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McDonnell Urges OEI to Appeal Norfolk Court Decision

Former Governor Bob McDonnell says he’s disappointed by the Norfolk Circuit Court Judge’s decision last week, ruling unconstitutional one of the hallmark initiatives of his administration, the Opportunity Education Institution or OEI. Governor McDonnell says he’s urging the OEI Board to appeal the decision.

The OEI would act as a statewide school board and take over schools from localities that consistently fail to meet state benchmarks. The former Governor says for young people now trapped in failing schools there are no other options.

SW Va. Race Will Determine Control of State Senate

The August 19th special election to replace Senator Phil Puckett of Tazewell will determine the balance of power in the state Senate and likely the future legislative agenda of Governor Terry McAuliffe. Mike Hymes, a Tazewell County supervisor and third generation coal miner, is seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat at Wednesday’s nominating convention in Bluefield.

Democrats have seen their numbers shrink in rural communities over the past decade and Puckett’s seat was one of the closest races in the state last November.

McAuliffe Signs Bill to Increase Charitable Redevelopment

Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed a bill that will increase the number of properties available for charitable groups like Habitat for Humanity to build on or renovate. Under current law tax delinquent properties with an assessed value of over $50,000 could not be sold by localities to charitable groups. In addition, restrictions on the percentage of tax delinquency to assessed value was making the sale of delinquent properties for redevelopment difficult.

Republicans Want To Hire Own Attorney To Represent State In Same Sex Marriage Case

Virginia House Republicans have introduced legislation that would allow them to hire lawyers to defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban in court. Attorney General Mark Herring won’t do it, so House Republicans have simply decided to go over his head and send someone else.

Cantor Declines To Speculate On Loss

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor declined to speculate on why he lost the primnary election June 10 and conceded that his views on immigration, “can make a lot of people mad.” On a national TV program, the ousted Republican Congressman told CNN, “I really don’t think that there is any one reason for the outcome of the election, there are just a lot of things that go through voters’ minds when they go through the voting booth.” He conceded his views on immigration angered some members of both parties.

Democratic Leader Calls for Investigation of Puckett Resignation

The House of Delegates Democratic Minority Leader David Toscano says he will call for an Inspector General’s investigation into the resignation of former Senator Phillip Puckett, which gave control of the Senate to the Republicans. On the House floor Thursday night Toscano raised questions about whether Puckett’s resignation was given in exchange for a 6 figure job with the state Tobacco Commission.

Government Shutdown Averted; Medicaid Expansion Out; GA Passes Austere Budget

The Senate Finance Committee has advanced a new state budget without Medicaid expansion, a major step towards ending a months-long stalemate. Averting a possible government shutdown with less than three weeks to spare, the General Assembly passed an austere, two-year budget late last night after hours of behind-the-scenes wrangling over Medicaid expansion.

Cantor Defeat Emboldened Tea Party Against Medicaid

Supporters of Medicaid expansion on both sides of the aisle say Eric Cantor’s defeat this week emboldened Tea Party conservatives in the General Assembly in their opposition to using federal dollars to expand health care services for the poor. At the insistence of a group conservative Republican members, the legislature inserted an amendment into the budget prohibiting Governor McAuliffe from taking executive action on Medicaid without the approval of the legislature. Governor McAuliffe says he will carefully be evaluating the budget and will take actions he deems necessary.


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