GOVERNMENT + POLITICS

Richmond free clinic prepares to open Virginia’s second needle exchange

BY: - October 11, 2018

More than a year since they became legal in Virginia, the state’s second needle exchange program is scheduled to open in Richmond at the end of the month. Health Brigade, formerly the Fan Free Clinic, in Richmond’s Museum District, will be the second in the state to open a comprehensive harm reduction program, also known […]

Campaign finance reform group files ethics complaint against U.S. Rep. Dave Brat

BY: - October 10, 2018

A political action committee that works on campaign finance reform filed a complaint Wednesday with the House Office of Congressional Ethics against the 7th district’s current representative, Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Brat. Brat is running against Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who recently participated in a campaign event with the group that filed the complaint, End Citizens United. […]

When has an unlicensed optician hurt anyone? State auditors recommend a handful of professions for deregulation

BY: - October 10, 2018

Under state law, people licensed to sell and fit glasses in Virginia must be high school graduates, take a two-year course at an approved school of opticianry and never have been convicted of a sex offense or selling drugs. But state auditors said Tuesday that all those rules really aren’t necessary, recommending to members of […]

Board of Elections changes candidate petition rules after 2nd District signature fiasco

BY: - October 10, 2018

The State Board of Elections on Tuesday added two clarifications to its policy on the petitions candidates file to get on the ballot, a direct result of confusion related to a pair of cases this year, including one that has roiled the 2nd District congressional race. The new state policy won’t automatically invalidate a signature […]

Dominion's power station in Chesterfield in Sept 2017.

Shadow of Hurricane Florence hangs over legislative meeting on Dominion’s plans for coal ash sites

BY: - October 9, 2018

When Hurricane Florence slammed into North Carolina in September, some of the state’s coal ash ponds breached and overflowed into nearby rivers and lakes. Now Virginia lawmakers are citing the hurricane — and the threat of another coming up the East Coast — as a reason to act now and require Dominion Energy to excavate […]

Republican delegate proposes making Board of Elections bigger, with an even partisan split

BY: - October 9, 2018

Del. Margaret Ransone, R-Westmoreland, filed a bill Tuesday that would make the state Board of Elections larger and create an even partisan split on the board, which oversees elections. Ransone filed a similar bill in 2018 and it passed the House of Delegates. She reintroduced the bill for the 2019 session in response to an audit […]

Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, defended a remedial redistricting proposal that a House panel advanced Thursday on a party-line vote. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Sept. 27, 2018)

Debate over whether Democrats should gain from redistricting heads to court

BY: - October 9, 2018

Should the process of unpacking black voters from racially gerrymandered districts leave Democrats with a political edge? Democrats have steadfastly argued yes: To the extent that packing black voters into certain districts benefited the Republican majority, undoing that would necessarily benefit the Democratic minority. Republicans, meanwhile, have treated the federal court order as a technical […]

Constitutional amendments on this year’s ballot deal with tax breaks for military families, homeowners in flood-prone areas

BY: - October 9, 2018

It’s not just candidates on the Nov. 6 ballot. Voters will be also asked to decide if they want to amend the state Constitution to allow for tax exemptions affecting spouses of veterans and homeowners in flood-prone areas. Both proposed amendments would give localities the option to extend certain tax breaks to some homeowners. That […]

The General Assembly has consistently stopped efforts to outlaw conversion therapy. But state licensing boards might be able to do it themselves.

BY: - October 8, 2018

Conversion therapy, aimed at changing sexual orientation, has been widely deemed ineffective and potentially harmful by nearly every medical professional organization — yet it’s still legal in most of the country, including Virginia. Efforts to outlaw its use on minors by licensed professionals over the past five years have been stymied by Virginia’s General Assembly, where […]

The Virginia House of Delegates met Thursday to discuss redistricting, but didn't get far. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Aug. 30, 2018)

‘God only knows how long I’m going to be in Siberia for this:’ Why one Democrat says he broke with his party on redistricting

BY: - October 8, 2018

Del. Stephen Heretick, D-Portsmouth, says he broke with Democrats on redistricting after party leaders discarded his input on how his district should be drawn, put him through cloak-and-dagger conference calls and ordered him and other delegates not to cooperate with Republicans as they put together maps of their own. He ignored them, first criticizing his […]

Mountain Valley Pipeline loses permission to cross Virginia waterways

BY: - October 5, 2018

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has suspended a permit allowing the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross hundreds of Virginia streams and wetlands, The Roanoke Times reports. The action comes three days after a similar permit for West Virginia water crossings was vacated by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Advocates are calling for […]

Speaker of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, stands in the chamber. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

GOP leader cancels redistricting floor session

BY: - October 5, 2018

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, canceled a floor session scheduled for Oct. 21 and 22 after Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, announced plans to veto a Republican-drafted map to fix 11 House districts a court has ruled were racially gerrymandered. Cox filed a status report with the Eastern District Court “noting […]