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Virginia Politics

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 06:56:32 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, January 31. Also see the weekly address, in which President Obama talks about "the progress our economy has made, laying a foundation for a future that prioritizes middle-class economics." Oh, and ditching the idiotic "sequestration."

*How Mitt Romney decided against running in 2016
*Jeb 'Put Me Through Hell' ("Michael Schiavo knows as well as anyone what Jeb Bush can do with executive power. He thinks you ought to know too.")
*Bernie Sanders is right to be outraged (To paraphrase the saying, if you're not outraged you're not paying attention...)
*Hints about the war for control of Virginia's state Senate
*Bowing to gun lobby ("Virginia lawmakers demonstrated remarkable fealty to the gun lobby this week, efficiently dispatching a series of bills aiming to balance the right to bear arms with public safety.")
*Friday at the Assembly: Hemp, Uber and major Constitutional overhaul ("The House of Delegates will consider whether it should call for a convention of states to propose amendments to the Constitution.")
*House panel backs photo ID for absentee voting (The Republicans' war against mythical "voter fraud" continues.)
*Virginia lawmakers kill bills meant to protect rights of accused students
*Va. Democratic Party sued over way candidate was named to face Morrissey ("The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court, argues that the Democratic Party, in its haste to distance itself from Morrissey, intentionally excluded African American voters from the process of nominating the challenger. African Americans make up about 60 per cent of the House of Delegates district in question.")
*Bans on transgender and gay discrimination removed from Va. bill
*Cathcart: Virginia should ratify ERA
*Report: Unarmed Springfield man had hands up when shot by police (That should never be acceptable in this country.)
*Roanoke County HR director resigns ("Roanoke County's human resources director, who had been disciplined in July for misuse of county time and funds, has resigned.")
*I-66 will provide new test for growing HOT lanes system ("Transportation advocates raise concerns about plans for inside the Beltway lanes.")
*Sororities 'very surprised' by U-Va. student response to frat party ban
*MailGate: the Candidate Mailer that Shouldn't Have Happened (Great stuff if you like watching Republican civil war. More popcorn please! LOL)
*Mostly sunny and cold today, wintry mix approaches by Sunday afternoon

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

"A Victory for Gun Rights." Really? Let's Look at Some of Those "Rights."

by: AndyG

Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 08:52:05 AM EST

( - promoted by lowkell)

Many recent news reports have trumpeted the dismissal of a raft of gun violence prevention legislation as a "Victory for Gun Rights."  Despite the fact that gun's don't actually have any rights, I would like to enumerate, for those not present at the General Assembly, a representative sample of exactly which "rights" were victorious as a result of these actions. Taking just the 12 bills that were dismissed last night, in House Militia, Police and Public Safety, as an example,

The following "rights" remain intact - with the demise of the bill attempting to repeal those "rights" listed, along with the Patron's name:

HB2085 (Murphy) - Addressed the "right" of convicted violent abusers to maintain access to the very firearms that they may have been using to terrorize or dominate their family members.  This bill would have temporarily removed that right and subsequently allowed the abuser to restore their rights - even to remove the current lifetime prohibition imposed by Federal Law!  (Another case of, Fire, Ready, Aim, by the gun lobby working against their own interests - however, that is their "right".)  In a surprise move, the subcommittee failed to accept a proposed substitute bill from the patron, due to the lack of a second. This was the first time I had seen that delicate maneuver in 8 years of watching sausage made!

HB2232 (Surovell) - Attempted to restrict the "right" for people who are prohibited from purchasing firearms, due to serious mental illness (think Cho), to be able to purchase, transport and possess ammunition. Presumably for the firearms that they are prevented from purchasing, transporting or possessing. ("Bullets don't kill people, empty firearms kill people")

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 636 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 06:42:53 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, January 30.

*Boehner's invitation to Netanyahu backfires on them both (It definitely has. Netanyahu needs to say, "thanks, but NO THANKS John!")
*Senate Pushes Through Keystone Bill. Next Up: Obama's Veto. (Yes, "Democrat" Mark Warner voted for this piece of crap.)
*Krugman: Europe's Greek Test ("Doing the right thing would, however, require that other Europeans, Germans in particular, abandon self-serving myths and stop substituting moralizing for analysis.")
*Bryan Fischer Says That He Has Not Been Fired, Will Retain His Position As AFR Radio Host
*Group Organizing RNC Israel Trip Attacks Israel's 'Atheist Jews' (The RNC teams up with raving anti-Semites? Lovely.)
*House panel scuttles more gun control bills ("House Republicans on Thursday continued to scrap legislation aimed at regulating or restricting the rights of gun owners in Virginia." Yep, keep doing the NRA's bidding and voting against the vast majority of Virginians who want background checks, etc.)
*The surveillance state: Orwell was right ("Virginia lawmakers are seeking to restrict how local law-enforcement agencies store data from license-plate readers - a move prompted by revelations about dragnet surveillance around the commonwealth.")
*Our view: Missed opportunities ("Let's back up a rail car and unload some more thoughts on Norfolk Southern's decision to move 500 office workers out of Roanoke and sell off its downtown building.First off: None of our politicians particularly distinguished himself with thoughtful analysis of the situation.")
*Senate subcommittee OKs plan to lessen oversight of Dominion ("The measure would freeze base electricity rates six years for Dominion Virginia Power customers while halting the state's ability to determine if the utility earned too much profit." We should be INCREASING oversight of Dominion big time. If not, then how about dismantle the company completely?)
*Too many risks to drill off Virginia ("The threats are greater than the promises that the Hampton Roads economy and environment won't be damaged by an industry with a long history of destruction." Correct.)
*House panel scraps Marshall's bill on denying service to LGBT people (Congratulations, House Republicans did one thing right.)
*New judge and prosecutor handling Morrissey case ("Judge-designate Alfred D. Swersky from Alexandria, has named Arlington County prosecutor Theo Stamos to handle perjury and forgery charges against Del. Joe Morrissey and co-defendant Deirdre Warren.")
*Senate panel scraps pre-Labor Day school opening, abortion bills (Democrats badly need to take back the State Senate...and eventually the House.)
*Va. House budget writers react to revenue increase ("Va. House budget writers want to give state workers a raise and to nix fee hikes in the governor's plan.")
*Va. bill would allow pharmacies to mix lethal injection drugs ("Identities of those hired to prepare the mixes would be kept secret, which angered critics." Totally unacceptable.)
*U-Va. sorority sister: We've been reduced to objects of men's pleasure
*Dvorak: Are chastity belts next for U-Va. women?
*Biting winds up to 45 mph today

