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.

Read More

Virginia General Assembly Postpones Marijuana Legalization Until 2024

The Virginia General Assembly passed marijuana legalization bills on Saturday, a move that had been expected to make Virginia the first southern state to legalize marijuana. However, legislators from the House of Delegates and the Senate passed a compromise that delays legalization and retail sale of marijuana until 2024. The compromise, created in a conference committee, also requires another vote in 2022 to confirm parts of the bill.

While some legalization advocates said passage of the bill was progress, others criticized it.

Read More

Virginia General Assembly Kills Bill to Require Equal Educational Opportunities Across All Schools

After passing in the Senate 34 to one, Senator Bill Stanley’s (R-Franklin County) constitutional amendment to require equitable educational opportunities in all Virginia schools was killed by the House of Delegates Privileges and Elections Committee. Virginia’s constitution requires that free school be provided for all school-aged children. Stanley’s bill SJ 275 would have added a requirement that those schools include “equitable educational opportunities” for all school-aged children.

Read More

Senator Amanda Chase Still Dominates Virginia Gubernatorial Conversation as Other Candidates Announce New Policy Plans, Make Campaign Stops

More gubernatorial polls this week show most voters are undecided, allowing contest leaders to continue to claim front-runner status while allowing everybody else to claim theoretical wins. But there’s more gubernatorial news than that — this week’s campaign news features new policy announcements, major endorsements, messaging controversy, and a late-night television mention.

First, the poll: 49 percent of Democratic voters and 55 percent of Republican voters are undecided, according to a Christoper Newport University/Wason Center Poll. Former Governor Terry McAuliffe leads Democrats with 26 percent, while Senator Amanda Chase leads Republicans with 17 percent.

Read More

General Assembly Advances Bills That Allow Abortion Coverage in Health Care Plans on Commonwealth Exchange

The House of Delegates has approved SB 1276, a bill that allows abortions to be included in coverage from private insurance companies listed on the commonwealth’s healthcare exchange. On Thursday, the Senate passed a companion bill, HB 1896, 22 to 17.

Read More

New Poll Results, GOP Candidates Hit The Campaign Trail, and Democrats Hit Zoom: A Virginia Gubernatorial Update

An independent YouGov gubernatorial poll of 508 internet respondents was released Friday. Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) leads the GOP pack with 19 percent, with Pete Snyder at 10 percent and Delegate Kirk Cox at six percent. In the poll, first reported by The Virginia Scope, former Governor Terry McAuliffe leads Democratic candidates with 33 percent. The other leading Democratic candidates are well behind McAuliffe and are effectively tied given a five percent margin of error. Jennifer Carroll Foy and Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) come in at six percent each, with Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas) just behind at five percent and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax at four percent. Both races are still marked by high amounts of undecided voters.

Read More

Virginia General Assembly Considering Protections for Domestic Workers

The Virginia General Assembly is considering three bills that would add legal protections for domestic workers in jobs like cleaning, landscaping, and childcare. The bills are focused on banning discriminatory practices, implementing safety standards, and requiring worker’s compensation insurance. Advocates say the current exemption for domestic workers dates back to racist Jim Crow legislation and should be removed, but opponents say the bills put more burdens on domestic workers and the people who hire them.

HB 2032, introduced by Delegate Wendy Gooditis (D-Clarke) adds “Domestic Service” as a category that would be included under current workplace safety and workers’ compensation law. Gooditis said that the bill makes domestic service subject to workplace safety standards, and that inspectors can require access.

Read More

Virginia Senate to Vote on Legislation Giving Certain Health Insurance Plans Abortion Coverage Option

The Senate of Virginia on Friday will vote to pass legislation out of the body that would allow for private health insurance companies offering plans through the state exchange to have the option for abortion coverage.

Senate Bill 1276 was introduced by Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond City), who is also a gubernatorial candidate seeking the Democratic nomination, and co-sponsored by three other Democratic legislators.

Read More

Senator McClellan Unveils Universal Child Care and Early Learning Plan as Part of Gubernatorial Campaign

Democratic candidate for governor and Virginia State Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond City) released a plan central to her campaign last Friday that seeks to provide affordable and quality child care for every family with a kid under the age of five by 2025.

