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Virginia’s AG Says Board of Health Has No Power To Order Retrofit For Abortion Clinics

Virginia’s Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring says the State Board of health does not have the power to force abortion clinics to retrofit to meet higher standards. 

It’s an opinion, a legal one, issued yesterday (5/4) to the state health commissioner.

Those higher standards would treat abortion clinics as hospitals and cover issues such as hallway widths and closet sizes.

ABC Department Mission Under Review

Following two high profile incidents of botched arrests by ABC agents in Charlottesville, state officials held their first meeting to review how the agency enforces the law and what role it should play in the future.

Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran, who chairs the review panel, says it will take a hard look at the law enforcement mission and structure of the ABC Department and try to change its culture.

Now 70% of the agency's law enforcement duties are regulatory, while 30% involve public safety issues including underage drinking and drunk driving.

Herring Says State Board Can’t Impose Strict Building Regs on Existing Abortion Clinics

Attorney General Mark Herring says the state Board of Health does not have the authority to enforce strict design and construction regulations on clinics that provide abortions, built before the new rules took effect. The rules require abortion providers in older facilities to meet the same building standards as hospitals.

Cianti Stewart Reid, Executive Director Planned Parent Advocates of Virginia, says three clinics in Virginia have already closed as a result of the regulations.

All 18 of Virginia’s existing clinics precede the regulations.

Governor May Veto Drone Bills

Governor Terry McAuliffe may announce today whether he will veto several bills, including controversial legislation governing surveillance technology.

McAuliffe says bills restricting the use of license plate readers and drones for collecting evidence for law enforcement were rushed through the legislature.

Law enforcement agencies have said the use of such technology is critical to stopping criminals, while civil liberties groups say it invades law abiding citizen’s privacy.

Jeff Schapiro: Herring Wants Sweet Briar Mediation; McAuliffe May be Softening Pipeline Stand; Howell-Stimson; Clinton Takes Webb Idea

Columnist Jeff Schapiro analyzes Virginia political news, including a proposal to mediate Sweet Briar College’s disputed closing, the governor’s position on a controversial pipeline, and Hillary Clinton adopting an issue from Jim Webb.

McAuliffe Hopes to Set Police Body Camera Policy Soon

Governor Terry McAuliffe discussed what Virginia is doing to utilize body cameras and other surveillance technology when asked about the violence in Baltimore.

McAuliffe has his Secure Commonwealth Panel working to develop a comprehensive policy on police body cameras.

McAuliffe says they need to resolve when to read the data collected from such cameras and how long it is kept.

State Police estimate the cost of implementing body cameras at $2 million dollars.

Kaine says Bill for Congressional Approval of Iran Nuclear Deal Will Reach President’s Desk

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine says a bill he helped draft that would give Congress the power to review a final nuclear deal with Iran will reach the President’s desk.

Kaine says the bill will give the President the appropriate room to negotiate a nuclear agreement, and only when completed would Congress step in to review the deal.

In an unusual circumstance, the bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by unanimous vote. It’s now on the floor.

Kaine is hopeful that the bill could pass the Senate this week and soon thereafter in the House.

Herring Attends Supreme Court Same Sex Marriage Arguments

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring was at the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday to hear the arguments for and against legalizing same sex marriage.

The Attorney General told reporters the landmark Loving vs. Virginia case, which legalized interracial marriage, was mentioned more than once during oral arguments.

Last year the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 to strike down Virginia’s 2006 voter approved amendment banning same sex marriage.

Herring changed the commonwealth’s position on the case and chose not to defend the law.

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