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Virginia Politics Blog: February 28, 2010 - March 6, 2010

Democrats tap Minnesota's Sen. Klobuchar for Jefferson-Jackson dinner

Three years ago, Virginia Democrats recruited then-Sen. Barack Obama to speak at their party's annual black-tie Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Two years ago, they had their party's two candidates for president -- Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton. Last year, it was former president Bill Clinton. This weekend, the Democrats announced that Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar will be their speaker at the dinner next month -- not exactly the same caliber of the past few years, but what do you expect when there's no presidential election in full swing or sitting Democratic governor in the state? Klobuchar became the first elected female senator from Minnesota in 2006 and is known in the Senate for her work in the areas of consumer protection and law enforcement. "Amy Klobuchar is a great partner with me in the Senate on issues ranging from expanding broadband to supporting our small businesses," Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said in...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 6, 2010; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , State Senate , Terry McAuliffe , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell, Democrats respond to Cuccinelli letter to universities

Now the statements are coming fast and furious in response to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's letter to colleges and universities on nondiscrimination policies. Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Gov. Bob McDonnell, said this in a statement: "The legal analysis contained in the letter concerning the General Assembly's sole responsibility for setting state employment policy is consistent with all prior opinions from the Office of the Attorney General over the last 25 years on the subject." But in a statement, Martin suggested McDonnell would not take action against university board members, known as visitors, who do not follow Cuccinelli's advice. McDonnell appoints members of public university's governing bodies. "The Governor will appoint board members based solely on their ability and on their strong commitment to educational excellence in Virginia. The Governor expects that no Virginia college or university, or any other state agency, will engage in discrimination of any kind. The...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 5, 2010; 6:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Va. legislative black caucus concerned about state budget

The chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus wrote a letter today to the budget negotiators expressing concerns about both the House and Senate versions of the budget. In his letter, Del. Kenny Alexander (D-Norfolk) said he was worried that "the plight faced by those who may bear a disproportionate burden of the cuts and adjustments could turn from difficult to harrowing in a matter of days." Alexander wrote that the House and Senate budgets will lead fiscally stressed localities to make drastic cuts of their own and possibly raise taxes and increase fees on households and businesses that are already struggling. He said cuts "will impede the progress we have made and put families and children at risk." Specifically he cited at-risk student funding, K-12 education and the FAMIS state health insurance program for low-income children and pregnant mothers. Read his full letter below. Meanwhile, budget conferees met for the...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 5, 2010; 5:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , State Senate  
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UPDATED: Reaction begins to Cuccinelli letter to colleges on sexual orientation

We're starting to hear some reactions to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's legal advice to public colleges and universities that they should remove language on sexual orientation from their campus nondiscrimination policies. UPDATE: The full letter can be found here. Several universities are so far officially declining to comment, indicating that their boards of visitors will have to examine Cuccinelli's advice and discuss how to proceed. That includes Longwood University, Virginia Tech and the College of William and Mary. But students and others are offering their thoughts....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 5, 2010; 12:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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Will McDonnell approve proposed 18-cent phone 'fee' that's really a 'tax'?

One of the so-called "fees" that the Virginia Senate is proposing in its version of the state budget is actually a tax increase -- at least according to state code.

By Anita Kumar  |  March 5, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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House Minority Leader Armstrong looks to run statewide in 2013

House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong (D) is considering running for statewide office -- perhaps governor or lieutenant governor -- in 2013, Democratic sources tell us. Armstrong, of Henry County, has been holding townhall meetings the last couple of months throughout Southside and Southwest Virginia and we hear he has spoken to a handful of key Democrats about the possibility of running. The outspoken and affable Armstrong had long been eyeing his chance to become speaker of the House of Delegates. Democrats had steadily picked up 11 seats in the House since 2003. Six more seats would have allowed them to take the majority and Armstrong to become speaker. Those plans were quashed when a Republican sweep in November gave the GOP six more seats and solidified Speaker Bill Howell's tenure. Armstrong, smiling broadly and trying just a little too hard not to laugh, tells us in an interview earlier this...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 5, 2010; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates  
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Va. Senate panel kills House bill that would have repealed gun purchase limit

A specially formed Virginia Senate subcommittee voted to kill a bill that would have repealed the state's 17-year-old law banning the purchase of more than one gun a month.