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Democrats Deliver Letter Detailing Impact of Medicaid Expansion in Virginia House Districts

by: lowkell

Thu Jan 29, 2015 at 15:29:24 PM EST

From the Virginia House Dem Caucus: 

Richmond, VA -- Today, the House Democratic Caucus delivered “Dear Colleague” letters to every member of the House of Delegates containing new data from the Commonwealth Institute that breaks down how many Virginians in each House of Delegates District would benefit from the acceptance of over $1 billion of Medicaid expansion funds from the Federal Government. The letter also points each delegate to data from the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance showing the impact of the Commonwealth’s current Medicaid system in each district.
  • Last year, Medicaid spent approximately $6.7 billion to provide medical services to approximately 1.25 million Virginians
  • 708,646 of Medicaid recipients in Virginia in 2014 are children
  • According to the Commonwealth Institute, it is estimated that 320,830 additional Virginians would have access to quality, affordable healthcare if Virginia were to accept federal monies to expand Medicaid pursuant to the Affordable Care Act.
  • According to the Commonwealth Institute, it is estimated that 194,120 additional Virginians in delegate seats currently occupied by Republican delegates would have access to quality, affordable healthcare if Virginia were to accept federal monies to expand Medicaid pursuant to the Affordable Care Act.
 
“Too many families in the Commonwealth do not have access to quality affordable healthcare -- something Virginians both deserve and desire,” said Democratic Leader David Toscano (D-57). “By closing the healthcare gap, we can continue to build a new Virginia economy that is home to healthy Virginians.”
 

“No one should ever be denied access to quality healthcare, based on their economic status alone. Yet, this is the problem so many families face in the Commonwealth today. We must fix this,” said Caucus Chair Scott Surovell (D-44). “We hope with this startling data showing just how many of their constituents  would benefit from expanding access to healthcare, our House of Delegates colleagues on both sides of the aisle will come together to close the healthcare gap.” 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Jan 29, 2015 at 06:38:03 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, January 29. As for the graphic, it's yet more evidence of the harm that Chuckie Todd and all the other corporate, right-wing "useful idiots" on Sunday morning's blatherfest do to America and the world.

*Mainstream Media Outlets Help Romney Smear Hillary Clinton With Discredited Attacks ("ABC And CBS Uncritically Repeat Romney Attacks On Clinton")
*MSNBC's Chris Hayes Highlights Conservative Media Criticism Of Sarah Palin Following Iowa Speech ("Hayes: 'Many Of Us Did Not Need Six Whole Years' To Realize Sarah Palin 'Has No Business' Being President." Right, it took me about six whole MINUTES to figure out Palin was an imbecile, and that John McCain's decision to pick her as his running mate reflected extremely poorly on him as well.)
*Huckabee's hateful true colors: Why his dig about Fox's "trashy" women is so revealing ("His public image as a softy never quite matched his sexist, bigoted rhetoric. Now we know whom we're dealing with." Now? Many of us have known for years.)
*Tea partiers race to the starting blocks (No matter how far right the Republican Party lurches, it's never enough for the John Birch Society "extremism...is no vice" wing.)
*Federal Coal Program Costing Taxpayers And States More Than $1 Billion Per Year In Lost Royalties (We have our own taxpayer-funded corporate welfare giveaways to the fossil fuel industry going on here in Virginia, too.)
*The NFL's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year ("
From domestic violence and concussions to racist team names and angry cheerleaders, 2014 was a rotten year for pro football." What's amazing is that most Americans just keep on watchin'...)
*Andrew Sullivan Retires From Blogging (I was never a big fan, but he's no doubt a major figure in the history of blogging.)
*Dems oppose Obama offshore drilling plan (Most, anyway, but not Senators Kaine and Warner. Ugh.)
*House and Senate panels defeat same-sex marriage bills ("House and Senate panels on Wednesday defeated measures that would have repealed the statutory prohibitions in Virginia law on gay marriages, civil unions and other personal contracts between same-sex couples." Yep, that's the Republican Party for ya.)
*House panel proposes raises for state employees, teachers
*General Assembly: House GOP spurns McAuliffe on reducing coal tax credits (The taxpayer-funded corporate welfare gravy continues for the fossil fuel industry. Ah, "free markets," gotta love 'em.))
*Public contract should be public ("Open-records laws aren't designed to be convenient for officials; they're intended to ensure government operates transparently, particularly with regard to spending taxpayer dollars.")
*Annoying but plausible: McDonnells could be fully cleared on appeal ("Fuzzy federal laws and Virginia's lack of ethics rules could overturn the two convictions.")
*This time, gun bill passes Virginia Senate committee ("After confusion in a committee Monday, a bill was reconsidered Wednesday. The legislation would stop someone from owning a gun for a year following a conviction for misdemeanor stalking of a family member, sexual battery of a family member or assault and battery of a family member.")
*Parrish first Republican to enter race for Virginia Senate ("Manassas Mayor Harry J. "Hal" Parrish II will announce Thursday that he is running for the state Senate seat that retiring Sen. Chuck Colgan (D-Prince William) has held for a generation.")
*HRT unlikely to get Va. lawmakers' OK for dedicated revenue
*Va. bill would let Dominion keep its books closed to the public until 2023 ("The measure is needed to protect the utility from onerous federal regulations, the proposer says." More like time to break up this out-of-control, thuggish, corrupt, polluting company.)
*Former Rep. Jim Moran from Northern Virginia to lobby on behalf of defense, tech (Shocker. Not.)
*Stop blaming U-Va. sorority sisters and other women for rape problem
*Tejada will not run for reelection to Arlington board
*DEVELOPING: Leesburg's Ken Reid won't seek re-election
*Cold today, with possible light rain or wintry mix; chance of weekend snow

