GOVERNMENT + POLITICS

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

How the General Assembly failed Virginia again on clean energy

BY: - March 11, 2019

When the General Assembly session opened Jan. 9, legislators were presented with dozens of bills designed to save money for consumers, lower energy consumption, provide more solar options and set us on a pathway to an all-renewables future. Almost none of these measures passed, while bills that benefited utilities kept up their track record of […]

Black lawmakers say Northam’s membership in racial reconciliation group lacks substance

BY: - March 8, 2019

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary. Members of the Legislative Black Caucus say they’re not impressed by Gov. Ralph Northam’s involvement with a racial reconciliation group led by former Gov. Bob McDonnell. “Glad they didn’t call me – matter of […]

State set to create ID cards without pictures for Amish and Mennonite communities

BY: - March 8, 2019

Old Order Mennonites dress plain, rely on horse and buggies for transportation and, for the most part, don’t want their picture taken. It’s meant most members of the community don’t have state-issued identification cards – a situation Virginia is set to remedy this year with the passage of legislation allowing IDs without pictures for the […]

Democrats want answers from Trump administration on FBI headquarters plan

BY: - March 8, 2019

WASHINGTON — Five senior House Democrats are demanding that the Trump administration fork over documents regarding the decision to scrap the plan to relocate the FBI headquarters from downtown Washington, D.C., to the suburbs. The Democrats — Reps. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, Gerry Connolly of Virginia, Dina Titus of Nevada, Peter DeFazio of Oregon and […]

Without federal law, state regulators have little power to stop trains from blocking crossings

BY: - March 8, 2019

To get to her dad’s funeral, Christine Wilson had to crawl under a stalled train so she could be there on time. “That’s dangerous, no doubt, but what do you do?” her longtime partner, Paul Shiflett, said. In their community about 15 miles east of Front Royal, a freight train regularly stops in front of their dead-end […]

Researcher publishes open letter to lynched Culpeper man

BY: - March 7, 2019

By Kaytlin Nickens “Working in the trenches, side by side with people,” as Zann Nelson said, highlighted the beliefs her father instilled in her youth. Growing up in Culpeper County, Nelson said she learned of a deeper truth to American history, and her father reminded her that people should be seen through the lens of […]

Elder abuse and neglect are on the rise. Is Virginia prepared?

BY: - March 7, 2019

Year after year, Virginia’s adult protective services workers see more cases of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation — a problem that promises to intensify as the number of older people grows and the state’s caseworkers struggle to keep up with demanding workloads. In the 2018 fiscal year, there were nearly 12,000 substantiated cases of abuse, […]

Virginia looks more and more like it has a full-blown medical marijuana program

BY: - March 7, 2019

People haven’t really been sure what to call Virginia’s foray into the world of medical cannabis. When it first came up a few years ago, discussions focused on CBD (cannabidiol), a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis that has been used as a treatment for everything from seizures to anxiety. It’s been broadened since then, but […]

Jerry Falwell Jr. invites Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Liberty University convocation

BY: - March 6, 2019

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary. After calling New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “dumb” and a “liar,” Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. invited her to speak at the college’s convocation. Falwell said the school welcomes free speech and […]

Norfolk State University wants Northam to attend opening of new African-American think tank

BY: - March 6, 2019

Norfolk State University plans to establish the state’s first academic, nonpartisan think tank focused on African Americans and other residents of color, dubbed the Center for African American Public Policy. And once it’s launched, they’re hoping Gov. Ralph Northam will help them mark the occasion. Soji Akomolafe, chair of NSU’s political science department, said the university […]

McAuliffe polling at bottom of pack in Democratic primary field

BY: - March 5, 2019

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he hasn’t decided one way or the other whether he’ll run for president in 2020, but if he does, it’ll be a slog. How much of a slog? Polling […]

Prosecutor files to dismiss indecent exposure charge against ERA protester

BY: - March 5, 2019

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary. Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Herring is asking a judge to dismiss an indecent exposure charge against a woman who was arrested outside the Capitol last month while protesting in support of the Equal Rights […]