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Politics

Seven Apply for SCOVA Vacancy

Seven people including four judges, two lawyers and a law professor have sent applications to Governor Terry McAuliffe to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Virginia Supreme Court.

Typically Virginia Supreme Court Justices are elected by the General Assembly to a term of 12 years.

Justices appointed by the Governor when the legislature is out of session, serve on an interim basis until the General Assembly returns.

Northrup Grumman Lays Off 51 State Employees

Northrup Grumman has laid off 51 state employees it has managed under a $2.3 million dollar contract with the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. 

Some of the 51 work at a Chester facility that Northrup Grumman built under a contract it signed with the state in 2006 to manage the government’s information system. 

A spokesperson for the agency says the layoffs were Grumman’s decision and prompted by its review of staffing levels and required skills. 

Prescription Drug and Heroin Task Force Sends Recommendations to McAuliffe

The Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse has sent a lengthy list of recommendations to fight the growing problem to Governor Terry McAuliffe.

The group included dozens of recommendations on treatment, enforcement, education, prescription data and monitoring, and safe storage and disposal of drugs.

Governor McAuliffe is expected to give feedback and help the taskforce target the recommendations into legislative priorities ahead of next year’s General Assembly session.

Hospitals Seek Expansion Of State Medicaid Program

The leaders of several major Virginia hospitals are pleading with the General Assembly to expand the state’s Medicaid program using 2 billion dollars a year in federal funding from the Affordable Care Act.

At a health care forum hosted by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce earlier this month, John Fitzgerald the CEO INOVA Fairoaks Hospital gave his message to the legislature.

Nancy Howell Agee, President and CEO of the Carillion Clinic in Roanoke says she’s concerned that health outcomes are declining in parts of Virginia.

Kaine Amends Disclosure Form To Reflect Luxury Seaside Stay

US Senator Tim Kaine did not initially report a three-day stay at a seaside luxury resort in Southern Spain as required by Senate rules.

The $1,400 trip, including lodging for Kaine and his wife, was paid for by a non-profit with close ties to a lobbying firm, which would have required him to report it.

The non-profit was the US-Spain Council, which shares an address, phone number and staff with a federal lobbying firm.

Senate rules generally prohibit lobbyists from paying for foreign travel, but watchdogs say the rules have giant loopholes.

State Likely To Finish With Surplus, Raises for Employees

Virginia state employees could be in for a 2% pay raise, as state revenues achieve a dramatic turnaround from this time last year.

The Governor and the General Assembly approved the 2% hike if the state had a revenue surplus, or a shortfall of less than o1% at the end of fiscal 2015 next month.

State Finance Secretary Rick Brown told members of the House Appropriations Committee yesterday (6/15), Virginia is on track for a $427 million dollar surplus.

Panel Hopes to Create Cybersecurity Partnerships

A legislative panel is hoping to find ways to partner cybersecurity companies with Virginia universities to provide new solutions to threats to the nation’s data and technical infrastructure.

Republican Delegate Glenn Davis of Virginia Beach, says while cybersecurity is in it’s infancy, the Commonwealth can establish itself as “Cyber Alley.”

Brandon Smith works for Kimball and Associates, who specialize in identity management policy and framework development. He says collaborative arrangements, allow the industry to be proactive ahead of the next data breach.

State Employees Will Likely Get 2% Raises

State workers may receive a 2% raise if recent revenue surplus trends continue.

The raise was promised by the General Assembly and Governor McAuliffe earlier this year, provided the state does not close the fiscal year with a shortfall greater than 1%.

Virginia’s May revenue numbers are up 5.8% over 2014 though the economy still faces many challenges ahead of impending cuts from sequestration in October.

Payroll enrollment rose by 280,000 jobs, but the unemployment rate rose from 5.4% to 5.5% as more workers entered the labor force.

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