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

VA State Senate Moves in Wildly Wrong Direction on Campaign Finance

by: lowkell

Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 15:14:46 PM EST

Just a day after the Washington Post reported the Koch brothers' plan for billionaires to buy our democracy, this vote today in Virginia's State Senate - killing our state's utterly pathetic, measly incentives for small donations to political campaigns without replacing it with anything - is so opposite of the direction we need to be going, it's breathtaking. Now, clearly, the current tax credit for political donations is completely pathetic, inadequate, etc. But that doesn't mean we should KILL it, for god's sake; it means we should massively STRENGTHEN it.  As this study on Matching Political Contributions explains, for instance:
The way forward requires an overhaul of public financing that spurs greater participation by the public at large.

Specifically, the answer lies in a system that gives a multiple match to donor contributions. Rather than continuing to give each candidate a flat grant of $100,000, for example, public financing systems should give six-to-one multiple matching funds on the first $200 of a contribution. This would make a $200 contribution worth $1400 to a candidate.

Multiple matching funds reflect a philosophical shift about the role of money in politics. Money is not an "evil," but should be embraced as a tool to make government accountable to more people. Public financing should not "level the playing field" among candidates, but should reward candidates who mobilize more supporters. Reformers need to spend less energy on "getting big money out of campaigns" and more on "getting the people back in" to those very same campaigns.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 711 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 06:36:36 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, January 28. By the way, that "climate test fail" applies to anyone else who supports drilling off our coast.

*Czar Putin's Next Moves
*Republicans discover that it isn't easy running Congress
*Schapiro: Name from the past in fight for the future ("Dominion is run by Tom Farrell. His brother-in-law, Richard Cullen, leads the company's law firm, McGuireWoods. It's where McAuliffe's chief of staff, Paul Reagan, worked. And don't forget: Farrell's son, Peter, is a Republican delegate from Henrico County. The 2004 property-access bill was written by Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach. He's toying with running for governor in 2017. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Mark Warner. His former consigliere, Bob Blue, is head of Dominion's Virginia Power subsidiary. It would burn the natural gas, extracted by fracking, that would be shipped via the proposed pipeline. It's enough to make some people believe in conspiracies. And if that doesn't, maybe Dominion's money will.")
*Governor's proposed $150 million would buy down VRS liability
*Mike Watson will forgo run for 93rd District House of Delegates (" Former Delegate Mike Watson announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election to the 93rd District seat he lost to Democrat Monty Mason in 2013, a re-match that many were expecting.")
*Virginia panel quickly kills proposal to limit high-rate loans ("It took less than five minutes for a House of Delegates committee to kill a bill to shut down a kind of high interest rate loan that keeps piling on debt even when borrowers make their basic monthly payments.")
*Incumbency overwhelms democracy ("The effort to promote fairer, more competitive elections in state and federal legislative races received a big boost this week after a bipartisan coalition of state senators approved the first reading of a proposed constitutional amendment to overhaul Virginia's redistricting process.")
*Ocean drilling plan excites local and state officials, upsets critics (It's not just the risk of spills, it's going in the totally opposite direction in terms of climate change that we desperately need to be going. I swear, it's idiocy/insanity like this that truly makes me think humanity is doomed.)
*Offshore drilling possible for Virginia? (Did I mention how stupid and crazy this is? Oh yeah, I did.)
*After botched executions, states add secrecy to the lethal injection process ("The legislation, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw...would make practically everything about executions in Virginia a state secret - even the building in which they take place. The information would be exempt from the state's Freedom of Information Act and even off-limits to plaintiffs in most civil lawsuits." Absolutely unacceptable.)
*McAuliffe donates pricey gifts - even embroidered dragon
*Bill Stanley's health care bills make it through Senate committee ("Two rural health care bills authored by state Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, have passed through the committee phase during the current General Assembly session.")
*Mook: Yes, pipelines sometimes do explode
*Va. unemployment rate drops to lowest level since 2008
*Seclusion and restraint limits pass out of Virginia Senate
*Arlington County Board rejects new school plan ("An elementary school was to be built on land at Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Community Center.")
*Don't be fooled by sunny skies today; temperatures to hover near freezing

