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Virginia Politics Blog: February 7, 2010 - February 13, 2010

Democrats postpone this year's Jefferson Jackson dinner

Every year, Republicans criticize Democrats for holding their party's annual black-tie Jefferson Jackson dinner fundraiser on this very weekend In February. That's because Virginia law bars members of the General Assembly from raising money during the regularly scheduled legislative session. But this year, there will be no JJ dinner -- not during session anyway. Democrats have decided to delay the event until March 20 after the session ends. Party spokesman Jared Leopold said the event wasn't postponed to avoid Republican criticism, but privately some Democratic legislators say they told party officials they didn't want to give the GOP any ammunition this year....

By Anita Kumar  |  February 13, 2010; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell talks to Northrop Grumman about headquarters move

Wes Bush, Northrop Grumman's new chief executive and president, paid a visit to Richmond today to speak to Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) about possibly moving the company's headquarters to Virginia. McDonnell and Bush spent about an hour talking this morning at the state Capitol. Maryland, Virginia and the District are all vying to host the defense contractor, which announced plans last month to move its headquarters to the Washington region from Los Angeles. Our colleagues in Annapolis reported earlier today that Bush and Gaston Kent, vice president of finance, spent more than an hour in the State House in Annapolis this afternoon, meeting with Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and legislative leaders. Two sources with knowledge of Northrop Grumman's site-selection process told The Post last week that company executives are looking at a June 2011 move-in date to an existing facility for about 150 employees. Four sites are being considered in...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 12, 2010; 5:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell privately proposes children's insurance, education cuts

Gov. Bob McDonnell's finance secretary is expanding his meetings with lawmakers and aides about McDonnell's proposals for cutting the state budget. We understand the suggestions are very specific--about the only people McDonnell hasn't shared his ideas with yet are the public. And because the meetings continue to take place behind closed doors, McDonnell's ideas are emerging only in drips and drabs. We already mentioned, for instance, that more than 40 percent of the $1.7 billion in cuts he is recommending would come from K-12 education, largely by moving away from the state's Standards of Quality mandates. Those items outline what is considered a basic education in Virginia and funding them has traditionally been shared by the state and local school systems. Eliminating SOQs would give local school districts more flexibility in how to spend dollars but it would also them a choice: shoulder the full cost with local tax dollars...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 12, 2010; 1:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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House panel approves repeal of gun-a-month law

Update, 12:05: A House committee on Friday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would repeal Virginia's 17-year-old ban on buying more than one handgun per month. Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, the bill's sponsor, told the panel Friday morning that the law is obsolete because the General Assembly has carved out so many exceptions to it already, including a provision that exempts more than 200,000 people who hold concealed-weapons permits. He also argued that instant electronic background checks -- which were not in place when the law was enacted in 1993 -- also make the law unnecessary. And he said that the law has only hampered law-abiding citizens interested in buying guns and has done nothing to combat illegal trafficking in weapons. "Criminals who are inclined to break the law don't obey this one," Lingamfelter said. But Andrew Goddard, a gun-control activist whose child was injured in the 2007 shooting rampage at...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 12, 2010; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2010 legislative session , Fredrick Kunkle , General Assembly , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Virginia Tech massacre  
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Democrats angry at delegate for switching vote on speaker's bill

The Democratic lawmaker who switched his vote to support an obscure bill that would help protect a single Fortune 500 company from asbestos lawsuits -- a proposal pushed aggressively by Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) -- was chastised by his fellow Democrats during a closed door caucus meeting this week. Del. Joseph P. Johnson Jr. (D-Washington) was not only one of the three delegates who switched votes and supported the bill, he was the one who asked that the bill be reconsidered after it failed on a surprising 49-49 tie vote Tuesday. "No one twisted my arm to change my vote,'' Johnson said in an interview. Johnson said he meant to vote for the bill all along, as he had in committee, and wanted to be consistent. "I felt badly about it,'' he said. "I led some people to believe I would vote for it and I did not keep my...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 12, 2010; 11:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates  
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McDonnell will not tackle education funding goal this session

