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Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:40:47 AM EDT


Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, March 21. Also check out the video by Catherine Read of Gov. Terry McAuliffe conducting a roundtable on health care and Medicaid expansion at Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services, Inc.in Arlington.

*Renewed hunt for Indian Ocean debris
*The biggest land owner in Canada's oil sands isn't Exxon Mobil or Conoco Phillips. It's the Koch brothers (Which means that any Democrat who supports the Keystone XL pipeline is indirectly encouraging their own demise, by boosting the Koch brothers. Hmmm.)
*The Logic Behind Obama's Step-by-Step Approach To Russia ("As the days go on, the White House's approach to punish Russia for invading Ukraine appear to be making more and more sense." You'd never know it from raving lunatics like Charles Krauthammer, though.)
*Wind Industry's New Technologies Are Helping It Compete on Price
*A Note to Our Legislators: Fix This Mess ("The money for Medicaid expansion is tax money Virginians are already sending to Washington ... if Virginia doesn't accept it, it simply goes to states that already expanded Medicaid. In Virginia, we're talking about $2 billion per year.")
*Star Scientific to change name within 60 days (Whatever it's called, it's still a slimy company.)
*Feathers remain ruffled after 'tar baby' comment ("One of those offended accused the lawmaker who made the remark of subconscious racism.")
*Ethics reform is a half-measure ("Under a proposal approved this month by the General Assembly, Virginia's ethics and financial-disclosure rules would get stronger. That is as much a positive outcome of legislative negotiations as it is an indictment of the inadequate system already in place.")
*Governor's legal pay-to-play plan is tacky and tasteless
*Gillespie two ways: his portrayal and Dems' version
*McAuliffe hauled in $2M for inaugural
*Samaritans need protection in Virginia
*Spring tease lingers through Saturday before cold weather blows back in

lowkell :: Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning
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Video: Republican John Vihstadt says he'll only serve 2 terms if elected (0.00 / 0)
Republican John Vihstadt, who has given thousands of dollars to the likes of George W. Bush, McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan, pledges to keep his day job if elected to the County Board, and also pledges to only serve 2 terms.



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Video: Democrat Alan Howze pledges to continue to work at IBM (0.00 / 0)
if elected to the Arlington County Board on April 8.



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[ Parent ]
NARAL VA: "Deeply disappointed" Gov. McAuliffe Signed Law "Licensing Discrimination Against Pregnant Women" (0.00 / 0)
Note that this bill passed the House of Delegates by an 84-14 vote, including almost all progressives (note that Patrick Hope didn't vote on final passage, but voted yes in committee). In the State Senate, it passed unanimously. So...clearly there was some sort of failure to communicate here. I'm confused.

Governor McAuliffe Signs Law Licensing Discrimination Against Pregnant Women

Senate bill 330 grants genetic counselors a license to discriminate against their patients

Richmond, VA - Yesterday, Governor McAuliffe signed into law SB 330, a bill to license genetic counselors in Virginia. Although non-controversial on its face, SB 330 included a so-called "conscience clause" to allow genetic counselors to refuse to provide care to patients based on the counselors' "deeply held moral or religious beliefs." In addition, Senate Bill 330 ensured that genetic counselors who refuse service on religious grounds will not face disciplinary action or actions for damages even if their refusal causes actual physical harm to their patients.

"We are deeply disappointed that Governor McAuliffe decided to approve this dangerous law which so clearly grants genetic counselors a license to discriminate against their patients," said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. "Under this law, an anti-abortion genetic counselor can withhold critical information from a pregnant woman about her pregnancy - including the presence of an incapacitating fetal disease or anomaly - if they believe she may consider abortion as an option. Instead of holding genetic counselors to the highest standards of medicine, this law allows health care professionals in Virginia to put their personal beliefs before the well-being of their patients.

"NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia will continue to educate Governor McAuliffe about the dangerous impacts of this type of legislation,  and we hope that the Governor will work with us going forward to stop any similar attacks on women's health and rights."

Since this bill went to the Governor's desk two weeks ago, over 750 Virginians have contacted Governor McAuliffe and urged him to veto SB 330.