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Video: Mark Obenshain Claims Up is Actually Down, Hot is Cold, Black is White...

by: lowkell

Tue Jan 27, 2015 at 16:18:08 PM EST

The following is the weekly Virginia Republican Address, this week delivered by our old extremist friend, Sen. Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain. According to Obenshain, who has basically spent his entire career trying to send Virginia reeling backwards decades, if not centuries, it's actually Republicans who are focused "on kitchen table issues like education." In addition, according to the Orwellian Obenshain, it's actually Virginia Republicans who are "hard at work on issues that matter to Virginians" and with a "forward-looking agenda" (e.g., like letting 4 year olds, stalkers & sexual batterers have guns!).

Meanwhile, in Obenshain's up-is-down, hot-is-col, black-is-white world, it's the Democrats who are "focused on a backward-looking, divisive, politically-driven agenda with one goal, getting the hard-left, liberal interest groups fired up for November." Oh, and those sneaky, wily Democrats are also hell-bent on expanding the evilevilevil "Obamacare." Can't have people getting good, affordable health care, while getting Virginia taxpayers' own money back and boosting our economy - god no!

In sum, Obenshain has always been a nutty, right-wing extremist, and he continues to be a nutty, right-wing extremist. Remember, this is the same guy who wanted to criminalize women's miscarriages, so it's not a big surprise or anything. Still, the fact that Virginia Republicans are happy to put him out there as the face of their party really says all you need to know - and nothing good - about that party...

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Yet ANOTHER Republican-led State Signs on to Medicaid Expansion. And Virginia?

by: lowkell

Tue Jan 27, 2015 at 12:34:33 PM EST

Yep, so we can now add yet another Republican governor to the long list of Republican governors saying "yes" to Medicaid expansion. These Republicans can call their expansions whatever they want (e.g., "Healthy Indiana"); say they're really not "expanding" Medicaid buy "reforming it" (whatever); claim (falsely) that Medicaid expansion has no connection go the evilevilevil "Obamacare" (also known as the "Affordable Care Act," whose provisions are highly popular with the American public), blah blah blah.
But the bottom line is, more and more Republican governors are taking this shwwwwweeeeeeet deal for their states' budgets and their citizens, and not letting the hard-right Teahadists, etc. stop them.

And then there's Virginia, a "purple" state led by a Democratic governor and Democratic Party who badly want to expand Medicaid, where Republican House Speaker Bill "ALEC" Howell, hard-right-wing Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, along with their Teapublican troops, are putting on a modern display of what used to be known in these parts as "massive resistance." In this case, it's about health care coverage for poor people, many of whom are these Teapublican lawmakers' own constituents. But whatever; Virginia Republicans are having none of the common sense and sanity we're seeing in an increasing number of Republican-led states around the country. Essentially, Virginia Republicans have no substantive argument, other than to essentially admit, "we're extremists, we're proud of it, we're not changing, and that's that." Oh, and "screw Virginia's budget, people who desperately need good healthcare coverage, hospitals which want/need this expansion, etc, etc.

The question is, why would anyone in Virginia vote for these cretins?

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Jan 27, 2015 at 06:41:18 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, January 27.

*How Winter Snow Leads To A Blizzard Of Climate Denial
*Netanyahu to American Jews: Get Lost ("By accepting Speaker Boehner's invitation to address Congress, the Israeli leader has chosen to side with political forces opposed by many US Jews." Yep, that's what he's basically saying to people like me.)
*Netanyahu's contempt ("His actions could harm support for Israel." Agreed. I've been pro-Israel my whole life, but the right wing in Israel, particularly its alliance with the far right in this country, is REALLY putting a strain on my support...)
*Koch-backed network aims to spend nearly $1 billion on 2016 elections (So much for "democracy." Thanks a LOT Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy!)
*Senate's swing-state Republicans break ranks ("2016 electoral map complicates life for new Senate majority.")
*Morning Joe Hosts Receive Special Invite To Closed Koch Event, Lavish Koch Brothers With Praise (That really says it all. Utterly corrupt.)
*Senate panel votes to end sexual orientation workplace discrimination ("A Virginia Senate committee voted Monday to prohibit discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.")
*With confusion, Senate kills McAuliffe gun bills (We need to take back the Senate. End of story.)
*Court says Bob McDonnell will be free during appeal ("A federal appeals court has approved the former Virginia governor's request to remain free while he appeals his corruption convictions. A hearing is set for May 12.")
*White House to propose opening waters off Atlantic coast to drilling (Huge mistake if they do that.)
*Virginia lawmakers are rushing too fast to change the law on college sexual assault
*Virginia Senate approves measure allowing 2-term governor ("Sen. Thomas Garrett, R-Lynchburg argued that voters should have a chance to re-elect the governor, no matter who it is. Garrett's measure was approved 24-15.")
*John Guevara, Candidate for Sully District Supervisor (This is getting more fun as a Tea Partier enters the race...)
*Virginia Senate committee defeats gun control proposals ("The Republican-led committee rejected Democratic gun control bills that included restoring a state law requiring criminal background checks on private sales at gun shows.")
*Searching for ways to prevent drug deaths ("Heroin, increasingly a drug of choice for young people, killed 213 people in Virginia in 2013. Prescription drug overdoses caused 468 more deaths that year. Three bills before the General Assembly offer worthwhile tools to keep more people safe and hold dealers accountable when their drugs lead to death.")
*Morning snow showers, blustery today; Sunshine returns Wednesday

