrastructure and Broadband Study.

McDonnell Case


N.J. SENATOR MENENDEZ SEEKS DISMISSAL OF CORRUPTION CASE

Reuters

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey has asked a federal judge to throw out his indictment for corruption, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling narrowing the definition of conduct that can lead to such prosecutions. Lawyers for the senator in a court filing on Tuesday pointed to the June 2016 Supreme Court decision that overturned the corruption conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

State Elections


VOGEL, FAIRFAX TOUT CAMPAIGN NUMBERS

Northern Virginia Daily

Candidates running for lieutenant governor reported their latest campaign finance numbers this week. State Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Upperville, raised $147,500 in June, bringing the total collected to $1.8 million, her campaign reported Monday. ... Justin Fairfax, the Democratic Party candidate for the lieutenant governor seat, raised $187,523, according to his campaign’s filing



DEMOCRATS TEST 2018 STRATEGIES IN VIRGINIA STATE HOUSE RACES

By REID J. EPSTEIN, Wall Street Journal (Paywall)

Democrats want to take back control of the U.S. House by winning Republican-held seats where voters backed Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election. This fall, they will be conducting a test run in Virginia, including determining whether success comes by focusing on President Donald Trump or not when wooing voters who didn’t support him last November.



BIG CASH LEAD FOR VALLEY HOUSE INCUMBENTS

By ELLIE POTTER , Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

The Valley’s Republican candidates for the House of Delegates combined have 14 times more money left in their campaign funds than the total dollars among Democratic candidates, according to campaign finance reports. Incumbent Dels. Tony Wilt, Steve Landes and Rob Bell have a combined total of about $457,000 compared with respective Democratic challengers Brent Finnegan, Angela Lynn and Kellen Squire, who had about $33,000 as of the latest reporting period.



DEL. LOPEZ HAS BIG CASH-ON-HAND ADVANTAGE IN RE-ELECTION BID

Sun Gazette

Incumbent Democrat Alfonso Lopez maintains a significant cash-on-hand advantage over his Republican challenger in the 49th House District, the only competitive legislative race in Arlington this year. Lopez had $24,429 on hand at the end of the most recent filing period in late June, according to figures reported by Virginia Public Access Project. That compares to $1,186 for Adam Roosevelt.

Congress


HOUSE COMMITTEE VOTES TO SLASH CHESAPEAKE BAY CLEANUP BY $13 MILLION

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

Bay advocates consider the move by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee to cut federal funding from $73 million to $60 million an improvement over President Donald Trump's plan to gut all federal funds for the Chesapeake Bay Program. But they warn of serious consequences for the bay and the bay states that have been working together for years to clean up the watershed.

Transportation


NEARLY ALL OF I-64 MAY HAVE HOT LANES BY 2024, VDOT SAYS

By JORDAN PASCALE , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

More high-occupancy toll lanes likely are coming to I-64 in Hampton Roads by 2024. The lanes, free for those with two or more in the vehicle or with a sliding toll for solo drivers, would stretch from I-64 on the Peninsula, across the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, through the I-264 interchange and over the High-Rise Bridge to Bowers Hill.



COURT RULING PAVES WAY FOR PURPLE LINE CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN

By KATHERINE SHAVER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A federal appeals court ruling on Wednesday will allow Maryland to begin building the Purple Line while a lawsuit opposing it continues, clearing the way for the state to pursue federal funding for a light-rail project that has faced nearly a year of legal delays. In a major victory for the state, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reinstated the Purple Line’s environmental approval, which a lower-court judge had revoked last year, while the legal case continues.

Virginia Other


SIERRA CLUB SEEKS REVERSAL OF EMERGENCY YORKTOWN POWER PLANT ORDER

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

The Sierra Club wants federal energy regulators to reconsider their emergency order allowing Dominion Energy's coal-fired generators at Yorktown, which violate current air quality standards, to operate if necessary to meet summer demand. The environmental group disputed the Department of Energy's finding that there is an emergency, because the Federal Power Act defines emergencies as unexpected events before the control of local authoriti

Local


RICHMOND REFUSES TO DISCLOSE TERMS OF CITY AUDITOR'S 'VOLUNTARY' RESIGNATION

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

In refusing the request from the Richmond Times-Dispatch for the a copy of Umesh Dalal’s departure agreement, which would describe any payouts or financial incentives Dalal may have been given as part of his decision to step down, City Attorney Allen Jackson cited an exemption in the state’s Freedom of Information Act that allows but does not require the city to withhold the document.



SEVERAL PETERSBURG SCHOOL EMPLOYEES FIRED FOLLOWING INVESTIGATION INTO SOL CHEATING

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

Employees of A.P. Hill Elementary School in Petersburg broke the rules on state accountability tests for the second time in eight years, an internal investigation has found. The division announced Wednesday that several employees have been fired 37 days after the Virginia Department of Education reached out over reports of testing irregularities.



A.P HILL MAY LOSE ACCREDITATION AFTER INVESTIGATION

By JOHN ADAM, Progress Index (Metered paywall - 5 free articles a month)

After a month-long investigation, the Petersburg Public School system announced that they had finished looking into “irregularities” in the way Standards of Learning tests were conducted at A.P Hill Elementary School. The school system has determined that testing procedures were violated.



VRS TO REIMBURSE INCUBATOR EMPLOYEES' CONTRIBUTIONS

By JESS NOCERA, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 12 articles a month)

Employees of the Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator — including Abingdon Mayor Cathy Lowe, who is the incubator’s director — aren’t eligible to receive benefits from the Virginia Retirement System, so VRS will refund contributions paid to the town on behalf of current and past employees.


Today's Sponsor:

Sabena Moretz

Remembering the extraordinary Betty Jolly, who served the Commonwealth in many roles and was also very sweet. (I promised to say it!) Rest well.

Editorials


BUDGET SURPLUS NICE, BUT NOT ALL IS WELL

Free Lance-Star Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Virginia budget surplus of $132 million announced by Gov. Terry McAuliffe is welcome news given the woeful predictions that ushered in fiscal 2017. Word of a surplus, however, always raises the question of why, then, must some agencies and services remain underfunded when there is obviously more money available.



THE PURPLE LINE, RESURRECTED

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

At last, judicial common sense may revive a critical project -- which will connect Maryland’s close-in suburbs -- that was nearly derailed by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon., who ruled this spring that state and federal officials hadn’t seriously considered the potential effect of declining ridership on Metro, from which the new light-rail line expects to draw many of its users.



RICHMOND MUST FIND THE MONEY TO FIX ITS SCHOOLS

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Few things about Richmond are so dismaying as the decrepit state of some of its schools. On Monday the School Board debated what to do about George Mason Elementary, where teachers sometimes wear surgical masks and have to wipe rodent droppings off the desks. Rodent droppings.

Op-Ed


CURRINDER: VIRGINIA VOTERS WANT TO TRUST THEIR CANDIDATES

By MARIAN CURRINDER, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Visit the website of any candidate running for office in Virginia and you’ll typically find an “about me” or “meet the candidate” page. Here, candidates share with voters personal information about their families, values, education, and professional accomplishments.

Marian Currinder is policy director for the Coalition for Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes integrity in the public and private sectors.

From vpap.org


VISUALIZATION: MONEY IN THE BANK: IDENTIFYING COMPETITIVE HOUSE RACES

The Virginia Public Access Project

A record 54 House incumbents face a major-party challenger this November. At mid-year, how many incumbents held a cash advantage? VPAP's latest data visualization compares the cash on hand reported by incumbents and challengers, a metric that could suggest which districts will be the most competitive this fall.