Author

Graham Moomaw

Graham Moomaw

A veteran Virginia politics reporter, Graham grew up in Hillsville and Lynchburg, graduating from James Madison University and earning a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Before joining the Mercury in 2019, he spent six years at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, most of that time covering the governor's office, the General Assembly and state politics. He also covered city hall and politics at The Daily Progress in Charlottesville. Contact him at [email protected]

Masks will be mandatory in Virginia schools under new health order

By: - August 12, 2021

Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration announced a new new health order Thursday making masks mandatory in all public and private K-12 school buildings, effectively overruling local school districts that were planning to make face coverings optional. The new order from state Health Commissioner Norm Oliver, a Northam appointee, adds more clarity to what had been a […]

Virginia schools heading back with mishmash of local mask policies

By: - August 12, 2021

When Gov. Ralph Northam reiterated last week that he expects Virginia school systems to follow public health guidelines and require masks indoors, he suggested state law gives them no choice. “I don’t know that it can be any simpler than that,” Northam said at a news conference. “It’s the law of the Commonwealth of Virginia. […]

Virginia spending plan includes $1.5M for voter education and fighting misinformation

By: - August 10, 2021

Virginians will be hearing more from the state on how elections work after the General Assembly budgeted $1.5 million for voter outreach and fighting “misinformation” about state elections. Asked for more detail on how the money will be used, Elections Commissioner Chris Piper offered a general overview and said more specifics will be made public […]

‘It’s not enough:’ Anti-gun violence money in Va. relief package falls far short of requests

By: - August 9, 2021

The pandemic relief spending plan crafted by Democratic leaders includes $5 million for community-based gun violence prevention initiatives, an amount that falls far short of the $37 million advocacy groups had suggested. The original proposal was only $2.5 million. Legislators decided to double that in budget negotiations late last week, an apparent nod to the […]

The Va. House GOP came up with a spending plan. It lasted 2 minutes.

By: and - August 3, 2021

Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates offered their own proposal Tuesday for how to spend billions in federal rescue funds, floating a plan they said would ban door-to-door vaccination campaigns, give $5,000 bonuses to every police officer in the state and limit how students are taught about race and discrimination. After a two-minute floor […]

Libertarian vs. Liberation creates third-party conundrum on Virginia ballots

By: - August 3, 2021

Most Virginia voters go for candidates with a “D” or “R” next to their name, but who should have dibs on the “L?” This year, election officials preparing November’s ballots were faced with the dilemma of how to differentiate the Libertarian Party from the Liberation Party, the newly formed initiative from gubernatorial candidate and social […]

Virginia legislators are divvying up $4.3B in federal aid. Here’s what’s in the plan.

By: - August 2, 2021

Democrats are calling it a rare chance to make strategic spending moves that will shape Virginia’s future for years to come, an opportunity to devote big dollars to some of the state’s most pressing problems. Republicans see an exercise in one-party rule, with only Democratic leaders deciding what the top issues are and what to […]

Anemic start for Virginia’s campaign finance study could delay final report

By: - July 29, 2021

As both political parties flood supporters with desperate-sounding pleas for money to win the 2021 elections, an effort to study campaign finance reform in Virginia is off to a decidedly less urgent start. A joint General Assembly subcommittee approved in February to study whether Virginia needs stricter laws on money in politics still hasn’t held […]

Democratic leaders’ limits on special session debate draw GOP pushback

By: - July 27, 2021

A decision by Democratic leaders to impose broad restrictions on the Virginia General Assembly’s upcoming special session is drawing criticism from Republicans who say the rules will sharply limit meaningful debate on how the state should spend $4.3 billion in federal pandemic relief money. In a memo earlier this month, House Appropriations Chairman Luke Torian, […]

‘Epidemic’ of gun violence prompts call for Virginia to use federal dollars to curb shootings

By: - July 19, 2021

For years, Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone has been trying to gather data on how firearms flow from gun-store shelves to crime scenes in his city’s high-poverty neighborhoods. Though experts and politicians have floated multiple theories about what’s driving an uptick in violence in Virginia and the rest of the country, Boone says guns are […]

Virginia Republicans have been warning Democratic control was bad for business. CNBC disagrees.

By: and - July 13, 2021

After Democrats took control of the General Assembly in 2020, a common refrain emerged among Republicans who opposed legislation that raised the minimum wage and added new anti-discrimination protections for employees. “The Democrat majority has done much to diminish Virginia’s reputation for being America’s ‘best state for business,’” said Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James […]

Virginia Bar Association cancels debate after Youngkin chooses to skip it

By: - July 12, 2021

The Virginia Bar Association has cancelled its planned gubernatorial debate after Republican Glenn Youngkin broke with recent tradition by skipping what is usually the first face-to-face matchup of the general election. In a statement Monday, the Bar Association said the debate has been removed from the itinerary for its annual summer meeting later this month […]