Most Read Articles Feb. 20, 2017


1


HOWELL WON'T SEEK RE-ELECTION, WILL RETIRE AFTER 14 YEARS AS VIRGINIA SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, will not run for re-election this year but instead will retire after 29 years in the House of Delegates, the last 14 as speaker. Howell, who will turn 74 in May, is expected to announce his decision Monday, but sources close to the speaker confirmed his intention to retire after the end of his two-year term in January. His aide, Chris West, said Sunday that the speaker declined to comment about the pending announcement.


2


VA. DEMOCRATS TO CHALLENGE GOP STATE LAWMAKERS IN EACH DISTRICT CLINTON WON

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post

Buoyed by a wave of progressive activism that began after the election of President Trump, Virginia Democrats plan to challenge 45 GOP incumbents in the deep-red House of Delegates this November, including 17 lawmakers whose districts voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton. In some districts, multiple candidates will compete in Democratic primaries for the chance to challenge a Republican incumbent.


3


SOME HOPE TO INCREASE DIVERSITY AMONG VA. LEGISLATIVE AIDES

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The lack of diversity in Virginia’s government is apparent among legislative assistants to the 140 state lawmakers. In the state Senate, 36 of 40 chief legislative assistants to lawmakers are white, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch analysis. In the House, 91 of 100 assistants are white. That means nearly 91 percent of the General Assembly’s 140 chief legislative assistants are white. Commonly referred to on Capitol Square as “L.A.’s,” the paid assistants research issues, communicate with constituents and serve as gatekeepers and confidential advisers to lawmakers. They are often as knowledgeable about the nuances of bills as the lawmakers.


4


MEET THE WOMEN WHO ARE UP IN BRAT'S GRILL

By VANESSA REMMERS AND PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Since Donald Trump was elected president in November, Rep. Dave Brat has had a new challenge on his hands: outraged constituents who want to bend his ear. Maureen Hains, a professional living in Chesterfield County, has replaced “Pride and Prejudice” binge-watching with nights maintaining a Facebook page with nearly 1,600 followers. Alsuin Preis, a stay-at-home mom in Richmond, now jokes that her car trunk of signs and markers is like a protest-to-go kit.


5


GOVERNOR: CUT JAMESTOWN CELEBRATION, FUND MENTAL HEALTH

By ALAN SUDERMAN AND SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press

Virginia lawmakers want the General Assembly's 400th birthday in 2019 to be a celebration worthy of the country's oldest legislative body, but the state's bon vivant governor is worried about the cost. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is asking Republican lawmakers to cut spending to commemorate the 1619 founding of the House of Burgesses at Jamestown, the first arrival in British colonies of African slaves, and other parts of the state's colonial past.


6


SCHAPIRO: VMI GRADS HELP ONE ANOTHER, NO MATTER THEIR PARTY

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Jeff Smith is a 36-year-old lawyer-lobbyist. Because Smith works in a highly polarized setting — the state Capitol — his politics are ecumenical. That may strike some as strange, given his dynastic name — Jefferson Davis Smith IV — and his storied alma mater: the Virginia Military Institute. It has a reputation for flinty conservatism. But Smith, who was graduated from VMI in 2005, and his brother and sister “rats” — his classmates, in the parlance of the Institute — are not easily pigeonholed.


7


AS WOMEN CLAMOR TO GET IUDS, VIRGINIA'S BUDGET WON'T INCLUDE COVERAGE

By KATIE DEMERIA, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

After Barack Obama’s election in 2008, gun sales surged. But after President Donald Trump’s win in November, instead of stockpiling firearms, women have been arming themselves with IUDs. “Starting the day after the election, we already had phone calls coming in because people panicked,” said Kelly Yeong, a nurse practitioner with Virginia Women’s Center. Meanwhile, there’s debate in the Virginia General Assembly over whether to pay to expand access to long-term contraception.


8


GOP CANDIDATES PLAY NICE AT MILLENNIAL DEBATE

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Virginia Republican hopefuls for governor played nice during their first debate Saturday, a break from some of the pointed attacks that have taken place online and in the media. Corey Stewart, a one-time chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign in Virginia, has consistently attacked GOP frontrunner Ed Gillespie in interviews and on Twitter and Facebook. But when the two shared a stage Saturday at Charlottesville's Paramount Theatre, Stewart had not a mean word to say about his opponent.


9


COALFIELDS LEGISLATORS USING POWER OF THE PURSE TO PUSH NEW ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE

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

Two Southwest Virginia lawmakers plan to require a regional economic development authority to pay $500,000 a year for a coalfields marketing initiative that the organization’s director characterized as unnecessary. The money, which would go to the Lenowisco Planning District Commission, is one of the budget amendments awaiting final approval as the General Assembly heads toward adjournment Saturday.


10


OPIOID REFORM BILLS HEAD TO GOVERNOR'S DESK

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

A slate of bills aimed at curbing rampant opioid addiction and abuse will head to the governor’s desk. The six bills sponsored by Del. Todd Pillion, R-Washington, are designed to curb opioid abuse by reducing the amount of pain pills health care professionals prescribe, including limiting those used for medication-assisted treatment to ween addicts off opioids.