Early Voting for November Election Begins in Virginia

With Congressional elections about a month and a half away, Virginians who want to cast their ballots early can begin doing so.

Registered voters can cast their early ballots in person at the general registrar’s office for the jurisdiction in which they are registered, according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Elections. Some jurisdictions also offer satellite locations for early voting in addition to offering them at the general registrar’s office.

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Unmanned Aircraft Manufacturer to Build Plant in Manassas

RapidFlight, a new unmanned aircraft manufacturer backed by venture capital, will establish a base in Manassas, according to a Friday announcement.

RapidFlight’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jay Gundlach praised Virginia in the announcement: “Thanks to its central location on the East Coast, we can readily work face-to-face with our government customers while also leveraging Virginia’s Unmanned Systems’ infrastructure to conduct operations and test our systems, rapidly delivering new capabilities to our nation.”

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Virginia Partners with National Child ID Program

Virginia is partnering with the National Child ID program to provide ID kits for families to keep on hand if a child goes missing.

“As Attorney General, my biggest priority is keeping our children safe. That’s why I’m thrilled to join Virginia Tech legend Frank Beamer and launch the Virginia Child ID Program. The National Child ID Program is a free, easy, and effective tool to help Virginia parents prepare for the unimaginable,” Miyares said in the Thursday announcement.

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89 Percent of Virginia Schools Meet Accreditation Standards but Administration Says That Doesn’t Reflect Reality

The Virginia Department of Education released the first accreditation data for schools since COVID-19 began, and 89 percent of Virginia’s districts are fully accredited for the 2022 through 2023 year, three percent less than 92 percent in the 2019 through 2020 period. But Governor Glenn Youngkin’s administration isn’t celebrating the relatively small decrease; instead officials say that shows that accreditation standards don’t capture the reality of COVID-19 learning losses.

“These ratings call into question the effectiveness of our accreditation standards in identifying schools where students are struggling to achieve grade-level proficiency,” Superintendent of Public Education Jillian Balow said in a press release announcing the accreditation rate.

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Some Virginia School Districts Concerned About New Transgender Model Policies Draft

Some school districts are already signaling resistance to new draft model policies from the Virginia Department of Education that will repeal current model policies controlling school district transgender policy.

“We want to assure you that Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) will continue its commitment to both implement and develop gender affirming policies for all ACPS students. As a School Board and division, we are concerned with these ‘model policies’ that do not align with our mission, vision and core values to support all students and staff, in particular our core value of ensuring that we provide a welcoming environment for everyone in our school community,” Alexandria City Public Schools said in a letter to students, staff and families.

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Rep. Spanberger Cursed at Rep. Good After He Defended Youngkin Transgender Policy and Criticized ‘Grooming’

The monthly Virginia congressional delegation lunch with Governor Glenn Youngkin became contentious on Monday when conversation turned to the Virginia Department of Education’s new model policies to replace current transgender policies, eventually leading to Representative Bob Good (R-VA-05) defending the policies. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) cursed at Good, according to reports.

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Youngkin to Stump for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Kansas GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Derek Schmidt

Governor Glenn Youngkin will attend a meet and greet in Kansas Thursday with gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Derek Schmidt, stop in Texas Friday for an appearance at the Texas Tribune Festival, and then headline an event for Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on September 27. Republican governors campaigning for other Republicans are a normal feature of an election year with a number of high-profile races, but Youngkin’s national appearances have also raised questions about Youngkin’s aspirations for higher office, which Youngkin himself has largely brushed off.

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Youngkin Announces 2022 GO Virginia Grants

Four projects focused on business development and jobs growth won the 2022 Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grant awards totaling $1.2 million.

“GO Virginia allows us to invest in key projects that will enhance our economic growth by fostering workforce development and stimulating new business opportunities,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a Tuesday announcement. “These projects exemplify the innovative partnerships that GO Virginia grants were designed to promote, driving regional advancement and strengthening our Commonwealth.”