Discuss :: (9 Comments)

VA Senate GOPers Change Votes from "Yes" to "No" on Bill to Keep Guns Away from Stalkers

by: lowkell

Mon Jan 26, 2015 at 17:09:24 PM EST

From the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus: 

SENATE REPUBLICANS CHANGE VOTES FROM 'YES' TO 'NO' ON BILL TO KEEP GUNS AWAY FROM STALKERS AND SEXUAL BATTERERS

 

RICHMOND, VA -- In a shocking move earlier today, multiple Senate Republicans seemingly changed their votes on Senator Barbara Favola’s (D-Arlington) SB 943, a bill to keep guns out of the hands of convicted stalkers and sexual batterers. Committee Chair Tommy Norment ruled the bill reported in front of an audience of reporters, committee members, and dozens of others. The ruling was promptly reported by numerous media outlets. Nevertheless, later this afternoon, the Legislative Information Service posted a different result showing the bill as being defeated. Under the Rules of the Senate, votes changed after the fact are not allowed to change outcomes. Given that the bill was reported in committee, it must now be referred to Senate Finance despite the change.

 

Video of this morning’s vote clearly shows Sen. Tommy Norment (R-James City) voting “aye” and announcing that the bill has reported; no one contradicts him. The votes of Sen. Jill Vogel (R - Fauquier) and Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Hanover) cannot be determined for certain, but both appear to be in support. Mathematically, one or both must have changed their votes, as well. LIS now indicates that all three voted “no,” and incorrectly lists the bill as having been defeated.

 

Lori Haas, Director of Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws, said,This is simply the worst of politics--as usual. Everyone in the hearing room understood SB943 to have passed. These kind of backroom shenanigans are what destroy Virginians' faith in their government.”

 

“SB 943 represents a common sense measure to protect vulnerable populations and restrict firearm access for violent offenders,” said SB 943 Chief Patron Senator Favola. “This decision to kill the bill champions the rights of violent criminals at the expense of victims.”

 

We expect to see SB 943 on the Senate Finance Committee docket in the coming days. 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia Senate Votes to Join the Rest of the Country, Allow Two-Term Governor

by: lowkell

Mon Jan 26, 2015 at 13:46:57 PM EST

See below for the vote, which just took place. The debate was hilarious, with bat****-crazy Sen. Dick Black arguing that we don't need this because Virginia is the greatest state in the country, perfect in every way (or something like that - whatever). Even more hilarious was Sen. Chap Petersen talking about how Bacon's Rebellion (the actual rebellion, not the Virginia political blog run by a climate science denier - lol) in 1676 ended the 17-year goernorship of Sir William Berkeley, appointed by the British monarch. In response, Sen. Saslaw noted that we also used to have "leeches" and "evil spirits," that we've moved beyond those and can also move beyond a one-term governor. LOL Also, Sen. Ebbin sarcastically noted that "the crown is no longer ruling here." Hahahaha. I really need to get this video. :)

P.S. I'd suggest that any State Senator concerned with limiting terms in office to one should start with...their own! LOL

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Jan 26, 2015 at 06:24:19 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, January 26.

*U.S. And India Announce 'Cooperation' On Climate Change
*Radical leftists win as Greece rejects austerity ("With millions of voters turning out, the country delivered a historic win to Syriza, a party that could put Greece on a collision course with the rest of Europe." I'm not a fan of austerity policies, but I see nothing good coming out of this.)
*Krugman: Ending Greece's Nightmare ("Still, in calling for a major change, Mr. Tsipras is being far more realistic than officials who want the beatings to continue until morale improves. The rest of Europe should give him a chance to end his country's nightmare.")
*'Potentially historic' blizzard takes aim at Northeast; up to 3 feet of snow
*Obama to call for more wilderness protections in Alaska refuge ("The White House wants more than 12 million acres set aside, but Republicans likely will oppose it.")
*Inside Hillary Clinton's 2016 plan ("The Clinton team knows it can't campaign with the swagger of presumed nominee, because the air of inevitability was so damaging last time around. That said, some advisers are already privately talking up potential running mates, with Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado and Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia dominating the early speculation.")
*Fox news anchor blasts Netanyahu's 'dicey' politics of 'sneaking' into Congress for speech
*Editorial: Virginia should expand Medicaid (Right, but Republicans won't do it, which is one good reason why they need to be voted out of office this November.)
*Terry McAuliffe's 2015 Va. agenda includes economics, health care
*Legalize it ("State Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, is on what once would have been a fool's errand: He wants to decriminalize marijuana possession in Virginia.")
*Virginia lawmakers to revisit ethics legislation ("Another issue to be addressed this week will be gun control, with some 20 bills in the Senate.")
*GOP votes out Campbell County's Jon Berkley, chairman of Fifth District committee
*Protect rights of state's gay employees ("Twenty-one states have passed laws that ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. Virginia should be the 22nd.")
*Editorial: The cost of a felony ("As legislators look for ways to trim the state budget, here's one idea: Raise the threshold for felony crimes in Virginia.")
*Virginia's move to cut emissions the smart way (It's not "Virginia's move," it's a constructive proposal by Del. Ron Villaneuva that is unlikely to go anywhere in the Teapublican-controlled General Assembly.)
*Va. House bill targets asset forfeitures that fund police ("HB1287, sponsored by Del. Mark Cole, R-Spotsylvania, would end civil asset forfeitures - state legal proceedings that allow police to keep property seized from criminal suspects.")
*Conservation program may help James River restoration efforts
*Fairfax County turns over investigative materials to lawyers for John Geer family
*D.C. likely to see a mix of rain and snow ("Federal offices plan to open on time, but there will be some snow and wintry mix in the area today and tonight before gradual drying begins.")

