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Virginia Last in Connecting Teenagers with Foster Families

The Commonwealth is ranked last in the nation for connecting teenagers to permanent families, with 500 kids per year aging out of the foster care system.

Voices for Virginia’s Children wants the state to opt in to a provision of the Federal Fostering Connections Act, which would provide federal funds for housing, case support and independent living services to transition aged youth aged 18-21. Eligible kids would have to maintain a job or remain in school to receive these funds.

McAuliffe Signs Energy Bills on Earth Day

Governor Terry McAuliffe celebrated Earth Day yesterday (4/22) by signing 10 bills to grow renewable energy jobs.

In front of the 500 KW solar array at the Capitol One Meadowville Technology Park in Chester, McAuliffe signed legislation to create the Virginia Solar Development Authority, double the capacity for solar net energy metering and extend the existing $500 Green Jobs Tax Credit for 3 years.

Council Members Want More Money for Schools

Seven of the nine members of Richmond City Council have introduced amendments to Mayor Dwight Jones' budget to give more money to public schools.

This year, the School Board requested $24 million dollars in additional funds for day-to-day operations. Mayor Jones left it essentially flat but offered an additional $10 million in one time funds to reduce the empty seats in schools.

2nd District Councilman Charles Samuels included an amendment to fully fund the school board’s request.

McAuliffe Touts Environmental Record But Struggles With Activists

Terry McAuliffe made environmental issues a campaign issue in both his 2009 and 2013 campaigns for governor. Now that he’s in office, the reviews among environmentalists are mixed.

Speaking at a recent forum hosted by the New Republic magazine, the governor says he put climate change toward the top of his campaign issues in 2009.

In 2013, McAuliffe defeated a global warming skeptic, former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who unsuccessfully sued to prove that a climate change scientist at the University of Virginia had defrauded the taxpayers.

Former First Lady Appeals Conviction

Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell has appealed her conviction on charges of public corruption.

In a 101-page brief filed yesterday, her attorneys argued the convictions should be overturned, that the trial court judge erred in giving jurors expansive instructions as to what constitutes “an official act” under federal bribery statutes and what transpired with vitamin supplement salesman Johnny Williams was nothing more than the way every politician treats ordinary businesspersons.

McAuliffe Establishes Group To Fight Cyber Threats

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced yesterday (4/20) that Virginia will establish the nation’s first Information Sharing and Analysis Organization or ISAO to protect against cyber security threats.

In February President Obama signed an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security to encourage the creation of ISAO’s.

Governor McAuliffe says there are big career opportunities in cyber security.

In 2014 the Virginia Information Technologies Agency detected nearly 36 million attacks and blocked more 58,000 viruses.

McAuliffe Says Clinton Message Will Win Virginia Voters

On Meet the Press Sunday (4/19), Governor Terry McAuliffe said Hillary Clinton will be able to win in Virginia despite discouraging poll numbers.

A recent Quinnipiac University Poll gave positive ratings for McAuliffe, but also showed that 52% of Virginia voters did not find Clinton honest and trustworthy.

McAuliffe, who served as served as Co-Chair of Clinton’s 2008 Presidential Campaign, says once Clinton gets a chance to talk to voters about her middle class background, her support will grow.

J. Schapiro: Legislators Still Grappling with Ethics; 460 Deal Dead; Certain Voting Machines Out; Lawmaking in the Dark

Analyst Jeff Schapiro talks about the Virginia General Assembly's "veto session," the end of the U.S. 460 bypass deal, the Board of Elections decision on voting machines which has some localities scrambling, and the study that finds Virginia's legislature is among the most secreative.

Deeds Mental Health Taskforce Sets 2015 Agenda

The legislative work group on mental health services led by Senator Creigh Deeds met Thursday (4/16) to lay out its agenda for the rest of the year.

Senator Deeds says mental illness is a complex category of problems that requires treatment tailor made to the individual.

The group will hold three 2-day sessions across the state before the end of the year. It will discuss policy recommendations, hear from the public and visit mental health treatment providers in various settings, including hospitals, Community Service Boards, jails and prisons.

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