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Schools Across Virginia Targeted by Fake Reports of Active Shooters on Monday and Tuesday

Over a dozen school districts across Virginia were targeted by hoax reports of active shootings or other violence on Monday and Tuesday. That’s part of a broader wave of similar hoax calls targeting schools across the U.S.

“On Monday, Virginia State Police personnel responded to assist numerous local police and sheriff’s offices with reports of active shooters on school campuses,” Virginia State Police Public Relations Director Corinne Geller told The Virginia Star. “None of the threats were deemed valid, and the state police, through collaboration with the Virginia Fusion Center, is now working with those same local law enforcement agencies to investigate the source of the threats and to determine if there is any evidence to connect them.”

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Miyares, 50 Other Attorneys General Ask FCC to Expand Caller ID Authentication Requirement

Attorney General Jason Miyares signed a letter along with 50 other attorneys general requesting the Federal Commissions Communications to do more to address illegal robocalls. The attorneys general say robocalls often come from foreign actors who spoof Caller ID to show U.S.- based numbers, and ask the FCC to expand which call network providers are required to authenticate Caller ID.

“Robocalls aren’t just annoying – they are illegal tools used to take advantage of the most vulnerable in our communities. We have to do more to protect Virginians from these scammers, which is why I’m encouraging the FCC to require more robocall protection technology,” Miyares said in a release.

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Richmond Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Alleging That Virginia Violates Constitution by Permitting Fossil Fuel Production

A Richmond City Circuit Court judge dismissed a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Virginia from an environmental activism legal organization on Friday. In a lawsuit on behalf of 13 Virginia youth, Our Children’s Trust (OCT) argued that Virginia’s policies permitting fossil fuel production and use harmed the plaintiffs’ rights, but the judge agreed with the Office of the Attorney General’s argument that Virginia can’t be sued due to sovereign immunity doctrine, according to the AP.

“For decades, Defendants have implemented a policy and practice of approving permits for fossil fuel infrastructure in the Commonwealth of Virginia, including permits for the production, transport, and burning of fossil fuels. Defendants’ historic and ongoing permitting of fossil fuel infrastructure has, and continues to, cause dangerous levels of greenhouse gas pollution, including carbon dioxide,” the lawsuit complaint filed in February states.

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Regulator Approves Rate Increase for Dominion Energy Consumers to Compensate for Increased Fuel Costs

The State Corporation Commission approved a Dominion Energy request to increase the fuel factor charged to consumers, leading to $14.93 increase on an average monthly bill. In May, the utility requested the increase citing increased fuel costs.

In its order, the SCC said, “[T]he Commission notes its awareness of the ongoing rise in gas prices, inflation, and other economic pressures that are impacting all utility customers. We are sensitive to the effects of rate increases, especially in times such as these. The Commission, however, must follow the laws applicable to this case, as well as the findings of fact supported by the evidence in the record. This is what we have done herein.”

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Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin to Travel to Arizona to Endorse Kari Lake

Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin is planning to campaign on behalf of Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake.

Youngkin plans to travel to multiple states to endorse the Republican gubernatorial nominees such as Brian Kemp in Georgia and Tudor Dixon in Michigan.

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Lutron to Expand Presence in Virginia

Industrial and residential lighting controls manufacturer Lutron Electronics will invest $28.3 million to expand its presence in Hanover County, according to a Thursday announcement of a plan to build a 145,000 square foot manufacturing facility.

“Lutron has been a fixture here in Hanover County, Virginia for many years. It is exciting to see them invest in a manufacturing facility in our industrial park along Lakeridge Parkway and to have quality jobs created for the citizens of Hanover County and the Greater Richmond Region,” Hanover County Supervisor Faye Prichard said in a press release from the governor’s office.

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Youngkin Still Wants Commanders in Virginia, Path Unclear

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin wants the Washington Commanders to relocate to Virginia, but after funding plans fell apart during the last legislative session, the path forward is not yet clear.

