Attorney General’s Report: Virginia Parole Board Broke the Law, Abused Power in March 2020 Parole Board Releases

A report from the Attorney General Jason Miyares’ office says the Virginia Parole Board violated state law governing victim and prosecutor notifications and had a “culture of ignoring the Virginia Code, Parole Board policies, and administrative procedures,” while accelerating the rate of releases in March 2020. Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment, Jr. (R-James City) responded to the report by requesting Judge Adrianne Bennett, who was Parole Board chair, to resign.

“Under Chair Adrianne Bennett, the Virginia Parole Board endangered public safety and abused its power by releasing dozens of violent felons against Parole Board policies, and frequently in clear violation of a court order or Virginia law,” Attorney General Miyares said in a press release announcing the report. “Judge Bennett’s brazen abuse of her power put Virginians’ safety at risk so that she could promote a criminal-first, victim-last agenda without regard for victims or their safety.”

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Pioneering Law Professor Offers Legal Strategy for Virginia Students Denied National Merit Award Notices

As Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares investigates potential civil rights violations in the widespread withholding of timely National Merit Scholar award notifications to students in suburban Washington, D.C., possibly on “equity” grounds, a local law professor known for public health crusades is floating a novel legal strategy for aggrieved students. George Washington University’s John Banzhaf says Virginia courts this century have recognized a “somewhat obscure” class of legal claims known as “prima facie torts” that don’t depend on difficult-to-prove allegations such as intentional infliction of emotional distress or racial discrimination.

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Guns of America Official Criticizes Miyares over Legal Defense in Background Check Lawsuit

Speakers at a pro-gun rally at the Virginia Capitol on Monday criticized some Republican politicians, including Attorney General Jason Miyares, whose office is defending a lawsuit over Virginia’s universal background check laws.

“Democrats might not actually be the roadblock. The roadblock might be Republicans that think that they have the base. There’s something called, ‘The Lesser of Two Evils Fallacy.’ It says that I’m not as bad as the other person, so therefore I’m going to get the votes of my base. We have to get rid of that. If a Republican goes anti-gun, we have to primary them,” Guns of America (GOA) Special Projects Coordinator John Crump said in a speech.

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Miyares Launches Two-Pronged Investigation into Thomas Jefferson High School

Attorney General Jason Miyares announced Wednesday a civil rights investigation into Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology amid allegations that school officials suppressed student merit awards until after college early application periods.

“My office will investigate whether the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology administration’s withholding of National Merit Scholarship honors from students violated the Virginia Human Rights Act,” he wrote in a letter to Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid and TJ Principal Ann Bonitatibus, warning that he planned to issue subpoenas if the officials don’t cooperate.

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Youngkin Calls for Investigation into Thomas Jefferson High School After Allegations That School Downplayed Student Awards

Governor Glenn Youngkin has asked Attorney General Jason Miyares to investigate the administration at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology after allegations that officials downplayed student National Merit awards until after early selection college deadlines.

“We need to get to the bottom of what appears to be an egregious, deliberate attempt to disadvantage high-performing students at one of the best schools in the country,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a Tuesday press release. “Parents and students deserve answers and Attorney General Miyares will initiate a full investigation. I believe this failure may have caused material harm to those students and their parents, and that this failure may have violated the Virginia Human Rights Act.”

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Youngkin Bans TikTok on State Devices, WiFi

Governor Glenn Youngkin banned TikToK and WeChat on state devices and WiFi on Friday, the same day Attorney General Jason Miyares signed on to a letter asking Google and Apple to change TikTok age ratings to reflect content on the platform.

“TikTok and WeChat data are a channel to the Chinese Communist Party, and their continued presence represents a threat to national security, the intelligence community, and the personal privacy of every single American,” Youngkin said in a press release announcing his executive order.

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Air Pollution Board Advances Repeal of Virginia Participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

The Virginia Air Pollution Control Board voted four to one with two abstentions on Wednesday to advance a regulatory repeal of the Commonwealth’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), with completion targeted for the end of 2023.

The program requires utilities in participating states to bid on carbon allowances, and withdrawal from the program has been a top goal of Governor Glenn Youngkin since before he took office. Republicans argue that utilities will pass the costs on to consumers, and Democrats highlight funds raised through the program for flood protection and coastal resilience.