By Fredrick Kunkle  |  March 4, 2010; 3:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  !General Assembly , Fredrick Kunkle , General Assembly , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , State Senate  
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McAuliffe works to burnish local Democratic party credentials in Va.

A bit more evidence that former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and national party chairman Terry McAuliffe intends to remain deeply engaged in Virginia politics, perhaps with an eye to another run for office: McAuliffe campaign alums organized their own effort on behalf of newly elected Democratic Del. Eilleen Filler-Corn (Fairfax), making sure anyone who wondered knew of their ties to McAuliffe. McAuliffe himself worked on Filler-Corn's behalf, hosting a fundraiser for her at his McLean home that was attended by U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D). We learn now that three former McAuliffe staffers also organized something they called "Team Terry Grassroots Stimulus Project," encouraging other veterans of his campaign to organize for Filler-Corn. They report filling 24 volunteer shifts and knocking on 1,500 doors for the delegate. McAuliffe has denied any of his recent work in Virginia--for instance, his bid to buy the closing International Paper plant in Franklin--is an attempt...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 4, 2010; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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Updated: Virginia shut out of President Obama's Race to the Top education program

Virginia was not selected as one of the 16 states to receive money through President Obama's $4.35 billion Race to the Top education program. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) lobbied aggressively for $350 million, which is funded by the Recovery Act. He spoke to Obama about the application recently when he sat at the president's table at a black-tie White House dinner. Virginia Education Secretary Gerard Robinson talked up the state when he appeared with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan at a Falls Church school in January. McDonnell and Robinson have each placed several calls to Duncan updating him on Virginia's progress. The $4.35 billion Race to the Top program was enacted last year as part of the $787 billion economic stimulus plan, marking one of the largest federal expenditures ever on the nation's public schools. It uses grants to encourage school systems to raise academic standards, improve testing, make better...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 4, 2010; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Ex-Virginia governor Wilder talks guns, Obama, charter schools and race

In 1993, former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder scored a major victory for gun-control advocates by pushing through a state law banning the purchase of more than one handgun a month. Today, gun-rights supporters have mounted their most sustained effort to repeal it. In an interview at his office Friday at the Virginia Commonwealth University's L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Wilder talked about one of his signature achievements -- and a variety of other topics too. These included President Barack Obama's health care initiative, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's push for more charter schools, racially skewed polls, and the resistance of some African-American leaders to those schools despite what Wilder says is widespread support for them in the black community. Q: Why did you push for the gun a month law? A: We were the gun-running state. Richmond was one of the top five murder...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  March 4, 2010; 10:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Fredrick Kunkle , General Assembly 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Senate committee approves McDonnell's charter school proposal

A Senate committee this morning overwhelmingly passed Gov. Bob McDonnell's education package, including his proposal to expand the number of charter schools in Virginia. The vote virtually assures passage of the bills in the Democrat-controlled Senate next week and in the General Assembly this year. The charter school bill is a weakened version of McDonnell's original proposal. McDonnell's office worked behind the scenes to negotiate a compromise with groups that represent teachers, school boards and superintendents -- all vocal in their opposition to the bill -- to return some power to the local boards and ease concerns about the state having final control over applications. The bill would give the state Board of Education a role in advising prospective providers on their applications before they go up for approval before school boards, but the local boards would retain ultimate authority to approve such schools....

By Anita Kumar  |  March 4, 2010; 10:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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McDonnell calls Filler-Corn, invites her to dinner

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) called Virginia's newest member of the House of Delegates, Democrat Eileen Filler-Corn, today to congratulate her on her narrow win last night over Republican Kerry Bolognese. Coincidentally, McDonnell was planning to host all 22 freshmen legislators at the Executive Mansion tonight for dinner. He has now invited Filler-Corn to join them. "Eileen has worked for two governors. She knows Richmond, and the issues facing our state, well,'' McDonnell said in a statement this afternoon. "She will be a positive voice for the citizens of the 41st District and I look forward to working with her in the years ahead. I also applaud Kerry Bolognese for the upbeat, ideas-driven campaign that he ran. I know it is not easy to work so hard and come so close, and I hope Kerry will continue to stay involved in the life of our Commonwealth moving forward." Meanwhile, the Democratic...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 3, 2010; 4:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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Washington action spotlights Va. legislative divide on Medicaid

The U.S. Senate's agreement on the jobs bill that had been blocked for several days by Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning (R) has made more relevant a conflict over how to spend Medicaid funds in the budgets adopted by Virginia's Senate and House of Delegates.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 3, 2010; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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CHiPs star appears at Virginia Capitol to urge funds to combat child porn

Erik Estrada, a TV star best known for his role as "Ponch" on the popular show CHiPs traveled from his Southern California home to talk about the funding needed to fight child pornography.