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Virginia files amicus brief in King v. Sebelius health care case (0.00 / 0)
VIRGINIA FILES AMICUS BRIEF IN KING V. SEBELIUS
~ State's position supports access to health insurance
affordability tax credits for qualified Virginians ~

Richmond--Attorney General Mark R. Herring has filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the case of King v. Sebelius, which is currently on appeal before the Fourth Circuit.  At stake in the case is whether low- and moderate-income Virginians who purchase insurance on the federal healthcare exchange are eligible for thousands of dollars in tax credits to help them afford healthcare coverage. According to estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services, up to 495,000 Virginians may be eligible for some level of tax credit, averaging $2,900 per year, and totaling up to $1.02 billion annually.

"Today, the Commonwealth is standing up for the hundreds of thousands of Virginians who should have access to the same health insurance premium assistance available to other consumers who utilize state operated exchanges," said Attorney General Herring. "I believe the plaintiffs are wrong on the law, and if their arguments were to prevail, it would have incredibly negative consequences for our citizens."

The plaintiffs in the case have claimed that only people who purchase plans through state-operated health insurance exchanges are eligible for premium assistance tax credits. As the Commonwealth's brief points out, that claim relies on a narrow interpretation that does not reflect the context, history, or intent of the legislation. Their interpretation would make otherwise qualified Virginians ineligible for tax credits because Virginians purchase healthcare through the federally-operated exchange.

King v. Sebelius is scheduled for oral argument in the Fourth Circuit on May 14, 2014. At the district level, the Commonwealth previously filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs' position, which was rejected by U.S. District Courts in this case and in another case currently on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The Commonwealth's amicus brief is available here.



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Bill Bolling appointed to Board of Game and Inland Fisheries (0.00 / 0)
Fishing is something he has plenty of time to do nowadays? LOL
Governor McAuliffe Announces Administration Appointments

RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced additional appointments to his administration today. The appointees will join McAuliffe's administration focused on finding common ground with members of both parties on issues that will grow Virginia's economy and create more jobs across the Commonwealth.

Office of the Governor

Ninette Linkous, Special Assistant
Ninette has served as a Special Assistant in the Office of the Governor for five administrations, from Governor Jim Gilmore to the present.  She has been the primary telephone operator for the Governor's office.  Ninette received an honorary discharge from the Air National Guard and attended J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

Secretariat of Commerce and Trade

Mary Rae Carter, Special Advisor for Rural Partnerships
Mary Rae previously served as Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Rural Virginia under then Governor Bob McDonnell.  For the past four years, she has traveled extensively throughout rural Virginia developing effective partnerships, serving as a liaison to the administration, and working with localities to enhance job growth.  Her knowledge of rural Virginia and her economic development background bring strong qualifications to her role as Special Advisor for Rural Partnerships to the Secretary of Commerce and Trade.  Mary Rae served twelve years on the board of directors of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and was a board member for the Center for Rural Virginia.  She was also chair and vice-chair of the Patrick Henry Economic Development Council of Martinsville and Henry County. Mary Rae attended Patrick Henry Community College, and graduated from Averett University (formerly Averett College) cum laude in Danville.

Elizabeth Creamer, Advisor for Workforce Development
Elizabeth previously served as the Director of Education and Workforce Development for the Office of Governor Bob McDonnell, acting as a liaison between the secretariats of Education and Commerce & Trade.  Prior to that role, she was an Assistant Vice Chancellor of Workforce Programs and Career Pathways for the Virginia Community College System.  Ms. Creamer has also held workforce and academic administrative positions at Thomas Nelson and Paul D. Camp Community Colleges. Ms. Creamer holds a bachelor of arts degree from Christopher Newport University and a master of arts degree from Old Dominion University.

Rita D. McClenny, President and Chief Executive Officer, Virginia Tourism Corporation
Rita has been reappointed by Governor McAuliffe as President and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, a state agency charged with marketing the Commonwealth as a premier travel destination and film location. In this capacity, she oversees the agency's $25.6 million annual budget and 117 employees. From 1991-2012, Rita worked to recruit and expand film production in Virginia as Director of the Virginia Film Office. McClenny received a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Fisk University.

