Richmond City Council has announced amendments to Mayor Jones’ proposed $777 million dollar budget. Members want to include the additional $3.8 million general fund dollars requested by the School Board, but they have yet to identify the offsets to pay for it. City Councilwoman Reva Trammell says though times are tight, she believes the city can ultimately find the money. Trammell has proposed cutting $150,000 from the Mayor’s security detail to increase teacher salaries. Trammell says an organized protest by 200 students from Open High School had a big impact on the council.
Articles by Craig Carper
At the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Governor Terry McAuliffe ceremonially signed a comprehensive package to reform the state’s mental health system. For Democratic Senator Creigh Deeds of Bath, mental health reform is personal. His son Gus tragically took his own life 5 months ago, after near fatally attacking his father, just hours after he was sent home for lack of bed space following a psychiatric evaluation. Looking to the future, McAuliffe says further reforms must be done at the Community Service Boards level.
The City of Richmond and Commonwealth of Virginia have requested a $25 million federal grant to cover half of the cost of construction of the Broad Street Bus Rapid Transit System. The 7.5 mile system stretching from Willow Lawn to Rocketts Landing aims to improve reliability and travel times for transit riders, support economic development along the Broad Street Corridor and generally expand access for non-drivers to jobs. If Virginia wins the grant, service could begin as soon as the end of 2017.
The Commonwealth could end up paying between $400 million to $500 million if the new U.S. Route 460 toll road is not built. Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne told the House Appropriations committee yesterday that the state has already paid $300 million in taxpayer funds and bonds for the project, a top priority of former Governor McDonnell, put on hold by current Governor Terry McAuliffe. The 55-mile road from Petersburg to Suffolk never received the required federal permits for construction to begin.
The General Assembly was unable to overturn any of Governor McAuliffe’s vetoes, though the House of Delegates rejected amendments to 11 bills with fiscal impacts that would delay their implementation until the passage of a budget. Republican Delegate Chris Jones of Suffolk, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee says the amendments were unnecessary and selective. McAuliffe says it was fiscally irresponsible to sign the bills with no budget agreement in sight, amounting to multiple unfunded mandates.
The General Assembly reconvenes this morning (April 23) to consider Governor McAuliffe’s amendments and vetoes to legislation passed during the 2014 session. Craig Carper reports.
Governor Terry McAuliffe has amended a bill to include a 5-dollar increase on an existing 10 dollar fee on all felony convictions to fund additional law enforcement officers targeting sex crimes against children. Craig Carper reports.
Former Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman and Senior Advisor to Mayor Wilder, Paul Goldman is gathering signatures to put approval of the proposed new Shockoe Stadium before the voters of Richmond. Craig Carper reports.
Paul Goldman, former Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman and senior advisor to former Mayor Wilder, is gathering petition signatures to put approval of the proposed Shockoe Bottom stadium development before the voters of Richmond. Goldman says Mayor Jones has rushed the stadium project and has been purposefully vague on the details. The referendum he’s drafted would give Richmonders the final say on the stadium's fate. The referendum would also lower the threshold of signatures to put future referendums on the ballot.
Despite continued gridlock over a state budget, Governor McAuliffe says he’s had a successful first 100 days in office and commemorated the occasion at the Library of Virginia with state agency officials. Craig Carper reports.