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Lobbyist Spending on Entertainment is Down

Virginia lobbyists spent roughly 16 percent less on drinks, meals and entertainment for state lawmakers over the last 6-month reporting period than before Governor Bob McDonnell’s indictment on corruption charges.

A new report compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project found the total number of entertainment dollars down to $456,000 from $541,000 two years ago.

Some lawmakers, staff and lobbyists appear to be taking greater care to report the gifts that they receive.

McDonnell Supporters Seek Donations To Continue Appeals

Supporters of former Governor McDonnell have issued an urgent appeal for donations to his legal defense fund.

They say his lawyers will pursue the fight to overturn his convictions, after a three-judge panel of the appeals court upheld his convictions Friday (7/10)

A non-profit defense effort was set up in 2013, raised about $335,000 and spent $283,000 through the end of last year. 

Republican Delegate Chris Jones Defends House District Boundaries in Court

The Republican Delegate who drew the House of Delegates redistricting plan in 2011 took to the witness stand in Alexandria yesterday (7/8) to defend his work, saying race was just one of many factors used to set the boundaries.

The plaintiffs in the case allege that Jones unnecessarily packed black voters into the 12 districts in question, diluting their voting power in the surrounding ones.

Gilmore to Run for President

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore says he plans to announce in August that he will run for President.

Gilmore told the Richmond Times Dispatch that he would bring unique expertise in national security and economic issues that the other Republican candidates don’t have.

The former Governor, now 65, has also served as a national security advisor to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

He now runs a conservative think tank in Washington.

SCOTUS Redistricting Decision Energizes Reform Advocates

Advocates for redistricting reform say the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that states may redistrict by using an independent commission, should put pressure on Virginia to adopt such a process.

The elections clause in the U.S. Constitution gives states the authority to redistrict. Most state constitutions, including Virginia's, give that power to the legislature, but some grant that responsibility to independent groups.

SCOTUS Ruling on Lethal Injection Drug May Affect Virginia

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow the use of the controversial drug, Midazolam for lethal injections, will affect execution policy in Virginia.

The drug is approved for use in 8 states, including Virginia, as part of a three drug cocktail to execute death row inmates.

Critics say Midazolam does not induce a deep enough coma to ensure inmates experience no pain.

Midazolam has not yet been used in the commonwealth and there are currently no executions pending.

Mixed Reactions in Virginia to Supreme Court EPA Ruling

There were mixed reactions in Virginia to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday that the EPA did not properly consider costs of implementing new mercury and air toxin standards for coal and oil fired power plants.

Benjamin Knotts, Deputy State Director of the Virginia chapter of the conservative tax policy group Americans for Prosperity says the EPA regulations factored into the closure of the Glen Lyn power plant and could have forced others to shut down.

Clinton Says it’s Past Time for Virginia to Expand Medicaid

Addressing Virginia Democrats annual fundraiser at the Patriot Center at George Mason University Friday evening (6/26), Democratic Presidential contender Hillary Clinton said it is past time for the Commonwealth to expand its Medicaid program.

Clinton says expanding the safety net program would provide coverage to hundreds of thousands of Virginians who need it and could potentially save about $100 million dollars in the state budget.

Clinton Tells Virginia Dems GOP Has No New Ideas for Economic Prosperity

Addressing Virginia Democrats annual fundraiser at the Patriot Center at George Mason University Friday evening, Democratic Presidential contender Hillary Clinton said the GOP has no new ideas for bringing the economic recovery to all Americans.

Clinton says while Republicans believe they are the party of new ideas and fresh faces, on economic strategy, the GOP is looking backward and not forward.


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