Secretariat of Health and Human Resources

Debra Ferguson, Ph.D., Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
Debra Ferguson, Ph.D., is the Senior Deputy & Chief of Clinical Operations for the Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Mental Health (DMH). Dr. Ferguson is a Clinical & Forensic Psychologist having received her Bachelor's Degree from Williams College, in Williamstown, MA, and her M.Phil. and Ph.D. from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  Upon completing her graduate studies, Dr. Ferguson was commissioned as a Captain in the U.S. Army, and completed an internship in Clinical Psychology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.  Upon completing her internship, she served as Division Psychologist and Assistant Chief of Mental Health, for 2nd Armored Division at Ft. Hood, Texas.  Upon leaving active duty, she completed a post-doctoral residency program in Clinical Psychology at the Yale University School of Medicine. Within DMH she has served as a hospital Chief Psychologist, Director of Juvenile Forensics and Associate Deputy Director for Forensics for the Division. Dr. Ferguson has over 25 years of experience as a Clinical & Forensic Psychologist in both private practice and public sector institutions.

Jennifer Lee, M.D., Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources
Dr. Lee is an emergency physician and former Assistant Professor at Departments of Emergency Medicine and Health Policy at The George Washington University. She previously served as a White House Fellow in the Office of Secretary Eric Shinseki at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and as a Special Assistant to the Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health at the Veterans Health Administration.  She was appointed to the Virginia Board of Medicine by Governor Tim Kaine and served from 2008 to 2011. She also served as a health policy fellow for Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. She completed her residency training in emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins, received her medical degree from the Washington University School of Medicine, and her bachelor's in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University.

Marissa Levine, M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health
Dr. Levine is a board-certified family physician who also completed a Masters of Public Health (MPH) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  She received her M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY, and completed family practice residency training at the University of Virginia. Dr. Levine started her career in private medical practice in Pennsylvania.  She subsequently joined the staff of an academic medical center and became the director of a family practice residency training program in northwestern Pennsylvania.  While in Pennsylvania, Dr. Levine was also involved in community health improvement efforts and was a member of the local board of health.  Upon returning to Virginia, Dr. Levine directed local health departments in two health districts within Virginia from 2002 until 2009. She then served in leadership roles at the Virginia Department of Health, first as the Deputy Commissioner for Public Health and Preparedness and then as Chief Deputy Commissioner in 2013.

Secretariat of Public Safety

Harold Clarke, Director, Department of Corrections
Harold Clarke has served as Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections since 2010. He previously served as Director of Corrections in the states of Nebraska, Washington and Massachusetts. Originally from Panama, Harold recently finished his term as President of the American Correctional Association and has received numerous awards for his outstanding service, including the 2014 E.R. Cass Correctional Achievement Award from the American Correctional Association (ACA). Harold is a graduate of Doane College in Crete, Nebraska.

Brook Pittinger, Deputy Executive Director for the Virginia Department of Fire Programs
Brook has served as the Director of Administration for the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) since 2008.  Prior to this role Brook was the agency's Policy, Planning & Legislative Manager, and the Agency's Quality Assurance Chief. Before working for the Commonwealth, Brook worked for Newport News Shipbuilding. Brook received her Master's in Public Administration degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and her B.A. in Communications, Marketing minor, from Virginia Tech. Brook is also a graduate of the Commonwealth Management Institute (CMI) and the Virginia Executive Institute (VEI).  Brook currently serves on the VEI Alumni Association's Board of Directors as the secretary.

Erin Rice, Policy and Communications Analyst for the Virginia Department of Fire Programs
Erin has served as the Policy and Communications Analyst for the Department of Fire Programs since May 2010 and has been re-appointed by Governor McAuliffe. Prior to joining Fire Programs, Erin served as the Assistant Secretary of Public Safety for Governor Tim Kaine and Special Assistant for Public Safety for Governor Mark Warner. A native of Roanoke, Erin graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Communications, and earned a Master's degree in Public Administration and Policy from Virginia Tech.