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Loudoun Schools Grand Jury Finds Administration Mishandled 2021 Sexual Assaults, Failed to Prevent Second October Assault

A final report on the grand jury investigation into the Loudoun County Public School district’s handling of two sexual assaults on campuses says senior LCPS administration “were looking out for their own interests instead of the best interests of LCPS,” kept school board (LCSB) members in the dark about critical facts, and also described breakdowns in communication between LCPS, the Sheriff’s Office (LCSO), and the Commonwealth’s attorney’s office that contributed to a failure to prevent the second assault.

“There were several decision points for senior LCPS administrators, up to and including the superintendent, to be transparent and step in and alter the sequence of events leading up to the October 6, 2021 BRHS [Broad Run High School] sexual assault. They failed at every juncture,” the report states. “We concluded there was not a coordinated cover-up between LCPS administrators and members of the LCSB. Indeed, except for the May, 28, 2021 email from the superintendent, the LCSB, both as a body and its individual members, were deliberately deprived of information regarding these incidents until after the October 6, 2021 sexual assault — and even then they learned not from the superintendent’s office but instead from public reporting that the assailant was the same one from the May 28 incident.”

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Miyares Launches ‘One Pill Can Kill’ Campaign Warning of Dangers of Counterfeit Drugs

Attorney General Jason Miyares announced a “One Pill Can Kill” awareness campaign over the risks of fentanyl and counterfeit drugs to try to launch conversations among families ahead of the holidays.

The opioid epidemic has had a devastating effect on our Commonwealth. There isn’t a corner of our state that hasn’t been touched by its pain and destruction. Tragically, overdose deaths are now not limited to addiction, but to counterfeit pills laced with a highly potent, deadly substance – fentanyl,” Miyares said in a press release Tuesday. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many young people overdose and die after experimenting with these powerful drugs. As a father, this new threat terrifies me. That’s why I launched ‘One Pill Can Kill,’ a public awareness initiative aimed at generating conversations around the dangers of counterfeit drugs and fentanyl.”

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U.S. Western District Attorney Announces Sentences in Three Cases, Including One Prosecuted by Attorney from Miyares’ Office

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Christopher Kavanaugh announced sentences in three separate drug dealing cases on Friday, including a case prosecuted by an attorney cross-designated between the Office of the Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Special Assistant United States Attorney M. Suzanne Kerney-Quillen prosecuted the case against Pedro Loza, who was sentenced to 72 months after he was convicted on charges related to the distribution of methamphetamine as part of an organization that trafficked drugs from Texas and Indiana into Southwest Virginia, according to a joint press release from Miyares and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

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Virginia to Get $10.7 Million in Settlement over Google Location Tracking

Virginia is set to receive $10.7 million as part of a $391.5 million multistate settlement with Google over allegations that the tech company misled users about location tracking related to their Google account settings. “It is imperative that companies take customers’ personal data protection seriously and are transparent and direct…

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Miyares Touts Enforcement in Robocalls Investigation Against Telecoms Providers

Attorney General Jason Miyares announced that the national Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force is taking enforcement action against two telecoms providers over their alleged involvement in illegal robocalls. The two companies Avid Telecom and One Eye, LLC have stopped cooperating with the task force’s investigation.

“The enforcement action against Avid Telecom details several instances in which the task force believes Avid Telecom knowingly accepted and routed illegal robocalls. Further, the task force believes Avid Telecom’s CEO, Michael Lansky, helped another telecom provider hide its suspect traffic,” Miyares’s release states. “The enforcement action against One Eye details how an individual closed another voice service provider, PZ Telecommunication, LLC, and became the apparent CEO of One Eye. This transition occurred after the Federal Communications Commission sent PZ Telecom a cease-and-desist letter.”

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Virginia NAACP Pays $20,000 for FOIA Request of Records from Miyares’ Election Integrity Unit

The Virginia NAACP says it is paying $20,000 for a FOIA request into Attorney General Jason Miyares’ Unit of Election Integrity. On Monday, the organization issued a press release suggesting that the unit is unnecessary and that the high price for the requested information is meant to protect the unit…

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Miyares, Dominion Energy Tout Potential New Deal over Offshore Wind Project Costs

Dominion Energy, the Office of the Attorney General, and other stakeholders have announced a tentative settlement agreement over how the utility will pay for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) Project. The agreement, which still needs approval from the State Corporation Commission, would allow the utility to bill some cost overruns in the project to consumers, but sets a cap along with some protections for the utility’s shareholders who would otherwise bear the burden. Attorney General Jason Miyares said that’s a win for consumers, and the utility said the agreement balances financial impacts.

