GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2021

COMMENTARY

Fluctuating work week: the devil’s in the details

BY: - August 24, 2021

By Kim Bobo Late one night during the General Assembly’s special session this month, when the Senate was working on its budget amendments, senators approved Amendment 132 offered by Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin, by voice vote, which usually means it is not expected to be a close vote. The amendment was described as simply conforming […]

Virginia lawmakers already discussing speeding up retail marijuana sales

BY: - August 17, 2021

Virginia lawmakers are already discussing speeding up the three-year delay between marijuana legalization last month and the beginning of retail sales. “We have legalized the use of marijuana, but we have not legalized the actual purchase of marijuana,” said Del. Paul Krizek, D-Alexandria, during the inaugural meeting Tuesday of the legislature’s Joint Commission on Cannabis […]

Virginia Democrats reshape Court of Appeals with eight new appointments

BY: - August 10, 2021

Virginia Democrats quadrupled the number of Black judges and doubled the number of women on the state’s Court of Appeals with the election of eight new judges Tuesday. Members of the party said the selections would make the court the most diverse in the state’s history. “I think it’s important that when individuals look at […]

Budget includes $120 million in additional utility assistance

BY: - August 9, 2021

Another round of utility assistance is poised to be directed toward Virginia residents who have struggled to keep their lights on and water running during the COVID-19 pandemic even as the end of a statewide moratorium on disconnections nears.  On late Friday, lawmakers in the House of Delegates and Senate reached a deal after a […]

‘It’s not enough:’ Anti-gun violence money in Va. relief package falls far short of requests

BY: - August 9, 2021

The pandemic relief spending plan crafted by Democratic leaders includes $5 million for community-based gun violence prevention initiatives, an amount that falls far short of the $37 million advocacy groups had suggested. The original proposal was only $2.5 million. Legislators decided to double that in budget negotiations late last week, an apparent nod to the […]

Facing pressure from lawmakers, DMV says it’s still not ready to resume walk-in service

BY: - August 6, 2021

A year and a half into the pandemic, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is still operating on an appointment-only basis. Some state lawmakers, angered by wait times that can last months, say it’s time for that to change. “I get complaints all the time about DMV and people not being able to get in,” […]

Virginia Democrats meet in private to choose finalists for eight Court of Appeals appointments

BY: - August 4, 2021

Democrats in the Virginia House and Senate met privately Wednesday to choose finalists for eight open positions on the Virginia Court of Appeals, prompting GOP lawmakers to accuse the party of breaking tradition by holding secret group interviews. “I can’t think of a single instance in which we’ve had a judicial candidate come and appear […]

The Va. House GOP came up with a spending plan. It lasted 2 minutes.

BY: and - August 3, 2021

Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates offered their own proposal Tuesday for how to spend billions in federal rescue funds, floating a plan they said would ban door-to-door vaccination campaigns, give $5,000 bonuses to every police officer in the state and limit how students are taught about race and discrimination. After a two-minute floor […]

Virginia moves to restart eviction protections after federal moratorium lapses

BY: - August 3, 2021

Virginia Democrats are moving to restart state-level eviction protections one month after allowing them to lapse. The step comes as a federal eviction moratorium ends and President Joe Biden’s administration chastised states for not implementing their own moratoriums. “There is no excuse for any state or locality not to promptly deploy the resources that Congress […]

Virginia legislators are divvying up $4.3B in federal aid. Here’s what’s in the plan.

BY: - August 2, 2021

Democrats are calling it a rare chance to make strategic spending moves that will shape Virginia’s future for years to come, an opportunity to devote big dollars to some of the state’s most pressing problems. Republicans see an exercise in one-party rule, with only Democratic leaders deciding what the top issues are and what to […]

COMMENTARY

Virginia Democrats don’t look serious about campaign finance reform

BY: - August 2, 2021

Imagine my shock at reading a Virginia Mercury story that a joint legislative subcommittee empaneled to study reforming Virginia’s half-century-old, anything-goes political finance law was off to a crawling start. (For those who don’t know that I am a hopeless smart-ass, the preceding paragraph was meant to drip with sarcasm.) As one of just 11 […]

COMMENTARY

Infrastructure investments can help the environment, improve health and create jobs

BY: - July 30, 2021

By Peggy Sanner The August special legislative session brings Virginia the greatest opportunity in years to invest in infrastructure that will restore the environment, improve public health and create green jobs. Legislators will determine how Virginia will use approximately $4.3 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan. Conservation groups across the commonwealth urge […]