Secretariat of the Commonwealth
Board Appointments

Board of Game and Inland Fisheries

·       The Honorable Bill Bolling, of Mechanicsville, Managing Director of Virginia for Riggs, Counselman, Michaels & Downs

Board of Long-Term Care Administrators

·       Derrick Kelly Kendall, of Chesterfield, Administrator at Heritage Hall

Breaks Interstate Park Commission

·       Jim O'Quinn, of Haysi, retired

Virginia Outdoors Foundation

·       Stephanie Ridder, of Flint Hill, Professorial Lecturer in Law at George Washington University

Virginia Tourism Authority

·       Mark B. Hubbard, of Richmond, Senior Vice President at McGuire Woods Consulting.



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Bill Bolling appointed to Board of Game and Inland Fisheries (0.00 / 0)
Fishing is something he has plenty of time to do nowadays? LOL
Governor McAuliffe Announces Administration Appointments

RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced additional appointments to his administration today. The appointees will join McAuliffe's administration focused on finding common ground with members of both parties on issues that will grow Virginia's economy and create more jobs across the Commonwealth.

Office of the Governor

Ninette Linkous, Special Assistant
Ninette has served as a Special Assistant in the Office of the Governor for five administrations, from Governor Jim Gilmore to the present.  She has been the primary telephone operator for the Governor's office.  Ninette received an honorary discharge from the Air National Guard and attended J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

Secretariat of Commerce and Trade

Mary Rae Carter, Special Advisor for Rural Partnerships
Mary Rae previously served as Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Rural Virginia under then Governor Bob McDonnell.  For the past four years, she has traveled extensively throughout rural Virginia developing effective partnerships, serving as a liaison to the administration, and working with localities to enhance job growth.  Her knowledge of rural Virginia and her economic development background bring strong qualifications to her role as Special Advisor for Rural Partnerships to the Secretary of Commerce and Trade.  Mary Rae served twelve years on the board of directors of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and was a board member for the Center for Rural Virginia.  She was also chair and vice-chair of the Patrick Henry Economic Development Council of Martinsville and Henry County. Mary Rae attended Patrick Henry Community College, and graduated from Averett University (formerly Averett College) cum laude in Danville.

Elizabeth Creamer, Advisor for Workforce Development
Elizabeth previously served as the Director of Education and Workforce Development for the Office of Governor Bob McDonnell, acting as a liaison between the secretariats of Education and Commerce & Trade.  Prior to that role, she was an Assistant Vice Chancellor of Workforce Programs and Career Pathways for the Virginia Community College System.  Ms. Creamer has also held workforce and academic administrative positions at Thomas Nelson and Paul D. Camp Community Colleges. Ms. Creamer holds a bachelor of arts degree from Christopher Newport University and a master of arts degree from Old Dominion University.

Rita D. McClenny, President and Chief Executive Officer, Virginia Tourism Corporation
Rita has been reappointed by Governor McAuliffe as President and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, a state agency charged with marketing the Commonwealth as a premier travel destination and film location. In this capacity, she oversees the agency's $25.6 million annual budget and 117 employees. From 1991-2012, Rita worked to recruit and expand film production in Virginia as Director of the Virginia Film Office. McClenny received a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Fisk University.

Secretariat of Health and Human Resources

Debra Ferguson, Ph.D., Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
Debra Ferguson, Ph.D., is the Senior Deputy & Chief of Clinical Operations for the Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Mental Health (DMH). Dr. Ferguson is a Clinical & Forensic Psychologist having received her Bachelor's Degree from Williams College, in Williamstown, MA, and her M.Phil. and Ph.D. from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  Upon completing her graduate studies, Dr. Ferguson was commissioned as a Captain in the U.S. Army, and completed an internship in Clinical Psychology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.  Upon completing her internship, she served as Division Psychologist and Assistant Chief of Mental Health, for 2nd Armored Division at Ft. Hood, Texas.  Upon leaving active duty, she completed a post-doctoral residency program in Clinical Psychology at the Yale University School of Medicine. Within DMH she has served as a hospital Chief Psychologist, Director of Juvenile Forensics and Associate Deputy Director for Forensics for the Division. Dr. Ferguson has over 25 years of experience as a Clinical & Forensic Psychologist in both private practice and public sector institutions.

