Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed Executive Order Number 20 which will require state agencies to award over 42 percent of their contracts to small businesses or women and minority owned (SWAM) businesses. The executive order requires state contractors certify they are in compliance with the contract’s SWAM procurement plan before they can receive payment for services rendered. The Governor will also require state agencies to review contractors records of SWAM compliance before a contract is written or renewed.
Articles by Craig Carper
House of Delegates Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) has pre-filed two of the first bills for the 2015 General Assembly session. They would prioritize state funding for veterans' care centers in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.
The proposed legislation dedicates $28.5 million for each center from funds previously reserved for the construction of a new General Assembly building. Virginia currently only has two veterans' care centers, the Sitter and Barfoot Center in Richmond which Cox helped create in 2003 and another in Salem.
The City of Richmond is considering converting several streets to bike boulevards, encouraging slower traffic and making them more bike friendly starting with Floyd Avenue in the Fan and Museum District. The proposals include traffic circles for some intersections, and some with bumpers that will create barriers to slow traffic for pedestrians and bikes. They will also include additional street markings and signage.
Dominion Virginia Power is currently working on a 10 to 12-year project to bury 350 to 400 miles of electrical lines underground in 20 percent of the worst performing tap lines in the system. Dominion has been burying tap lines in new development for decades, though thousands of miles of lines in older neighborhoods still run above ground.
Virginia ended the 2014 fiscal year with $89 million less than projected last month, which will likely lead to cuts in the newly adopted budget.
Aside from new investments in a handful of programs such as mental health services and domestic violence prevention, the two-year spending plan adopted by the General Assembly and signed by Governor McAuliffe last month was essentially flat over the previous budget.
Opponents of expanding Virginia’s Medicaid program say the state’s lower than projected revenue numbers for FY2014 highlight why closing the coverage gap is something the state can’t afford, while supporters argue that expansion will save the state money.
The Speaker of the House of Delegates, William Howell, and the Republican Leader of the State Senate, Thomas Norment, have called a special session of the General Assembly for September 22nd to debate Medicaid expansion. The Republicans say they are honoring a commitment they made this year during the regular session, to debate Medicaid separately from the budget.
Governor McAuliffe has tasked Secretary of Health Bill Hazel with producing a report by September 1, detailing how the Governor could expand Medicaid administratively.
The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to issue an opinion any day now on Bostic vs. Rainey, the case challenging Virginia’s ban on same sex marriage. The case was argued May 13th and the three-judge panel has been deliberating ever since. Carl Tobias, Professor of Law at the University of Richmond says they are likely digesting the first appellate court decision out of the 10th circuit on June 25th which affirmed the invalidation on Colorado’s same sex marriage ban. He said some of the 4th circuit judges may recast their opinions in light of it.
Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate Robert Sarvis has collected 10,000 signatures and been officially certified for the November ballot. Sarvis says both Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Republican Ed Gillespie are big government candidates.
Libertarians in 7 of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts have made the ballot this cycle, including the 7th, where James Carr could have an impact against Democrat Jack Trammell and Republican Dave Brat, after the stunning primary defeat of Eric Cantor earlier this month.