VaNews

Thursday March 30, 2017


Today's Sponsor:

Katherine Waddell

In recognition of the Governor's Virginia Women's Summit taking place today at Virginia Union University. http://governor.virginia.gov/womens-summit/

Executive Branch


MCAULIFFE PROPOSES CUTTING COALFIELD ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUNDING

By CARMEN FORMAN, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe introduced a budget amendment this week to halt creation of a new economic development entity in Virginia’s coalfields region. McAuliffe’s amendment reverses a previous budget plan that would have diverted $500,000 a year from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority to the Lenowisco Planning District Commission for creation of an international marketing and economic development entity.



GOVERNOR AMENDS BILL, JOINS COAL ASH FIGHT

By JIM MCCONNELL, Chesterfield Observer

A t the behest of two state lawmakers, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has proposed amendments that would restore the original intent of coal ash legislation that was effectively gutted last month by the House of Delegates. The governor’s office last week introduced a version of Senate Bill 1398 that prevents Dominion Virginia Power from closing coal ash storage ponds at the Chesterfield Power Station and three other Virginia facilities until the company fully evaluates the environmental and financial impacts of various closure options.



SHOWTIME'S 'THE CIRCUS' FILMS DOWNTOWN AT PERLY'S

By MARKUS SCHMIDT, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Showtime’s hit political series “The Circus: Inside the Biggest Story on Earth” was filming in Richmond on Tuesday, inside Perly’s Restaurant & Delicatessen, a traditional Jewish New York-style deli at 111 E. Grace St. The film crew rolled in at about 7 a.m., setting up their gear for host and co-creator Mark Halperin’s interview with Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who arrived about two hours later.

General Assembly


LOCAL LEGISLATORS REMAIN AGAINST STATE MEDICAID EXPANSION

By ONOFRIO CASTIGLIA, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

Following a failed federal attempt at health care reform, state legislators representing the area maintain that they are against Medicaid expansion in Virginia. On Friday the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was pulled before an already delayed vote in the House of Representatives by President Donald Trump and, subsequently, House Speaker Paul Ryan after it was clear that some 30 Republicans, including Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-10th, would not support the bill; the same was true for all federal Democrats. As such, the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, remains law.



AMID PARTISAN GRIDLOCK, SEN. AMANDA CHASE MAKES HER OWN PATH

By RICH GRISET, Chesterfield Observer

It’s early March, and state Sen. Amanda Chase is sitting in a cramped radio booth at the studios for WNTW AM 820 in Chester. Clad in a teal blazer, Chase is prepping for a show that will recap her recent legislative session, including a discussion of the coal ash bill she co-sponsored. Soon it’s 4 o’clock, and the intro music for Chase’s show begins to play.

State Elections


STEWART ATTACKS GILLESPIE IN CONFEDERATE-THEMED AD USING DOCTORED NEWSPAPER HEADLINE

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart attacked his GOP primary rival Ed Gillespie in a new, Confederate-themed ad that included an altered newspaper headline the Gillespie campaign has denounced as blatantly false. The one-minute ad — which the Stewart campaign said will cost in the “mid five digits” and run in an online video and on radio statewide — includes the same altered headline, meant to appear as if it was published by The Washington Post, that has already been pulled from Facebook after complaints by the Gillespie campaign.



STEWART MISSTATEMENTS ON CONFEDERATE ISSUES TURN INTO HEADACHE FOR GILLESPIE

By FENIT NIRAPPIL, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A spokesman for Ed Gillespie, the front-runner in this year’s GOP primary for Virginia governor, says a new attack ad launched by a rival’s campaign is deceptive and a sign of desperation. Corey Stewart, the chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors who is battling Gillespie for the nomination, began airing a statewide radio ad and YouTube video Wednesday that incorrectly says Gillespie told The Washington Post he is opposed to any state legislation that would bar local communities from removing Confederate monuments.



STEWART RALLY HOST BOWS OUT

By TONY BROWN, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

An outspoken gubernatorial hopeful’s rally in support of tougher illegal immigration laws needs a new home. Dave’s Taverna owner David Engel on Wednesday afternoon said his Port Republic Road restaurant will no longer be the venue for Republican Corey Stewart’s “Take Back Virginia! Stop Illegal Immigration Harrisonburg” rally, scheduled for noon to 3 p.m. Saturday.



