Join us on         

Politics

McAuliffe Appoints Former Senator to Board Ahead of Abortion Vote

Yesterday, Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed former Democratic state Senator Mary Margaret Whipple to the Board of Health, less than 24 hours before its meeting this morning (12/4), where it will vote on whether to review controversial abortion clinic regulations. The rules impose the same building standards for abortion clinics as those for new hospitals.

Abortion rights advocates say the standards are an effort to force clinics to close, as two have already done. Anti-abortion activists say they are necessary to protect women’s health.

Warner Hopeful New Congress Will Act

Speaking to reporters via Skype for Associated Press Day at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Senator Mark Warner said he’s glad the election is over and remains optimistic that things can get done in the new Congress. Warner believes the election results, including his narrow victory over his Republican opponent Ed Gillespie, put pressure on congress to show that they can govern.

Warner believes the Congress can make progress on infrastructure improvements, government data transparency, lowering student debt, improving Obamacare and simplifying the tax code.

Webb Outlines His Priorities As He Weighs Presidential Bid

Former Senator Jim Webb, who is contemplating a bid for the Democratic nomination for President, outlined his priorities for the country at the Associated Press Day at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Webb spoke of spreading economic fairness, noting that the stock market has nearly tripled since the economic crash of 2008 but real wages and loans to small businesses have slightly dropped.

The former senator says the mass incarceration of those convicted of non-violent offenses is a national crisis in the criminal justice system.

Crime Commission Defers Action on Teen Sexting

The Virginia Crime Commission has deferred action on teen sexting until next year, saying it needs more time to study the problem.

The Crime Commission had considered lowering criminal sentences for minors who send self produced nude images via text message or other electronic means, exempting them from prosecution under child pornography laws aimed at adult predators.

Camille Cooper, legislative director of the national child advocacy group PROTECT says Virginia’s sentencing data shows that juveniles are not receiving felony sentences for underage sexting.

Crime Commission Recommends Cigarette Retail Licenses and Fees

The Virginia Crime Commission is recommending that retailers who sell cigarettes be licensed to do so, in order to fight the growing problem of cigarette trafficking. The Alcoholic Beverage Control would administer the licenses.

36 other states require similar licenses with costs ranging from $60-$240 dollars. The licenses would only apply to cigarettes, not cigars or other tobacco products.

Tobacco Commission Awards Millions More Than Staff Recommends To Dominion

The Virginia Tobacco Commission gave away millions of dollars, more than what commission staff recommended, to help a politically connected power company. The Associated Press says commission staffers told the state inspector-general that the first of three $10 million installments paid to Dominion to help build a natural gas pipeline in Brunswick County should have been $6.5 million based on their calculations, and that they felt pressured by Governor Bob McDonnell’s office, though the inspector-general’s office did not find evidence to support that.

Saslaw to Introduce Bill to Require Universities to Report Rapes to Police

State Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw says he will introduce a bill in the upcoming General Assembly session that would require university officials with knowledge of a sexual assault on campus to report the incident to local police within 24 hours. Under Saslaw’s bill, campus officials and faculty who fail to report incidents of sexual assault would face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Saslaw says universities like UVA have no business adjudicating felonies.

Virginia’s Gasoline Tax to Increase to 18 Cents Per Gallon

With congressional action on the Marketplace Equity Act unlikely before the end of the year, Virginia’s gasoline tax will increase by seven cents per gallon on January 1st. Virginia’s billion-dollar transportation package passed in 2013 relies heavily on funds from the federal bill. The tax increase will automatically be enacted to cover the loss of those funds should Congress not act.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would require online retailers to collect and remit state sales tax just like all brick and mortar businesses.

Pages

Subscribe to Politics