Speaker of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, stands in the chamber. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

House of Delegates seat will be empty until February

BY: - January 15, 2019

The special elections to fill Virginia legislative seats continue. Speaker of the House Kirk Cox announced last week that the special election for House District 86 in Loudoun and Fairfax counties will be held Feb. 19, four days before the General Assembly session ends. “I want to give both parties ample time to choose a […]

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

Herring chastises panel for rejecting hate crime bill

BY: - January 15, 2019

By Jayla Marie McNeill/ Capital News Service Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring expressed disappointment Monday after a legislative committee rejected a bill to expand Virginia’s definition of hate crime to include gender, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity. “The General Assembly has sent a clear message to those who feel vulnerable to hate and […]

Tribe faces casino challenge; ‘Puppy pistol’ in halls of General Assembly; Virginia loggers hit a record and more headlines

BY: - January 14, 2019

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • Gov. Ralph Northam’s first year in office saw a string of big victories: Medicaid expansion, Metro funding, Amazon, high state revenues and low unemployment. “A lot of it is timing,” he says, crediting the power shift in the House of Delegates for […]

Bill to guarantee back-pay for federal workers heads to Trump

BY: - January 11, 2019

Federal workers who aren’t getting their paychecks during the government shutdown appear likely to get paid — eventually. A bipartisan bill to give government employees back pay now heads to President Trump after the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure this week. Trump is expected to sign it, although it remains unclear when leaders […]

New voting maps could be done soon; former delegate is charged for business dealings; shutdown threatens home purchases in Southwest Virginia and more headlines

BY: - January 11, 2019

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. In the most recent court hearing on Virginia’s redistricting case, federal judges said they could be ready to pick a new map in the next month or two. Republicans, who took their challenge to the Supreme Court, expect the case to be picked […]

Amendment to restore felon voting rights dies along party lines

BY: - January 10, 2019

By Katja Timm/ Capital News Service For now, Virginia will remain among a trio of states — joining only Kentucky and Iowa — with a lifetime ban on voting rights for people convicted of a felony. On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections killed an attempt to allow Virginians who have been convicted of […]

Gov. Ralph Northam

Lawmakers have mixed reactions to governor’s address

BY: - January 10, 2019

By Corrine Fizer/ Capital News Service From attracting high-tech businesses to improving access to health care services, Gov. Ralph Northam’s State of the Commonwealth speech touted wins and legislative proposals that both parties celebrated, though Republicans blasted his ideas on taxes and spending. The 2019 General Assembly session marks Northam’s second year in office and the […]

Northam kicks off General Assembly session with State of the Commonwealth; Hampton Roads feels the squeeze of the federal shutdown

BY: - January 10, 2019

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • Gov. Ralph Northam addressed lawmakers last night in the annual State of the Commonwealth address. He talked about his budget amendment proposals and made some special announcements, like a data center expansion in Mecklenburg County. He also reminded lawmakers that they didn’t have […]

Gov. Ralph Northam

Gov. Northam renews calls to decriminalize marijuana in speech to General Assembly

BY: - January 9, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam is proposing decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana during his State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night: We want to keep people safe. But we shouldn’t use valuable law enforcement time, or costly prison space, on laws that don’t enhance public safety. So I’m proposing that we decriminalize simple possession of […]

Before legislative session, a serving of eggs and a prayer for civility

BY: - January 9, 2019

By Evie King /Capital News Service As legislators, faith leaders and others tucked into their scrambled eggs and fresh fruit cups, two slideshow screens at the front of the room rotated Bible verses speaking to the theme of the 53rd annual General Assembly Prayer Breakfast: civility and reconciliation. Politicians who packed the ballroom at the […]

NC Policy Watch reposts Indian tribe pipeline story, with an apology

BY: - January 9, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Mercury published a blog post here on Jan. 9 with a link to a NC Policy Watch story on settlement agreements with American Indian tribes related to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. That story was taken down for review by the site’s editors and has now been reposted with a lengthy editor’s note […]

Bi-partisan toll proposal would charge cars $24 to drive through Va. on I-81

BY: - January 8, 2019

Under a tolling proposal to fund $2.2 billion in upgrades to Interstate 81, drivers would pay $24 traverse all 325 miles of the roadway in Virginia. Commercial trucks would pay twice as much, about $48. That breaks down to 7.5 cents per mile for passenger vehicles and 15 cents per mile. The rates would be […]