GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2019

Virginia State Capitol

Capitol Police apologize after officer forced student to stand during Pledge

BY: - July 16, 2019

Capitol Police apologized after an officer physically compelled a 16-year-old student to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance in the Senate gallery during last week’s short-lived special session on gun legislation. Monica Hutchinson, a Henrico resident, said her son, Jae, was at the Capitol on a trip with 42 members of the Boys and Girls […]

It’s not the NRA’s money that sways Virginia politics: It’s the members.

BY: - July 12, 2019

Before the short special session on gun control earlier this week, hundreds of gun rights advocates poured into the city block around the capitol and legislative building.  They wore shirts and hats with the National Rifle Association’s logo and sported bright orange “Guns Save Lives” stickers. Some showed up with handguns in holsters. Others carried […]

Kaine says it’s ‘completely bogus’ to compare his Virginia Tech panel to GOP’s gun plan

BY: and - July 10, 2019

After Republicans voted to adjourn Tuesday’s special session on gun legislation less than two hours after it began, they compared their plan to send bills to the State Crime Commission for study to the approach then Gov. Tim Kaine took following the 2007 killings at Virginia Tech. Kaine said Wednesday that while he did establish […]

COMMENTARY

How will GOP’s get-out-of-Dodge move play in November?

BY: - July 10, 2019

On one side of Bank Street, the chant was “Floor votes now.” On the other, a parody version: “More guns now.” For most of the late morning Tuesday, the divide over gun regulation at Virginia’s Capitol was literal and physical. Nothing that happened later in the day bridged the chasm. Republicans voted to hightail it […]

Special session on guns: A big crowd, a quick adjournment, a post-election punt and a confusing charade

BY: and - July 9, 2019

Huge crowds of advocates on both sides of the gun debate crammed into the Capitol on Tuesday, one heavily armed with rifles and pistols and the other wearing red T-shirts and ready with a string of chants. Both left surprised when a special session to take up gun legislation following the mass shooting in Virginia Beach concluded […]

COMMENTARY

Arming all the good guys: an ‘all-around recipe for disaster’

BY: - July 8, 2019

Back at my first full-time newspaper job, I wrote a story about a citizen’s police academy program, the kind that’s common in communities around the country and is intended to give regular people a better understanding of police training and procedures. Part of it involved a shooting simulator, an attempt to convey the difficulty in […]

Republicans introduce bills restricting guns in government buildings

BY: - July 8, 2019

Virginia Beach Republican Del. Glenn Davis will carry legislation that would allow municipalities to ban guns in local government buildings, with some caveats. Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, went further, introducing a bill that would prohibit guns and other weapons “in any building owned or used by a locality for governmental purposes in […]

Gun control special session: Here’s what to expect

BY: and - July 7, 2019

Virginia lawmakers return Tuesday, July 9, for a special session to consider gun control laws. Here's what to expect from Democrats and Republicans.

Va. senator calls rape victims ‘naive’ and critics ‘trolls’

BY: - July 5, 2019

State Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Midlothian, posted a Fourth of July video on her Facebook page to respond to critics, who have called her out over comments made earlier this week about rape. During an online back-and-forth with a constituent on Facebook, Chase had written that people who are “naive and unprepared end up raped.” The […]

The 8 bills Northam wants passed in the special session

BY: - July 3, 2019

After several roundtables around the state, Gov. Ralph Northam’s legislative package for the special session to address gun violence remains mostly unchanged from the plans he laid out just over a month ago. After a shooting in Virginia Beach left 12 dead and four injured, Northam called the legislature back to Richmond to tackle gun […]

Elk reintroduction ignites backlash in Southwest Virginia

BY: - June 30, 2019

WISE — For most people, spotting an elk in the wild sparks excitement and awe.  That’s especially so in southwestern Virginia, where elk have only recently been reintroduced after an absence of more than 150 years.  For farmers and cattlemen, however, the sight of elk inspires something else: fear and dread. “If they are allowed […]

Virginia State Capitol

Poll suggests support for a Democratic majority in the General Assembly has fallen since last year

BY: and - June 26, 2019

Fewer people are sure which party they want to control the General Assembly following a tumultuous six months for the state’s top three elected officials, all Democrats, according to a new poll from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Public Policy. A plurality of respondents (43%) said they preferred Democrats to take control of the two […]