GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2019

When the General Assembly session opened Jan. 9, legislators were presented with dozens of bills designed to save money for consumers, lower energy consumption, provide more solar options and set us on a pathway to an all-renewables future.Almost none of these measures passed, while bills that benefited utilities...
By Kaytlin Nickens “Working in the trenches, side by side with people,” as Zann Nelson said, highlighted the beliefs her father instilled in her youth. Growing up in Culpeper County, Nelson said she learned of a deeper truth to American history, and her father reminded her that people should be...
Supporters of hands-free driving legislation that fell apart in the final hours of this year's legislative session are hoping Gov. Ralph Northam will revive the bill."Hands free is not over," says Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, who has been working on the legislation for seven years.The governor has the power to...
Most days, Charles Garratt is the only person in the Bath County registrar’s office, processing voter registration applications, making sure all the technology is up to date and training other people. “Back in the days of paper ballots and wooden boxes, there was less to do,” he said. “Now the...
By Daniel Berti/ Capital News Service  When someone is charged with a crime, prosecutors and judges want to make sure the defendant shows up for court. So they usually require the person to put up cash bail — money the defendants forfeit if they skip town. But now, many officials — from local...
In the waning days of the General Assembly session, Republicans in the House of Delegates steadily ratcheted up pressure on Democrats as they pushed legislative hearings on sexual assault claims against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.Meanwhile, over in the Senate where Fairfax was presiding daily over the chamber, GOP members...
Ultimately, three words led to the downfall of hands-free driving legislation that lawmakers hoped would finally allow police to crack down on widespread use of phones while driving.Legislation banning drivers from holding a phone for any reason passed the House.And it was poised to pass the Senate when an...
Virginia lawmakers took the first step to creating an independent redistricting process by approving a bill that would create a 16-member commission.The constitutional amendment has to pass the General Assembly again next year and then be approved by voters in a statewide referendum before going into effect.The amended proposal...
With race front-and-center during the General Assembly session that concluded Sunday, lawmakers approved a budget that fulfilled requests from black lawmakers to begin addressing inequities.“Poverty is a commonwealth-wide conversation and it shouldn’t be up to just the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus to discuss, it should be our collective responsibility,”...
I once got a call from a journalist frustrated by a state law that allowed the government to withhold important information.He wasn’t just frustrated with the law, he was frustrated with me because — admittedly — I didn’t catch the bill that led to the law when it...