GOVERNMENT + POLITICS

Three interesting bills of the week: implicit bias training, geriatric parole and furloughed feds

BY: - February 3, 2023

Hundreds of bills are filed for General Assembly consideration each year. In this occasional series, the Mercury takes a look at a few of the proposals that might not otherwise make headlines during the whirlwind legislative session.  House Bill 1734 – Implicit bias training for practitioners working with pregnant persons This legislation from Del. Chris […]

Supreme Court of Va. rules Hanover residents can sue over Wegmans warehouse

BY: - February 2, 2023

The Supreme Court of Virginia overruled a lower court that decided homeowners whose property lies near a massive Wegmans distribution center under construction in Hanover County didn’t have legal standing to challenge local approvals of the project issued in 2020.  “Standing determines who may file a lawsuit — not who can win one,” Justice D. […]

States criticized for spending federal relief funds on tax cuts, prisons

BY: - February 2, 2023

As states plan how they’ll spend the $25 billion remaining in federal COVID relief funds, some also are facing criticism and renewed scrutiny over how they allocated money already received from the American Rescue Plan Act. Of the $198 billion authorized by Congress in 2021, $173 billion already has been appropriated by states, the District […]

Va. House panel kills watered-down GOP bill on retail marijuana sales

BY: - February 1, 2023

In a nod to the political reality that the Virginia General Assembly is unlikely to legalize retail sales of marijuana this session, a Republican lawmaker encouraged his colleagues to just ask the state’s Cannabis Control Authority to start drawing up rules for a retail marketplace that legislators could look at next year. Speaking before a […]

Va. regulators propose easing emission limits for data centers over power transmission concerns

BY: and - January 31, 2023

With Dominion Energy anticipating possible problems supplying electricity to data centers in parts of Northern Virginia this spring, the state Department of Environmental Quality is proposing to ease certain air emissions rules for facilities in the zone to allow them to get extra power from generators. In a statement announcing the proposal Thursday, DEQ Director […]

USDA to use outdoors recreation to boost economy around national forests, grasslands

BY: - January 30, 2023

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture began planning this month to develop outdoor recreation opportunities near national forests and grasslands, part of a broader Biden administration push to help communities reap economic rewards from the growing recreation sector. Three USDA agencies — the U.S. Forest Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Office […]

Virginia House approves bill to boost transparency when judges get punished

BY: - January 27, 2023

A proposal to make more information public when Virginia judges violate ethics rules passed the House of Delegates Friday on a bipartisan vote. Currently, almost all records of the state’s Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission (JIRC) are kept strictly confidential unless they involve a proven breach serious enough to rise to the Supreme Court of […]

Three interesting bills of the week: Pound charter, stillborn child tax credit and private police

BY: - January 27, 2023

Hundreds of bills are filed for General Assembly consideration each year. In this occasional series, the Mercury takes a look at a few of the proposals that might not otherwise make headlines during the whirlwind legislative session.  Senate Bill 1537: Restoring the town of Pound’s charter This bill from Sen. Todd Pillion, R-Abingdon, would repeal […]

As Republicans tout Parole Board report, some Democrats see ‘a whole lot of nothing’

BY: - January 26, 2023

The top Republican in the Virginia House of Delegates said Thursday that the GOP is considering “every possibility” in response to a new investigative report alleging systemic violations of law and state policy at the Virginia Parole Board under the watch of a former leader who’s now a sitting judge. But House Speaker Todd Gilbert, […]

AG says former Va. Parole Board chair broke the law in 2020 release ‘frenzy’

BY: - January 25, 2023

A former chair of the Virginia Parole Board broke numerous laws and policies during a “parole-granting frenzy” in early 2020 and could have been “charged criminally” if those in power at the time had taken her alleged misconduct seriously, according to Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares. At a news conference in Richmond Wednesday announcing the […]

COMMENTARY

Protect Virginia’s election officials

BY: - January 25, 2023

By Chris Piper Those who watched the January 6 committee’s public hearings will remember a mother and daughter who served as election officials in Georgia who were relentlessly harassed and received numerous death threats, the result of false information spread about them when they were simply doing their job.  As someone who has worked in […]

Kaine says he’ll run for third U.S. Senate term in 2024

BY: - January 20, 2023

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine said Friday that he’ll run for a third term, a choice that could boost his party’s chances of keeping Virginia blue in 2024.