GOVERNMENT + POLITICS

‘At least light blue:’ Virginia’s new Democratic delegation is a sign of a changing state, observers say, but will the trend outlast Trump?

BY: - January 15, 2019

WASHINGTON — After the GOP’s trouncing in Virginia last November, Democrats and Republicans alike are declaring the long-purple state at least a light shade of blue. Virginia’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, sworn in last week, is the bluest it’s been since 1995, when the Republican Revolution swept out Democratic incumbents across the […]

COMMENTARY
Dominion's power station in Chesterfield in Sept 2017.

How the conversation on coal ash has changed

BY: - January 15, 2019

In an ideal world, we might expect agencies charged with protecting people and the environment to always do the right thing within the limits of the law regardless of who sits in the governor’s mansion. But because we live in the real world, of course, political leadership matters a great deal. Consider the history of […]

Reporters-turned-delegates push for Virginia’s first shield law to protect journalists

BY: - January 14, 2019

Two former journalists want to give reporters in Virginia protections if they refuse to reveal confidential sources. Del. Danica Roem, D-Manassas, was the lead reporter of the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times in Northern Virginia from 2006-2015. Roem introduced the same proposal — called a shield law — last year, which was her first session […]

Surprise bi-partisan vote sends bill to raise minimum wage to full Senate

BY: - January 14, 2019

A bill that would eventually raise Virginia’s minimum wage to $15 an hour will go before the full Senate after a surprise bi-partisan vote Monday. “That Virginia is getting more expensive is something we need to look at as we go along,” said Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, who chairs the Senate’s Commerce and Labor […]

Waiting for help: Developmental disability advocates push for funding to meet an ever-growing need

BY: - January 14, 2019

Denille Francis spends a lot of time waiting, but without much hope. She waits to see if her 10-year-old son, Quinn, will ever get the funding he needs from the state. Quinn has Down syndrome and a host of other health problems. His therapies and numerous medical interventions are rarely covered by his private insurance […]

Virginia prison officials say they eliminated solitary confinement. Inmates say they just gave it a new name. ‘It’s all very Hannibal Lecter-ish’

BY: - January 14, 2019

Virginia prison officials say they’re on the leading edge of corrections reform for “operating without the use of solitary confinement.” But Derek Cornelison, a 34-year-old inmate at Red Onion, one of the state’s two supermax prisons in Wise County, says he and dozens of other prisoners have remained isolated in tiny cells for 22 to […]

COMMENTARY

The Medicaid work requirement: A ‘blunt instrument of a bad idea’

BY: - January 14, 2019

Adrian worked a full-time job and he received health insurance through Medicaid. As it turns out, that’s a pretty common story. For every 15 Americans on Medicaid, nine of them already have a job, according to the latest data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Two people have an illness or disability that keeps them from […]

Bill to guarantee back-pay for federal workers heads to Trump

BY: - January 11, 2019

Federal workers who aren’t getting their paychecks during the government shutdown appear likely to get paid — eventually. A bipartisan bill to give government employees back pay now heads to President Trump after the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure this week. Trump is expected to sign it, although it remains unclear when leaders […]

A glass of 20-year-old Pappy sells for $260 a glass at McCormack's Whisky Grill.

Instead of getting rid of Virginia’s liquor ratio rule, senators have plans to change it

BY: - January 11, 2019

Virginia’s liquor ratio law will stay in place for at least one more year. The Senate’s Subcommittee on Alcoholic Beverage Control decided to scrap an idea that would have gotten rid of the ratio for restaurants that make $500,000 or more in food sales. “It seemed like a lot of people in the industry had […]

Medicaid will cost Virginia half a billion dollars more than expected over the next two years. How should the state fix its forecasting?

BY: - January 11, 2019

Virginia’s lawmakers were smacked with an unexpected $462.5 million Medicaid bill in November that they have to pay in the biennial budget, and now they’re debating how to stop it from happening again. The nearly half-billion dollar shortfall is mostly rooted in the state’s overly optimistic estimate of how much money it would save by putting […]

Lawmakers poised to tackle medical balance billing this session, but question of payment still looms

BY: - January 11, 2019

Earlier this year, lawmakers warned representatives from Virginia’s hospitals and health plans that if they didn’t find a solution to balance billing, the General Assembly would. And with a handful of bills filed, legislators appear eager to tackle the problem head-on this session. Balance billing occurs when an out-of-network provider bills a patient for whatever […]

Virginia’s redistricting legal fight is among three gerrymandering cases U.S. Supreme Court is hearing

BY: - January 11, 2019

WASHINGTON — Three U.S. Supreme Court gerrymandering cases originating in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina could change control of one state capitol and possibly establish a new standard for how far states can go in drawing partisan political boundaries after the 2020 elections. As statehouses prepare for redistricting, the once-a-decade re-drawing of electoral maps following […]