With all the talk this week about Gov. Bob McDonnell's charter school proposals, we wondered what happened to his education funding plan. It wasn't that long ago that he was talking about putting more dollars into classrooms. He mentioned it frequently on the campaign trail and then again in his inaugural address. In his first speech to the General Assembly, McDonnell reminded legislators of his goal of putting 65 percent of education dollars into instruction in four years. "We must start this session by increasing the state average by one percent, from 61 percent to 62 percent," he said Jan. 18 But McDonnell's office says the governor no longer plans to introduce that proposal this session. He can't tackle everything this session, they say, and he plans to narrow his focus to four priorities: jobs and the economy, the charter school package he introduced this week, making government more efficient...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 12, 2010; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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McDonnell to speak about jobs at D.C. conference

We've told you before that Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell was going to be in high demand after his landslide win over Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds last November. Here's another example: McDonnell will be the keynote speaker in Washington later this month at a jobs conference sponsored by the American Action Forum. He will be introduced by major Republican donor Fred Malek. (You may recall that McDonnell was supposed to be Malek's guest at the black-tie Alfalfa Club dinner a couple weeks ago, but he canceled at the last minute because of snow). The American Action Network and its sister organization, American Action Forum, will officially launch the day before the jobs conference with former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman as its leader....

By Anita Kumar  |  February 11, 2010; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Cantor recruits Republicans to run against Boucher

While Washington was snowed under this week, U.S. House Whip Eric Cantor came to the state Capitol to search for a fellow Republican to run against Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher in southwest Virginia's 9th congressional district. We hear he visited with H. Morgan Griffith, majority leader of the House of Delegates, Del. Terry Kilgore of Scott and Sen. William Wampler of Bristol. Griffith confirmed today that Cantor did ask him if he would run when they met Tuesday, but that he said he is still considering whether to do so. Kilgore and Wampler, who have already said they are not likely interested in a congressional run, both said they spoke with Cantor, but would not say they talked about the race. "We are great friends,'' Wampler said. "We had a good conversation." Boucher told us a couple weeks ago that he would be seeking re-election this year....

By Anita Kumar  |  February 11, 2010; 1:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Anita Kumar , Election 2010 , Eric Cantor , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Rick Boucher , State Senate  
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McDonnell lays out specifics on budget, behind closed doors

Senate Democrats continue to rail about Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) not making public his suggestions for how to cut an additional $2 billion from the state's budget. But we now know this: It's not like he doesn't have suggestions. We understand that when Secretary of Finance Ric Brown met with the Democratic caucus earlier this week, he read down a list of specific cuts McDonnell is recommending. Apparently he spoke from a hand-written list, as senators busily jotted down notes. The suggestions included $700 million more from education over the next two years, about $300 million from Health and Human Resources and $700 million from employee compensation, largely from changes to the state's retirement plan and significant furlough time for state employees....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 11, 2010; 9:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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McDonnell's political action committee ramps up

Just weeks into his tenure as governor, Bob McDonnell is starting to expand his political operation. McDonnell's political action committee, Opportunity Virginia, recently hired former campaign staffer D.J. Eckert to manage much of its day-to-day operations, which includes coordinating with campaigns across the state and fielding the governor's appearance requests. Eckert was field director during McDonnell's campaign in Prince William, Stafford and Spotsylvania counties. Phil Cox, McDonnell's former campaign manager and transition director, remains involved in Opportunity Virginia's operations, of course, as a senior adviser to the governor and director of the PAC. (We told you last month that Cox also has signed on to be political field director at the Republican Governors Association). The PAC also has hired Jane Wortham to handle the books and a part-timer to do data entry. As of last week, Opportunity Virginia's staff is working out of the Republican Party of Virginia headquarters. The...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 11, 2010; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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UPDATED: Senate in effect kills McDonnell priority bills on oil revenue, budgeting

Voting essentially along party lines, the Virginia senate today essentially killed two bills that were among Gov. Bob McDonnell's top priorities. The senators sent the bills back to committee where they will not be considered until next year. One measure had been formally submitted by McDonnell; the other was not formally an administration bill but was a priority he supports. McDonnell's bill would have set into law how Virginia would spend royalties produced by drilling for oil off Virginia's coast, if the U.S. Congress were to change current law and allow Virginia to share in the royalties. McDonnell campaigned on the idea that transportation improvements could be paid for partly out of future oil royalties. The second bill would have changed Virginia's two-year budget cycle so that governors would submit their two year budgets at the end of their first and third years in office, instead of the end of...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 10, 2010; 2:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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McDonnell urges caution in snow storm, keeps NoVa offices closed