TRUMP ANTAGONIST ROSIE O’DONNELL WADES INTO VIRGINIA’S LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR RACE

By FENIT NIRAPPIL, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Fresh off her long-running and high-profile feud with the President of the United States, comedian and actress Rosie O’Donnell is wading into a more obscure political battle: the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor of Virginia. O’Donnell penned a letter Wednesday backing Susan Platt, a consultant who lobbied for Altria and former campaign manager for Democratic candidates, saying Virginia is long overdue to elect a woman to help run the state.



CNU POLL: GILLESPIE TIES NORTHAM, PERRIELLO IN GENERAL-ELECTION MATCHUP FOR GOVERNOR

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Republican gubernatorial frontrunner Ed Gillespie would be the most competitive GOP candidate in a fall matchup against either of the two Democrats in the race, according to a new poll by Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Public Policy. The survey showed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman and 2014 U.S. Senate candidate, virtually tied with both Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam and former Democratic congressman Tom Perriello in a general-election contest.



HAMPTON ROADS FAVORS DEMOCRATS IN GUBERNATORIAL RACE, BUT IT'S A DEAD HEAT STATEWIDE, POLL SHOWS

By BROCK VERGAKIS , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Registered voters in Hampton Roads favor both Democratic candidates for governor over former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, but at the statewide level the potential matchup is a dead heat that would likely be settled in vote-rich Northern Virginia, according to a Christopher Newport University poll released Wednesday.



STATE SEN. COSGROVE WITHDRAWS BID FOR CHESAPEAKE COURT CLERK, BACKS MAYOR'S RUN

By VICTORIA BOURNE, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

A week after announcing his bid to be Chesapeake’s next clerk of the Circuit Court, state Sen. John Cosgrove says he’s no longer seeking the position. He’s backing Mayor Alan Krasnoff, whom he would have run against, “100 percent.” Both are Republican .

State Government


VIRGINIA COUNTIES GETTING GRANTS TO EXPAND BROADBAND ACCESS

Associated Press

Five Virginia counties are getting grants to help extend broadband access in rural areas. Gov. Terry McAuliffe's office says nearly $945,000 in grants will go to Albemarle, Augusta, Bland, Gloucester and Greensville counties.



MORE VIRGINIANS HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE, DATA SHOW

By AMELIA HEYMANN, VCU Capital News Service

The percentage of Virginians without health insurance fell by 2 percentage points in 2015, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. All but two localities in Virginia saw a drop in the number of uninsured residents. The uninsured population of Virginia fell from 12.4 percent in 2014 to 10.4 percent in 2015, the data showed. Nationwide, the proportion of Americans lacking health insurance went from 13.5 percent to 10.9 percent.



VIRGINIA STUDYING PLAN FOR REGIONAL CENTER TO INVESTIGATE CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT

By KARIN KAPSIDELIS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A report on how to establish a regional center to investigate campus sexual and gender-based violence is due to state officials by August. The General Assembly in 2016 allocated $100,000 for a study to design a pilot program to provide independent investigations that would be similar to the multidisciplinary approach used by child-advocacy centers.



INVESTIGATION OF ROCKBRIDGE SOCIAL SERVICES EXTENDED BY ONE MONTH

By LAURENCE HAMMACK, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

A special grand jury investigation of the Rockbridge Area Department of Social Services will continue for another month. When the grand jury was convened last summer, a court order set Tuesday as the deadline for the panel to finish its work, either by recommending criminal charges or issuing a written report on its findings.

Congress


SEN. TIM KAINE TO OPPOSE TRUMP SUPREME COURT PICK, JOIN FILIBUSTER

Associated Press

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is joining with most of his Democratic colleagues and says he will vote to filibuster President Donald Trump’s choice of Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court. Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate in last year’s election, cited Gorsuch’s opinion that employers have the right to deny government-mandated contraception coverage for their workers in explaining his opposition.



SEN. KAINE WILL VOTE AGAINST GORSUCH NOMINATION TO U.S. SUPREME COURT

By BILL BARTEL , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine said Wednesday he will oppose the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the federal judge’s opinions reveal an “activist” bias against women’s right to contraception. “After meeting with Judge Gorsuch and reviewing his testimony and past decisions, I’ve observed that he has repeatedly taken an activist approach to cases involving a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her health,” Kaine said.