By Anita Kumar  |  March 3, 2010; 1:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , State Senate  
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Filler-Corn sworn in as delegate, one day after narrow win in Fairfax

Democrat Eileen Filler-Corn was sworn as a delegate Wednesday, a day after squeaking by with less than half a percent margin in a special election in central Fairfax County. Led by fellow Fairfax County Democrats to the ceremonial mace below the speaker's podium, Filler-Corn, 45, recited the oath of office six minutes after the daily session began. Filler-Corn, who is a lobbyist, defeated Republican lobbyist Kerry D. Bolognese by 37 votes out of more than 11,000 cast in a race with an unusually high turnout for a special election. Filler-Corn received 5,758 votes to Bolognese's 5,721. She fills the seat vacated by Sen. David W. Marsden (D-Fairfax), who won a special election in mid-January against a Republican former School Board member. --Fredrick Kunkle...

By Fredrick Kunkle  |  March 3, 2010; 12:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  !General Assembly , 2010 legislative session , Fairfax County , Fredrick Kunkle , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates  
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Rove: Relationship with Tom Davis "frosty" after Devolites appointment request

Our colleague Mike Shear is reporting that former Virginia Congressman Tom Davis gets called out harshly by former Bush operative Karl Rove for trying to get Jeanemarie Devolites (now Jeannemarie Devolites Davis) appointed to the board of student loan giant Sallie Mae. According to Shear, Rove attacks Davis in his new book "Courage and Consequence." In the book, Rove writes that Davis was working to get Devolites appointed to the board of Sallie Mae, the student loan group before a romantic relationship between the two became public. A former state senator, Devolites Davis was defeated in her bid for reelection to in 2007 but has just been appointed by McDonnell to head the Virginia Liaison Office, which serves as the governor's representative in Washington. Shear reports: Rove writes that he finally gave in and recommended her appointment, only to discover through news reports that the pair were romantically involved --...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 3, 2010; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Thomas M. Davis III  
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No recount in close Virginia House race

Kerry D. Bolognese, the Republican lobbyist who narrowly lost a Virginia House race Tuesday night by just 37 votes out of more than 11,000 cast, has decided against requesting a formal recount. Democrat Eileen Filler-Corn, a Northern Virginia lobbyist, received 5,758 votes to Bolognese's 5,721, a difference of less than half a percentage point in the 41st House District race in central Fairfax County. Virginia law permits a losing candidate to request a recount if the difference is less than 1 percent. A districtwide canvass of votes late Tuesday gave Bolognese an extra six provisional votes to Filler-Corn's one. But Filler-Corn's 37-vote lead likely was too much to overcome, Republican officials and Bolognese said. Bolognese conceded the race sometime after the routine post-election canvass was finished at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. Filler-Corn said she expects to be sworn into office Wednesday....

By Derek Kravitz  |  March 3, 2010; 9:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz , House of Delegates  
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Northern Virginia group lobbies for dental care funding

About two-hundred yellow-shirted members of Northern Virginia houses of worship filled a room of the state capital Tuesday, pushing for more state funding for dental care for low-income adults. The activists represented the Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement. They were lobbying for the General Assembly to adopt the Senate's version of provisions dealing with dental care rather than those in the House's budget. Virginia is one of a few states where the only dental care Medicaid covers is emergency care. Other than that, dental care is provided largely through free clinics and community health centers, which the House of Delegates has recommended be cut. "We need someone who can step in and help," said Willie Jackson, 55, a Woodbridge resident who the organization helped get dentures after he lived for years with loose and painful teeth. The group was just one of many advocacy groups that have been flocking...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 3, 2010; 7:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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UPDATED: Democrat wins Fairfax House race as unofficial count shows 37-vote lead

