GOVERNMENT + POLITICS

Lobbyists load Va. lawmakers onto private jet to kick off push to loosen slots laws

BY: - July 22, 2021

A coalition of gambling companies hoping to get slot machines back into Virginia convenience stores and bars kicked off its legislative push this week with a private flight for four lawmakers to Chicago. While the plush jet raised some eyebrows — Virginia politicians have generally eschewed gifts of private air travel after scandal consumed former […]

U.S. Senate Republicans block advance of bipartisan infrastructure plan, but talks continue

BY: - July 22, 2021

WASHINGTON —  Senate Democrats’ attempt to start debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan was blocked by Republicans on a party-line vote Wednesday, as lawmakers hustle to wrap up negotiations over drafting that legislation. In the 49-51 test vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.), switched his vote to “no,” a procedural move that […]

Some water systems push back on treatment costs for ‘forever chemicals’ regulation

BY: - July 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — Local water utilities worried about getting hit with lawsuits and high cleanup costs are stepping up their lobbying of Congress as lawmakers move to regulate toxic chemicals found in drinking water. The bill, the PFAS Action Act of 2021, has garnered bipartisan support and two Michigan lawmakers, Reps. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat, and Fred Upton, a […]

Virginia attorney general announces plan to hire state’s first cannabis lawyer

BY: - July 20, 2021

Attorney General Mark Herring says he plans to hire a lawyer dedicated to marijuana law now that the state has legalized the drug. The new addition to his staff would serve as a subject-matter expert as the state’s new Cannabis Control Authority, which Gov. Ralph Northam appointed Monday, begins work developing regulations that will govern […]

New coalition calls for statewide board to control prescription drug costs

BY: - July 20, 2021

A new coalition is calling on Virginia legislators to create an oversight board aimed at lowering the cost of pharmaceuticals across the commonwealth. “We have formed because the problem is clear and it is grave,” said Addison Hunter, a spokesperson for Freedom Virginia, one of several advocacy groups — including Doctors for America and Virginia […]

‘Our democracy is in peril’: Women risk arrest in voting rights protest in D.C.

BY: - July 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — Diane Howard of Cleveland traveled to the nation’s capital with hundreds of other women to urge Congress to pass an elections overhaul and undo new state laws that restrict voting access. A community activist for half a century, Howard said that this is not the first time she’s seen voting rights under attack. […]

COMMENTARY

Why the PRO Act makes sense for workers and the middle class

BY: - July 20, 2021

By Thomas King Over the past few months, advocates, including the Democratic Socialists of America, labor unions and other groups, have made more than a million calls to encourage voters who support labor rights to call their senators in support of the PRO Act (Protecting the Right to Organize). Since we began, Sens. Joe Manchin […]

COMMENTARY

 For Virginia, climate action is a matter of faith

BY: - July 20, 2021

By Karen McElfish This past year has challenged Virginia in unforeseeable ways. Our faith communities have been tested by not one, but four converging crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic recession, racial inequalities and the climate crisis. As the nation hoped and prayed for a better future, it was the wisdom and guidance of our […]

Amid a crisis at state mental hospitals, calls for private providers to step up

BY: - July 20, 2021

As Virginia’s state-run mental hospitals struggle to navigate a long-brewing crisis in staffing and admissions, lawmakers and advocates are asking private hospitals to relieve more of the burden. For years, officials have warned that Virginia’s beleaguered psychiatric facilities were on the verge of collapse. But the system reached a tipping point earlier this month when […]

‘Epidemic’ of gun violence prompts call for Virginia to use federal dollars to curb shootings

BY: - July 19, 2021

For years, Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone has been trying to gather data on how firearms flow from gun-store shelves to crime scenes in his city’s high-poverty neighborhoods. Though experts and politicians have floated multiple theories about what’s driving an uptick in violence in Virginia and the rest of the country, Boone says guns are […]

U.S. House to vote next week on expanding PFAS regulation, backers say

BY: - July 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress and Biden administration officials at a conference on Wednesday outlined how they’re attempting to regulate toxic chemicals found in drinking water—including an upcoming vote in the U.S. House. EPA Administrator Michael Regan, a former top environmental official in North Carolina, said the agency is currently in the process of regulating […]

Chuck Schumer: Congress should legalize weed on the federal level

BY: - July 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate says decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level is a change that’s “long overdue,” and that he’s prioritizing that effort amid a growing number of states legalizing cannabis. To that end, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday unveiled a draft proposal for removing cannabis from the federal […]