“If the Commanders are going to relocate they should relocate to Virginia,” Youngkin recently said while visiting Annandale for a rally geared toward parents, according to ABC 7.

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Virginia Department of Education Publishes New Draft of Model Policies to Replace Transgender Model Policies

The Virginia Department of Education posted a new draft of model policies to replace the Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students. The draft policies published Friday include an emphasis on parental rights as a major shift away from a current emphasis on protecting students’ gender identity from people, including family, who may not be understanding.

The first point under the Guiding Principles section of the draft states, “Parents have the right to make decisions with respect to their children: Policies shall be drafted to safeguard parents’ rights with respect to their child, and to facilitate the exercise of those rights.”

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More than 100,000 Veterans Hired Through Virginia Program

More than 100,000 veterans have been hired through a Virginia program that educates and trains veterans and helps connect them with employers, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced.

Virginia Values Veterans, which is run by the Virginia Department of Veteran Services, started in 2012. According to a news release, the program works with employers to develop long-term strategies and best practices to recruit, hire and retain veterans. The department also works with more than 2,100 businesses, educational institutions and state and local government agencies.

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Virginia Board of Education Certifies Spotsylvania Superintendent Candidate

The Virginia Board of Education (BOE) voted six to two to certify Mark Taylor, allowing him to be appointed by the Spotsylvania School Board as superintendent.

Taylor’s opponents criticized his close ties to new board Chair Kirk Twigg, racial Facebook posts allegedly made by Taylor, and his application for licensure which didn’t include relevant experience as an educator, instead seeking to qualify under an option for candidates with a master’s degree, three years of experience in a senior leadership position, and a recommendation from a school board.

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Indoor Vertical Farm Company to Build Campus in Chesterfield

Plenty Unlimited, Inc., announced plans to invest $300 million to construct the world’s largest indoor vertical farming campus, which will be located in Chesterfield and is expected to have a strawberry farm completed in late 2023 or early 2024.

“At Plenty, we’re on a mission to sustainably grow fresh food for everyone, everywhere,” Plenty CEO Arama Kukutai said in a press release from the governor’s office. “This campus will raise the bar on what indoor vertical farming can deliver. The scale and sophistication of what we’re building here in Virginia will make it possible to economically grow a variety of produce with superior quality and flavor. We look forward to continuing to work in close partnership with the government of Virginia as we endeavor to rewrite the rules of agriculture.”

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Virginia to Issue $3.2 Million Tax Rebates Starting This Week

About 3.2 million Virginia tax filers will receive one-time rebates from the state’s Department of Taxation beginning at the end of the week, Tax Commissioner Craig Burns announced.

The department plans to do a soft launch Friday and Saturday, but will ramp up its production Monday.

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Secretary of Finance: Virginia’s August Tax Revenues Up 5.4 Percent, Economic Indicators Mixed

August General Fund tax revenues rose about 5.4 percent compared to August 2021 when adjusted for an extra deposit day this year. That’s a good sign but Secretary of Finance Stephen Cummings told legislators September’s data will be more significant for analysts and legislators who are trying to figure out what fiscal year 2023’s finances will look like.

“August collections exceeded projections, driven by employment and wage growth year-over-year,” Cummings said in a press release from the governor’s office.

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Youngkin, Wittman, Luria Attend Reagan Institute Roundtable on Domestic Manufacturing Competitiveness

The Ronald Reagan Institute held a round table hosted by Governor Glenn Youngkin and Representative Rob Wittman (R-VA-01), and attended by others including Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA-02). The Monday event held at Mount Vernon is part of the organization’s national effort to dialogue with business leaders and elected officials about a report from its Task Force on Manufacturing Competitiveness.

