GOVERNMENT + POLITICS
Follow the money
The Virginia Public Access Project has the breakdown of mid-year campaign finance reports that were due in by midnight Monday. With a whole year to go before the 2019 state Senate and House elections, Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, a Republican from James City County, who has been in the Senate since 1992, had $843,596 […]
Remember officials, when they’re about public business, your texts are public records
Thirty years ago, John Q. Public Servant had a report he had to produce for his boss, the county manager. He was tired and his kid was sick, so he left work a bit early to work on it at home. He sat down at the kitchen table after grabbing one of his kid’s leftover […]
Virginia’s health care-acquired infection rates mirror national averages, but is that good enough?
Jimi Suwaiti doesn’t remember much of the first few months of 2017, but her mother, Sharon Blackwell, does. Blackwell watched her 48-year-old daughter shake in her hospital bed in Virginia Beach because the pain from a bacterial infection was so terrible, and hallucinate, in her feverish state, that people were coming into her room. Suwaiti […]
Members of Va. gun rights group call for leader’s resignation after he was tricked into recording training video for toddlers
Philip Van Cleave says he suspected he was being set up just five minutes into a multi-hour interview earlier this year with a supposed Israeli anti-terrorism expert. But the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, the state’s top gun advocacy group, said he pressed on, ultimately agreeing to record a firearms-training video for toddlers […]
From the state government to the ‘shadow government’
Mega-lobbying firm McGuireWoods Consulting added a major player to their formidable bench Tuesday, signing up former GOP House Speaker Bill Howell. “Since it was founded 20 years ago, McGuireWoods Consulting has earned a well-deserved reputation for consistently delivering successful outcomes for clients. Many of my new colleagues there have been friends for years, and I […]
Southwest Virginia school district is first in state to approve program to arm teachers. Is it legal?
Members of the Lee County School Board voted unanimously last week to buy some teachers guns and have them designated as “conservators of the peace” as part of a new school security program. “We’ve realized we can not afford to put the number of school resource officers in Lee County that we would like to,” […]
Meet the Mercury: A new look at the Virginia Way
You’ve heard of the “Virginia Way.” For those inclined to consider it a cherished asset of the Old Dominion, the term conjures a tradition of restrained, courtly statesmanship and of high-minded legislating that puts principle over party and personality. At its best, they would argue, that approach to governing and lawmaking can produce breakthroughs […]
Could diversion programs be the answer for Virginia’s high eviction rates?
When it comes to addressing high eviction rates in Virginia, early talks indicate there’s limited common ground between tenant advocates and the apartment industry. A proposal to give tenants 14 days instead of five to pay rent before their landlord can sue to evict them? Firmly opposed, said Patrick McCloud, executive director of the Virginia […]
With hepatitis infections rising, Virginia police agencies resist needle exchanges
It’s been more than a year since Virginia’s legislature opened the door for needle-exchange programs to curb rising hepatitis C infection rates and the potential increase in HIV infections that could follow in the wake of the opioid epidemic. While one program has been approved, none have actually opened anywhere in the state. The reason? […]
‘Fraudster preys on the poor:’ an all too familiar story
A recent headline from Lawyers Weekly (referencing a Richmond Times-Dispatch article) reads: Fraudster preyed on the poor. “A self-proclaimed credit consultant has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for ripping off debt-troubled customers in Chesterfield County,” the story says. As any legal-aid attorney will tell you, this is a familiar story. Fraudsters prey […]
For Republicans on the ballot, it’s tough to totally reject Trump
Much has been made of longtime respected Republicans calling for voting against their own party. Steve Schmidt, a lifelong GOP activist and the man who, as John McCain’s campaign manager in 2008, brought us Sarah Palin, recently resigned from the party and said he would support Democrats this fall. George Will, the conservative columnist who […]