“I am pleased that we have achieved consumer protections never seen before in modern Virginia history,” Miyares said in a press release. “For the first time Dominion has significant skin in the game to ensure that the project is delivered on budget. Should the project run materially over budget, it will come out of Dominion’s pocket, not consumers’. If approved by the State Corporation Commission [SCC], this agreement provides first-of-its-kind protections for Virginia consumers. A wide range of stakeholders support this agreement. I especially want to thank the Sierra Club and Appalachian Voices for joining, as well as Virginia’s largest private employer, Walmart. This landmark agreement means that Virginia will be a national leader in offshore renewable energy for years to come and most importantly in a fiscally responsible way.”

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Miyares Joins Coalition of 18 Other Attorneys General Investigating Bank Involvement in U.N. Net-Zero Banking Alliance

Attorney General Jason Miyares said he’s joining 18 other attorneys general led in an investigation into several major banks for their involvement in the United Nations Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA).

“The U.N’s Net-Zero Banking Alliance, which includes American companies, punishes Virginia farmers and Virginia companies that deal with fossil fuel-related activities,” Miyares said in a press release. “Virginians are not subject to U.N. business standards. That’s why I’ve joined a coalition of attorney generals investigating six major American banks for ceding authority to a foreign body.”

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Virginia Receives First Payment in Big Pharma Opioid Settlement

Virginia has received $67.4 million, the first payment in a Johnson and Johnson settlement requiring its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals to stop selling opioids in the U.S.; the Commonwealth will receive about $99.3 million total from the company over nine years.

“I’m thrilled that the money from these record-breaking settlements is on its way. My consumer protection section worked tirelessly to ensure that Virginians received the most funding possible and received it as quickly as possible. This helps the Commonwealth and individual localities fight back against the opioid epidemic and reduce, prevent, and treat addiction,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a press release.

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Miyares Joins Amicus Brief Supporting Oklahoma Law Regulating Pharmacy Benefit Managers

Attorney General Jason Miyares has joined 34 other attorneys general in an amicus brief supporting Oklahoma’s laws regulating pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Miyares’ press release said Virginia’s laws are similar to Oklahoma’s, and the regulations are necessary to protect consumers and pharmacies against PBMs, which act as middlemen between insurance providers, pharmacies, and drug manufacturers.

“Virginians’ healthcare costs continue to rise, and PBMs are partially to blame. Virginia has enacted laws to protect consumers from abusive PBM practices—including laws I supported in the General Assembly. Now, as your Attorney General, protecting consumers is one of my most important jobs, and I will continue to fight for these laws and the consumers they protect,” Miyares said.

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Youngkin Announces Operation Bold Blue Line to Address Violent Crime in Virginia

Governor Glenn Youngkin called for increased funding to support law enforcement and partnerships with localities as part of the administration’s Monday announcement of Operation Bold Blue Line. The proposals were the result of his violent crime task force, which he said found Virginia lacks law enforcement officers, prosecutors, programs for at-risk youth, and support for witnesses and victims.

“It’s often said that our law enforcement heroes represent a thin blue line,” he said in a speech outside a City of Norfolk Library alongside Attorney General Jason Miyares and Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears.

“Friends, with nearly 40 percent law enforcement vacancy rates in some cities, with too few prosecutors actually prosecuting, with diminished community engagement and witnesses and victims less willing to come forward, that thin blue line is getting far too thin.”

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Youngkin Wants $10 Million for Energy Research and Development, Including $5 Million for Nuclear

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced Friday that he wants $10 million in the upcoming budget for research and development for energy technology, including $5 million focused on nuclear.

“Today I am pleased to propose a $10 million investment in the upcoming budget to turn Virginia into a leader in energy innovation,” Youngkin said in the announcement. “With technologies like carbon capture and utilization, and resources like critical minerals, hydrogen, and nuclear, we will make Virginia the epicenter for reliable and affordable energy innovation.”