On Monday evening Youngkin said in a statement, “The Commonwealth of Virginia holds a vital role in bolstering U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and it’s a key priority of my administration. I want to thank the officials and legislators who worked on the Reagan Task Force report and convened today to address our workforce shortages, industrial capacity, supply chain resilience, address any deficiencies and brainstorm solutions for the betterment of the Commonwealth. Virginia is home to important defense contractors and more have moved their headquarters to the Commonwealth in the last year. Together, we can grow the Commonwealth’s defense economy and enhance Virginia’s defense manufacturing capabilities.”

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Court Recuses Commonwealth’s Attorney Biberaj in Criminal Case Against Parent Arrested at 2021 Loudoun School Board Meeting

Commonwealth Attorney Buta Biberaj

Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge James Plowman recused Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj from prosecuting a criminal case against Scott Smith, a parent who faces a disorderly conduct charge after being arrested at a June 2021 Loudoun County School Board meeting. While Plowman disagreed with Smith’s defense’s argument that there was…

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First Lady Youngkin Presents Spirit of Virginia Award to An Achievable Dream

First Lady Suzanne Youngkin presented the Spirit of Virginia Award to An Achievable Dream, an organization that partners with the Newport News, Virginia Beach, and Henrico school districts to operate six schools serving 2,000 students in total.

“Education is a critical component of opportunity for all and An Achievable Dream’s approach to caring for the whole student, supporting families, and setting high standards is unparalleled,” Youngkin said in a Wednesday press release. “When we honor Virginians who are changing lives for the better, we need look no further than the administrators and teachers in these schools.”

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Virginians Set to Get Student Loan Forgiveness, but Analysts Say the Policy Could Have Consequences

About 12.5% of Virginia residents owe some amount of student debt that could be reduced through President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, but some scholars are warning that the plan could have some negative consequences.

More than 1.08 million residents in the commonwealth owe money on their student loans and the average amount of debt per borrower is one of the highest in the country. According to the Education Data Initiative, the average borrower owes more than $39,000, which is the fourth highest rate in the country. In total, Virginians owe about $42.4 billion in student debt.

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Virginia Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Cluster Gets $52.9 Million in Grants from Build Back Better Regional Challenge

Virginia’s advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing (APM) cluster will receive $52.9 million in grants as one of 21 winners in the federal Build Back Regional Challenge, according to the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

“After meeting with the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership and pushing the Department of Commerce to support this project, I am thrilled to see the Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Cluster Growth Hub named one of the American Rescue Plan Build Back Better Regional Challenge winners,” Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) said in a September 2 press release. “This support will continue to strengthen the foundation and accelerate the growth of pharmaceutical manufacturing in the United States. As a proud supporter of the American Rescue plan, I am glad to see that Virginia continues to reap the benefits through job creation and economic growth.”

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Virginia Beach Delays Vote on Plastic Bag Tax Until December

A proposal to impose a 5-cent plastic bag tax will not receive a vote in Virginia Beach until Dec. 6, which is a little less than one month after the midterm elections.

The Virginia Beach City Council voted 8-1 to delay the vote. The tax would apply to disposal bags provided to shoppers at grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies. It would not apply to plastic used for wrapping or used to prevent damage or contamination.

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Youngkin Highlights New State Tax Deduction on Military Retirement Benefits

Governor Glenn Youngkin held a ceremonial signing highlighting legislation from State Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) and Delegate John McGuire (R-Goochland) that creates a state tax deduction on military retirement income.

“As part of my Day One Game Plan, I’ve pledged to fight for a reduction in military veteran retirement pay taxation, and today, we are delivering on that promise. This is a great step toward making Virginia the most veteran-friendly state in the country. As we near the anniversary of 9/11, I feel honored to support our service members in this way. I want to thank the legislators for their incredible work as we continue to advocate for our military-connected communities, veterans, and their families,” Youngkin said in a press release Friday.

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Attorney General Miyares Creates Election Integrity Unit

Attorney General Jason Miyares has created a 20-member Election Integrity Unit within the Office of the Attorney General [OAG]; the unit will investigate and prosecute violations of election law, provide legal guidance, and work with law enforcement to protect election purity.

