GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2022

General Assembly Republicans go maskless as omicron surges

BY: - January 13, 2022

It was easy to tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans at the start of Virginia’s 2022 General Assembly session. Just look at who was wearing a mask. Not a single House Republican donned a face covering Wednesday as lawmakers reconvened in Richmond among record-breaking COVID-19 numbers. Republican senators also largely went maskless, while Democrats […]

Party leaders talk ‘kitchen table’ priorities as divided government returns to General Assembly

BY: - January 12, 2022

Divided government returned to Richmond Wednesday as the 2022 General Assembly session began with House Republicans and Senate Democrats laying out different visions for what they want to do over the next 60 days. Assuming power after winning back a GOP majority in last year’s elections, new House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, touched on many […]

Virginia lawmakers still at odds over resentencing for people in prison on marijuana charges

BY: - January 12, 2022

Nearly a year after Virginia lawmakers voted to legalize possession of marijuana, they remain divided on what — if anything — to do about people currently imprisoned on marijuana charges. The committee of House and Senate lawmakers tasked with making recommendations for the legislative session that begins Wednesday concluded its work this week with a […]

Virginia officials weigh precision vs. speed in reporting election results

BY: - January 10, 2022

Virginia is moving closer to joining the dozens of other states that track absentee votes down to the neighborhood level, a change that would give researchers, news outlets and campaigns better insight into local election data and voting trends. But some officials have warned that, if implemented the wrong way, it could mean slower results […]

For Virginia’s new House majority, masks and vaccines will be optional during session

BY: - January 7, 2022

As Virginia lawmakers prepare to reconvene in Richmond for the 2022 General Assembly session, a looming question has been how the process will run amid an ongoing COVID-19 surge. For Republicans in the House of Delegates, who won control of the chamber in November’s elections, the answer is as close to business as usual as […]

Virginia can’t undo Equal Rights Amendment approval, outgoing AG says

BY: - January 7, 2022

Departing Attorney General Mark Herring says Virginia can’t undo its 2020 ratification of the federal Equal Rights Amendment, the stalled gender-equality measure that inspired a major activist push at the statehouse. It’s unclear how eager Republicans might be to reverse the Virginia General Assembly’s vote, because the amendment still hasn’t been recognized at the federal […]

COMMENTARY
A storm passes over the Capitol. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Sept. 11, 2018)

The window is there to return to bi-partisan compromise in 2022. Just don’t hold your breath.

BY: - December 29, 2021

The year 2021 was only six days old when it tipped its hand to the sort of politically riven year it would be. Thousands of violent apostles of defeated President Donald Trump tried (and failed) to end nearly 250 years of American democracy by commandeering Congress’s constitutional duty to count the nation’s electoral votes that […]

Northam presents final budget, flush with cash, to lawmakers

BY: and - December 16, 2021

Gov. Ralph Northam presented legislative budget writers Thursday with his final fiscal blueprint for Virginia government that proposes tax cuts, state employee pay raises, stoking the state’s reserve savings and strengthening the public retirement fund.  Robust tax collections augmented by federal pandemic economic relief funds created unprecedented operational surpluses, even during the  social and financial […]

Report says Virginia has thousands of unregulated aboveground chemical storage tanks

BY: - December 13, 2021

A new report says Virginia has an estimated 2,700 to 5,400 aboveground chemical storage tanks that are neither tracked nor closely regulated by the state.  “For about 30 years, Virginia has had comprehensive standards top to bottom for aboveground oil tanks, but essentially nothing for aboveground chemical storage tanks,” University of Richmond law professor and […]

COMMENTARY

An impetuous, unpredictable conservative takes on a job of moderation, process

BY: - December 6, 2021

Winsome Sears made a political career of confounding people who told her she couldn’t do something; of zigging when conventional wisdom dictated that she zag. A Black, conservative, evangelical Republican woman and former Marine, she was told she had no business taking on an entrenched Democratic House of Delegates member from a deep blue Norfolk […]

How does Virginia fit into a national effort to conserve 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030?

BY: - November 30, 2021

Is the pump primed for more federal funding of conservation initiatives in Virginia? President Joe Biden’s administration, in alignment with United Nations climate goals, set the bar high in its America the Beautiful initiative with a challenge to conserve 30 percent of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030, but “it’s too early here to […]

Some in newly empowered Va. GOP open to speeding retail sales of marijuana

BY: - November 11, 2021

Newly empowered Republicans in Virginia say plans to allow retail sales of recreational marijuana won’t necessarily be doomed under their control of the House of Delegates and Executive Mansion. And some say they’re open to speeding up the timeline for allowing retail sales, which is currently delayed until 2024. “You almost kind of have to,” […]