Democrat Eileen Filler-Corn, a Northern Virginia lobbyist who tried unsuccessfully a decade ago to win a spot in the General Assembly, on Tuesday narrowly defeated Republican Kerry D. Bolognese in a special election to represent central Fairfax County in the state House of Delegates. Filler-Corn had 5,758 votes Tuesday night to Bolognese's 5,721. Because the margin is less 0.5 percentage points, the state would pay for the recount. This is the second gut-wrenching loss for Bolognese in six months. The Republican lost to then-Del. David W. Marsden by about 200 votes out of nearly 21,000 cast in November, when the two were running for the same state House seat. Tonight's election was to fill the House seat Marsden vacated to change chambers in Richmond. Update: House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong and Democratic Caucus Chairman Ken Plum issued the following statement: "Eileen Filler-Corn ran an excellent campaign centered on the importance...

By Derek Kravitz  |  March 2, 2010; 9:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  House of Delegates  
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Va. General Assembly approves bill allowing handguns in bars

Gun-rights supporters had reason to cheer Tuesday after the Virginia General Assembly gave final approval to a bill allowing concealed weapons permit holders to enter restaurants that serve alcohol. Two other bills friendly to gun owners also won final approval. On a day when the U.S. Supreme Court was hearing perhaps the most widely followed Second Amendment case in years, Virginia's House of Delegates gave final passage to a Senate bill that opens bars to people licensed to carry handguns. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), who is expected to sign it. The measure would not prevent restaurateurs or bar owners from forbidding guns on their premises, its backers said....

By Fredrick Kunkle  |  March 2, 2010; 5:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Fredrick Kunkle , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , State Senate  
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Keenan confirmed, legislators to pick a replacement on Virginia Supreme Court

After four long months, the U.S. Senate confirmed Virginia Supreme Court Justice Barbara Keenan to the federal bench this afternoon. That means state legislators will pick a replacement for Keenan before they leave town March 13. Several names are being talked about, including former Attorney General Bill Mims, who was on the short list in 2007 when there was a vacancy. Mims is now a partner at Richmond law firm Hunton & Williams at the end of his term in January. President Obama nominated Keenan to the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September after U.S. Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner recommended her. A vote on her confirmation was delayed for months. The Senate confirmed her today on a 99-0 vote. "I am disappointed that Justice Keenan's noncontroversial nomination was delayed more than four months by unnecessary filibusters that came to an end with two unanimous, bipartisan...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 2, 2010; 4:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , James Webb , Mark Warner , State Senate  
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Deeds redistricting bill fails to gain McDonnell support, dies in House

For at least the eighth year in a row, a GOP-controlled House of Delegates subcommittee killed a bill that would have changed the way the state establishes legislative and congressional boundaries. You may recall that Gov. Bob McDonnell publicly endorsed bipartisan redistricting during the gubernatorial campaign, breaking with Republicans in the House. But that doesn't mean he sent anyone from his office to support any of the redistricting bills making their way through the General Assembly, including the one heard today that was sponsored by his former rival. Stacey Johnson, a McDonnell spokeswoman, said the governor did not put his support behind any of the redistricting bills moving through the General Assembly, including that of Sen. Creigh Deeds, who ran against McDonnell in November. "At this point, if a committee is not created by the General Assembly, the governor intends to honor his commitment made during the campaign to form...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 2, 2010; 3:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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Anti-tax group compares Virginia Senate to Bernie Madoff in ad blitz

The Virginia chapter of Americans for Prosperity is starting an advertising campaign today that criticizes the Democratic-controlled Senate for the millions of dollars in fees it approved in its budget. No surprise there. But this time, the group is sending out mailers that compare the Senate to Bernie Madoff, Enron and Charles Ponzi. "Bernie Madoff, Enron and Charles Ponzi all used shell games to mislead and take money from people who trusted them,'' the flier states. "Now the Virginia Senate is running a shell game on us with their budget." Ouch! Check out the flier targeting state Sen. Ed Houck (Spotsylvania). The mailers are being sent to homes in the districts of budget conferees and vulnerable senators....

