Wise County Public School’s (WCPS) pilot program with SpaceX Starlink to provide satellite internet to rural students has been a success so far, and area officials and legislators are considering expanding the program to neighboring counties. In an April 8 press conference WCPS Director of Technology Scott Kiser provided an update on the program which has helped 45 homes with close to 100 students.Read More
A bill that would limit the ability of Big Tech platforms like Facebook and YouTube to ban political candidates passed the Senate Appropriations Committee Monday, and will head to the Senate floor.
SB 7072, which according to its summary is aimed at “prohibiting a social media platform from knowingly deplatforming a candidate,” along with establishing civil liability guidelines for companies that do deplatorm candidates, passed the Committee with a 10-9 vote.Read More
The Roanoke City Council is seeking more information and public input before making a decision on a 5-cent single-use plastic bag tax. In a public hearing at Monday evening’s city council meeting, only three speakers spoke, all in favor of the tax. Council members also expressed support for the idea, but worried that the tax would harm businesses and low-income consumers, and might not address the problem of plastic bag pollution.Read More
All Virginians 16 years old and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as of Sunday.
“Over the past few months, we have made tremendous progress vaccinating Virginians as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible, and we need to keep up the good work,” Governor Ralph Northam said in a press release.Read More
General Assembly Republicans renewed calls for a special session to investigate the Virginia Parole Board (VPB) after media obtained recordings of a call held last summer between Northam administration officials and State Inspector General Michael Westfall.
House of Delegates Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) said in a Monday press release, “The recording of the meeting between the Office of State Inspector General and Governor [Ralph] Northam’s team explains why the Governor’s budget amendment only called for an investigation of OSIG, and not the Parole Board. The Governor’s office doesn’t think the Parole Board did anything wrong.”Read More
Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam amended a previous executive order to ease up on COVID-19 restrictions, effective on April 1, allowing up to 50 people to gather for indoor events and up to 100 people to gather for outdoor events. However, Virginia Polytechnic Institute announced it would not follow these guidelines but maintain previous restrictions that limit indoor gathering to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 50 people.
Alyssa Jones, president of the Turning Point USA chapter at Virginia Tech, contacted her school following Northam’s announcement that he would ease COVID-19 restrictions.
In a March 23 email obtained by Campus Reform, Student Engagement and Campus Life told Jones that “after April 1st groups are permitted to have up to 50 people in attendance for indoor events.”Read More
A key Senate panel Wednesday amended a controversial bill imposing a range of restrictions on the state’s vote-by-mail (VBM) laws but did not vote on the measure after an exhaustive debate.
The Senate Rules Committee ran out of time before it could issue a verdict on Senate Bill 90 during a fiery marathon meeting that began with an hours’-long fracas over a proposed bill preempting local governments from regulating ports in areas “of critical state concern.”
Committee chair Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, concluded the meeting without calling for a vote on SB 90, saying the panel could take up the measure in its Friday meeting or next week. The bill was not on panel’s Friday agenda as of Thursday afternoon.Read More
The College Republicans of Liberty University hosted a forum for the Republican candidates for Governor of Virginia. Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), State Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), Colonel Sergio De La Pena, Glenn Youngkin, and Peter Doran participated in the forum that was held at Thomas Road Baptist Church. The candidates were well prepared and measured as the 100+ person plus room listened intently.Read More
The Vera Institute of Justice announced that Arlington County and Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and St. Louis, Missouri Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner would be the first of ten new prosecutors in a program designed to provide support and training to cut criminal justice racial disparity by 20 percent.
“The Vera Institute of Justice will provide assistance with data analysis, staff training, community engagement, and policy support to expand the offices’ understanding of the criminal legal system’s history of racial injustice and guide them on a path toward a more equitable future,” a Vera Institute press release states.Read More
When Black Lives Matter (BLM) blocked a Minnesota man from his home, police intervened — arresting the man.