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said that state offices in Northern Virginia will remain closed today as snow continues to fall in a region experiencing blizzard conditions. "This is a very dangerous situation,'' McDonnell said on a conference call with reporters this afternoon. "We've had several storms but while the previous one had higher accumulations, the winds with this one are creating the opportunity a real risk to human life...We're urging extreme caution to all Virginians to stay inside. These wind chills are very dangerous and create significant risk for injury or worse with people being out for sustained periods of time." McDonnell has declared a state of emergency. The state has about 2,100 piece of plowing equipment on the roads, most in Northern Virginia. About 521 members of the National Guard are assisting state officials with the storm, with larger numbers in Northern Vrginia....

By Anita Kumar  |  February 10, 2010; 1:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Va. legislators accepted more than $250,000 in gifts last year

Lobbyists, companies and trade associations last year gave Virginia legislators trips, meals and tickets to University of Virginia and Redskins football games, NASCAR races and Wolf Trap concerts, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a non-partisan tracker of money in politics. In all, the 140 members of the General Assembly accepted hundreds of gifts worth about $250,000 in 2009, according to data released this morning. Many of the gifts were offered during last year's 45-day legislative session, when donors often lobby lawmakers after treating them to dinners, receptions and goody bags. Overall, the value of the gifts was down 25 percent compared to 2008. That's because many of the legislators were new and because of the sharp downturn in the economy....

By Anita Kumar  |  February 10, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2008 , General Assembly 2009 , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , State Senate  
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House speaker maneuvers behind the scenes for weeks to get obscure bill passed

The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would help protect a single Fortune 500 company from asbestos lawsuits -- a proposal that House Speaker William J. Howell has been quietly maneuvering to have his chamber support for weeks. The powerful Republican leader took the unusual step of pleading his case to his caucus behind closed doors, said several delegates, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions. Howell also personally visited individual delegates, including Democrats, and encouraged them to back the measure as a "personal favor," according to several sources. And he reshuffled the committee that was considering the bill -- which it approved last week after it was unexpectedly killed in committee two years in a row. Read today's entire story here. The bill passed an initial vote yesterday, but was defeated unexpectedly Tuesday on a tie vote after some delegates switched their positions...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 10, 2010; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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McAuliffe and McDonnell could partner on the purchase of paper mill

On the day that Gov. Bob McDonnell makes his first trip to International Paper's Franklin mill, we learn that one of his former political rivals is making a bid to buy the soon-to-be closed factory and convert it to a wood-fired power plant. Terry McAuliffe -- the businessman and Democratic National Committee chairman turned failed 2009 gubernatorial candidate -- and other investors want to buy the plant, which is scheduled to close this spring, resulting in 1,100 layoffs. They want to turn it into a environmentally friendly biomass energy plant. Sources in the governor's office say McAuliffe and his partners would be eligible for tax credits, available in the new McDonnell administration, that would allow a $500 income tax credit for the creation of "green" jobs and a credit for up to 350 new green jobs if the jobs are in an enterprise zone. McAuliffe said this morning that he...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 9, 2010; 4:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe  
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Former Va. Gov. Doug Wilder calls on Kaine to resign as DNC chair

Former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder is causing trouble for his Democratic party once again. This time, he's urging President Obama to majorly shake up his staff, and called on Tim Kaine to resign as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. In a bylined column in Politico, Wilder writes that Obama needs to dismiss the "admittedly brilliant advisers who helped elect him with others more capable of helping him govern." And on the topic of Kaine, whom Wilder notes he supported for mayor of Richmond, governor of Virginia and vice president of the United States when Obama was considering him for the job, Wilder is harsh. Republicans are surely going to remind voters, nationwide, that Chairman Kaine tried to balance his budget in his last days as governor by proposing a $1 billion-plus personal income tax increase. This measure was "shot down" in the first week of the legislative session with...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 9, 2010; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Fairfax approves funds for low-income homes