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

VA "Democratic" Leader Dick Saslaw Strikes Again, This Time Wants to Make Execution Drugs Secret

by: lowkell

Sun Jan 25, 2015 at 11:36:22 AM EST

Yep, the same Dick Saslaw who doesn't believe Virginia needs any stinkin' ethics laws, who is well known to despise progressives and environmentalists (aka, his "base"; can you imagine Tommy Norment constantly dissing his right-wing base like this?!?), who recently called the Sierra Club "crazy," who has presided over Democrats losing control of the Virginia State Senate (and the pissing away of much of the money he raised), is at it again. This time?

That's right, Saslaw's latest cause is to ensure that "information relating to the identity of...compounding drugs for use in executions and all documents related to the execution process are confidential, exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, and not subject to discovery or introduction as evidence in a civil proceeding except for good cause shown."

Now why might Saslaw be doing something like this? Well, for starters, he's a supporter of the death penalty. Virginia also has a "problem," if you think not being able to execute people is a "problem," in that it has some lethal injection drugs, lacks anesthetic ("the department does not have in stock either thiopental sodium or pentobarbital - anesthetics used as the first in the three-drug lethal injection protocol developed by the Department of Corrections."). Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to rule on the constitutionality of an execution "drug cocktail," with death row opponents contending "that the drugs being used are untested, experimental drug combinations that can cause great suffering, in violation of the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment."

Now, if the public doesn't know what is IN Virginia's execution "drug cocktail," it will be kind of hard to challenge it in court. Of course, the public should have a right to know this information, as the state is arguing for the right to put people to death using our tax dollars. In short, Dick Saslaw is wrong both on the merits of the issue here as well as on the right of the public to know what's going on. So when is someone going to primary this faux "Democrat?"

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Jan 25, 2015 at 07:13:53 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, January 25. As for that photo from yesterday's "clown car" event put on by raving bigot and extremist Steve King in Iowa, I had to post it simply because I thought it was hilarious, and also because it epitomizes the lunacy of the Teapublican Party these days.

*Obama Lands in India, With Aim of Improving Ties
*Outrage in Japan as Video Appears to Show Victim of ISIS
*Sarah Palin 'seriously interested' in 2016 bid (Hahahaha.)
*GOP clown car runs into ditch ("Simon says the Republican Party's clown car has become a clown van.")
*CNN's Newt Gingrich Parrots Debunked Right-Wing Smear About Hillary Clinton And Boko Haram (Gingrich is truly a horrible, horrible human being.)
*The Jindal-Hate Group Relationship You Won't Hear About This Weekend ("When it comes to GOP politics, media outlets have a hard time seeing what's newsworthy about a hate group like AFA being used to cement the campaign of a potential presidential candidate.")
*Greeks vote in 'make-or-break' poll
*Schapiro: A scenario under which assembly elections actually matter ("It's not just losing [in court] that scares House Republicans. They're panicking over the possible remedy - that the court draws new districts and orders a special election.")
*With Medicaid expansion unlikely, hospitals and lawmakers in bind ("Virginia lawmakers are beginning to see what lies on the other side of their decision not to expand Medicaid or health coverage of uninsured Virginians." Except it's not "lawmakers" generally, it's REPUBLICANS specifically who have been blocking this. Why won't the corporate media just SAY THAT?!?)
*Killings of blacks by police in Virginia fuel debate
*Rose: To prosper, Southwest Virginia must break with coal (Yep, coal's been a disaster for Appalachia.)
*Letter: Mountain Valley Pipeline would harm Southwest Virginia's economy
*Avoiding bad deals for transportation ("The errors and reckless decisions that shaped key transportation projects under former Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration were so egregious, so inexplicable, that lawmakers rightfully feel burned. And they appear increasingly willing to overhaul the state's Public-Private Transportation Act to prevent them from happening again and to ensure that the public's interests are served.")
*Privacy concerns create strange alliances in Richmond
*Virginia GOP elects John Whitbeck as new chairman (No comment from DPVA on the anti-Semitic "joke" dude?)
*Virginia bars' happy hours might become less secretive if bill passes ("A Fairfax delegate's proposed law would let bars detail their drink specials, though not prices.")
*Heroin overdose deaths alarm leaders in Maryland, Virginia
*Former Del. Phil Hamilton says feds target Virginia politicians (Well maybe if they'd get their own act together...)
*Restraining or secluding Va. schoolchildren demands strict guidelines
*Dominion power line project also needs federal approval (If Domninion would encourage, instead of blocking, distributed power like rooftop solar, plus energy efficiency of course, it wouldn't need to build more power lines.)
*Snowfall tonight could make for a dicey Monday morning commute

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Jan 24, 2015 at 07:48:22 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, January 24. Also see President Obama's weekly address, about "middle-class economics."