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Virginia State Senator and Former Race Car Driver Criticize Top Legislators in Lawsuit for Skill Games Amendment in Budget

Senator Bill Stanley (R-Franklin) is representing former race car driver Hermie Sadler in a lawsuit over skill games against Governor Glenn Youngkin, Attorney General Jason Miyares, and the Virginia ABC. In an August update to the lawsuit first filed against the previous administration, Sadler criticizes top finance legislators for modifying Virginia’s skill games ban through the budget and says the ban still violates free speech and due process rights.

“[A] select group of budget conferees, including Senator Howell and Delegate Barry Knight schemed to sneak into the delayed budget bill a purported amendment to the enjoined Skill Games Ban,” the updated lawsuit complaint states.

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Youngkin Issues State of Emergency, Activating Price-Gouging Act Ahead of Remnants of Hurricane Ian

Governor Glenn Youngkin has issued a state of emergency, triggering Virginia’s price-gouging laws ahead of heavy rain and gusty winds, remnants of Hurricane Ian, expected to hit Virginia beginning on Friday.

“In addition to making smart decisions and keeping up with news developments during a statewide emergency declaration, Virginians must also support each other during this potentially hazardous time,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a Thursday press release. “Any violations of Virginia’s Anti-Price Gouging Act or exploitation of Virginians’ wallets will be thoroughly prosecuted through the Virginia Consumer Protection Act by my office. Bad actors will be held accountable.”

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Judge Allows Antitrust Litigation Against Indivior to Go Forward

A federal court in Pennsylvania ruled that an antitrust lawsuit from 42 states against the Chesterfield, Virginia-based manufacturer of Suboxone can go forward, a “major victory” according to an announcement from Attorney General Jason Miyares.

“The intentional implementation of an illegal ‘product hopping’ scheme to block or delay generic versions of a medication used to help individuals recover from opioid addiction is a despicable exploitation of the opioid epidemic. The decisions made by Indivior Inc. caused purchasers to pay artificially high prices for a leading opioid addiction treatment, making access to recovery more difficult for Virginians while putting more money into the pockets of the manufacturers amid a national opioid crisis,” Miyares’ release states.

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Miyares Stops in Gilpin Court to Discuss School Safety, Hear Local Concerns

RICHMOND, Virginia — Attorney General Jason Miyares stopped at the Calhoun community center in Gilpin Court, a low-income neighborhood with a local reputation for violence. Miyares met privately with local leaders and parents and handed out backpacks with school supplies to residents as part of a series of stops he is making around Virginia.

“I came here to the Calhoun Center to hear what was happening, and what people are saying is happening,” Miyares told reporters after the Thursday meeting. “A lot of it was about school safety, but also about larger issues in the community.”

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Office of Attorney General Gets Restitution for Tenants in Settlement with Two Richmond Landlords

Attorney General Jason Miyares announced a settlement with two landlords, culminating a lawsuit alleging that the Richmond-based landlords defrauded tenants by offering services for low-income tenants without providing the services. Jump Start U2, Inc, and Vasilios Education Center, Inc., and their operator Carl Vaughan must pay $10,000 in restitution to consumers who paid for services that weren’t provided; they’re also not allowed to collect on over 175 judgements against tenants, worth more than $200,000 in total.

“We will not tolerate landlords who take advantage of Virginians seeking affordable housing by violating and ignoring laws designed to protect Virginia consumers. My office is dedicated to protecting vulnerable Virginians from such abusive practices, and we will continue to hold bad actors accountable,” Miyares said in a press release Tuesday.

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7,190 Virginians to Receive Debt Forgiveness After Finding That ITT Technical Institute Misled Students

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) granted federal loan forgiveness to former ITT Technical Institute students, including $141.6 million across 7,190 Virginians, after findings that the school falsely advertised the value of its degrees.

“Attending higher education is a big decision, and a sacrifice for many Virginians,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a press release.

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AG Miyares Says Congressional Budget Proposal Would Eliminate Virginia Army National Guard Counter Drug Analysts Positions

Attorney General Jason Miyares is warning that the latest congressional budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2023 will cut funding for the Virginia Army National Guard (VANG) Counter Drug unit program by about ten percent, eliminating several positions.

