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Saraya Wintersmith

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Articles by Saraya Wintersmith

McAuliffe Renews Call for Medicaid Expansion

Governor Terry McAuliffe is renewing his efforts to expand Medicaid in Virginia.

Governor McAuliffe says since the Congressional action to repeal the Affordable Care Act was scrapped last Friday, it’s time for Virginia to act. “As you know, repeal is now dead. As Speaker Ryan said, the ACA is now the law of the land and it is here to stay,” said McAuliffe.

Family Foundation Appeal

The Family Foundation of Virginia is helping with an impending legal challenge to the abortion clinic health and safety standards scaled back last fall.

Family Foundation President, Victoria Cobb says both the Department and Board of Health violated the Administrative Process Act and other legal provisions in the proceedings that led up to the easing of certain abortion center regulations.

Several Richmond Area Democrats Call for U.S. Attorney General Resignation

Several Richmond-area Democrats were outside the Suntrust building calling on the Attorney General to resign.

Virginia Democratic Party Chair Susan Swecker told reporters questions remain about Session's confirmation hearing testimony regarding conversations with the Russian Ambassador to the United States during President Donald Trump’s campaign. Swecker also said, “When the top law enforcement officer in the land, in the country, has lied, how can you move forward?”

Sessions Praises Project Exile

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is vowing to fight violent crime in part, with a goal of increasing gun crime prosecutions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said while crime rates in the U.S. are low overall, between 2014 and 2015 the Justice Department noted a 3 percent increase in the violent crime rate and a 10 percent murder rate increase.

He says preliminary data for 2016 suggest a continuing upward trend. He’d like to head that off in part with going after people with guns.

Coalition Of Grassroots Organizations Planning To Protest U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions’ Visit To Richmond

A coalition of grassroots organizations is planning to protest later this morning (3/15) as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions gives remarks at Richmond’s Suntrust Building.

Lana Heath De Martinez is a legislative coordinator for the Virginia Coalition for Latino Organizations. She says groups will be holding posters with Coretta Scott King’s image and words (quoting part of her 1986 letter in opposition to Session’s appointment to the federal bench). Martinez says, “Some of the coalition is calling on the Attorney General to resign.”

The Defense Makes It's Case In A Key Redistricting Trial Regarding Compactness

Suffolk Delegate Chris Jones, who is commonly referred to as the “architect” of the 2011 House of Delegates redistricting maps, took the witness stand Tuesday (3/14). He testified there are real-world implications that aren’t necessarily factored in to expert “compactness” measurements, like the ones challengers are using to dispute some of the districts on the map.

Attorneys for the defense pointed to one of such districts with a stretched, half-ring like shape as area linked by suburbs typically found on the edges of big cities.

Arguments Resume In Richmond Circuit Compactness Lawsuit

A highly technical redistricting case continues today (3/14) in Richmond City Circuit Court. The case centers around whether the lawmakers appropriately considered the constitutional compactness requirement or gave priority to other, non constitutional factors when drawing maps after the 2010 census.

During opening statements Monday, defense lawyers argued challengers are trying to change Virginia’s redistricting process through the courts by introducing a new way to measure how compact districts are.

Mayor Reacts To Gun Bust

This week, New York law enforcement officials busted a trafficking operation that moved gun from Virginia to Brooklyn.

Today (3/9), public officials are reacting to the news of indictments for 17 Richmond-area people involved in a partially local gun-ring. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney says this week’s gun ring bust isn’t surprising, given Virginia’s gun regulations.

ACLU Of Virginia Ask Governor To Veto 2 General Assembly Approved Bills

The ACLU of Virginia is asking the Governor to veto 2 General Assembly approved bills that they say would hurt free speech.

One of the bills is HB 1791, which creates an additional felony charge when riotous events result in violence against certain first-responders. Virginia ACLU Executive Director Claire Gutherie Gastañaga says, “The new penalty could end up punishing people who organize events that devolve into chaos.”

The bill passed the House 84 to 13; in the Senate, the measure had 22 yes votes, which wouldn’t be enough to overturn a potential veto.

ACLU Calls For Veto Of Four LGBT Bills

The ACLU of Virginia is asking the Governor to veto four General Assembly-approved bills that they say would hurt free speech rights and allow LGBT discrimination.

The latest letter from the progressive civil rights organization was sent Tuesday (3/7) regarding 2 identical bills Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed last year. House Bill 2025 and Senate Bill 1324 would shield clergy members or religious-affiliated groups from state penalties when objecting to participate in marriage ceremonies that violate their beliefs.