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Politics

J. Schapiro: GA to Return on Gov.'s Vetoes, Ammendments; Clinton Still Leading in Virginia; Dominion Faces Oppostion to Pipeline, Power Line

Columnist Jeff Schapiro analyzes what the Republican-controlled legislature may do on Democratic Gov. McAuliffe's actions on April 15, new poll showing Hillary Clinton still favored in the state over potential GOP rivals, and the opposition to Domnion's planned natural gas pipeline and high power line spanning the James.

McDonnell Says Favors To Williams “Just Courtesies”

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says in court papers that the favors he did for a wealthy businessman were routine courtesies and not part of a bribery scheme.

The onetime rising Republican star made the argument in a 54-page brief in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A three-judge panel of the court will conduct a hearing on his appeal of his public corruption convictions on May 12.

Pipeline Opponents Plan To Confront Governor With 5,000 Signatures

Opponents of a natural gas pipeline through Virginia are pressing Governor McAuliffe to join forces with them.

They plan to deliver more than 5,000 signatures to the Govenor today, demanding he rescind his support of the $5 billion dollar project, which he has enthusiastically termed a “game changer,” bringing jobs and tax revenues to the state, along with lower fuel costs.

J. Schapiro: McAuliffe Courts Indiana Businesses; SCOTUS Orders 3rd District Redrawn; Morrissey Saga Continues

Columnist Jeff Schapiro analyzes Gov. McAuliffe's pitch to Indiana business leaders concerned about the Hoosier state's new religious liberty law, the Supreme Court ruling on Virginia's congressional redistricting map, and Joe Morrissey's latest adventures.

McAuliffe Declined to be Interviewed By Investigator About Visa Program

Last year Governor Terry McAuliffe declined to be interviewed by a federal agent investigating his use of the federal EB 5 Visa Program while serving as the President of Greentech Automotive.

McAuliffe made calls to expedite the Visa approval process but denies that he received any special treatment and stressed that he was a private citizen at the time.

Under the program foreign nationals who invest $500,000 to 1 million dollars in U.S. companies and create or preserve at least 10 jobs can receive a visa.

McAuliffe Signs “ABLE Act” on World Autism Awareness Day

Yesterday at the Faison School for Autism in Henrico, Governor Terry McAuliffe commemorated World Autism Awareness Day by signing the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, also known as ABLE.

The new law will assist Virginians to set aside up to 14,000 dollars per year to cover  future expenses related to a loved one’s disability.  

The accounts were modeled after Virginia’s 529 college savings plans and administrators of that program will oversee the new ABLE plans

Virginia State Senator On Islamic State’s “Enemies” List

A Virginia state senator says the state's Capitol Police have alerted him to a threat against him by the so-called Islamic State. 

Senator Richard Black says police told him he was featured in a magazine published by the “Islamic State,” that lists him and others as ”the enemy.”

The Washington Post reports the magazine also featured photos of former GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum and CIA veteran Gary Berntsen.

Black last year sent a letter praising Syrian President Assad that was posted on Assad’s Facebook page.

“Conner’s Law” Will Support Some With Severe Disabilities

A new law signed by Governor McAuliffe last week will allow judges the discretion to order non-custodial parents to pay support for severely disabled children, over the age of 18.

“Conner’s Law” is named for Conner Cummings who was diagnosed at 18 months of age with Autism. His mother Sharon launched a successful social media campaign to raise awareness of the need for the law.

Democratic Senator Barbara Favola of Arlington was one of the bill’s patrons.

The bill passed both houses unanimously.

Morrissey Charges Dismissed

A Henrico County circuit court judge has dismissed all four felony indictments against former Delegate Joe Morrissey for providing falsified documents to the court. The judge said the new charges were barred by the Alford plea agreement Morrissey and his attorney’s reached with prosecutors in December.

Felony charges still stand for Deidre Warren, mother of Myrna Pride, the teenager Morrissey was accused of having a sexual relationship with.

Myrna’s father Coleman Pride was angry. He yelled at Morrissey and his daughter before a group of reporters outside.

VCU Contemplates Three Percent Tuition Hike

Virginia Commonwealth University is contemplating a 3% hike in tuition and fees next year.

The Board of Visitors yesterday (3/31) considered a $538 million dollar instructional budget and ways to pay for it.

Options would increase tuition and mandatory fees by either $344 or $374 dollars for in-state students.

The money would go to increased faculty compension and student financial aid, with deferred maintenance at the higher rate. Under the proposals in-state students would pay up to $12,772.

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