GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2019

House Republicans want hearing on sexual assault allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax during special session

BY: - June 18, 2019

House Republicans are again asking Democrats to allow two women who said Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax sexually assaulted them to testify in front of the General Assembly during a special session beginning July 9. Gov. Ralph Northam called lawmakers back to Richmond in the wake of a mass shooting in Virginia Beach that left 13 […]

The number one form of fatal gun violence in Virginia isn’t homicide. It’s suicide.

BY: - June 16, 2019

As state lawmakers prepare to reassemble in Richmond for a special session on gun control after the Virginia Beach shooting, this statistic will likely be repeated often: In Virginia, more than 1,000 people die due to gun violence every year. That equates to almost three people every day. Guns take more lives than car crashes. […]

Why the last Democrat in the Va. legislature endorsed by the NRA says he now backs gun control efforts

BY: - June 16, 2019

Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, is the only Democratic lawmaker in the General Assembly who was endorsed by the NRA during his last election. It was controversial in his district at the time, coming a month after an on-air shooting that killed a reporter and photojournalist working for a television station in his district. But Edwards […]

New poll finds support for gun control in Republican-led districts

BY: - June 14, 2019

 A new poll conducted by a gun control group in Republican-held Virginia legislative districts found that “voters from all persuasions are widely in support of common-sense gun reforms,” including those Democrats will push during a special session to address gun violence next month. Public Policy Polling, of Raleigh, N.C., on behalf of Brady United, a […]

Some Virginia Beach lawmakers say it’s ‘too soon’ to talk gun control

BY: - June 9, 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH — The day of the municipal building mass shooting, Republican Del. Barry Knight, who grew up in Virginia Beach and currently represents part of the city, was at a friend’s memorial service when the city manager contacted him to tell him six people had been killed. By the end of the shooter’s rampage, […]

phone, car

State survey results show distracted driving considered a ‘serious problem’

BY: - May 14, 2019

Digital town hall results released Tuesday by Gov. Ralph Northam’s office show that 93 percent of the 2,000 respondents considered distracted-driving a “very serious or serious problem.” They also voted it “the most serious of seven highway safety issues provided for ranking, followed closely by drunk driving,” the governor’s office said of the 11-question online […]

Where’s all that Interstate 81 money going?

BY: - May 14, 2019

FLOYD — The saga of securing money to build out Interstate 81, which runs through rural western Virginia as one of the East Coast’s arterial commercial routes, was one of the twistiest narratives of the 2019 General Assembly session. A pair of bills proposing tolls to fund interstate construction was blocked by the trucking industry, […]

Department of Elections will hire more people in response to audit report

BY: - May 14, 2019

The Department of Elections will hire six new employees this summer, which should help address some of the problems identified in an audit last year, officials said. The new positions, funded in the final state budget, represent the “single biggest infusion in new positions to the department as far back as I can remember,” said […]

A leaky roof, a tenant’s complaint and a landlord’s response: ‘You’re just another dumbass n––––– I got to go to court with’

BY: - May 12, 2019

In a final, exasperated call to her landlord about a leaky roof that sent a steady stream of rain water dripping into her bedroom, Winter Whittaker threatened to take him to court. “You’re going to fix what you’re supposed to fix,” she said in the call, which she recorded. Dean Parsons, who has said he […]

How does the budget change Virginia’s school counselor ratio?

BY: - May 9, 2019

For the first time in decades, Virginia lawmakers have agreed to increase the minimum number of counselors required in schools. But they also decided not to fully fund those positions in the state budget. “July 1, 2019, there will be a new law in Virginia that improves the school counselor-to-student ratio and puts us on […]

FOIA Council will study bill that creates rules for disclosing conditions of university donations

BY: - May 8, 2019

The Freedom of Information Act Advisory Council will study a bill that would require universities to share the terms and conditions of donations from private entities. Del. David Bulova, D-Fairfax, introduced House Bill 2386 to create firm rules on when donors to public colleges and universities can be anonymous; what donor information isn’t subject to […]

Virginia Mercury

Looking toward 2020, Virginia lawmakers double down on foster care reform

BY: - May 6, 2019

In the wake of the General Assembly’s push to reform Virginia’s foster care system this year, legislators seem poised to maintain the momentum into future sessions. Virginia’s Commission on Youth held a foster care seminar for legislators on Monday, with presenters covering everything from how the current system works to what foster parents and youth […]