Transportation funding, removing Robert E. Lee from the Capitol, elephant rides, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• “Gas taxes would rise less than initially proposed and car inspections would remain an annual requirement under the latest version of a major Virginia transportation funding overhaul set to be approved by the state’s Senate on Tuesday.”—WTOP

• Lawmakers in both chambers have voted to allow the state lottery to sell tickets online.—Daily Press

• The House of Delegates passed a package of bills aimed at making sure low-income students have access to school lunches.—VPM

• Senate Democrats voted down a proposal to repeal state lawmakers’ legislative immunity from all but the most serious criminal prosecutions while the General Assembly is in session. The constitutional amendment was proposed after a House lawmaker’s DUI stop.—The Roanoke Times

• “Eligible voters in Virginia could soon be able to register to vote on Election Day, according to a measure that cleared the Virginia House on Monday.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• The Senate voted along party lines to create a commission to remove and replace a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee the state placed at the U.S. Capitol in 1909.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Legislation that would have banned elephant rides cleared the Senate, but only after the law was amended not to apply to elephants. “I promise I will never bring another bill dealing with an animal,” said the measure’s sponsor, Sen. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake.—The Roanoke Times

• State lawmakers use “the clause” to pass bills but still keep them from becoming law. The language attached to proposed legislation states that the measure, whatever it may be, will only become effective if funds are set aside in the state budget. And, most of the time, funds are not set aside.—Daily Press

• Richmond City Council voted to reject a $1.5 billion downtown development deal that would have included the construction of the largest coliseum in the state. Councilmembers said they didn’t trust economic impact estimates and wanted to restart discussions, beginning with the question of whether city residents want such a large arena in the city.—VPM

• The Chesterfield nursery owned by former state Sen. John Watkins’ family is scheduled for a foreclosure auction.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• “With 3-6 inches of rain forecast for parts of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia this week, local officials are concerned about the possibility of renewed flooding.”—Bristol Herald Courier

• Feed ducks birdseed, corn and raw nuts, not bread and Cheetos.—The Virginian-Pilot

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