*Playing Politics on Iran ("House Speaker John Boehner's invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel defies diplomatic norms and common sense." What Bibi and BONEr are doing here is disgraceful at best.)
*Jorge Ramos, Voice of Latino Voters on Univision, Sends Shiver Through G.O.P
*Sarah Palin on 2016: 'Of Course' She's Interested (Oh pleasepleasepleaseplease run! LOL)
*Get used to Obama's swagger ("Economic indicators suggest he's going to have even more to crow about in the months to come.")
*Why Republicans can't stop talking about rape ("There's a deep philosophical divide between the core of the pro-life movement, which wants no exceptions for abortion, and those who side with the vast majority of Americans, who support access to the procedure for rape victims.")
*Opponents of proposed gas pipeline rally at Virginia Capitol ("Environmentalists and western Virginia property owners rallied Friday at the state Capitol in opposition to a proposed 550-mile natural gas pipeline.")
*Va. Senate panel rejects adoption by unmarried gay couples ("A proposal to allow adoption by the partners of unmarried gay parents was rejected Friday by a Virginia Senate committee.")
*Legislation would reform Virginia Tobacco Commission ("Gov. Terry McAuliffe is backing legislation sponsored by two Republican lawmakers to reform a commission that doles out tobacco settlement money.")
*Governor appears in public after hospital stay; talks veterans healthcare
*Notice critical to government oversight (Sure, but that notice does NOT have to be printed in hard-copy newspapers, it can be posted online these days.)
*McAuliffe trip security cost taxpayers nearly $16K
*Virginia State Bar suspends Bob McDonnell's law license
*20-week abortion bill faces long odds in Virginia
*If you think the D.C. region is crowded now, just wait until 2030 (More than ever, we need policies that encourage smart growth, not sprawl development!)
*Booming student population puts Arlington schools at conflict with parks, housing (Again, we need smart, transit-oriented, high-density developoment.)
*Reston residents fiercely opposed to idea of building homes on golf course ("The course sits near a new Metro station on the Silver Line, making it a prime spot for developers.")
*U-Va.'s sensible new fraternity rules
*Hampton Roads economy set to improve in 2015
*Weather advisories in some areas; D.C. might see light rain or snow

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Progress VA: Take Action to Stop Proposed Virginia Abortion Ban

by: lowkell

Fri Jan 23, 2015 at 08:42:33 AM EST

From Anna Scholl of Progress Virginia:

 

Virginia conservatives are attempting an abortion ban more extreme than the bill conservatives in the US Congress were too afraid to try. Last night, on the very anniversary of Roe v. Wade, right-wing lawmakers put in HB2321 which unconstitutionally bans abortion after 20 weeks, with zero exception for survivors of rape.

We need you to take action right now to tell your State Senator and Delegate to oppose this blatant abortion ban.

Only the extremist lawmakers who tried to subject Virginia women to trans-vaginal ultrasounds and personhood would attempt to pass an abortion ban bill too extreme for the far right Congressmen in Washington, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. We can't stand for this.

Speak out against this outrageous abortion ban right now.

Once you've taken action, please take a second to help spread the word and make sure as many people know as possible:

Together we will defeat this,

-Anna

Contribute Now!

 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Jan 23, 2015 at 06:26:41 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, January 23. Also see the video of President Obama's post-SOTU YouTube interview.

*Saudi king championed reform, preserved power (He may have "championed reform," but this is still a country with an abysmally bad human rights record.)
*What is the GOP thinking? ("There they go again. Given control of Congress and the chance to frame an economic agenda for the middle class, the first thing Republicans do is tie themselves in knots over...abortion and rape.")
*Inside The GOP Meltdown On Abortion And Rape
*Abortion dissenters face backlash ("GOP lawmakers who haulted the signature anti-abortion bill could face primaries in 2016.")
*Steve King for a day ("Democrats seize on an event being hosted by immigration lightning rod Steve King." He's not just a "lightning rod," he's a raging bigot and all-around lunatic.)
*Senate's marathon Keystone debate ends in anger ("Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to end debate around midnight, after a seemingly endless series of votes and quorum calls that left Democrats fuming.")
*Lawmakers focus on lagging pay for state employees and state police
*Governor McAuliffe released from hospital
*Keeping dreamers' hopes alive ("Virginia lawmakers should approve House proposals to ensure that high-achieving students who've graduated from Virginia high schools, who've stayed out of trouble and been raised by families that pay taxes, have a shot at earning higher education and contributing to Virginia's economy. No matter where they were born.")
*Va. lawmakers struggle with campus sexual assault policy ("Mandatory reporting to law enforcement at heart of difficult issue")
*Va. lawmaker seeks to decriminalize marijuana possession ("Sen. Adam Ebbin's bill would downgrade possession of a small amount of pot to a civil offense.")
*Decriminalizing marijuana will take more than grass-roots support
*Va. GOP objects to McAuliffe's Republican choice for elections board ("Republican parity pick also voted in Democratic primaries, which could jeopardize his party standing.")
*House subcommittee rejects cellphone ban for drivers ("A bill that would ban drivers from using cell phones failed again before a House subcommittee, ending any chance of further restrictions this legislative session.")
*Virginia lawmakers push for increased day-care regulation ("The proposals follow a Washington Post investigation of child deaths in day-care operations.")
*Humane Society undercover investigation alleges animal abuse at Natural Bridge Zoo
*Scandal: Joltin' Joe ("Juries are instructed to assume a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Lawmakers and the public labor under no such obligation. In the wake of Del. Joe Morrissey's indictment on felony forgery charges, it's fair to assume a large share of both groups suspect the worst.")
*Government opposes Bob McDonnell's appeals court bond bid
*Rain and snow mix may fall by your evening commute; then comes sleet

