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Hundreds Rally at the State Capitol on Both Sides of the Gun Debate

Hundreds off from work today (1/18) came to Capitol Square to lobby their lawmakers and protest, some for expanded gun rights, others for more gun control.

Speaking at a rally organized by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Republican Delegate Rob Bell of Albemarle attacked Attorney General Mark Herring’s administrative action banning concealed handgun reciprocity.

Speaking to a rally later in the day for gun violence prevention, Attorney General Herring said Virginia is not doing nearly enough to prevent gun violence.

Petersen Introduces Bill to Swap Local Car Tax for Gas Tax

In 1998 former Governor Jim Gilmore and the General Assembly eliminated the state car tax in favor of a local car tax.

Now Democratic Senator Chap Petersen of Fairfax has a bill to completely scrap the tax for non-commercial vehicles in favor of a local 5¢ per gallon gas tax.

Senator Petersen says the car tax is inequitable and administratively inefficient. Petersen’s bill would require a constitutional amendment, passing the General Assembly twice and then going to the voters for approval on the ballot.

McAuliffe Previews State of the Commonwealth Speech

Tonight (1/13) at the midpoint of his term, Governor Terry McAuliffe will deliver his annual State of the Commonwealth address.

He will ask the General Assembly to support his two-year legacy budget, which includes a billion dollars in new investment for education.

While the Governor has fought hard in previous years with the Republican controlled legislature over Medicaid expansion and gun control, he warned them not to get bogged down in petty partisan battles.

Lawmakers Return To Richmond for 2016 General Assembly Session

Lawmakers are returning to Richmond today (1/13) to kick off their 2016 legislative session.

Tonight they will hear Governor Terry McAuliffe’s State of the Commonwealth address. The Democratic Governor is entering his third year in office and will be seeking support for his $109 billion dollar proposed budget that includes a billion-dollar increase in education spending, small corporate and individual tax cuts and a two-percent raise for state employees.

Three Richmond Pastors File Suit to Block GOP “Affiliation” Oath on Ballot

Three Richmond-area black pastors have filed a lawsuit to try to stop the requirement that voters in the March 1st GOP primary sign a statement saying they are Republicans.

Virginians don’t register by party and anyone can vote in a primary, but this year the Republican Party of Virginia asked the State Board of Elections to use an “affiliation statement,” and the board approved it.

The lawsuit asks a judge to declare it unconstitutional and to stop the Board from enforcing it.

Henrico Sheriff Mike Wade To Challenge Dave Bratt in 7th District

Henrico County Sheriff Mike Wade says he is running for Congress in the 7th District. Longtime Sheriff Mike Wade is expected to challenge freshman Congressman Dave Brat for the Republican nomination to represent the 7th district.

He says “we need action, not rhetoric.”

Brat says he welcomes a debate.

The 7th District Republican Committee meets Saturday (1/9) to decide whether to nominate its candidate for the seat through a convention or a primary.

Wade is expected to make a formal announcement this week.

Court-Ordered Redistricting Plan in Federal Court Hearing Today

A court-ordered change in congressional boundaries is headed for federal court in Richmond today (12/14). At issue is whether the federal court, which has already ruled that the current boundaries pack too many black voters in the 3rd Congressional District, should go ahead and lock new boundaries into place, or wait possibly months for the United States Supreme Court to hear an appeal by the state’s Republican members of Congress.

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