“I pledged during the 2021 campaign to work to increase transparency and strengthen confidence in our state elections. It should be easy to vote, and hard to cheat. The Election Integrity Unit will work to help to restore confidence in our democratic process in the Commonwealth,” Miyares said in a press release.

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Election Integrity Watchdog John Mills and Del. Tim Anderson React to Indictment of Former Prince William County Registrar

 Attorney General Jason Miyares announced Wednesday that a grand jury has chosen to bring two felony and one misdemeanor charge for incidents occurring around the time of the 2020 election against former Prince William County Registrar Michele White. 

“First of all, proper investigations, we shouldn’t know what’s going on exactly, you know, as opposed to when some certain folks do investigations there’s a leak every thirty seconds,” said John Mills, director and founder of the National Election Integrity Association.

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Ex-Virginia Election Official Charged with Corruption Related to 2020 Election

The former registrar in one of Virginia’s most important electoral counties has been indicted for corruption and false statements related to the 2020 election, Attorney General Jason Miyares announced Wednesday.

Ex-Prince William County voter registrar Michele White is charged with two felony counts alleging corrupt conduct as an election official and making a false statement, and one misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of duty by an elected official, Miyares said.

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Virginia Gets $16.61 Million in Agreement with JUUL After Investigation into Marketing Targeted at Youth

Virginia will get $16.61 million over six to ten years as part of a $438.5 million agreement in principle with JUUL after an investigation into whether the e-cigarette manufacturer marketed its products to underage users.

“Youth vaping is an epidemic, and from the get-go JUUL has been a leader in the e-cigarette industry. But JUUL targeted young people with deceptive social media advertising campaigns and misled the public about the product’s dangers. My office will continue to go after and hold accountable companies that market addictive products like e-cigarettes to minors, with no concern for their health or well-being,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a press release announcing the agreement.

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Special Election to Replace Del. Keam Set for January 10

Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) called a special election in House District 35; the winner of the election will finish out former Delegate Mark Keam’s (D-Fairfax) term after he took a job with the Biden administration. In a Wednesday press release, Gilbert said he had signed the Writ of Election for January 10, which is the day before the 2023 General Assembly session convenes.

“This date not only gives the voters of the district an adequate opportunity to examine the candidates, but also ensures that the 35th District will have a voice in the 2023 Regular Session,” he said.

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General Assembly Leaves Vacancy on State Corporation Commission, Senate Republicans Object to Judge with Ties to Loudoun Prosecutor

RICHMOND, Virginia — The General Assembly reconvened for one day on Wednesday to elect four judges to circuit, district, and juvenile courts, but didn’t fill a vacancy on the three-member State Corporation Commission. Senate Republicans abstained on one vote to appoint current District Court Judge Matthew Parke Snow to the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court. Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) criticized Snow’s links to Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj.

Snow and Biberaj used to practice criminal defense and civil law together in Leesburg. Biberaj has come under fire from Republicans for embracing a progressive prosecutorial philosophy.

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Delegate Keam Resigns to Join Biden Administration

Delegate Mark Keam (D-Fairfax) resigned to take an unspecified role in the Biden administration, and two Democrats have already announced their candidacies for an expected special election to complete his term in the Democrat-favoring district.

“Today, Delegate Mark Keam announced that he has resigned from the General Assembly. We thank Mark for more than a decade of public service in the House of Delegates and honor the history he made as the first Asian-born immigrant and the first Korean American elected to any state-level office in Virginia,” Fairfax County Democratic Committee Chair Bryan Graham said in a Tuesday press release.

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Railroad Ridership on Virginia-Supported Routes Hit All-Time High in July

After adding more routes in Virginia, ridership on four state-supported Amtrak routes hit all-time highs in July, beating pre-pandemic levels with 110,256 passengers.

