House Minority Leader David J. Toscano, D-Charlottesville, is flanked by Del. Lamont Bagby, D-Henrico, and Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, as he introduces Democrats redistricting proposal. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Aug. 29, 2018)

House Democrats’ proposed redistricting plan targets five vulnerable Republicans

BY: - August 29, 2018

A redistricting plan floated by Democrats in the House of Delegates this afternoon would move 55,000 black voters out of majority-minority districts that a court has ruled are unconstitutional. Most of them would instead be placed in the districts of five vulnerable Republicans. The plan cuts another two Republicans out of the districts they currently […]

Virginia State Capitol

During special redistricting session, will Republicans stall, play ball or both?

BY: and - August 29, 2018

The General Assembly will reconvene at noon on Thursday, called back to Richmond by Gov. Ralph Northam to address a federal court order requiring lawmakers to redraw 11 House of Delegates districts. The court ruled in June that the districts were racially gerrymandered to contain a set threshold of black voters, diluting their political influence […]

A ferry passes the General Dynamic shipyard in Norfolk. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Some lawmakers see economic potential in responding to sea-level rise

BY: - August 28, 2018

In Gloucester County, if residents don’t leave the county every day, the Riverside hospital system or Walmart are probably where the majority spend their workdays. There’s not much else for work in the county limits, said Del. Keith Hodges, R-Urbanna, who represents the area. But he’s hoping that, with the creation of a new state […]

Judge issues injunction on posting plans for 3-D printing of guns, but they may still be online

BY: - August 27, 2018

Twenty-one attorneys general, including Virginia’s Mark Herring, won a preliminary injunction Monday against a company that wanted to distribute plans to print plastic guns from 3-D printers online. “The Trump administration’s reckless plan to make 3D-printed guns widely available and easily accessible was one of the most dangerous ideas I have ever heard,” Herring said […]

UVA law professor: Just one GOP senator could start inquiry into Trump’s tax returns

BY: - August 27, 2018

Writing in Politico, University of Virginia law and taxation professor George K. Yin explores how a single Republican senator could initiate an investigation into President Donald Trump’s tax returns to shed light on what, if anything, therein explains his extraordinary deference to Russia. For the past two years, Trump has refused to release his tax […]

Long hours, low pay and constant turnover: Social services agencies in Virginia struggle to keep staff

BY: - August 27, 2018

It takes two years to train a social worker at one of Virginia’s local social services departments so they can confidently help families, handle an interview with a recently traumatized child or recognize red flags that could suggest abuse or neglect. But Virginia’s child welfare workers — those whose duties range from meeting with foster […]

At the 1892 dedication of this Confederate memorial to the Howitzers Battalion, the keynote speaker focused not on valor, but a laying out a long justification and defense of slavery. The statue now sits on the edge of Virginia Commonwealth University's Monroe Park campus.

Like UNC, VCU has its own Confederate memorial dedicated with explicitly white supremacist speech

BY: - August 23, 2018

Earlier this week, protesters on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill tore down a long contested Confederate memorial dubbed “Silent Sam,” which was targeted in part for the explicitly white supremacist speech that marked its 1913 unveiling. Confederate veteran Julian Carr extolled the Confederacy’s defense of the “Anglo-Saxon race” and […]

‘It’s a statement that we have your backs:’ Legislation to prevent disclosing religious affiliation heads back to the General Assembly

BY: - August 23, 2018

A bill that would protect Virginians’ religious affiliations from being reported to the federal government will head back to the General Assembly next year. Del. Kathy Tran, D-Springfield, said she created the bill in response to fears about a nationwide Muslim registry. As drafted, it would specifically prohibit colleges and correctional facilities from turning over […]

A $2,000 glass of whiskey, a state law banning bars and a years-long fight lawmakers can’t seem to untangle

BY: - August 23, 2018

It’s really thick, intensely flavored and, at McCormack’s Whisky Bar in Richmond, it goes for $2,000 a glass. “It’s absolutely unique compared to other spirits,” says owner Mac McCormack, describing The Macallan M, one of the world’s most expensive whiskeys. A bottle retails for as much as $6,500, so the mark up is reasonable in […]

Virginia lawmakers want to get in on this blockchain thing

BY: - August 22, 2018

Now they just have to figure out how and why. Blockchain, the decentralized database technology behind Bitcoin, has emerged as an endlessly recurring buzzword in tech fields. And, to be fair, the technology is promising in a lot of ways to the extent that it protects against data loss and manipulation, making it a potentially good […]

State board won’t touch pipeline permits

BY: - August 21, 2018

Following four hours of review Tuesday, the State Water Control Board decided not to take action on state-issued water quality certifications for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipeline projects. Instead the board voted to “aggressively” enforce compliance standards, pass some information on to the national agency that issued water permits for the pipelines’ construction […]

Virginia State Capitol

Who pays for Northam’s tax proposal?

BY: - August 21, 2018

Who pays for Gov. Ralph Northam’s plan to make the earned-income tax credit fully refundable? Technically, nothing’s coming out of anyone’s pocket. But under current Virginia tax law, middle-class residents making between $50,000 and $150,000 a year will be the ones supplying most of the money to pay the new tax refunds. Northam, a Democrat, wants […]