BLM protested Saturday outside the home of a county attorney responsible for bringing charges against former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter, who recently shot Daunte Wright, apparently by accident. The protest was designed to pressure the attorney into upgrading Potter’s existing second-degree manslaughter charge to a murder charge.Read More
Loudoun Parents for Education (LPE) is launching a recall effort targeting six out of nine school board members as the latest in a conflict between parents and school leadership. On Tuesday, LPE launched the Fight for Schools PAC to engage in campaign-style efforts to change the school district, according to Fox News.Read More
U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner introduced federal gun control legislation Thursday to mirror some of the laws that recently passed their home state of Virginia.
The policies include expanding background checks, limiting handgun purchases and enacting red flag laws at a national level. The senators are calling the legislation the Virginia Plan to Reduce Gun Violence Act.
“Virginia knows all too well the heartbreaking consequences of gun violence,” Warner and Kaine said in a joint statement. “We’ve seen it in the tragedies of Virginia Tech and Virginia Beach and the countless drive-by shootings, domestic violence, and suicides by firearm across the country. We’re proud of the Commonwealth for leading the way to advance gun reform; now it’s time for Congress to save lives.”Read More
Chincoteague-Island-based Lighthouse Fellowship Church (LFC) has filed a second opening brief in a lawsuit against Governor Ralph Northam over 10-person capacity limits instituted in Spring 2020. Although Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled that the church couldn’t sue the governor and that the case was moot since Northam had ended the capacity restriction, Liberty Counsel argues on behalf of the church that Wright was mistaken.Read More
The Middle Resolution PAC announced Friday that it is supporting Glenn Youngkin for governor, Winsome Sears for lieutenant governor, and Jason Miyares for attorney general in the Virginia elections in November. “Republicans in Virginia have excellent choices for statewide office this year. As Virginians, we can be proud of…Read More
Virginia hospitals saw a 10 percent decrease in inpatient volumes in 2020 and a 30 percent decrease in emergency department visits, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA). On Wednesday, VHHA staff held a virtual press conference presenting an update on hospitalization and emergency department visit trends. Hospitalization data does not show a COVID-19-lockdown baby boom, but rather a decrease in usage of hospital pregnancy services when compares to previous years. On the other hand, inpatient discharge data shows an increase in treatment of alcohol, drug use, and related mental disorders, a trend that began before COVID-19.Read More
As the country emerges from COVID-19 restrictions, small businesses are doing better, according to a March report from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). However, uncertainty about the next few months for business owners is still high, and businesses are having trouble finding qualified workers to fill positions.
“Virginia’s small businesses are working hard on their recovery but are struggling to find the right workers to fill open positions,” NFIB Virginia State Director Nicole Riley said in a Wednesday press releaseRead More
In dramatic final day of Derek Chauvin’s trial for second and third degree murder of George Floyd, Chauvin invoked his Fifth Amendment right remain silent during his own trial.
After a series of questions and answers between Chauvin and his attorney Eric Nelson, confirming for the court’s record that Chauvin understood his Fifth Amendment rights, and was exercising them on his own accord, the former Minneapolis Police officer decided he would not take the stand.Read More
LYNCHBURG, Virginia – The Equity for Africa Summit hosted by the Liberty University School of Business and the Freedom Center came to a close Thursday. On the final day, African business and African government representatives had the opportunity to sit one-on-one with over 30 American businesses and CEOs. The…Read More
Gubernatorial candidate Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) agrees that schools need to be reopened immediately. But he says that’s not enough — policymakers need to address learning losses. Districts like Fairfax County have reported spikes in failing grades. Parents and medical studies have expressed concern over the long-term harms caused by a year of virtual learning. Cox is calling for tutoring programs to help students recover academically, and he says he is willing to be one of those tutors.Read More
Per the Code of the Commonwealth of Virginia, all campaigns must have their Campaign Finance Report filed with the State Board of Elections by 11:59PM Thursday. These reports give voters a behind-the-scenes look on how candidates run their campaigns, who is giving them money, and how the candidates are spending their campaign cash.