“These numbers make it very clear – Virginians want more passenger rail to be a part of their transportation network,” Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VRPA) Chief Operating Officer Mike McLaughlin said in a press release. “With the launch of two new roundtrips and the resumption of another, we know that rail works for the Commonwealth and look forward to further expanding service throughout the state.”

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Miyares, National Attorneys General Association Call for Authority to Enforce Consumer Protection Laws Against Airlines

Attorney General Jason Miyares and 36 other attorneys general want Congress to grant them power to enforce consumer protection laws against airlines; on Wednesday the National Association of Attorneys General sent a letter to Congressional leaders saying that the U.S. Department of Transportation has failed to protect airline customers under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Miyares said in a press release, “Flying is essential to millions of Virginians and helps support both our state and national economies, which means that consumer confidence in the air travel experience has significant economic impact. For years, the federal government has failed to spur the U.S. Department of Transportation to effectively and efficiently respond to consumer complaints and state attorneys general have little to no authority to hold airline companies accountable when they break the law and abuse consumers. Congress must discuss possible legislation that provides more consistent and fair enforcement mechanisms for consumer violations to protect Virginians that are heavily reliant on the airline industry for personal and professional travel.”

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Miyares, National Attorneys General Association Call for Authority to Enforce Consumer Protection Laws Against Airlines

Attorney General Jason Miyares and 36 other attorneys general want Congress to grant them power to enforce consumer protection laws against airlines; on Wednesday the National Association of Attorneys General sent a letter to Congressional leaders saying that the U.S. Department of Transportation has failed to protect airline customers under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Miyares said in a press release, “Flying is essential to millions of Virginians and helps support both our state and national economies, which means that consumer confidence in the air travel experience has significant economic impact. For years, the federal government has failed to spur the U.S. Department of Transportation to effectively and efficiently respond to consumer complaints and state attorneys general have little to no authority to hold airline companies accountable when they break the law and abuse consumers. Congress must discuss possible legislation that provides more consistent and fair enforcement mechanisms for consumer violations to protect Virginians that are heavily reliant on the airline industry for personal and professional travel.”

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Railroad Ridership on Virginia-Supported Routes Hit All-Time High in July

After adding more routes in Virginia, ridership on four state-supported Amtrak routes hit all-time highs in July, beating pre-pandemic levels with 110,256 passengers.

“These numbers make it very clear – Virginians want more passenger rail to be a part of their transportation network,” Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VRPA) Chief Operating Officer Mike McLaughlin said in a press release. “With the launch of two new roundtrips and the resumption of another, we know that rail works for the Commonwealth and look forward to further expanding service throughout the state.”

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Caught on Camera: George Mason University Students for Life Harassed by Pro-Abortion Student

In videos obtained by Campus Reform, a pro-abortion individual at George Mason University (GMU) is seen allegedly stalking the Students for Life (SFL) chapter during its Wednesday club fair in an attempt to deter the group’s ability to recruit.

The videos show the individual in a heated debate with Students for Life Regional Coordinator Gavin Oxley and disposing of the chapter’s recruitment material.

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Alliance Defending Freedom Requests Injunction Blocking Harrisonburg City School’s Transgender Policy

The Alliance Defending Freedom is seeking a temporary injunction blocking the Harrisonburg City Public School’s transgender policy from going into effect while the conservative legal group’s lawsuit against the district’s school board goes forward.

In June, a group of HCPS parents and students represented by the ADF sued the district over its policy; the plaintiffs are focused on requirements that staff use preferred pronouns and protect students’ privacy from their own parents.

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Virginia Nurse Files Lawsuit Alleging CVS Fired Her for Refusing to Administer ‘Abortion-Causing Drugs’

The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit alleging that the CVS-owned MinuteClinic fired nurse practitioner Paige Casey from her northern Virginia job after Casey refused to violate her religious beliefs and provide “abortion-causing drugs.”