Fairfax County officials approved a plan Tuesday to spend $593,000 on two Herndon homes to house low-income families. The neighboring houses, which were purchased in 1989 and 1990 by the county's Redevelopment and Housing Authority and called Sunrise I and II, served as publicly subsidized group homes for teenagers with substance abuse and mental health issues, until they were closed last year. Officials say the 1970s-era, ranch-style houses off West Ox Road will be used by a designated nonprofit for "very low income households." The county is slated to refinance tax-exempt bonds for county-owned properties, for a savings of almost $3.million. The county's Board of Supervisors voted 8 to 2 to spend nearly $600,000 of that amount to pay off the houses' existing mortgages. About $200,000 in federal stimulus funds have also been approved to renovate the houses, including the replacement of a failing septic system. -- Derek Kravitz...

By Washington Post Editors  |  February 9, 2010; 1:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Fairfax County , Fairfax County Board of Supervisors  
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Albo's dad's Toyota triumphs over Guard Humvee

With yet more snow on the way for Northern Virginia this evening, we were amused by the following story about Del. David Albo (R-Fairfax) making its way around Capitol Square on Monday. The story goes like this. Albo became badly snowed in at his Fairfax home over the weekend. With his vehicle buried behind at least six feet of rock-hard, heaped-up snow left by plows, Albo called the authorities Sunday evening, looking for assistance to meet his statutory obligation to attend the General Assembly session Monday. Naturally, the Virginia National Guard got called in. They sent around a Humvee. The idea, Albo said, was that the heavy-duty vehicle might punch a hole in the wall of snow and free his car. But the wall won....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 9, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Fredrick Kunkle  
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Virginia lawmakers discussing efforts to shorten school year because of snow

With the fourth major snowstorm on its way this winter, lawmakers representing two of Virginia's biggest school districts are responding to "snowoverkill" by considering measures to shorten the current school year. Otherwise, owing to the number of snow days already logged, students and teachers might still be in school around the Fourth of July. Del. Scott A. Surovell (D-Mount Vernon) said he and Del. Robert Tata (R-Virginia Beach) are looking at what would have to be done legislatively. Surovell said Tata, who is the chairman of the House Education Committee and Appropriations Subcommittee, also met with Gov. Bob McDonnell's staff to discuss the issue Tuesday morning. "We could slip something into the budget," Surovell said. "I got a request from my local school board member saying we should look into it. It's a problem all around the state. It's not just a Northern Virginia thing." The Standards of Quality mandates...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 9, 2010; 10:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Fredrick Kunkle , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates  
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Northern Virginia leaders cheer McDonnell's school funding decision

It's been decades since Bob McDonnell lived in Northern Virginia, but that didn't stop him from repeatedly telling area residents on the campaign trail last year that he was one of them. This week, many Northern Virginia leaders say Virginia's new governor proved just that. McDonnell announced yesterday that he opposes a freeze in the adjustment to the school funding formula proposed by his predecessor -- former Democratic governor Gov. Tim Kaine -- that would have cost cash-strapped schools in Northern Virginia nearly $140 million. Read today's story here. "Last year, candidate McDonnell campaigned as 'Fairfax's Own,' " Del. Mark L. Keam (D-Fairfax) said. "I'm very glad to see that Governor McDonnell is living up to this campaign promise." Northern Virginia legislators, local officials, business leaders -- even of the opposing party --are rejoicing. "It's a very helpful move on his part.'' Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) said. "The freeze was...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 9, 2010; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 legislative session , Anita Kumar , Fairfax County , Fairfax County Board of Supervisors , General Assembly , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Loudoun County , Prince William , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell supports changing school funding

Gov. Bob McDonnell just announced that he will support unfreezing the adjustment to the school funding formula known as the local composite index, a change proposed by former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) in his final two-year budget. "Ensuring that we have a fair formula that is implemented without regard to temporary or political considerations is the best means by which to appropriate education funding in the commonwealth,'' McDonnell said. "Every time the index is readjusted, some school systems gain funding while others receive less. This has occurred for nearly 40 years, and local officials understand the routine and objective biennial implementation of the index." The update will cost the state $29 million in fiscal 2011. To pay for it, McDonnell will recommend to the General Assembly that $13 million be transferred from Literary Fund balances; $8 million through the use of available balances in the health insurance fund to reduce...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 8, 2010; 4:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  !Elections , Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Senate reopens unemployment benefits debate with bill to access stimulus dollars