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

The State of the Gunonwealth (satire - in case you didn't notice!)

by: AndyG

Thu Jan 22, 2015 at 18:25:36 PM EST

( - promoted by lowkell)

The circus is in town again, so it's time for my annual blog post about the "State of the Gunonwealth." It's time to see what came tumbling out to the clown car again this year, at least regarding firearms legislation. As in previous years, there's plenty of crazy to go around. So here is a brief roundup of some of the high, or should I say low points, of the firearms bills:

This year we have two bills to allow concealed carry in the "unsecured" parts of our air terminals. Seems we can't rely solely on the increasing number of highly trained and competent individuals that show up at TSA checkpoints, with loaded guns that they "forgot they had," to keep us safe. After all, should a rampaging hoard of AQAP members come spilling out of one of the many Yemeni Airways flights to Richmond international or an ISIL pickup truck take a wrong turn outside Mosul and find itself in the airport parking lot in Roanoke, we need to be able to rely on Gary and his Glock to protect all the passengers from being mowed down in the baggage claim area.
Either that, or see him shooting off a significant part of his manhood during a "wardrobe malfunction" in front of the urinals.

Not satisfied with turning our airports into a scene from a Rambo movie, there are several bills that would "enhance the security" of our school kids, despite the fact that most of them are already safer in school than they are in their homes. A brilliant idea to decriminalize the carry of knives of all sizes, Ninja throwing stars, blackjacks and even ballistic knives for anyone in, or on the bus to or from, Private and Religious schools would certainly spice up the Kindergarten classes. This "Baptist Babies with Blackjacks" bill might not make you feel like immediately transferring your kid from Public to a Private school, but if you do want to, make sure they are packing a tazer on the first day of class, or at least a set of suitably sized brass knuckles.  

There's More... :: (4 Comments, 714 words in story)

Sen. Saslaw Continues to Oppose Strengthened Ethics Laws; Says "Everyone Knows" Sierra Club "Crazy"

by: lowkell

Thu Jan 22, 2015 at 08:07:32 AM EST

For more on Saslaw's obnoxious, bizarre comments see the Checks and Balances Project (C&BP). A few highlights:

  • C&BP Executive Director Scott Peterson "pointed out that last year, Dominion was the largest donor to state-level politicians with over $1.3 million in campaign contributions.* 'No wonder Dominion Virginia gets its way when it comes to energy in Virginia.'"
    *Peterson writes: "I had Senator Saslaw's attention now. In fact, he appeared to be glaring at me."
  • Saslaw doubled down on what he said in March 2014 ("Video: In Crude Language, Sen. Dick Saslaw Argues that Ethics Laws are Irrelevant, Unnecessary"), regarding how you "can't legislate ethics," because "either you're dishonest or you're not." Ugh.
  • Saslaw refused to let Peterson respond, then "before I could sit down...bounded up the aisle toward me...walked up and leaned in within inches of my face...told me that he had been interviewed by the FBI who told him that the way he handled campaign contributions was not corrupt."
  • As for the following exchange, it needs to be quoted in full to believe:
He seemed not to understand, so I repeated the word "apologist." He then explained how he had gotten Virginia Dominion President Robert Blue and a solar chieftain together to try and work out their differences. I countered with the fact that the Sierra Club's climate and energy scorecard had given Senator Saslaw an overall grade of D, while three Republican delegates received B's.

"Well," Senator Saslaw huffed. "Everyone knows they're crazy!" He invited me to visit him in Richmond, then walked off.

Of course, when Saslaw talks about how "everyone knows," he's talking about the people corporate interests he hangs out with (lobbyists from Dominion, the Virginia Bankers Association, Verizon, the Beer Wholesalers, the Auto Dealers, the Trial Lawyers, the Wine Wholesalers, the Realtors, the coal companies, etc, etc.).

Bottom line: Dick Saslaw continues to represent the antithesis of where Virginia should be going on ethics legislation. He also should be an embarrassment to any Virginia Democrat with a moral compass. Sad to say - at least as far as I can determine - he remains as Majority Leader in large part due to his ability to raise s***-tons of money from Dominion Power and many other wealthy, powerful corporations. The problem, other than the massive ethics #FAIL of doing the bidding of companies who contribute huge sums of money to you, is that Saslaw's utterly incompetent in what he DOES with the money, such as blowing hundreds of thousands of dollars on an unwinnable special election for Phil Puckett's Senate seat in a 2:1 Cuccinelli district, or losing control of the State Senate in district lines drawn/approved by him. And that's not even counting the fact that Saslaw completely missed the embezzlement of $600,000 of his own money by trusted advisors. But, again, as Saslaw himself says, you can't legislate that kind of thing. So,  by that fascinating "reasoning," I guess Saslaw won't be pressing charges against the people who stole his money? Talk about "crazy."  

Discuss :: (4 Comments)
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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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