Governor Terry McAuliffe is cutting short a west coast fund raising trip to survey the damage from yesterday’s Tornado at the Cherrystone Campground in the eastern shore town of Cheriton. Officials remain on site this morning having worked through the night to clean up the damage from the EF-1 tornado. McAuliffe will meet with those affected and thank first responders before a media briefing. The storm downed numerous trees and power lines and overturned several campers Thursday morning.
Articles by Craig Carper
The Opportunity Educational Institution, the statewide school board tasked with taking over failing schools, is considering an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court, after a Norfolk Circuit Court ruling this summer that found the board is unconstitutional. Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday that he will not challenge the Norfolk court’s ruling.
The Opportunity Educational Institution (OEI) nine-member board will meet early next week to determine whether it has the authority to file its own challenge.
Governor Terry McAuliffe will not challenge a ruling by Norfolk Circuit Court that the Opportunity Educational Institution or OEI, a statewide school board with the authority to take over failing schools, is unconstitutional. Governor McAuliffe says the OEI took responsibility away from local communities and school boards.
The Opportunity Educational Institution was a top priority of former Governor Bob McDonnell during his last year in office. Six schools denied state accreditation, including several in Petersburg, would have been taken over in the upcoming school year.
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.
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.