Under McClellan’s Universal Child Care & Early Learning Plan, Virginia families that make below or up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level would receive free child care, no matter the family size. While families making above that poverty threshold would have to pay for child care costs, but no more than 7 percent of their annual income.

Read More

Delegate Lee Carter Officially Announces Run for Governor

Virginia State Delegate Lee J. Carter (D-Manassas) officially joined the governor’s race last Friday and is now part of the crowded Democratic field vying for the party nomination this summer.

Carter, 33, is the fifth Democrat to seek the Executive Mansion next November and had originally filed paperwork to raise money for a gubernatorial bid last month.

Read More

Princess Blanding Announces Third-Party Run for Virginia Governor

Community activist and mental health advocate Princess Blanding, whose brother was fatally shot by Richmond Police in 2018, announced her entrance into the 2021 Virginia governor’s race on Tuesday as a third-party candidate, joining a group of hopefuls featuring former and current state politicians.

Blanding, 38, will be running as an independent candidate under the Liberation Party, whose mission to advance equity by uplifting traditionally underserved and oppressed communities, according to a press release.

Read More

Republican State Senator Emmett Hanger Still Seriously Considering a Bid for Governor

As the 2021 elections inch closer and begin to dominate almost all political talk in the Commonwealth, Sen. Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) is still exploring a potential run to become the 74th governor of Virginia.

Hanger, 72, recently discussed the gubernatorial election and the difficulty of securing the GOP nomination in an interview with The Virginia Star. 

Read More

Princess Blanding Slams Virginia Governor, Legislators Over Marcus Alert Bill

Princess Blanding, the sister of Marcus-David Peters who was shot and killed by Richmond Police during a mental health crisis, blasted Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Democratic lawmakers over legislation named after her brother during the bill signing ceremony on Tuesday.

In attendance alongside Northam were the three legislative sponsors of the bill: Senators Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond City) and Jeremy McPike (D-Prince William) and Delegate Jeff Boure (D-Richmond City).

Read More

Virginia’s Power Dems Line Up Behind McAuliffe

Now that the 2020 elections are over and the field for Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial election has taken shape, it is the prime time for candidates to receive endorsements from former and current politicians, community leaders and other elected officials.

For some of the Democratic candidates, endorsements seem to be occurring every other day.

Read More

Terry McAuliffe to Run for Second Term as Virginia Governor

Former Governor Terry McAuliffe officially entered Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial election on Wednesday after months of educated speculation that the long-time Democrat would throw his name into the contest and seek another four years in the Executive Mansion.

McAuliffe, 63, made the announcement during a press conference in front of Miles Jerome Jones Elementary School in Richmond’s southside that was streamed live to his Facebook page.

Read More

No In-Person Classes in Virginia’s Capital: Richmond Public Schools to Remain Virtual for Spring Semester

Richmond Public Schools (RPS) will continue with virtual learning only for the rest of the 2020-21 academic year.

During a Monday night meeting, the RPS School Board voted 8-1 to keep students away from the classroom for another several months after Superintendent Jason Kamras gave a presentation and recommended the school district remain virtual.

Read More

Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy Stepping Down from House to Focus on Run for Virginia Governor

Virginia State Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-Prince William) said Tuesday that she was stepping down from her position in the House of Delegates to focus on securing the Democratic nomination for the 2021 gubernatorial election.

Carroll Foy, one of several Democratic candidates for governor, announced the decision in a video posted to social media.

Read More

Justin Fairfax Says He is Poised to Help All Virginians as the Next Governor

If elected governor, Justin Fairfax is determined to bring the Commonwealth and its residents out from underneath the current issues plaguing Virginia brought forth by the coronavirus pandemic and a destructive political landscape. 

Last month Lt. Gov. Fairfax officially announced his entrance into the 2021 gubernatorial election, hoping to follow in the footsteps of former state governor L. Douglas Wilder and become the second black man elected to the Executive Mansion. 

Read More