According to public reports available as of press time, former Carlyle Group CEO Glenn Youngkin has out-raised the Republican field for Governor. Youngkin filed a sizable return, reporting $7.6 million in raised funds. However, he did not post yet how much cash on hand (COH) he has. Former New Media Strategies CEO and Youngkin’s main opponent Pete Snyder, meanwhile, raised $6.4 million – but also with no report yet on his cash on hand.Read More
The Virginia Department of Education announced a new set of guidelines for school reopening, the result of a workgroup created in February. The guidelines include recommendations for remediating learning loss, note that virtual learning doesn’t work for every students, calls for special attention for vulnerable populations, and say that more staff may be needed to keep student-teacher ratios low.Read More
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput announced Wednesday that the police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center will be charged with second degree manslaughter.
Kimberly Potter resigned from her post Tuesday after she shot and killed Wright during a struggle Sunday. She worked as a police officer for 26 years.Read More
With the 2021 Republican Party of Virginia Unassembled State Convention creeping closer and closer, Republican candidate for Governor Pete Snyder made his way to the Star City on Tuesday night to feed convention-goers and engage in a little retail politics.
Snyder, the former New Media Strategies CEO and longtime leader in the Republican Party of Virginia, bounced out of the car at Starkey Park to greet attendees. Syder’s Communications Director Lenze Morris – an alumnus of Governor Kay Ivey (R-Alabama) – and Republican Party of Virginia Western Regional Vice Chairman and Snyder’s Political Director Daniel Webb quietly watched as the candidate made his rounds.Read More
The Equity for Africa Summit continued today at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. The summit is hosted by the LU School of Business and the Freedom Center. The purpose for the summit is to connect African heads of state, African businesses and officials with American business leaders.
The bulk of the summit today were breakout sessions where African leaders and African businesses pitched their projects to American businesses, private financial institutions, and the US Government. There are 10 African nations and over 30 American businesses, mostly represented by CEOs, attending the Equity for Africa Summit.Read More
New polling data shows former Governor Terry McAuliffe in the lead with 42 percent, while his closest opponents, Jennifer Carroll Foy and Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) both had 8 percent support, while 29 percent of voters remain undecided. Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax and Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manasses) came in with seven percent and four percent respectively, placing all the candidates except McAuliffe within range of each other, given the 4.3 percent margin of error. Public Policy Polling conducted the interviews of 526 likely Democratic primary voters on April 12 and 13.Read More
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has followed through on plans to grant Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj a smaller funding increase than requested. On April 6, the supervisors finalized the budget that only approves adding four positions for the office. Biberaj had asked for up to 12 new positions, but supervisors worried about high turnover within the office and said their constituents were complaining about Biberaj not taking enough domestic violence cases to trial, leaving women victim’s in danger.Read More
Former U.S. Congressman (R-VA-07) and Dean of the Liberty University School of Business, Dr. David Brat, PhD., welcomed honored guests with a reception and dinner for Equity for Africa, a global business and faith summit. Dr. Brat was joined on stage by surprise special guest, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“Greater development improves security for all of us. It is a collective set of security issues that are threatening not only Africa, but the northern part of Africa through the Middle East,” Pompeo said.Read More
Stand Up Virginia held a rally outside the Fairfax County Government Center on Tuesday evening announcing the launch of an effort to recall Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano. About 75 people attended the event, according to Stand Up Virginia President Brenda Tillett, who said she had also heard from supporters who couldn’t attend due to government jobs.Read More
State Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) announced this morning that she is running for the United States House of Representatives. Kiggans, a first term State Senator, will challenge two-term Congresswoman Elaine Luria for Virginia’s Second District Congressional seat.Read More
Virginia has awarded $6.3 million worth of grants designed to spur economic growth, which includes workforce development grants, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday.