By Anita Kumar  |  March 2, 2010; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , State Senate  
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McDonnell appoints Canada to ABC Board

Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has appointed Sandy Canada to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, sources tell us. Canada has served as a fundraiser for McDonnell and other Republicans and was an ABC commissioner for former Governor Jim Gilmore from 1998-2002. We hear she started her new job Monday. McDonnell removed former Democratic Del. Frank Hall from the ABC Board in January without any announcement. The three ABC commission jobs are widely considered some of the most plum posts in all of state government. The two remaining commissioners -- Susan Swecker, former campaign manager to state Sen. Creigh Deeds, and Bill Pantele, a former Richmond City Council member -- are still at ABC for now. Both are Democrats appointed by former governor Tim Kaine and could be removed at any time as McDonnell gets the board ready to make good on a campaign promise to privatize liquor stores....

By Anita Kumar  |  March 2, 2010; 11:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell makes his TV debut as governor in Virginia parks commercials

It's not election season again, but Bob McDonnell is back on the airwaves. McDonnell is appearing in his first TV commercials since he was sworn in as Virginia's 71st governor in January. The pair of ads are for the state parks (a bit ironic since he faced a heap of criticism for suggesting Virginia close five of them to help offset a $4 billion budget shortfall). In case you are wondering, like we were, why the governor is wearing a suit jacket for the commercials, it turns out he actually filmed his part way back in April 2009, when he was a candidate and appeared at one of Virginia's most venerable political traditions, the Shad Planking. No, the people filming the commercials didn't know McDonnell would be elected governor all that long ago. They also got Democrats Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe on tape. Alas, Democrat Creigh Deeds, McDonnell's actual...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 2, 2010; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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UPDATED: Senator claims McDonnell created atmosphere conducive to Westboro anti-gay protest

A state senator alleged today that actions by Gov. Bob McDonnell on gay rights issues have helped "create an atmosphere" that has led to planned protests tomorrow at the Virginia Holocaust Museum and other locations by members of the Westboro Baptist Church, the much-criticized Kansas church that stages protests at the funerals of U.S. soldiers and elsewhere against expansion of rights to homosexuals. Speaking at a news conference hosted this morning by Equality Virginia to highlight support for a bill that would extend legal protections against discrimination to gay state employees, Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) said he thinks there has been a substantive change for gay citizens in Virginia since McDonnell took office Jan. 16. McDonnell has said his administration will not discriminate, but issued a non-discrimination executive order that did not include protections on the basis of sexual orientation, a departure from the orders issued by his two...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 1, 2010; 3:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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Bolling, legislators urge Obama, Congress to start over on health-care reform

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) and Republican legislators said Monday that they were deeply disappointed about the federal health-care bill being developed in Washington, and urged President Obama and members of Congress to start over on the bill. "We all agree we need to do something to make health care and health insurance more affordable. We all agree we need to something to improve access to quality health care to millions of Americans that don't have that access today,'' Bolling said. "But we're committed to making sure that that's done the right way. Make no mistake, there is a right way and a wrong way to reform our health-care system, and what's taking place in Congress today is the wrong way." Bolling, with state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel of Winchester and Del. Scott Garrett of Lynchburg, appeared at a news conference sponsored by the Campaign for Responsible Health Reform, which...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 1, 2010; 1:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Bill Bolling , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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Senate special panel likely to kill House bills expanding gun rights

A newly appointed Virginia Senate special subcommittee seems likely to kill a number of bills expanding gun rights that have passed the House of Delegates, including a proposal to repeal the state law limiting handgun purchases to one a month.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  |  March 1, 2010; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  !General Assembly , 2010 legislative session , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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McDonnell's fraternity house: One-third of governor's Cabinet members live at Omni Hotel

They've nicknamed it the fraternity house. Just a couple of blocks from the governor's office building sits the Omni Hotel, home to five of Gov. Bob McDonnell's 15 Cabinet members. All of them are men, all of them are married and all of them are living in the Omni until their wives and children can join them in Richmond later this year. Secretary of EducationGerard Robinson lives there. His wife and two-year-old daughter, are still in Atlanta, where Robinson worked as president of the Black Alliance for Education Options until McDonnell recruited him to Virginia. Then there's the four Northern Virginians: Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey, Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng and Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech. As you can imagine, Cabinet secretaries for the first Republican governor in eight years work long hours these days -- both getting...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 1, 2010; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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