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]

Bill drop Friday: Bringing back parole, parental leave for school activities and scrapping Norfolk’s power to ‘expel’ vagrants

By: - December 6, 2019

With thousands of bills expected to be drafted for the 2020 legislative session, not every idea can get its own headline. But we’ll use this space to highlight some of the more interesting or unexpected proposals that show up in the General Assembly’s online system each week. Bringing back parole SJ9: Study; JLARC; reinstatement of […]

A storm passes over the Capitol. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Sept. 11, 2018)

A congressman could go to prison for misusing campaign funds. What he did is totally legal in Virginia.

By: - December 5, 2019

At first, U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., tried to dismiss scrutiny of his unusual campaign spending habits as a “witch hunt.”  But after federal prosecutors gathered evidence showing Hunter and his family members had taken $250,000 in campaign funds to pay for personal golf outings, vacations, meals, video games and gas, Hunter pleaded guilty this […]

As impeachment inquiry goes to Judiciary Committee, the only Virginian on the panel calls the process ‘patently unfair’

By: - December 4, 2019

It might’ve been his Thanksgiving-themed quip about the impeachment report being a “half-baked bird.” Maybe it was his movie analogy, suggesting Democrats have reached the “Empire Strikes Back” phase of their efforts to oust President Donald Trump, but the rebels will win in the end. Whatever it was that Rep. Ben Cline, a Republican from […]

Va. lawmaker asks AG for formal opinion on Second Amendment sanctuary trend

By: - December 2, 2019

A Democratic state delegate has asked Attorney General Mark Herring (D) for a formal opinion on the Second Amendment sanctuary declarations being passed in a growing number of conservative counties across the state. In a letter sent to the attorney general Monday, Del. Jay Jones, D-Norfolk, said a legal opinion could help clear up confusion […]

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Sports betting, addiction resources and the mob: 5 more takeaways from Virginia’s big gambling report

By: - November 27, 2019

Monday’s presentation covered the big picture, but there’s a lot more to parse in the 202-page gambling report Virginia lawmakers received this week. Here are five more takeaways from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) study that’s meant to guide lawmakers’ thinking on casinos, sports betting and other types of gambling for the […]

Report: Casinos could bring state millions, but wouldn’t be economic driver developers have pitched

By: and - November 25, 2019

Opening five full-scale casinos in Virginia, legalizing sports betting and permitting online gambling would rake in $367 million in new tax revenue annually for the state, according to a 200-page report state auditors released Monday. But they cautioned a major expansion of gambling likely wouldn’t be the job-creating economic boon local developers have pitched. “They […]

Democratic lawmaker proposes banning guns on Capitol Square

By: - November 22, 2019

With Virginia Democrats expected to pass tougher gun laws next year, a state senator wants to keep guns out of the government complex where laws are made. Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, has filed a bill to ban guns and other weapons on Capitol Square, a change that could complicate pro-gun activists’ ability to stage their […]

Bill Drop Friday: Spanking, hair discrimination and a place for mental health breaks in school

By: - November 22, 2019

Bill filing season is officially upon us. With thousands of bills expected to be drafted for the 2020 legislative session, not every idea can get its own headline. But we’ll use this space to highlight some of the more interesting or unexpected proposals that show up in the General Assembly’s online system each week. In […]

After Democratic victories, rural Virginia counties rush to declare themselves gun sanctuaries

By: - November 20, 2019

AMHERST — In an overflowing meeting room, speakers repeatedly invoked the Virginia-born Founding Fathers who saw fit to enshrine firearms in the U.S. Constitution. One man said the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump — which he suggested could be a “coup” — shows the need for an armed citizenry capable of standing up to […]

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Attorney General Mark Herring to host ‘Cannabis Summit’ ahead of 2020 session

By: - November 19, 2019

Attorney General Mark Herring has invited state lawmakers to a “Cannabis Summit” next month that will feature policymakers from states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana and academics who study cannabis-related issues. The Dec. 11 event hosted by a top Democratic official suggests cannabis reform will be a more serious topic in the 2020 legislative […]

From housing to restaurants to school bathrooms, Virginia LGBTQ advocates plan broad 2020 agenda

By: - November 19, 2019

With Republicans in control of the General Assembly, LGBTQ rights advocates trying to pass stronger anti-discrimination laws in Virginia knew they had to think small. After Election Day, that’s all over. In an interview, James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, said his group is widening its policy agenda in preparation for the first Democratic-controlled […]

Virginia election officials recommend 45 days of early voting

By: - November 18, 2019

The Virginia State Board of Elections is recommending that the state create a 45-day early voting window for the 2020 elections, a significant expansion of the seven-day window the General Assembly authorized earlier this year. Virginia has gradually widened its election laws to give voters more leeway to cast absentee ballots before Election Day. However, […]