McAuliffe, Chase, and Cox Announce Significant Endorsements

Governor Ralph Northam endorsed his predecessor to be his successor. Gubernatorial candidate and former Governor Terry McAuliffe received Northam’s endorsement in a week with several key gubernatorial endorsements. On Thursday, the governor appeared with the former governor in Norfolk.

“We need a leader that can continue this progress. We need a leader that will bring us out of COVID-19, a leader that will help small businesses. A leader that will promote equity in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Terry McAuliffe will do that,” Northam said.

Read More

Democrats Approve Northam’s Investigation into Parole Board Investigation

Democrats approved Governor Ralph Northam’s proposal for an investigation into a 2020 investigation of the Virginia Parole Board. In Wednesday’s veto session, legislators passed a Northam budget amendment funding a $250,000 investigation into the 2020 Vincent Martin parole investigation. Although both Republicans and Democrats have been calling for a new investigation, Republicans said the proposal was too narrow and criticized the decision to allow the Attorney General any oversight.

Read More

Effective in July, Virginia Legalizes Small Amounts of Marijuana

RICHMOND, Virginia Simple possession of up to one ounce of marijuana will be legal in Virginia, effective July 1. On Wednesday, the Virginia General Assembly approved Governor Ralph Northam’s proposal to expedite legalization from 2024 to later this year. But legislators warned that doesn’t mean there will be a marijuana free-for-all.

Read More

Chase’s Censure Lawsuit Has Hearing in Federal Court

Amanda Chase

A federal court heard a motion to dismiss Senator Amanda Chase’s (R-Chesterfield) lawsuit over censure on Thursday. The arguments took hours, and the judge said he would take some time to consider the motion before issuing a ruling on whether the suit can go forward, according to an update from Chase and her lawyer Tim Anderson.

The motion to dismiss argues that censure is a political question outside the jurisdiction of the court, and that the defendants — the Senate and Senate Clerk Susan Schaar — have sovereign immunity. However, Anderson argued that Chase was censured for things she had said, making the censure a violation of her First Amendment rights.

Read More

Online Sales and Big Jackpots Put Virginia Lottery on Path to Record-Breaking Year

The Virginia Lottery’s new online offerings are driving an increase in revenue for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, which runs until the end of June. By February, online sales hit $436 million, about 21 percent of overall sales for that same period, according to lottery spokesperson John Hagerty.

“Fiscal Year 2021, which ends on June 30, is on track to break sales and profit records,” a Tuesday press release from the lottery states.

Read More

Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee Kills Ban on Cyber Flashing

Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler’s (D-Virginia Beach) HB 2254 passed with unanimous support in the House of Delegates. The bill would ban people from sending unsolicited obscene images to others. But after the House sent the bill to the Senate, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted eight to five to table the bill February 17, citing concerns that the bill could be applied too broadly.

Read More

Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Repeal Moves Through Virginia House and Senate With Bi-Partisan Support

Bills to repeal Virginia’s same-sex marriage prohibition have passed in both legislative chambers with bi-partisan support this week. HJ 582, introduced by Delegate Mark Sickles (D-Franconia) and SJ 270, introduced by Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) seek to amend language in the state constitution passed in 2006 saying that marriage is between one man and one woman.

“For several years now, I have introduced this resolution because I know millions of people want to either take back their vote that they made in 2006 or they weren’t old enough to vote in 2006 and want to weigh in on this,” Sickles said in subcommittee.

Read More

Senate Passes $134B Budget Bill Allocating Funds for Local COVID-19 Relief, Criminal Justice and Policing Reforms and Law Enforcement Bonuses

The Senate passed its $134 billion budget on Friday with funding for criminal justice and police reforms, bonuses for law enforcement, coronavirus relief payments for local school divisions and language eviction and utility disconnect moratoriums. 

Senate Bill (SB) 5015 passed the Senate by a vote of (Y-24 N-15) with three Republican members voting alongside their Democratic colleagues on the prevailing side. 

Read More

Bill to Allow Law Enforcement Civilian Review Boards Passes Senate

The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that allows localities to establish law enforcement civilian review boards with outlined oversight duties. 

Sponsored by Sen. Ghazala Hashmi (D-Chesterfield County), the bill passed by a vote of 20-Y 15-N along party lines of the present senators. 

Read More