Jennifer Lee, M.D., Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources
Dr. Lee is an emergency physician and former Assistant Professor at Departments of Emergency Medicine and Health Policy at The George Washington University. She previously served as a White House Fellow in the Office of Secretary Eric Shinseki at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and as a Special Assistant to the Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health at the Veterans Health Administration.  She was appointed to the Virginia Board of Medicine by Governor Tim Kaine and served from 2008 to 2011. She also served as a health policy fellow for Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. She completed her residency training in emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins, received her medical degree from the Washington University School of Medicine, and her bachelor's in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University.

Marissa Levine, M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health
Dr. Levine is a board-certified family physician who also completed a Masters of Public Health (MPH) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  She received her M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY, and completed family practice residency training at the University of Virginia. Dr. Levine started her career in private medical practice in Pennsylvania.  She subsequently joined the staff of an academic medical center and became the director of a family practice residency training program in northwestern Pennsylvania.  While in Pennsylvania, Dr. Levine was also involved in community health improvement efforts and was a member of the local board of health.  Upon returning to Virginia, Dr. Levine directed local health departments in two health districts within Virginia from 2002 until 2009. She then served in leadership roles at the Virginia Department of Health, first as the Deputy Commissioner for Public Health and Preparedness and then as Chief Deputy Commissioner in 2013.

Secretariat of Public Safety

Harold Clarke, Director, Department of Corrections
Harold Clarke has served as Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections since 2010. He previously served as Director of Corrections in the states of Nebraska, Washington and Massachusetts. Originally from Panama, Harold recently finished his term as President of the American Correctional Association and has received numerous awards for his outstanding service, including the 2014 E.R. Cass Correctional Achievement Award from the American Correctional Association (ACA). Harold is a graduate of Doane College in Crete, Nebraska.

Brook Pittinger, Deputy Executive Director for the Virginia Department of Fire Programs
Brook has served as the Director of Administration for the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) since 2008.  Prior to this role Brook was the agency's Policy, Planning & Legislative Manager, and the Agency's Quality Assurance Chief. Before working for the Commonwealth, Brook worked for Newport News Shipbuilding. Brook received her Master's in Public Administration degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and her B.A. in Communications, Marketing minor, from Virginia Tech. Brook is also a graduate of the Commonwealth Management Institute (CMI) and the Virginia Executive Institute (VEI).  Brook currently serves on the VEI Alumni Association's Board of Directors as the secretary.

Erin Rice, Policy and Communications Analyst for the Virginia Department of Fire Programs
Erin has served as the Policy and Communications Analyst for the Department of Fire Programs since May 2010 and has been re-appointed by Governor McAuliffe. Prior to joining Fire Programs, Erin served as the Assistant Secretary of Public Safety for Governor Tim Kaine and Special Assistant for Public Safety for Governor Mark Warner. A native of Roanoke, Erin graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Communications, and earned a Master's degree in Public Administration and Policy from Virginia Tech.

Secretariat of the Commonwealth
Board Appointments

Board of Game and Inland Fisheries

·       The Honorable Bill Bolling, of Mechanicsville, Managing Director of Virginia for Riggs, Counselman, Michaels & Downs

Board of Long-Term Care Administrators

·       Derrick Kelly Kendall, of Chesterfield, Administrator at Heritage Hall

Breaks Interstate Park Commission

·       Jim O'Quinn, of Haysi, retired

Virginia Outdoors Foundation

·       Stephanie Ridder, of Flint Hill, Professorial Lecturer in Law at George Washington University

Virginia Tourism Authority

·       Mark B. Hubbard, of Richmond, Senior Vice President at McGuire Woods Consulting.



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The purpose of Blue Virginia is to cover Virginia politics from a progressive and Democratic perspective. This is a group blog and a community blog. We invite everyone to comment here, but please be aware that profanity, personal attacks, bigotry, insults, rudeness, frequent unsupported or off-point statements, "trolling" (NOTE: that includes outright lies, whether about climate science, or what other people said, or whatever), and "troll ratings abuse" (e.g., "troll" rating someone simply because you disagree with their argument) are not permitted and, if continued, will lead to banning. For more on trolling, see the Daily Kos FAQs. Also note that diaries may be deleted if they do not contain at least 2 solid paragraphs of original text; if not, please use the comments section of a relevant diary. For more on writing diaries, click here. Thanks, and enjoy!

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