GOVERNMENT + POLITICS

Thousands show up for Virginia’s first March For Life, bringing abortion rights into focus for election season

BY: - April 3, 2019

Gigi Grogan was named after Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, a Catholic pediatrician who refused an abortion despite the threat pregnancy posed to her life. Molla died in 1962, a week after her child was born. Grogan, a student at Virginia Tech and leader of the college’s Students for Life chapter, said her parents named her […]

Executive-branch scandals spring back to life as General Assembly’s veto session kicks off

BY: and - April 3, 2019

The morning of Wednesday’s veto session felt a lot like opening a time capsule. That is, if the time capsule was buried just a month ago and pretty much nothing had changed since then. Nevertheless, after weeks of relative silence, the scandals that consumed the state’s executive branch roared back to life in a series […]

Luria splits with Democratic colleague on sexual assault prosecutions

BY: - April 3, 2019

WASHINGTON — Freshman Democrat Elaine Luria, 2nd District, is at odds with a senior member of her party over the role commanders should play in handling military sexual assault cases. “We trust our commanders to take our sons and daughters into war,” said Luria, a former commander in the U.S. Navy. “We trust them to […]

Virginia Mercury

Regulatory board edges closer to banning conversion therapy on minors

BY: - April 2, 2019

A new guidance document banning conversion therapy on minors by licensed psychologists is just a month away from becoming effective. Virginia’s Board of Psychology recently concluded a 30-day public comment period that generated more than 500 comments on the proposed guidance. The majority were in favor of banning the practice on minors, while 120 were […]

Va. pipelines set off ‘an alarm bell’ for skeptical energy regulator

BY: - April 1, 2019

WASHINGTON — Most Americans have no idea who Cheryl LaFleur is. The wonkish attorney, a Massachusetts native and electricity expert, has spent nearly a decade as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a federal agency that regulates the transmission of oil, electricity and natural gas pipelines, among other responsibilities. It’s not often that […]

Virginia explained: Why Republicans keep pushing bare-bones, high deductible health plans and Northam keeps batting them down

BY: - April 1, 2019

Editor’s note: First in an occasional series explaining Virginia’s policy debates. A news release that Gov. Ralph Northam issued in late March couldn’t have come as much of a surprise to anyone. It mirrored another from last year, in which he explained why he vetoed a string of health care bills. The arguments were the […]

‘That really wears on you:’ Pay, challenges of poor districts are pushing Virginia teachers out of the classroom

BY: - March 31, 2019

After five years, Cody Sigmon is leaving his job as a teacher to become a behind-the-scenes IT employee at Ohio University. Sigmon, 27, a middle school teacher in Chesterfield, helped organize thousands of educators across the state for several months, culminating in a January march on the Capitol to advocate for more money for public […]

‘Prohibition is over;’ Va. farmers see hemp grown for CBD as major cash crop

BY: - March 31, 2019

Virginia farmers haven’t had much to smile about recently. Trade wars sent crop prices plummeting. Dairy farms closed at a rate of more than one a week. The weather has sucked. But legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor last month offers a rare recent win for the industry: It’s now […]

COMMENTARY

In a last-ditch effort to stop climate regulations, Virginia Republicans try legislating by budget amendment

BY: - March 31, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration is finalizing regulations to reduce the carbon pollution from Virginia power plants by 30 percent between 2020 and 2030. The Department of Environmental Quality estimates the move will cost consumers only about a dollar per month while accelerating the transition to clean energy. (Virginia’s State Corporation Commission has a very different […]

Teachers rally for better pay, more funding after annual meeting

BY: - March 29, 2019

Hundreds of members of the Virginia Education Association — the state’s de facto teacher’s union — briefly marched around downtown Richmond Friday. The group was led by a red school bus bearing a banner that said “Fund Our Future,” and was calling attention to new national data that shows Virginia’s average teacher pay is thousands […]

Senators decry administration’s ‘lack of urgency’ on toxic chemicals

BY: - March 28, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has failed to act swiftly enough to protect the public from harmful contaminants present in drinking water throughout the country, U.S. senators told senior administration officials Thursday. Democrats and Republicans alike expressed frustration over the federal government’s response to the widespread drinking water contamination by chemicals known as per- and […]

COMMENTARY

As he talks equity, Gov. Northam continues to ignore Union Hill

BY: - March 28, 2019

In the weeks since Gov. Ralph Northam was condemned for the racist activities he engaged in in the past, I’ve not been happy, nor comfortable. I’ve struggled to find the way to say what I need to say without alienating the people I want to work with. I’ve walked a rhetorical high wire, trying to […]