Tomorrow (9/18) the General Assembly will likely overwhelmingly approve legislation to fill vacant judgeships and close the state’s most recent $1.2 billion budget shortfall. Though no progress is expected on expanding access to health coverage for the state’s poorest citizens.
Articles by Craig Carper
Attorney General Mark Herring has filed a $1.15 billion lawsuit against 13 of the world’s largest banks for misleading the Virginia Retirement System into purchasing risky mortgage-backed securities during the housing bubble that led to the recession.
Governor Terry McAuliffe and Speaker of the House Bill Howell have announced their compromise plan to close the state’s most recent 1.2 billion-dollar budget gap, without raising taxes or cuts to K-12 public education. The plan cuts spending by up to 3.5%, though so far neither the Governor nor the House leadership can say whether that will lead to cuts in state jobs or how many that may be. The state will withdraw just over $700 million from the Rainy Day Fund over the next two years.
Richmond’s Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall has resigned after 5 years on the job. Marshall served as Richmond’s CAO longer than anyone recent history due to Dwight Jones being the first Mayor of Richmond to serve for more than four years in almost 3 decades. Marshall was one of the architects of Mayor Jones’ plan to move the Flying Squirrels to a new stadium in Shockoe Bottom. The press release from Mayor Jones’ office announcing Marshall’s departure did not explain his reasons for leaving.
In addition to the $177,000 in gifts and loans given to the McDonnells, the family also accepted multiple flights from former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. Lawmakers are expected to look at travel rules when they re-examine ethics reform during the 2015 General Assembly session.
A juror from the corruption trial of Bob and Maureen McDonnell says reaching a guilty verdict was not a difficult decision. Kathleen Carmody, a project manager for the Association for Molecular Pathology, says her 11 fellow jurors felt the same way, having quickly reached a unanimous position.
In the wake of the guilty verdicts of former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen on corruption charges, leaders in the Virginia General Assembly say they will introduce further ethics reforms in the 2015 legislative session. This year’s bipartisan ethics bill was ultimately approved by all 140 members of the General Assembly. It put a $250 cap on tangible gifts public officials can receive from lobbyists and government contractors, lowered many of the financial disclosure requirements from $10,000 to $5,000 and added family members for some of the disclosures.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was unable to make good on a campaign promise to expand his state’s Medicaid program earlier this year, but today (September 8) rolled out a new initiative he says will grant coverage to over 200,000 Virginians who are currently uninsured. The Governor’s Access Plan or GAP, will grant health coverage to 20,000 Virginians in the coverage gap who suffer from severe mental illness. The program is fully funded for six months with $80 million in federal and state fudning.
Governor Terry McAuliffe is expected to announce a new health care access plan this morning (9/8) at his office in Capitol Square. The briefing is booked as a major health care announcement.
Last week during the final days of the McDonnell trial, Secretary of Health Bill Hazel was scheduled to deliver to Governor McAuliffe a new alternative plan to expanding Medicaid. Thus far no details have emerged.
Richmond City Council is re-examining the city’s real estate tax rate, considering a possible 1 to 2 cent cut per $100 of assessed value. The rate currently stands at $1.20. Council has the option to keep it the same or cut it to $1.19 or $1.18.
A state law triggers an automatic rollback rate when average real estate assessments increase by more than 1%. Reports show that Richmond’s average property values have increased by 2% in recent months. Papers will be introduced this evening though a vote is unlikely until mid to late October.