GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2019

COMMENTARY
Dominion's power station in Chesterfield in Sept 2017.

LOOKING AHEAD: Coal ash cleanup, another fish fight and a potential mystery package on renewable energy

BY: - January 8, 2019

Last in a series looking ahead to the General Assembly session that starts Wednesday. Expect much of the environmental debate this session, for the third year in a row, to center on Dominion Energy’s plans to close coal ash impoundments containing millions of tons of the potentially toxic by-product of decades of power generation. This […]

Northam proposes ‘extensive’ campaign finance and voting reform, limiting campaign donations and repealing voter ID law

BY: - January 7, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam and several Democratic lawmakers presented a suite of bills Monday that would remove Virginia’s voter identification requirement, allow no-excuse absentee voting and limit the size, source and use of campaign donations. Many of the proposals have been around for years, some since the 1990s, Northam said. They likely face an uphill battle […]

Casino-booster’s bill would ban slot-like games popping up in bars and gas stations

BY: - January 7, 2019

A Virginia lawmaker carrying legislation to legalize casino gambling wants to ban unregulated slot-like games that have popped up in gas stations, convenience stores and bars around the state. Though the machines look and function like slot machines, manufacturers of the games argue they don’t violate the state’s prohibition on gambling because they add elements […]

LOOKING AHEAD: Will budget concerns sink eviction diversion program or will lawmakers go further?

BY: - January 7, 2019

Next in a series looking ahead to the General Assembly session that starts this week. An unprecedented study released earlier this year by researchers at Princeton University put Virginia on blast: The state’s cities have among the highest eviction rates in the country. In the months that followed, policy makers, tenant advocates and housing industry […]

Republicans want to take up tax conformity and policy together, which could make filing and refunds difficult for Virginians

BY: - January 7, 2019

It’s not just the federal government shutdown that could delay tax refunds this year. If Virginia lawmakers can’t decide what to do about federal tax changes and an estimated $594 million more coming to the state because of some of those changes, correct state tax refunds could take some time to make it back to […]

Virginia Democrats roll out gun-control proposals, Republicans float bills to loosen some restrictions

BY: - January 4, 2019

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam rolled out a package of seven gun-control measures Friday he said he hoped would find bipartisan support when the General Assembly convenes next week. Among them: universal background checks, a revival of the state’s one-hand-gun-a-month law and a ban on assault weapons. Republican leaders have so far declined to comment, but […]

Northam proposes study on gambling. What does it mean for casino, sports-betting proposals?

BY: - January 4, 2019

Tucked away in Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed budget amendments is a plan to study how gambling expansion could play out in Virginia. As drafted, the study wouldn’t be completed until November, well after this year’s General Assembly session concludes and lawmakers will have voted on a slew of proposals to bring casinos and sports betting to […]

LOOKING AHEAD: Could changes be coming to Virginia’s alcohol laws?

BY: - January 4, 2019

Next in a series looking ahead to the General Assembly session that starts next week. For years, restaurant owners have struggled through the tangled bureaucracy of getting and keeping state permission to serve liquor. Virginia’s alcohol control laws — from its decision to keep retail liquor sales under the state’s purview and the liquor ratio […]

LOOKING AHEAD: Bills filed affecting elections and campaign finance

BY: - January 3, 2019

Next in a series looking ahead to the General Assembly session that starts next week. In addition to the usual push to make changes to absentee voting and voter registration, Virginia lawmakers will be weighing other issues around how people in the state vote and how campaigns operate. Redistricting and other issues related to voting […]

LOOKING AHEAD: Will a historic push to expand gambling in Virginia go anywhere?

BY: - January 2, 2019

First in a series looking ahead to the General Assembly session that starts next week. A high-dollar, lobbyist-intensive push to legalize casino gambling is gaining steam in three struggling Virginia cities. The push began in Bristol, where a group of developers flush with coal cash are pursuing plans to convert an empty shopping mall into […]