It was one of the hottest political topics in Virginia last spring -- and now it's back. The Virginia Senate today approved a bill that make changes to the commonwealth's unemployment insurance program which would allow the state to access $125 million in federal stimulus money for unemployment benefits. Last year, the House of Delegates chose to reject the dollars because they did not want to accept the strings attached -- adjusting the program to offer unemployment benefits to people enrolled in training programs or who had held part-time jobs. They argued that employers would be left with the costs of the expanded program once stimulus dollars ran out....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 8, 2010; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate , Timothy M. Kaine  
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How have your officials handled Snowmageddon?

Send your thoughts and photos to Post reporter Sandhya Somashekhar or post them in the comments below. For reference, here's what we wrote over the weekend: Feb. 5: McDonnell has now closed state offices Feb 6: McDonnell: Dangerous storm has exceeded expectations Feb. 7 Northern Virginia state offices to close Monday And don't forget that there's more snow on the way this week....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  February 8, 2010; 1:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Northern Virginia officials, McDonnell meet on school funding

You have to hand it to Northern Virginia leaders. They sure are being persistent in lobbying Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) on a funding change that they say would prove costly to the region's school systems. Their latest attempt: Last Thursday, the chairmen of the boards of supervisors in Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties -- Sharon Bulova (D), Corey Stewart (R) and Scott York (I) -- met privately with McDonnell to ask him to oppose a freeze in the adjustment to the school funding formula known as the local composite index, a change proposed by former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) in his final two-year budget. "This is going to drastically hurt education in Northern Virginia,'' Stewart said. "The only thing we request is fairness." Bulova, Stewart and York penned an op-ed in the Post on the issue, and gave McDonnell another copy of a letter they wrote him last week....

By Anita Kumar  |  February 8, 2010; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Weekly roundup for Virginia General Assembly as crossover approaches

Despite calling off work Friday for the first time in recent memory due to the impending snow storm, the General Assembly dispatched a lot of legislation last week, as lawmakers race toward the mid-point of toward annual legislative session. Here's just a small sampling of interesting bills passed by one chamber or the other last week. House of Delegates (with help from Post reporter Fredrick Kunkle): The House passed two bills to expand Virginia's use of the death penalty last week. HB502, put forward by Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty against accomplices who do not physically kill anyone but share the same intent to kill as the person who actually pulled the trigger or otherwise committed the actual murder. Gilbert argued that current law stymies prosecutors from enacting the death penalty against people who shared the murderous intent of the person who actually...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 7, 2010; 4:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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Northern Virginia state offices to close Monday

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced today that state offices will be closed Monday in snow-covered Northern Virginia. Others around the state, including those in Richmond, will delay their opening until 10 a.m. McDonnell said the Virginia Department of Transportation strives to clear roads within 48 hours, but it will take longer than that after this storm. "It is a significant weather event and it is going to take a little longer than normal to finish the plowing and all of the recovery,'' he told reporters on a conference call this afternoon. McDonnell said the state experienced record amounts of snow, including 37 inches in the Front Royal area and 33 inches in Fairfax County and the surrounding region. About 108,000 houses remain without power. The Virginia State Police have responded to more than 4,600 calls, including 1,500 crashes, and two fatalities. All interstates are passable. McDonnell declared a state of emergency...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 7, 2010; 3:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Kaine, Obama rally Democrats in snow-covered DC

While most of us were snowbound yesterday, President Obama and former governor Tim Kaine met in Washington to pep up down-and-out Democrats. After a string of losses in Virginia, New Jersey and most recently Massachusetts, some Democrats have been calling for Kaine's removal as Democratic National Committee chairman, but Obama greeted his friend warmly at a DNC meeting yesterday. "I want to thank Tim Kaine, who's not only an outstanding former governor, but an outstanding leader of this party -- busy building the best online and in-field grassroots organization we've ever had." Kaine told the audience that Democrats should do a "better job telling the story" of how the president saved the nation from economic collapse, and that the party should not worry about losing the Massachusetts Senate seat. "The ghost of Harry Truman would kill us if he heard us complaining about 59 seats in the United States Senate,"...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 7, 2010; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Timothy M. Kaine  
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