Virginia Gets the First U.S.-Based Offshore Wind Blade Manufacturing Facility

Offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing is coming to the U.S. and Virginia as part of a partnership between Dominion Energy and Spain-based manufacturer Siemens Gamesa. Dominion Energy has been expanding its offshore wind project with support from Virginia officials, and is already using Siemens Gamesa to manufacture blades in Europe.

“Virginians want renewable energy, our employers want it, and Virginia is delivering it,” Governor Ralph Northam said in a Monday press release. “The Commonwealth is joining these leading companies to create the most important clean-energy partnership in the United States. This is good news for energy customers, the union workers who will bring this project to life, and our business partners. Make no mistake: Virginia is building a new industry in renewable energy, with more new jobs to follow, and that’s good news for our country.”

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Virginia State Senator Bryce Reeves Seeking Congressional Nomination to Challenge Rep. Abigail Spanberger

State Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) is running for the GOP nomination for Virginia’s seventh congressional district. The region is considered a swing district and Republicans nationally expect to do well in the 2022 midterm congressional elections. The nominee will likely challenge incumbent Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), who has warned her party about the risks to moderates caused by progressive messaging and policy.

“Under President Trump our economy was humming, people were working, and government did not dominate or intrude in our lives and livelihood. But under Joe Biden and Abigail Spanberger, an intrusive, progressive government is failing us, badly. Spanberger has failed to make the Seventh District what it should be – the best place to work, live, and raise a family,” Reeves said in a Friday press release.

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Virginia Gov. Northam Proposes $862 Million of American Rescue Plan Act Funds to Partially Refill Unemployment Trust Fund

As part of his “Investment Week” announcing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation proposals, Governor Ralph Northam announced $862 million for Virginia’s unemployment insurance trust fund, depleted during COVID-19.

“Shoring up the Commonwealth’s unemployment insurance trust fund is a smart investment that will prevent Virginia businesses from paying higher taxes and allow our economy to continue surging,” Northam said in a Tuesday announcement.

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Congressional Candidate Kiggans Signs Pledge to Support Term Limits Amendment

Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) has signed a pledge to support a term limits Constitutional amendment if she is elected to Congress. The proposed amendment would limit U.S. representatives to three terms, and U.S. Senators to two terms. Of Virginia’s current federal legislators, only Congressman Bob Good (R-Virginia-05) has signed the pledge. Good is also a cosponsor of HJR 12 in the current Congressional session.

“Term limits on elected officials will help guarantee the will of the people, not special interests or career politicians, are being heard,” Kiggans said in a press release.

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One-Fourth of Bills Passed in 2021 Virginia General Assembly Sessions Passed Along Party Lines

In 2020 and 2021, the Democrat-led General Assembly passed nearly 20 percent more bills through strict party-line votes than in the three previous years when Republicans controlled both chambers. According to a data visualization from the Virginia Public Access Project, in 2020, 24 percent of bills passed were passed along party lines with Democrats voting for and Republicans voting against. In 2021, that number grew to 25 percent. In the Republican controlled sessions of 2017, 2018, and 2019, the percentage of bills passed along party lines was respectively 7.7 percent, 4.7 percent, and 5.7 percent.

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Gubernatorial Hopeful Pete Snyder Announces Election Integrity Plan

Pete Snyder announced his ‘Honest Vote’ election integrity plan on Thursday. The six-point plan focuses on transparency ballot verification and ballot verification measures.

“Having secure, legal, and trustworthy elections is something that we must demand in our Commonwealth. Unfortunately, for too many Virginians, whether they be Republicans, Democrats or independents, trust in our election system has been severely strained and due to many last minute Covid-related changes to our voting systems,” Snyder said in a press release.

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Virginia House of Delegates Kills Senator Kiggans’ Bill Requiring Weekly List of Decedents Sent to Department of Elections

Senator Jen Kiggans’ (R-Virginia Beach) election reform bill passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support 34 to five. But when the bill was sent to the House of Delegates, the Privileges and Elections Committee voted to table the bill, effectively killing it. Kiggans’ bill SB 1422 would have required the State Registrar of Vital Records to provide a weekly list of deceased people to the Department of Elections, a process that currently is required to happen monthly.

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Virginia General Assembly Approves Moving Local Elections from May to November

The General Assembly has passed legislation to move local elections for city, town council, and school board from May to November, starting in 2022. Proponents say the bill will boost voter turnout, especially among working-class voters, while many city officials say the bill is state interference that will lead to greater partisanship in local elections.

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GOP Lieutenant Governor Candidates Ramp Up Their Campaigns

71 percent of Republican voters are undecided about the GOP Lieutenant Governor candidates; a recent Christopher Newport/Wason Center Poll found just eight percent of voters supported Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach), with Tim Hugo in second place at four percent. But the Republican Party of Virginia nomination convention is just over two months away, and the five candidates for the nomination are working to build the biggest list of delegates to the convention.

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Virginia General Assembly Approves Styrofoam Ban

The General Assembly passed a polystyrene (Styrofoam) ban for serving food in restaurants and similar vendors in Virginia. The bill, passed on Wednesday, will first take effect in July 2023 to large vendors with more than 20 locations; in July 2025, it will apply to all vendors, although vendors can apply for temporary exemptions to their localities. Violation can result in a $50 per day fine.

Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) pushed HB 1902 in the Senate as a compromise to allow the House of Delegates to pass a bill adjusting regulation of new recycling technology. Republicans opposed the polystyrene ban, saying it would harm small businesses, but supported Senator Emmet Hanger’s (R-Augusta) advanced recycling regulation bill.

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Virginia Second Congressional District 2022 Race Candidate Preview

With the 2020 state congressional elections completed and incumbent Democratic Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA-02) having defeated Republican challenger Scott Taylor, conservative hopefuls must now look toward 2022 when the 2nd District seat will again be up for grabs.

Securing her second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Luria handily beat Taylor by just under six percentage points and received nearly 21,000 more votes, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

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Bill Giving AG Increased Authority to Investigate Patterns of Misconduct by Police Signed into Law

Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill into law on Wednesday that gives the state attorney general additional powers to investigate unlawful patterns or practices by law enforcement officers and file civil action to stop the misconduct.

Introduced by Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), Senate Bill 5024 was one of several bills approved by the governor this week.

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