Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones says he will use two million dollars in surplus funds from real estate tax collections to create a reserve fund for the maintenance of Richmond Public Schools. Jones had wanted to return the money to taxpayers and reduce the city’s real estate tax by one cent per $100 of assessed value, though there was little appetite for this on City Council.
Today is the final day to register to vote for the November election. Party officials and activists are working hard to educate Virginians about new requirements to cast their ballots. Virginia voters are now required to bring a valid photo ID to the polls in order to vote.
The law was passed two years ago, but has not been fully implemented until this year.
You can obtain a free photo ID from your local registrar.
According to the state board of elections 200,000 registered voters in the Virginia do not have a DMV issued ID.
During Monday night’s (10/13) People’s Debate on WCVE, Senator Mark Warner had several lively exchanges with Ed Gillespie about whether or not the Republican challenger had signed or taken the Grover Norquist pledge not to raise taxes under any circumstances. Warner says the Norquist pledge ties lawmakers hands when dealing with deficit reduction.
Gillespie says he and Warner’s differences on taxes present voters with one of the biggest choices of the election.
Norquist confirms that while Gillespie has promised not to raise taxes, he has not signed the pledge.
Virginia State senators apparently quietly met with FBI officials shortly after former Governor Bob McDonnell was found guilty of selling the influence of his office. The Associated Press says the senators met for a private briefing on how not to run afoul of federal corruption laws.
RTD columnist Jeff Schapiro analyzes a busy week in Virginia politics.
Virginia’s Republican Congressmen may ask the Supreme Court to review this week’s ruling by a three-judge panel that could jeopardize their jobs. John Gore, a Washington attorney representing the eight Republicans, said yesterday an appeal to the Supreme Court is being considered and a decision on whether to appeal is “imminent.”
A panel of federal judges yesterday declared Virginia’s congressional maps unconstitutional because they concentrate African-American voters into a single district at the expense of their influence elsewhere. Three federal judges ruled 2-1 yesterday (10/8) that the lines of the state's 3rd Congressional District were drawn in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The panel of judges allowed next month's election to proceed under the existing district lines, but ordered the General Assembly to redraw them by April 1, in time for the next congressional election in 2016.
Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed an executive order requiring state agencies to comply with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to legalize same-sex marriage in Virginia. State employees who are eligible for health benefits will be able to enroll their spouses and eligible dependents in those insurance plans within 60 days of marriage. Married same sex couples will also be able to file their state income taxes jointly.
The Federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the boundaries of Virginia’s 3rd congressional district as unconstitutional. They say the General Assembly unlawfully packed African-Americans there into a single majority minority seat. The 3rd district contains large portions of Richmond, Petersburg, Newport News, Hampton and Norfolk all with large African-American populations. The General Assembly is ordered to redraw the 3rd district by April 1, but will require changes to other neighboring GOP districts.
During last night’s (10/7) second debate between Senator Mark Warner and his Republican challenger Ed Gillespie, the two sparred over a host of topics, including immigration reform. Warner attacked Gillespie for not supporting a popular comprehensive Senate immigration reform bill, since stalled in the House, that would have doubled border security. Gillespie says in 2009 Warner voted against an amendment to the bill to secure the border with a fence. Warner would not say he opposed unilateral reforms from the President but did say the issue was better resolved legislatively.