BRAT: “WE CAN STILL GET HEALTH CARE RIGHT”

By ALLISON BROPHY CHAMPION, Culpeper Star Exponent (Modified Pay Wall)

Two days after House Republicans pulled President Trump’s beleaguered health care plan meant to replace the Affordable Care Act, one of its Freedom Caucus detractors, Rep. Dave Brat, R-Richmond, claimed, “We can still get health care right.” Virginia’s Senate Democrats also agreed reforms were needed in the way Americans get medical care as the complex issue continues to simmer in both Washington and Richmond.

Economy/Business


CARILION CHIEF SAYS UNCERTAINTY OVER HEALTH CARE BILL KEEPS HOSPITALS ON ALERT

By LUANNE RIFE, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The unsettled health care debate leaves hospitals lacking the one factor needed for a healthy bottom line. “Predictability in our business is stability. Not being able to forecast where you’re going, what your revenue sources are, puts you in a state of uncertainty that is problematic,” said Carilion Clinic CEO Nancy Agee. As president-elect of the American Hospital Association, Agee was involved in lobbying Congress as Republicans attempted to tally enough votes to advance the American Health Care Act.



BIGGEST SHIP EVER TO CALL ON U.S. EAST COAST IS SET TO VISIT PORT OF VIRGINIA FIRST

By ROBERT MCCABE , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

All that talk about big ships coming? It’s no joke. The biggest ship ever to call on the Port of Virginia – or the entire U.S. East Coast, for that matter – is scheduled to arrive May 8 at Virginia International Gateway in Portsmouth.



CEO’S EXIT WON’T SLOW PAPER PLANT, OFFICIALS SAY

By JIM MCCONNELL AND PETER GALUSZKA, Chesterfield Observer

The chief executive of a Chinese company that plans to build a $2 billion paper mill in eastern Chesterfield has resigned, but it’s unclear at this point what, if any, effect his departure will have on the project. ... The company said it is pressing ahead with the Chesterfield project, which would be one of the largest foreign investments in the state and is expected to employ 2,000 people.



FREIGHTCAR TO IDLE OPERATIONS IN ROANOKE, MAYOR SAYS

By ALICIA PETSKA, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

FreightCar America is making plans to lay off more than 350 Roanoke employees and idle production at its local plant, according to Mayor Sherman Lea. The layoffs are currently slated to start with 166 jobs around April 24 and continue with 198 jobs around May 28, Lea said. The plant’s production work is expected to halt within a two-week period around mid-June, he said.

Virginia Other


ON VIRGINIA COUNTY HEALTH RANKINGS LIST, PETERSBURG AND RICHMOND STILL NEAR BOTTOM

By KATIE DEMERIA , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Though it has made strides in some health measurements, Petersburg remains one of the unhealthiest municipalities in Virginia as poverty continues to plague the city. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s annual County Health Rankings report places Petersburg at 132 on the list of Virginia counties and cities, followed only by Emporia.



NC LAWMAKERS, GOV REACH DEAL TO END 'BATHROOM BILL' STANDOFF

By GARY D. ROBERTSON, Associated Press

North Carolina Republican lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said late Wednesday that they have agreed on legislation to resolve a standoff over the state's "bathroom bill" through a replacement measure that still restricts LGBT nondiscrimination protections. GOP leaders announced the new legislation would be debated and voted on Thursday, but it was unclear whether there were enough House and Senate votes to pass it.

Local


RICHMOND ARTS COMMUNITY STILL CONCERNED ABOUT TRUMP'S PROPOSED BUDGET CUTS

By MARKUS SCHMIDT , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

While the $173,833 grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts may be a reason to celebrate, some in the Richmond arts community remain concerned with President Donald Trump’s proposed elimination of four independent cultural agencies: the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.



FEDS LOOKING INTO ANY ODU PAYMENTS, GIFTS TO EX-NORFOLK SHERIFF BOB MCCABE

By SCOTT DAUGHERTY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Federal agents wanted to know about all contracts Old Dominion University had with the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office and former Sheriff Bob McCabe, according to a grand jury subpoena obtained Wednesday by The Virginian-Pilot. The subpoena, issued in January, also sought information about McCabe’s personnel file at ODU, records of payments, campaign contributions and gifts the school made to him, and records relating to season tickets or luxury suites in McCabe’s name.