“The current proposed budget reductions would result in the loss of five VNG Counter Drug Unit analysts across the Commonwealth, one of which would be lost in Southwest Virginia. The loss of this analyst in SWVA would leave only two VANG Counter Drug analysts to provide support for the 52 counties in the Western District of Virginia. As you are both aware, this region is already underserved, underfunded, and has long been nearest the epicenter of the opioid crisis in our country,” Miyares said in a letter sent to Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) as well as Representatives Ben Cline (R-VA-06) and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10).

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Authorities Distributing Cold Case Playing Cards to Richmond Inmates

Richmond law enforcement will distribute cold case decks of cards to inmates at the Richmond City Justice Center; the cards feature pictures and names of victims of unsolved homicides.

“The loss of a murdered loved one is devastating. Not receiving justice makes it even worse. I’m hopeful that this creative tool will help law enforcement provide answers and justice to these families,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in an announcement.

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Miyares Joins Amicus Brief Supporting Decision to Vacate Travel Mask Mandate

Attorney General Jason Miyares joined an amicus brief opposing the Biden administration’s ongoing lawsuit over the CDC’s mask mandate for interstate travel. A district court vacated the requirement, but the CDC appealed, and the Health Freedom Defense Fund v. Biden case is now in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

“Mask Mandates across the country have been lifted in virtually every aspect of daily life. For months, Americans have been traveling safely while making their own, autonomous decisions. The CDC mask mandate on public transportation, like air travel, is obsolete and no longer necessary – not to mention a clear example of federal overreach,” Miyares said in a press release.

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Virginia Regulator Approves Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project

The Virginia State Corporation Commission approved applications from Dominion Energy for its proposed Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project to feature 176 wind turbines 27 miles off Virginia’s coast, although the project still needs federal approvals.

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Opioid Settlement Payments to Virginians Begin

Most Virginia localities were expected Friday to start receiving their share of the first payment in an opioid settlement, about $4.1 million split across the 133 localities. Additionally, Virginia’s Opioid Abatement Authority (OAA) will receive about $9.9 million, Attorney General Jason Miyares announced.

“I’m thrilled to announce that after a long period of waiting, the payments to Virginia’s Opioid Abatement Authority and to Virginia’s localities under this landmark settlement are on the way. Now, Virginia communities will be able to take actionable steps to fight back against the opioid epidemic, knowing that more help is on the way,” Miyares said in a press release.

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Miyares, 22 Other Attorneys General Sue USDA

Attorney General Jason Miyares is one of 23 attorneys general suing the USDA over expanded guidance adding discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity to its application of Title IX rules for the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which provides federal funding for food assistance programs including school meals.

“The Biden Administration is attempting to use the power of the federal government to force Virginia to choose between nutrition assistance for vulnerable children or advancing an extremist agenda,” Miyares spokesperson Victoria LaCivita said in a statement.

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Youngkin Approval at 49 Percent, Majority Support Failed Gas Tax Suspension in VCU Poll

Governor Glenn Youngkin hit 49 percent job approval and 38 percent disapproval in a new poll from the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). The poll included questions focused on key budget policy debates, and reports 58 percent support a three-month gas tax suspension.

“The responses in the poll suggest what I have always stated: The people are always ahead of the leaders,” former Governor Doug Wilder said in a press release. “The grocery tax proposal is very receptive; gas tax suspension and/or stipend is greeted positively, which can be viewed as a direct response to rising inflation.”

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Miyares Leads Letter Warning Google Against Removing Crisis Pregnancy Centers from Results for Abortion Services

Attorney General Jason Miyares and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron sent a letter to Google warning the search engine not to remove crisis pregnancy centers from search results for abortion services.

“Google has two options – protect the freedom of the marketplace of ideas or face legal consequences. American consumers expect diversity of opinion and thought,” Miyares said in a Thursday press release.

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Thousands of Virginian Servicemembers Eligible for Restitution, Debt Forgiveness After Alleged Fraud by Harris Jewelry

Some Virginian servicemembers are set to get restitution and debt forgiveness after Harris Jewelry allegedly targeted the military community with deceptive and fraudulent practices. Attorney General Jason Miyares announced a multi-state settlement that will provide up to about $1 million for 3,828 Virginians who received protection plans, and $1.7 million in debt forgiveness for 1,011 Virginians.

“Harris Jewelry targeted our military community, misleading, deceiving, and defrauding thousands of active duty servicemembers through their financing program. Our servicemembers are critical to the American experiment, dedicating their lives to the protection of our freedoms and way of life. I’m grateful we were able to reach an agreement and provide relief to thousands of Virginians,” Miyares said in a Wednesday press release.