The money will be dispersed among 15 projects, which include workforce development, site development and infrastructure, entrepreneurial ecosystems and COVID-19 recovery efforts. This includes eight regional GO Virginia projects and seven funded through the GO Virginia’s Economic Resilience and Recovery Program.Read More
The Virginia State Police (VSP) are investigating the December traffic stop of Army officer Lieutenant Caron Nazario, who was pepper sprayed by officers from the Town of Windsor, according to press releases from Town Manager William Saunders. In a Sunday evening press release, Saunders announced that Officer Joe Gutierrez, one of the officers from the stop, had been fired. The incident has become a subject of statements by candidates for public office. It has also drawn the attention of Governor Ralph Northam, who said he was ordering a VSP investigation, and Attorney General Mark Herring.Read More
Republican candidate for Governor Glenn Youngkin made a campaign stop in Roanoke over the weekend. Youngkin, former Carlyle Group CEO, was the guest of Dr. Nancy V. Dye and Dr. Kevin Dye at their home, the historic Rockledge manor.Read More
Progressive non-profit Clean Virginia announced its endorsement of gubernatorial candidate Jennifer Carrol Foy, backed by a pledge of $500,000 from the group’s PAC. Clean Virginia, known for its anti-utility advocacy, features a pledge for politicians to declare they will not accept campaign money from or own stock in Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power.Read More
Virginia will distribute $270,000 in farmland preservation grants to five localities, Gov. Ralph Northam’s office announced this week.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been reminded how important Virginia’s farms are to getting food into our stores and onto our tables,” Northam said in a statement. “In addition to being a vital part of our history, agriculture is central to our growing economy and maintaining the outstanding quality of life we enjoy in our Commonwealth. Partnering with local governments to preserve critical working landscapes and protect our abundant natural resources is key to maximizing the conservation impact of state funds.”
The commonwealth will use the Purchase of Development Rights programs to match local government funding to permanently preserve farmland. The program gives incentives to landowners who protect their working lands and it lets localities limit development on priority farm and forest land.Read More
Every year, the U.S. Congress holds an art competition for high school students sponsored by the Congressional Institute; winners are selected from each congressional district and their art is displayed in the Capitol for the next year.
“The Artistic Discovery Contest is an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in the nation, as well as in our congressional district,” states an announcement from Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA-03).Read More
Governor Ralph Northam endorsed his predecessor to be his successor. Gubernatorial candidate and former Governor Terry McAuliffe received Northam’s endorsement in a week with several key gubernatorial endorsements. On Thursday, the governor appeared with the former governor in Norfolk.
“We need a leader that can continue this progress. We need a leader that will bring us out of COVID-19, a leader that will help small businesses. A leader that will promote equity in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Terry McAuliffe will do that,” Northam said.Read More
According to a doctor called by prosecutors to testify in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, the potentially fatal levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine in George Floyd’s body at the time of his arrest were not the cause of his death.
