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Lawsuit Could Have Significant Impact on House of Delegates Districts

A lawsuit filed late last month in Federal District Court could have a significant impact on many of the House of Delegates districts and dramatically change the political makeup of the lower chamber.

The suit says that in 2011, the Republican-controlled House of Delegates racially gerrymandered 12 districts by packing them with 55% or more black voters.

Republicans currently hold a 68-seat supermajority in the 100-member house.

McDonnell to be Sentenced Tuesday

Former Governor Bob McDonnell will be sentenced tomorrow (1/6) for his eleven convictions on charges of corruption.

If the prosecution has their way, McDonnell could become the first Virginia governor sentenced to federal prison. They want him to spend 10-12 years there.

McDonnell’s lawyers are seeking 6,000 hours or roughly 3 years of community service.

Defense Attorneys have produced over 400 letters from family, elected leaders and supporters asking Judge James Spencer for leniency in sentencing the former governor.

Kinser and Felton Retire from Bench After Years of Service

Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Cynthia Kinser and Virginia Court of Appeals Chief Judge Walter Felton retire today after years of service on the bench.

Kinser was the first female chief justice in Virginia history. The justices of the Supreme court have elected Justice Donald Lemons to serve as the next Chief Justice. The Supreme Court will be down one justice until the legislature appoints Kinser’s successor.

The General Assembly never adjourned this year, preventing Governor Terry McAuliffe from making interim judicial appointments at various levels.

McAuliffe Restores Rights to 5,000 Felons

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced yesterday that his administration has restored civil and voting rights to over 5,113 ex offenders, more than any other Governor in a single year.

Virginia is one of the toughest states for rights restoration in the country, but Governor McAuliffe has streamlined the process, shortening the application from 13 pages to one.

Morrissey to Resign, Run for Seat; Work Release Revoked

 Delegate Joe Morrissey of Henrico will resign from the House of Delegates but will seek the Democratic nomination for the seat in a special election on January 13th, a day before the General Assembly session.

Morrissey was charged with inappropriate sexual relations with a minor but entered a plea deal Dec. 12 to one misdemeanor count of contributing to delinquency of a minor and was senteced to serve six months in jail with work release privileges.

Republican Speaker of the House Bill Howell called Morrissey’s announcement “deceitful, selfish and disrespectful.”

McAuliffe Gift List Mostly “Trinkets.”

Governor McAuliffe says he has not received any big-ticket gifts since taking office this year, a departure from what was commonplace under past administrations. The Governor instituted a self-imposed $100 gift limit shortly after taking office, saying it was part of an effort to clean up Virginia’s reputation.

He recently filed a statement of economic interest, which confirmed that he received mostly trinkets related to trade missions.

Governor Seeks to Cap Tax Preferences, Raise Fees

Governor Terry McAuliffe wants to cap certain tax preferences and credits and raise various fees in order to close the state’s most recent $322 million dollar budget gap.

The Governor’s budget includes no cuts to k-12 public schools and increases wages for those at the bottom of the state pay scale, particularly Sherriff’s deputies, many of whom currently qualify for food stamps.

 

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