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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.

Preston Says He’s the Only Choice for Democrats in State Senate Race

Delegate Joseph Preston says he is the only true Democrat in his race against incumbent Rosalyn Dance in the primary for the 16th District Senate seat.

Preston says Dance consistently votes against the interests of the people who sent her to Richmond.

Preston says if elected he will push to appoint more African Americans and women to the bench, work to lower unemployment in the district and fight for the automatic restoration of rights to felons who have served their time.

Senator Dance did not respond to a request for comment.

Morrissey and Jones Fail to Qualify for 16th District Ballot

Incumbent Senator Rosalyn Dance and Delegate Joe Preston have both qualified for the 16th district Senate Democratic primary on June 9th.

Party officials say both Former Delegate Joe Morrissey and Richmond School Board Member Derik Jones did not qualify because they did not raise enough valid signatures.

Democratic Party of Virginia Spokesperson Morgan Finklestein says many of Morrissey’s signatures were from outside the 16th district.

Morrissey and Jones both have the opportunity to file as independents until the day of the primary.

Morrissey to Sue Democratic Party of Virginia

Former Delegate Joe Morrissey says he will file suit against the state Democratic Party’s nominating committee who voted to reject three quarters of his signatures to run for the 16th district Senate seat.

Morrissey called the nominating process flawed, saying that everyone on the nominating committee supported one of his opponents, incumbent Senator Rosalyn Dance.

750 of the 972 signatures Morrissey gathered were found invalid for various reasons. Virginia Democratic Party spokeswoman says many were collected from outside the district.


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