Dr. Martin Tobin of Chicago said a “low-level of oxygen” caused by Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground during his arrest “caused damage to his brain that we see, and it also caused a PEA arrhythmia that caused his heart to stop.”Read More
Gubernatorial candidate Pete Snyder appeared on a Fox Business segment with Maria Bartiromo on Thursday, where he discussed reopening schools, reopening the economy, and criticized legislators for legalizing marijuana.Read More
Former Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene is suing the City of Portsmouth and Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), along with several other civic leaders and current and former city officials. Former City Manager Lydia Pettis-Patton placed Greene on leave in the wake of a June protest at the Portsmouth monument that led to Greene’s department filing felony charges, later dropped, against Lucas. Greene was finally terminated in November. Her lawsuit bundles multiple complaints against multiple figures.Read More
Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) is firing more claims of corruption at her gubernatorial opponent Pete Snyder and Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) officials, based on Snyder’s campaign hiring staffers with roles in the RPV. Snyder’s campaign and some RPV officials say the claims are baseless.Read More
Democrats approved Governor Ralph Northam’s proposal for an investigation into a 2020 investigation of the Virginia Parole Board. In Wednesday’s veto session, legislators passed a Northam budget amendment funding a $250,000 investigation into the 2020 Vincent Martin parole investigation. Although both Republicans and Democrats have been calling for a new investigation, Republicans said the proposal was too narrow and criticized the decision to allow the Attorney General any oversight.Read More
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia Justin Fairfax, a Democrat, and State Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) are not backing down from a fight with fellow Democrat and former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Fairfax is one of the many candidates who is locked in a fiercely competitive primary with McAuliffe; which includes…Read More
Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears announced that she is asking for Virginia to remove the “mask mandate” that has been instituted by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. In a video posted to Facebook, former Delegate Sears announced that she will be publicly calling for Governor Northam to remove the mandate to wear a face mask to enter Virginia businesses, open schools, and open Virginia businesses at full capacity.Read More
RICHMOND, Virginia Simple possession of up to one ounce of marijuana will be legal in Virginia, effective July 1. On Wednesday, the Virginia General Assembly approved Governor Ralph Northam’s proposal to expedite legalization from 2024 to later this year. But legislators warned that doesn’t mean there will be a marijuana free-for-all.Read More
The Roanoke City Council is considering a five-cent tax on disposable plastic bags, like grocery store or convenience store bags. On Monday, the Council agreed to schedule a public hearing on April 19.
The tax was legalized by the 2020 General Assembly. HB 534, introduced by Delegate Betsy Carr (D-Richmond), and SB 11, introduced by Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), authorize localities to enact five-cent taxes on disposable plastic bags and require the localities to use revenue from the tax for environmental cleanup and to provide re-usable bags.Read More
The five Democratic candidates for governor met for the first televised debate on Tuesday evening where they discussed issues including the economic crisis, gun violence, marijuana legalization, the Virginia Parole Board, and vaccine hesitancy. For the most part, the candidates stuck to discussing their own policies, but occasionally turned to attack perceived front-runner McAuliffe.Read More
In Virginia’s first full month of legal gambling, the commonwealth’s sportsbooks took in about $265.8 million in wagers, which is the second largest sum for any state in its first full month.
Legalized gambling began in mid-January, taking in $58.9 million that month. In the 28 days of February, the state more than quadrupled that number. The per-day amount of money spent on wagers nearly doubled from $5.4 million in January to $9.5 million in February. The per-day jump is the largest any state has seen in one month.
“The enthusiasm from bettors will eventually settle down, and sportsbooks will pull back a bit from this heavy promotional period,” Jessica Welman, an analyst for PlayVirignia, said in a statement. PlayVirginia is an organization that provides analysis on the gaming industry in the commonwealth.Read More
After the State Corporation Commission (SCC) denied Appalachian Power Company (APC) a rate increase, the company is appealing to the Virginia Supreme Court, according to a notice of appeal filed with the SCC Monday. The company requested a rate change last year, but the SCC has reiterated its denial of the request on March 26.Read More
An equestrian center is suing Fairfax County over a dispute about whether the center should be deemed agricultural in nature and therefore exempt from certain regulations.
Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City, is providing the center with legal representation. Petersen is the chair of the senate’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
Virginia law prohibits local governments from interfering with farming activities on land zoned as agricultural. Yet, the county is trying to subject the Harmony Hills Equestrian Center to urban code requirements and ordinary commercial property requirements because it does not consider the center to be a farm.Read More
While the General Assembly passed some landmark progressive legislation in the 2021 session, including a death penalty repeal, one expected criminal justice reform died at the last minute. Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax and Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) renewed calls for ending mandatory minimum sentences, except for murder of law enforcement officers, at a Monday press conference.Read More