GOVERNMENT + POLITICS

Northam announces new vaccine and testing requirements for state employees

BY: - August 5, 2021

Roughly 122,000 state employees will be required to show proof of vaccination or undergo weekly testing, Gov. Ralph Northam is announcing Thursday — the latest in a line of mandates across the country aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus delta variant. Northam’s spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky, said the policy will apply to employees and […]

Virginia Democrats meet in private to choose finalists for eight Court of Appeals appointments

BY: - August 4, 2021

Democrats in the Virginia House and Senate met privately Wednesday to choose finalists for eight open positions on the Virginia Court of Appeals, prompting GOP lawmakers to accuse the party of breaking tradition by holding secret group interviews. “I can’t think of a single instance in which we’ve had a judicial candidate come and appear […]

City of Richmond introduces first employee vaccine mandate in Virginia

BY: - August 4, 2021

The City of Richmond will mandate COVID-19 vaccines for its employees, Mayor Levar Stoney announced Wednesday, becoming the first locality in Virginia to implement the requirement. The mandate applies to about 3,600 public employees, including police, fire, public works, social services and parks and recreation workers. It won’t, however, extend to roughly 500 constitutional officers […]

The Va. House GOP came up with a spending plan. It lasted 2 minutes.

BY: and - August 3, 2021

Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates offered their own proposal Tuesday for how to spend billions in federal rescue funds, floating a plan they said would ban door-to-door vaccination campaigns, give $5,000 bonuses to every police officer in the state and limit how students are taught about race and discrimination. After a two-minute floor […]

Libertarian vs. Liberation creates third-party conundrum on Virginia ballots

BY: - August 3, 2021

Most Virginia voters go for candidates with a “D” or “R” next to their name, but who should have dibs on the “L?” This year, election officials preparing November’s ballots were faced with the dilemma of how to differentiate the Libertarian Party from the Liberation Party, the newly formed initiative from gubernatorial candidate and social […]

Virginia moves to restart eviction protections after federal moratorium lapses

BY: - August 3, 2021

Virginia Democrats are moving to restart state-level eviction protections one month after allowing them to lapse. The step comes as a federal eviction moratorium ends and President Joe Biden’s administration chastised states for not implementing their own moratoriums. “There is no excuse for any state or locality not to promptly deploy the resources that Congress […]

Virginia legislators are divvying up $4.3B in federal aid. Here’s what’s in the plan.

BY: - August 2, 2021

Democrats are calling it a rare chance to make strategic spending moves that will shape Virginia’s future for years to come, an opportunity to devote big dollars to some of the state’s most pressing problems. Republicans see an exercise in one-party rule, with only Democratic leaders deciding what the top issues are and what to […]

COMMENTARY

Virginia Democrats don’t look serious about campaign finance reform

BY: - August 2, 2021

Imagine my shock at reading a Virginia Mercury story that a joint legislative subcommittee empaneled to study reforming Virginia’s half-century-old, anything-goes political finance law was off to a crawling start. (For those who don’t know that I am a hopeless smart-ass, the preceding paragraph was meant to drip with sarcasm.) As one of just 11 […]

COMMENTARY

Infrastructure investments can help the environment, improve health and create jobs

BY: - July 30, 2021

By Peggy Sanner The August special legislative session brings Virginia the greatest opportunity in years to invest in infrastructure that will restore the environment, improve public health and create green jobs. Legislators will determine how Virginia will use approximately $4.3 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan. Conservation groups across the commonwealth urge […]

Anemic start for Virginia’s campaign finance study could delay final report

BY: - July 29, 2021

As both political parties flood supporters with desperate-sounding pleas for money to win the 2021 elections, an effort to study campaign finance reform in Virginia is off to a decidedly less urgent start. A joint General Assembly subcommittee approved in February to study whether Virginia needs stricter laws on money in politics still hasn’t held […]

Federal funding could provide immediate relief to Virginia’s state-run mental hospitals

BY: - July 29, 2021

With Virginia’s state-run mental hospitals in the midst of a self-described crisis, Gov. Ralph Northam is proposing a $485 million investment in behavioral health services. The proposed allotment was announced Wednesday ahead of next week’s special General Assembly session, where lawmakers will decide how to distribute $4.3 billion in federal relief funding. Mental health funding […]

Bipartisan senators and Biden strike a deal on $550B in new infrastructure spending

BY: - July 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators say they have worked through the sticking points on a major infrastructure package, and the Senate agreed on a procedural vote on Wednesday night to advance to debate on the proposal. That announcement came a week after Republicans blocked a test vote on the deal, with GOP […]