“Casey’s religious objection never posed an issue to coworkers, patients, or supervisors, and just two days before she was fired, she received a merit-based pay increase. For three and a half years, CVS respected Casey’s religious beliefs by allowing her to decline to provide or facilitate the use of abortion-inducing drugs. But in January, CVS informed her that they would no longer accommodate her faith and fired her a few months later—directly violating Virginia’s Conscience Clause,” the ADF said in a press release.

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Virginia AG Probing 2020 Election Irregularities as Records Are About to Be Destroyed

The Virginia attorney general’s office is investigating 2020 election irregularities nearly two years later as the 22-month waiting period required under federal law to preserve election records ends Saturday and state law requires the records to be destroyed after Labor Day.

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Virginia Law Enforcement Launches Annual Holiday DUI Enforcement Campaign

Virginia law enforcement is kicking off its annual holiday-season DUI enforcement campaign over Labor Day weekend. The rebranded campaign, now called Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, is a combination of a public awareness campaign and high-visibility enforcement.

“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over reflects a shared commitment to stop impaired driving at the source,” Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Acting Commissioner Linda Ford said in a press release from the governor’s office. “The message to Virginians is simple: If you’re old enough to drink, act like it. Do your part to save lives.”

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Virginia Supreme Court Allows Loudoun County Schools Grand Jury Investigation to Proceed

Attorney General Jason Miyares’ grand jury investigation into the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) can go forward after the Virginia Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit from the school board seeking to block the investigation.

In a Friday opinion, the Supreme Court said the only grounds for blocking the injunction would be under a violation of the Virginia Constitution, which grants authority to school boards to oversee schools.

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Youngkin Signs Executive Order Focused on Teacher Shortage, Launches Pilot Program Centered Around Student Learning Loss

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed his third executive directive as part of an announcement of his administration’s efforts to address teacher shortages; at the same event in Stafford County, Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera announced the Bridging the Gap Initiative, aimed at addressing learning losses.

“So when we have a shortage of teachers and we’re trying to bridge the gap, we’ve got to work extra hard in order to close the gap of teachers as well,” Youngkin said, emphasizing the importance of in-person learning within the context of learning losses.

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Youngkin Administration Will Repeal RGGI Involvement by the End of 2023

Acting Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles said the Youngkin administration is planning to complete repeal of Virginia’s involvement in a greenhouse gas regulatory program by the end of 2023.

“The administration will put forth in the coming weeks a notice of intended regulatory action, or NOIRA, which will repeal the trading rule and end Virginia’s participation in RGGI [Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative]. This NOIRA will set the stage for a full administrative process act, or APA, regulatory action,” Voyles said at a Wednesday meeting of the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board.

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Del. Anderson Wants General Assembly to Create Book Content Ratings

Delegate Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) wants to create a ratings system for books sold in Virginia, according to comments he made after a court dismissed an obscenity lawsuit against Barnes and Noble and Virginia Beach Public Schools.

“Every other medium has ratings associated with them, such as movies, music and video games,” Anderson said in a Tuesday statement. “Creating a rating system that warns purchasers and consumers that books contain strong sexual content will be a first step for the legislature to look into and I intend to start that conversation next year.”

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Youngkin’s Job Approval, Favorability Ratings Positive in New Poll

Governor Glenn Youngkin has a 55 percent job approval rating according to a new poll from Roanoke College, up from 53 percent in May. Opinions about President Joe Biden, former Governor Ralph Northam, and former President Donald Trump have all increased as well.

“The main ‘good news’ in this poll is that sentiment toward government officials and their job approval is up,” Institute for Policy and Opinion Research Director Dr. David Taylor said in a press release accompanying the poll results. “The country may now be moving in a more positive direction based on what respondents say even though people are still not happy.”

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Hanover County School Board Passes Transgender Policy Crafted with Help from Conservative Legal Group

The Hanover County School Board passed a transgender policy crafted with help from conservative legal group the Alliance Defense Fund. The policy includes an extensive process for transgender students to request access to their preferred bathroom, including allowing the board to request the student’s criminal history documents.

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