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.

Youngkin signs universal license recognition law at Richmond barber shop

By: - March 3, 2023

Dot Reid’s barber shop used to have 20 employees and two floors of space in Richmond’s Fan District. Coming out of a pandemic when many people treated haircuts as optional or more of a do-it-yourself thing, she’s down to five employees on one floor. As she cut a customer’s hair Friday morning, Reid explained the […]

Virginia’s new cannabis authority faces more responsibilities, possible budget cuts

By: - March 2, 2023

Lawmakers have signaled they want the new Virginia Cannabis Control Authority to take over the state’s medical marijuana program and act as the main enforcer of stricter rules on cannabis-related advertising. But the authority, which is still staffing up after being established in 2021, is also battling the prospect of a major budget cut included […]

Virginia lawmakers send Parole Board transparency bill to Youngkin

By: - March 1, 2023

In the final days of the 2023 legislation session, the Virginia General Assembly reached bipartisan agreement on a bill requiring the Virginia Parole Board to conduct more of its work in the open. The agency, which has long been exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, would no longer have blanket immunity from transparency rules […]

Virginia lawmakers pass bill to get tougher on hemp that gets you high

By: - February 24, 2023

Both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly voted Friday to pass a bill to toughen regulations on hemp-derived products that contain intoxicating THC through a more robust permitting system and stricter labeling rules. Retail marijuana sales will remain illegal under the proposed law. Proponents of the bill called it a necessary first step toward cracking […]

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

Republicans and Democrats both want to make life cheaper for Virginians. They disagree on how.

By: and - February 23, 2023

Right before the 2023 General Assembly session began, a Virginia Commonwealth University poll found inflation was still a top issue Virginians want their elected officials to address. Because statehouses don’t have much control over national monetary policy, state legislators have spent much of the last six weeks debating what they can do to ease financial […]

Virginia lawmakers approve bill limiting emergency restrictions on houses of worship

By: - February 23, 2023

Legislation heading to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s desk would prevent future Virginia governors from issuing any emergency orders that would shut down church services and other religious gatherings while leaving businesses and other secular facilities open, a proposal that grew out of frustration with COVID-19 shutdown orders. As originally drafted and approved by the GOP-led House […]

McClellan beats Benjamin in special election for Virginia congressional seat

By: - February 21, 2023

State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, defeated Republican pastor Leon Benjamin in Tuesday’s special election for a Richmond-centered seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, a victory that will make her Virginia’s first Black congresswoman. McClellan, a corporate attorney who has championed progressive causes like abortion access and curbing climate change over 17 years in the […]

Va. might create religious exemption allowing gun background checks without photo ID

By: - February 20, 2023

Building on past efforts to grant photo-less ID cards to Old Order Mennonite and Amish communities, the Virginia General Assembly appears set to create a religious-based exemption to rules requiring photo ID as part of the background check process for gun purchases. Under a bill drawing bipartisan support, roughly 2,000 Virginians would gain the ability […]

Virginia House GOP again blocks effort to get rid of same-sex marriage ban

By: - February 17, 2023

A scaled-back proposal to repeal Virginia’s antiquated constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was blocked Friday by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, despite supporters’ attempts to win bipartisan votes by stripping out any language overtly backing LGBTQ equality. Same-sex marriage has been recognized in Virginia for years, and the ban voters approved in 2006 doesn’t currently […]

Va. lawmakers reject bill to disclose who’s using government credit cards

By: - February 16, 2023

A transparency bill that would have required Virginia government agencies to disclose the names of employees using taxpayer-backed credit cards failed in a Republican-controlled House of Delegates subcommittee Tuesday. The legislation, backed by the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, was pitched as a response to what critics say are overly broad anti-fraud measures state financial […]

Youngkin administration opposes shielding menstrual app data from search warrants

By: - February 14, 2023

A proposal to put menstrual data stored on period-tracking apps beyond the reach of Virginia authorities failed in the state House of Delegates Monday after Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration expressed opposition to the idea for the first time. The legislation, which had passed the Democratic-controlled Senate with bipartisan support, was backed by abortion rights supporters […]

Correctional officers stand at the entrance to the Greensville Correctional Center on Nov. 10, 2009, near Jarratt, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Va. House panel rejects bills to boost prison oversight, give inmates free phone calls

By: - February 13, 2023

A Republican-led committee in the House of Delegates voted Monday to reject two prison reform bills, one that would have created an independent ombudsman office to provide extra oversight and another that would have given inmates access to free phone calls and emails to allow them to better communicate with the outside world. The House […]