Commentary

Reluctant, distrustful witnesses are key to solving homicides

BY: - January 23, 2023

Kelvin Wright, the recently retired police chief of Chesapeake, remains bewildered by the slaying of Daevon Shaquille Miller outside a restaurant-nightclub several years ago. Scores of people witnessed a murder and stayed quiet – except for posting photos of the crime on the internet.  “Well over 100 people were there,” Wright told me this week, […]

Behind bars: Virginia jails price gouging

BY: - January 23, 2023

From The Virginia Mercury: Del. Irene Shin last week introduced a bill to limit the price markups and fees charged to inmates and their families for goods and services purchased behind bars.

Utility shut-offs harm vulnerable Virginians

BY: - January 19, 2023

By Rev. Sherman Z. Logan Virginians will continue to face the threat of utility shut-offs as the height of winter approaches, with low temperatures and severe weather events worsened by the negative impacts of climate change. With Del. Irene Shin introducing House Bill 2283 in this year’s General Assembly session, this is a timely opportunity […]

Attacks on Virginia’s climate laws are front and center at the General Assembly

BY: - January 18, 2023

Every year I do a round-up of climate and energy bills at the start of the General Assembly session. This year, as expected, Republicans continue their assault on the hallmark legislation passed in 2020 and 2021 committing Virginia to a zero-carbon economy by 2050. In addition, this year features the usual assortment of bills doing […]

Why are Virginia counties regulating starter homes out of existence?

BY: - January 18, 2023

Five years ago, before the pandemic-driven demand for more space and the en masse entrance of millenials to the housing market, the median home sales price in the commonwealth sat at $290,000. Last year that figure hit $390,000 — a $100,000 jump over a period during which Virginians’ median household income actually shrank by $2,975, […]

IRA offers big incentives for tax-exempt organizations to invest in renewable energy

BY: - January 17, 2023

By Eric Hurlocker In August of last year, Congress unexpectedly passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, got on board with a slimmed-down version of “Build Back Better,” a bill he opposed in its original form due to its size. While it is named the Inflation Reduction Act, in large […]

Out-of-pocket teacher classroom expenses

BY: - January 16, 2023

From The Virginian-Pilot: On Friday Jan. 6, 2023, “police said a first-grade student at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News shot his teacher inside a classroom. Abigail Zwerner, 25, suffered injuries initially described as life-threatening, but as of Saturday afternoon, she was in stable condition at Riverside Regional Medical Center. No one else was hurt.”

New monuments must mean more than memorialization

BY: - January 16, 2023

Soon, statues of Barbara Johns and Henrietta Lacks – two Black, Virginia-born women who contributed to significant educational and scientific progress in America – will be erected, one in Roanoke and the other in the U.S. Capitol. These new figures emerge after the eviction of the Confederate warmongers memorialized in metal that used to tower […]

Virginia should fully fund public education before prioritizing vouchers

BY: - January 12, 2023

Virginia is one of the richest states in the nation in median household income, often among the top ten. State legislators, however, consistently fail to meet the funding standards set by the Virginia Board of Education for students in K-12 public schools.   We rank near the bottom in per-pupil spending for public education, at a […]

As legislature mulls aid for problem gamblers, consider sweetening the pot

BY: - January 11, 2023

I’m not a betting man. I have little faith that the fates will bless me. I could put $10 on the sun setting in the west and somehow lose. But if I were, I’d wager that one of the easiest bills to pass in the 2023 General Assembly will be bipartisan legislation to create and […]

Electrified rail is the future. Is Virginia all aboard?

BY: - January 9, 2023

Experienced passengers traveling from Virginia to D.C. know not to panic when the engine shuts off and the lights go out upon arrival in Washington. A chorus of questions can be heard from those not in the know during the 45-minute wait at Union Station while the train’s diesel locomotive is swapped out for an […]

Only one way to eat an elephant

BY: - January 9, 2023

From Maryland Matters: “The U.S. House elected Kevin McCarthy speaker early Saturday after most of the chamber’s Republicans finally gathered behind him, ending a four-day stalemate that led to the most rounds of voting for a speaker since before the Civil War.”