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JLARC Seeks to Reduce Cost of Medicaid

The state’s legislative watchdog group, JLARC, met Monday (5/11) to discuss ongoing studies on controlling costs in higher education and reviewing the state’s Medicaid program.

JLARC wants to know how efficiently the state is administering Medicaid services and what more they can do through best practices to produce further cost savings.

Republican Delegate Steve Landes of Augusta says the cost of providing Medicaid has grown 8% annually to nearly a quarter of the state’s budget over the past 20 years.

McDonnell Appeal Set For Arguments In Federal Court May 12

A federal appeals court will hear arguments tomorrow in the case of former Governor McDonnell, convicted of public corruption and sentenced to two years.

It is the same court that has allowed McDonnell and his wife to remain free on bond during the appeal.

Legal experts say that decision suggests the court believes at least some of the issues raised on appeal are a close call.

Jeff Schapiro: Kaine Urges War Powers Action; Fowler's Offensive Posting; Herring Reverses Abortion Regs Ruling; McD. Appeal Hearing

Columnist Jeff Schapiro discusses U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine's impassioned speech on presidential war powers revision, Del. Buddy Fowler's racially charged Facebook posting, Atty. Gen. Mark Herring's legal opinion that abortion clinic regulations cannot be imposed on existing facilities, and fortmer Gov. Bob McDonnell's upcoming hearing on his appeal of corruption convictions.

Moran Calls Body Cameras Inevitable

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran says statewide implementation of police body cameras is inevitable.

41% of Virginia law enforcement agencies are already using body cameras in some capacity. Moran expects to recommend a framework for statewide implementation later this summer. He adds some logistical problems remain.

Identifying a funding mechanism will be an issue in some localities. Henrico spent over $150,000 to equip two thirds of its officers. Moran says he believes the state will set aside money to assist localities who can’t afford the cameras.

Kaine Renews Call for Congressional Authorization of Military Action

Senator Tim Kaine marked the 9-month anniversary of America’s military intervention against ISIL (ISIS) by calling on Congress to debate and vote to authorize and set the terms of the mission.

President Obama has maintained that the authorization voted by Congress in 2001 and 2002 gives him the power to take military action against ISIL without further congressional approval. Kaine says that authorization only applied to the groups that perpetrated the attacks of 911. ISIL was formed 2 years later.

Richmond Voting Machines Recycled

The City of Richmond has reached a unique solution for replacing the recently decertified WinVote touchscreen machines. They’ve recycled them.

Technicians at the Richmond Registrar’s office removed the touch screen units from the booths and adapted them for use with paper ballots, which voters will use in the June primary and the general election in November. They’ll also use 65 older booths the city has owned for 50 years.

Kirk Showalter, Richmond General Registrar, estimates the conversion saved the city $70,000.

Sweet Briar Stakeholders Meet at Attorney General’s Office

Attorneys for Sweet Briar College, Amhearst County and the coalition trying to save the school met privately for three hours yesterday (5/6) at the state Attorney General’s office to try to resolve the question of the school’s future.

The school announced in March 2015 that it would close its doors after a unanimous vote by the board, which cited insurmountable financial problems.

The group known as Save Sweet Briar previously had filed an injunction, which was later granted, to stop the school from spending money to shut itself down.

Hanover Legislator’s Controversial Facebook Posting

A Hanover County legislator’s posting of a snarling police dog has caused a Facebook backlash that has resulted in his apologizing and taking it down.

Not long after the Baltimore unrest broke out, Hanover County Republican Delegate “Buddy” Fowler posted a photo of a snarling police dog, restrained by a handler in SWAT gear, with a caption that read, “Go ahead and run...he likes fast food.”

Fowler went on to suggest, “I wonder if a few of these would help bring calm to Baltimore.”

Virginia’s AG Says Board of Health Has No Power To Order Retrofit For Abortion Clinics

Virginia’s Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring says the State Board of health does not have the power to force abortion clinics to retrofit to meet higher standards. 

It’s an opinion, a legal one, issued yesterday (5/4) to the state health commissioner.

Those higher standards would treat abortion clinics as hospitals and cover issues such as hallway widths and closet sizes.

ABC Department Mission Under Review

Following two high profile incidents of botched arrests by ABC agents in Charlottesville, state officials held their first meeting to review how the agency enforces the law and what role it should play in the future.

Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran, who chairs the review panel, says it will take a hard look at the law enforcement mission and structure of the ABC Department and try to change its culture.

Now 70% of the agency's law enforcement duties are regulatory, while 30% involve public safety issues including underage drinking and drunk driving.


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