GOVERNMENT + POLITICS

Black leaders call for forgiveness, second chance for Northam

BY: - February 12, 2019

By Owen FitzGerald/ Capital News Service  Redemption was a word used repeatedly Monday as five black leaders from across Virginia urged state legislators to rescind statements calling for Gov. Ralph Northam’s resignation following his blackface photo scandal. On the steps of the Capitol, former Richmond City Council Member Henry “Chuck” Richardson read a prepared statement, […]

‘We can’t change what we never chose:’ A second state board agrees to ban conversion therapy

BY: - February 11, 2019

Paulette Trimmer was excited when her 18-year-old son’s counselor asked her to sit in on a therapy session. She was proud. She thought it was a good sign. “I didn’t have a clue that I was going into a den of wolves,” she told the Virginia Board of Counseling on Friday. Her son, Adam Trimmer, […]

Southwest Virginia lawmakers push legislation to boost a struggling region

BY: - February 11, 2019

Virginia Republican state Sen. Bill Carrico has a long-running reputation as a fiscal and social conservative with little tolerance for vice or tax increases. So why did the former state trooper from Grayson County carry legislation this year to open the door for casino gambling in Bristol and for counties to levy new cigarette taxes? […]

The latest: Delegate backs off immediate impeachment for Fairfax; Northam reads ‘Roots’

BY: - February 9, 2019

A second allegation of sexual assault. Widespread calls for resignation. A threat of immediate impeachment from a member of his own party that was later withdrawn. Just nine days ago, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax thought he might be the next governor after a racist photo was discovered on Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page […]

General Assembly, governor agree on a bi-partisan tax plan

BY: - February 8, 2019

Bipartisan legislation that will give almost $1 billion back to Virginia taxpayers over the next two years is advancing. Democrats said they supported the measures because they contains provisions that are similar to a Democratic delegate’s tax plan that never made it in front of a legislative committee. Del. Vivian Watts, D-Fairfax, filed a bill at […]

Tuition raises would have to go to public comment under bills from both parties in both chambers

BY: - February 8, 2019

Governing boards of public colleges and universities may soon have to hold public comment sessions before raising tuition. A bill from Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, unanimously passed the Senate this week. Petersen has introduced the bill during the last two sessions, but it got stuck in the Senate Finance Committee. Over the summer, the Freedom […]

‘A proper hand:’ As advocates push for prosthetic device coverage, legislation sent to commission for review

BY: - February 8, 2019

In the middle of a packed committee room in late January, Kara Murdock sat patiently, resting her swollen arm on her leg. She waited for over an hour while a House Commerce and Labor subcommittee rushed through its lengthy, late-in-the-day agenda so she could tell lawmakers about that arm: That she could lose it, but […]

Calling scandals roiling Virginia a ‘distraction,’ hundreds of abortion opponents rally at Capitol

BY: - February 7, 2019

As lawmakers scrambled to finalize budget bills and reporters chased the latest revelations surrounding racist yearbook photos and blackface (today’s chapter: Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment), hundreds of abortion opponents rallied on the steps of the Capitol on Thursday, hoping to return the conversation to last week’s outrage over a Democrat’s proposed abortion legislation. […]

Norment says ‘blackface is abhorrent’ after report that he oversaw VMI yearbook, which included racist photos, slurs

BY: - February 7, 2019

Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, issued a testy statement Thursday after The Virginian-Pilot reported that Norment oversaw production of the 1968 Virginia Military Institute yearbook, “The Bomb,” which included blackface photos and racial slurs. “With 114 editions of The Bomb available online dating back to 1885, I am not surprised that those wanting […]

Northam, Fairfax skip basketball game fundraiser

BY: - February 7, 2019

By Owen FitzGerald/ Capital News Service Despite controversies around the Capitol, Virginia legislators and lobbyists met on the basketball court to raise money for cancer research, with two notable absences: Gov. Ralph Northam and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. Both had participated in last year’s fundraising event that raised nearly $35,000 for research at Virginia Commonwealth University’s […]

Chaos envelops the Capitol, but lawmakers from both parties insist (insist!) they can still do their jobs

BY: - February 7, 2019

Lawmakers responded with a common refrain as roving packs of reporters chased them through the corridors of the Capitol this week seeking comment on the rolling scandal that’s now grown to engulf the state’s top three elected officials: We’re focused on the legislative work the people sent us here to do. It’s a brush-off for […]

The Virginia House of Delegates met Thursday to discuss redistricting, but didn't get far. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Aug. 30, 2018)

‘Taking redistricting into a smoke-filled room:’ Why Democrats are pushing back on reform measure

BY: - February 7, 2019

Virginia is closer than ever to figuring out how to fix the process of drawing voting maps, but some Democrats are backing away from the bill that would do it. House Democrats have serious concerns about the redistricting reform bill that passed  their chamber, saying it doesn’t keep legislators far enough from drawing the districts […]