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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.

NAACP to Pressure House GOP to Redistrict As Scheduled

The Virginia NAACP says it will keep the pressure on the Republican leadership in the Virginia House of Delegates to redraw the state’s 3rd congressional district by September 1st.

A panel of 3 federal judges ruled last week that black voters had been disproportionately packed into the 3rd congressional district, weakening their voting power in surrounding Republican held districts.

Republicans have hinted that they will challenge the judges ruling.

Democrats File Challenge to Voter ID Law

The Democratic Party of Virginia and two Democratic voters have filed a suit against the State Board of Elections to eliminate the state’s photo ID law, which took effect just last year. Craig Carper reports.

The suit contends that the law was passed by Republican majorities in the House and Senate to surpress key constituencies of the Democratic Party, namely the elderly and minorities, many of whom do not have a photo ID. They also allege the law slows down the voting process and leads to long lines, limiting participation.

Martin Defeated in Virginia Primaries; Howell Beats Back Opponent

While most of the incumbents in yesterday’s (6/9) General Assembly primaries held onto their seats, though there were several upsets.

In perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the evening 11th District Republican Senator Steve Martin of Chesterfield, a 22-year incumbent lost to small business owner and grassroots Republican campaign consultant Amanda Chase. Chase received 40% of the vote over Martin with 35% and auto dealer Barry Moore with 25%.


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