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Democrats Seeking Watkins Seat Participate in Forum

The three Democratic candidates in the race for the 10th district state Senate seat, now held by retiring Republican John Watkins, addressed voters questions directly last night at a forum moderated by 88.9 WCVE’s Craig Caper.

Chersterfield County Supervisor Dan Gecker says he wants to address the district’s income divide.

Emily Francis, an environmental advocate who’s worked for 16 years in non profits, says she’s the only proven progressive choice for Democrats.

Former Democratic Attorneys General Support McDonnell

Two former attorneys general were on hand at former Governor Bob McDonnell’s appeal yesterday (5/12), to say his conviction sets a dangerous precedent for politicians across the country.

50 former Attorneys General signed an amicus brief in support of McDonnell.

All three of the judges on the panel were appointed by Democratic presidents - two by President Clinton and one by President Obama. Though Francisco says they are a fair and impartial tribunal and he expects a fair and impartial ruling.

McDonnell Attorneys and Prosecutors Argue Appeal

Attorneys for former Governor Bob McDonnell argued before the 4th U. S.Circuit Court of Appeals May 12 that his September conviction on charges of bribery and corruption should be thrown out.

McDonnell and his attorneys insist that a meeting he arranged with Health Secretary Bill Hazel and an informational luncheon at the Governor’s mansion were improperly defined by Judge James Spencer as official acts.

Francisco says Judge Spencer did not allow jurors to be thoroughly questioned on whether they had formed an opinion on the case based on pretrial coverage.

McDonnell’s Appeal to be Heard May 12

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will appear before the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday (5/12) as his attorneys argue that his conviction last September on corruption and bribery charges should be thrown out.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys will have a half hour each to make their cases to the three-judge panel.

McDonnell’s lawyers say the decision could have far reaching implications making felons of countless elected officials nationwide and criminalizing the business of politics. A decision could take weeks or months.

JLARC Seeks to Reduce Cost of Medicaid

The state’s legislative watchdog group, JLARC, met Monday (5/11) to discuss ongoing studies on controlling costs in higher education and reviewing the state’s Medicaid program.

JLARC wants to know how efficiently the state is administering Medicaid services and what more they can do through best practices to produce further cost savings.

Republican Delegate Steve Landes of Augusta says the cost of providing Medicaid has grown 8% annually to nearly a quarter of the state’s budget over the past 20 years.

McDonnell Appeal Set For Arguments In Federal Court May 12

A federal appeals court will hear arguments tomorrow in the case of former Governor McDonnell, convicted of public corruption and sentenced to two years.

It is the same court that has allowed McDonnell and his wife to remain free on bond during the appeal.

Legal experts say that decision suggests the court believes at least some of the issues raised on appeal are a close call.

Jeff Schapiro: Kaine Urges War Powers Action; Fowler's Offensive Posting; Herring Reverses Abortion Regs Ruling; McD. Appeal Hearing

Columnist Jeff Schapiro discusses U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine's impassioned speech on presidential war powers revision, Del. Buddy Fowler's racially charged Facebook posting, Atty. Gen. Mark Herring's legal opinion that abortion clinic regulations cannot be imposed on existing facilities, and fortmer Gov. Bob McDonnell's upcoming hearing on his appeal of corruption convictions.

Moran Calls Body Cameras Inevitable

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran says statewide implementation of police body cameras is inevitable.

41% of Virginia law enforcement agencies are already using body cameras in some capacity. Moran expects to recommend a framework for statewide implementation later this summer. He adds some logistical problems remain.

Identifying a funding mechanism will be an issue in some localities. Henrico spent over $150,000 to equip two thirds of its officers. Moran says he believes the state will set aside money to assist localities who can’t afford the cameras.

Kaine Renews Call for Congressional Authorization of Military Action

Senator Tim Kaine marked the 9-month anniversary of America’s military intervention against ISIL (ISIS) by calling on Congress to debate and vote to authorize and set the terms of the mission.

President Obama has maintained that the authorization voted by Congress in 2001 and 2002 gives him the power to take military action against ISIL without further congressional approval. Kaine says that authorization only applied to the groups that perpetrated the attacks of 911. ISIL was formed 2 years later.

Richmond Voting Machines Recycled

The City of Richmond has reached a unique solution for replacing the recently decertified WinVote touchscreen machines. They’ve recycled them.

Technicians at the Richmond Registrar’s office removed the touch screen units from the booths and adapted them for use with paper ballots, which voters will use in the June primary and the general election in November. They’ll also use 65 older booths the city has owned for 50 years.

Kirk Showalter, Richmond General Registrar, estimates the conversion saved the city $70,000.

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