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Judge Dismisses Loudoun School Board Effort to Block Grand Jury Investigation

A Loudoun County Circuit Court judge dismissed a lawsuit to block Attorney General Jason Miyares’ grand jury investigation into the Loudoun County School Board.

“We are pleased with the court’s ruling dismissing the School Board’s complaint and affirming Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order Number Four. This is a win for parents and students across the Commonwealth. I will never stop fighting for justice and to protect the families of Loudoun County, and the Commonwealth,” Miyares said in a press release.

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In Ongoing Lawsuit Miyares’ Office Argues It’s Too Late to Hold 2023 House Elections

The Office of Attorney General (OAG) Jason Miyares is arguing in court that it is too late to grant 2023 House elections — a response to Thomas v. Beals, a lawsuit alleging that the 2022 elections, held on pre-redistricting lines, disenfranchised voters in areas with significant population growth. The OAG argues that plaintiff Jeff Thomas delayed in filing the lawsuit — after Thomas alleged that both Miyares and former Attorney General Mark Herring themselves tried to block the elections through delay.

“This is a case about delay,” the OAG states in a July 1 memorandum supporting a motion to dismiss. “Almost a year after the first lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 2021 House of Delegates election, seven months after that election took place, and just over four months before the 2022 general election, Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging the 2021 election.”

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Drug Arrests Down, Overall Incidents Down, Violent Crime Up in 2021 Crime in Virginia Report

Drug arrests in Virginia 2021 decreased 46.7 percent in 2021 from 2020, according to the Crime in Virginia 2021 report released Wednesday by the state police. Total incidents reported was also down: 324,558 in 2021 versus 338,784 in 2020, and 375,639 in 2019. Violent crime was up in 2021 with 16,823 incidents compared to 15,713 in 2020, and 17,993 in 2019.

“Drug arrests decreased by nearly half (46.7%) with the largest percentage decrease in arrestees under age 25 (67.6%). The number of reports of drugs seized decreased for nearly all drug types, especially marijuana (67%), due in part to decriminalization of possessing less than 1 ounce of the drug effective July 1, 2020 and Code of Virginia §18.2-250.1 being repealed July 1, 2021,” reported a Virginia State Police release.

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In Family Foundation Webinar, Youngkin, Earle-Sears, Celebrate Dobbs Decision, But Don’t Expect Rapid Change in Virginia’s Abortion Laws

Governor Glenn Youngkin and Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears spoke in a Tuesday evening webinar where speakers highlighted the win for conservatives in the Dobbs decision, while also calling on pro-life supporters to vote, donate, and volunteer for Republicans in upcoming elections. 21-19 Democratic control of the Senate was a constant theme of the speakers, who sounded a note of caution about the speed of change Virginians should expect.

“Any bill that comes to my desk, I will sign happily and gleefully in order to protect life,” Youngkin said

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Miyares Warns of Crackdown amid Proliferation of THC-Laced Products That Look Like Normal Snacks

RICHMOND, Virginia – Attorney General Jason Miyares said new regulations included in the budget will allow his office to crack down on the sale of “THC copycat” products — THC-infused edibles packaged to look like mainstream snacks. The announcement came after a warning from the FDA about the products, and after an April report from the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office that several toddlers were taken to the emergency room after exposure apparently linked to Goldfish crackers laced with THC.

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Virginia Attorney General Offers Help in Prosecution After Judge Kicks Local Prosecutor off Case

Commonwealth Attorney Buta Biberaj

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares is offering to help prosecute a criminal case in northern Virginia after a judge removed the local prosecutor from the case.

The court removed Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj from prosecuting a case after alleging she misrepresented the facts so the judge would grant the defendant a lighter sentence.

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Another Lawsuit to Force 2022 House Elections Filed After Court Dismisses Goldman Case

Virginia politics author Jeff Thomas has filed a lawsuit against Department of Elections officials to try to force new House of Delegates elections in 2022. He argues that elections held last year on old lines leave him and other voters under-represented.

“Defendants have deliberately played games with the Court and the people’s rights for political reasons,” Thomas’ states in his lawsuit against Elections Commissioner Susan Beals and State Board of Elections Chairman Robert Brink.

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