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]

In five weeks, Virginia Democrats reshape decades of state policy

By: - February 12, 2020

The Virginia General Assembly passed bills to raise the minimum wage, let local governments remove Confederate statues, transform the energy landscape in response to climate change and grant legal driving privileges to undocumented immigrants. And that was just Tuesday. At the halfway point of a hectic, 60-day legislative session, Virginia’s new Democratic majorities are dismantling […]

Many Democrats walked off the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates Tuesday as a pastor condemned abortion and gay marriage during the opening prayer. (Graham Moomaw/Virginia Mercury)

Va. House Democrats protest opening prayer as conservative pastor condemns abortion, gay marriage

By: - February 11, 2020

Democrats walked off the floor of the House of Delegates Tuesday morning as the pastor invited to give the opening prayer delivered stinging remarks condemning abortion and gay marriage and said God would bring his “wrath” against those who don’t follow biblical principles. “Is this a prayer or a sermon?,” a delegate yelled from the […]

A Va. Republican criticized Democrats in a tweet. Then they killed 4 of his bills.

By: - February 10, 2020

A Virginia Republican may have learned the hard way that being in the minority means you’ve got to watch what you tweet. Del. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, could only sit by Monday as the Democratic majority in the House of Delegates voted down four of his bills ahead of a critical legislative deadline. In an […]

Va. Senate rejects effort to keep skill games and tax them to fund schools

By: - February 10, 2020

The Virginia Senate chose to stick with its pending ban on electronic skill games after a Republican lawmaker tried to give the embattled and unregulated industry new life as a source of dedicated school funding. On Monday, Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin, tried to tie skill games to a bill he’s sponsored that deals with funding […]

Amended assault weapon bill passes first test in Va. House, lawmaker promises ‘no one has to give up a weapon’

By: - February 7, 2020

A controversial bill to ban future sales of assault weapons in Virginia and outlaw high-capacity magazines and bump stocks advanced out of a House of Delegates committee meeting Friday morning that drew an overflow crowd. The legislation is the last big-ticket gun bill Democrats are taking up ahead of a key legislative deadline next week, […]

Virginia becomes first southern state to pass sweeping LGBTQ nondiscrimination bill

By: and - February 6, 2020

Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, recalled his first visit to the General Assembly about 30 years ago to lobby for gay rights. “Very few lawmakers came out of their offices to meet with us, and I don’t think it made a difference — at least at that time,” he said. “Now we have five members of […]

With a big decision coming on redistricting reform, House Democrats fine-tune their options

By: - February 6, 2020

Virginia Democrats haven’t decided whether they’ll put an anti-gerrymandering amendment in the state Constitution, but the possible paths forward on redistricting reform got a little clearer Thursday morning. A House of Delegates subcommittee narrowed three options to two, keeping alive one bill tied to a constitutional amendment and an alternative bill meant to stand on […]

Transgender delegate blasts ‘discriminatory politicians’ who opposed LGBTQ bill

By: - February 5, 2020

The Virginia House of Delegates passed an LGBTQ nondiscrimination bill Wednesday after a fiery speech in which the state’s first openly transgender lawmaker blasted the “discriminatory politicians” who would oppose it. The legislation, which passed the House 55-39, adds sexual orientation and gender identity to existing nondiscrimination laws covering employment, housing, public accommodations, banking and […]

After gambling interests strike a deal in private, push begins for casino legalization bill

By: - February 5, 2020

If anyone on the Virginia Senate’s gambling subcommittee found it odd that a casino lobbyist was explaining the ins and outs of a far-reaching casino legalization bill they were about to vote on, they didn’t say so publicly. No one objected when Scott Johnson, a lobbyist for a Bristol casino development group whose PAC has […]

Would Virginia’s red flag law withstand constitutional scrutiny? In other states, similar laws already have.

By: - February 5, 2020

As the Virginia General Assembly voted in favor of bills to establish a red flag law, Republicans in both chambers denounced the proposal as unconstitutional. On the Senate floor last month, Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin, said that in a rush to “dissolve the Second Amendment,” Democrats are “willing to sacrifice” other constitutional rights, like the […]

Virginia State Capitol

Senate panel rejects bill stiffening penalties for letting minors access guns

By: - February 3, 2020

A bill to toughen Virginia’s law against letting minors access loaded guns failed in a Senate committee Monday morning as two Democrats joined Republicans in blocking it. Under current law, it’s a misdemeanor offense to “recklessly” leave a loaded, unsecured gun accessible to a child under 14. As drafted, Senate Bill 581, introduced by Sen. […]

Va. Democrats have passed most of their gun-control bills. A big one is still missing.

By: and - January 30, 2020

Both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly have passed major gun-control bills creating universal background checks, a red-flag law and reinstating the former one-handgun-a-month rule. But a big piece of the Democratic gun-control agenda still hasn’t left the starting gate. Legislation to ban assault weapons was withdrawn immediately in the Senate and a bill filed […]