FAUQUIER SHERIFF SEEKS PARTNERSHIP WITH FEDERAL IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS

By JILL PALERMO, Fauquier Times

The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office has applied to become one of only two law-enforcement agencies in Virginia to enter into a formal agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain undocumented immigrants charged or convicted of criminal activity. Fauquier County Sheriff Bob Mosier confirmed Monday he applied earlier this year for the sheriff’s department to partner with ICE under its 287(g) program, named for the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that authorizes local deputies to perform immigration-enforcement functions.

Online News


VIRGINIA DEMOCRATS NEED MORE THAN ANTI-TRUMP SENTIMENT TO WIN

By DANIEL MARANS, Huffington Post

When Kathy Tran and her husband found out their fourth child was due on Inauguration Day, they were excited. Tran, the daughter of Vietnamese refugees and a workforce development specialist, assumed her preferred candidate, Democrat Hillary Clinton, would win. “It was fantastic,” she recalled. “How apropos that our baby would be due on Inauguration Day!”


Today's Sponsor:

Katherine Waddell

In recognition of the Governor's Virginia Women's Summit taking place today at Virginia Union University. http://governor.virginia.gov/womens-summit/

Editorials


FINDING VIRTUE IN VETOES

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently earned the distinction of having vetoed more bills than any chief executive in Virginia’s long history. Considering that that power dates to the Virginia Constitution of 1870, it’s a noteworthy record. It also reflects a state government too deeply divided, one in which an entrenched and unaccountable legislature routinely clashes with a headstrong and defiant executive who is limited to a single term.



HOW MANY GUNS DO YOU NEED?

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

"I can go get 20 guns from the store tomorrow. I can do that Monday through Friday. They might start looking at me, but in Virginia our laws are so little, I can give guns away." Those words were spoken by a resident of our commonwealth who was unaware his conversation was being recorded as part of an undercover operation aimed at stanching the flow of guns from Virginia to New York. Go back and read them again, and consider whether this reflects well on our state, or poorly. As for us, we believe in the Second Amendment, but our chests don't exactly swell with pride to know that Virginia is so willing to flood the streets with firepower



RICHMOND'S PROPOSED BAN ON FRACKING IS UTTERLY POINTLESS

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

Back during the Reagan years some liberal cities declared themselves nuclear-free zones, just in case the White House decided to put Minuteman missile silos in the middle of San Francisco or something. It was silly virtue-signaling, not serious policy. Now the Richmond City Council is doing much the same with fracking. On Monday the Council took steps to ban the mining of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing when it passed a resolution to that effect sponsored by Councilman Parker Agelasto.



DOES VIRGINIA NEED ANOTHER INLAND PORT? OR TWO?

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Last summer, Virginia’s secretary of transportation came to speak to a business group in Roanoke. Among the things that Aubrey Layne talked up that morning was the possibility of an “inland port” in Southwest Virginia — a distribution point for cargo headed to or from the more traditional water port in Hampton Roads. Suddenly, attendees perked up and started taking notes. A decade before, the Roanoke and New River valleys had been tantalized by the prospect of an inland port and the jobs that it would create.



WILL THIS BE THE YEAR FOR STATE'S TRIBES?

News & Advance Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

In 1607, 410 years ago, three tiny English ships arrived off the coast of North America near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The men aboard, all seeking fame and fortune in the New World, would go on to found Jamestown, which would become the first permanent English settlement on the continent. Watching these pale-faced strangers embark, clad in odd clothing and bearing sticks that had the magical power to kill an animal or a man, were members of the Pawmunkey tribe.



TIM KAINE SMEARS NEIL GORSUCH

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

It’s bad enough that Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine has decided to oppose the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, a superbly qualified candidate for the Supreme Court. But it’s even worse to smear the man in the process.



PROPERTY TAX RELIEF PROVES CRUCIAL HERE

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

Each of the localities in the Fredericksburg area participates in a property tax relief program established by the 2010 approval of a Virginia constitutional amendment. It’s a popular program, particularly among seniors and the disabled who scrape by on fixed incomes and need to hang onto as much of their money as they can.