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Virginia Politics Blog: December 5, 2010 - December 11, 2010

Updated: Some conservatives oppose McDonnell's transportation plan

We expected reaction to Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation plan from Democrats to be less than friendly -- and it has been. But what about those in his own party? It turns out some of them also have problems with McDonnell's proposal to borrow an additional $2.9 billion over the next three years for roads and bridges. "It is important that we properly fund transportation without increasing our unfunded liabilities. We are disappointed that Governor McDonnell would have Virginia borrow more money at a time when voters have spoken overwhelmingly against such practices,'' said Ben Marchi, state director of Americans for Prosperity, generally a supporter of McDonnell's. "Virginians expect government to live within its means, and it is hard to imagine borrowing more money while unfunded liabilities like the Virginia Retirement System remain in debt. Virginia should fulfill these obligations before even thinking about borrowing another penny." Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince...

By Anita Kumar  | December 10, 2010; 4:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell, Transportation  
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McDonnell's road plan may benefit from tweak to state credit limit

A week before Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) unveiled his plan to issue nearly $3 billion in bonds for road improvements, a state committee helped pave the way for his proposal by approving a tweak in the model used to determine the state's annual debt capacity. For years, Virginia has used a self-imposed cap that required the state not take on debt equal to more than annual debt service payments for each of the next 10 years. The cap has helped the state hold on to its vaunted AAA-bond rating. But under the current cap, projections showed that Virginia had already maxed out its credit limit for the next three years. The Debt Capacity Advisory Committee, made up of legislative and gubernatorial staffers, voted Nov. 20 to recommend the state pay debt service each year that equals five percent of the average annual revenue for the next 10 years. By taking...

By Anita Kumar and Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 10, 2010; 4:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, Transportation  
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Ruling expected Monday on Virginia health care suit

A federal judge in Virginia will rule on the constitutionality of the nation's sweeping health care overhaul on Monday.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 10, 2010; 3:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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New Reps. Griffith, Hurt snag key panel slots

Two of Virginia's new members of Congress have snagged seats on key committees for the 112th Congress.

By Ben Pershing  | December 10, 2010; 1:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Glenn Nye, Morgan Griffith, Rick Boucher, Robert Hurt, Scott Rigell, Tom Perriello  
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Voting Rights Act bail-out 'not a priority' for Cuccinelli, spokesman says

There are avenues an attorney general could pursue to end federal oversight of Virginia's legislative redistricting under the Voting Rights Act, but a spokesman for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) said he doesn't plan to do so.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 10, 2010; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Va. commissioners want streamlined sales tax registration

Commissioners of Revenue in Virginia are advocating for local, one-stop shops for businesses to sign up for local and state taxes in order to better monitor collections. Ingrid Morroy, Arlington's revenue commissioner, said a recent audit of the past two and a half years recovered $4.5 million in local sales tax that was sent to neighboring jurisdictions in error. The county had collected $40,000 that belonged elsewhere, she said. "It is much more convenient for our businesses to do everything in one shop and we can make sure the revenue is credited to the right jurisdiction," Morroy said. The City of Fairfax conducted an audit four years ago that found they had incorrectly collected $2.5 million of Fairfax County's tax revenue, said William Page Johnson II, commissioner of revenue for the City of Fairfax. "We don't want to be surprised either way. We want to know what revenue we can...

By Christy Goodman  | December 9, 2010; 5:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  !General Assembly, Alexandria, Arlington County, Christy Goodman, General Assembly 2011  
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McDonnell wants to borrow $3 billion for transportation needs

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell announced Thursday that he will ask the legislature to spend $400 million immediately on roads and bridges while borrowing an additional $2.9 billion over the next three years for transportation. McDonnell wants to spend $150 million from last year's budget surplus and $250 million recouped from an audit of the Virginia Department of Transportation, as well as issue two bonds totaling $2.8 billion. "Over the past two decades, state support for transportation has not kept up with our growth as a Commonwealth. This has led to more congestion, longer commutes and missed economic opportunities,'' McDonnell said. "That trend must be reversed, and this is the time to do it. By putting $4 billion into transportation over the next three years, we will continue that progress, and get more Virginians back to work in the process.'' McDonnell will make a full proposal to the General Assembly on...

By Anita Kumar  | December 9, 2010; 3:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell, Transportation  
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Former Rep. Davis hosts dinner for Prince William Republican

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R) is hosting a dinner reception Wednesday for Prince William County Supervisor Martin E. Nohe, according to the Republican Party of Virginia Web site. The dinner for the Coles District supervisor costs $100 a plate and will be at the home of Del. Richard Anderson. Nohe has been on the board since 2003 and served as vice chairman in 2007. There has been some chatter lately Nohe may vie for Chairman Corey A. Stewart's seat next year along with Independent John Gray and current planning commission chair Democrat Gary C. Friedman, who both announced their plans to run earlier this year. Tito Muñoz, also known as 'Tito the Builder' also has said he is considering challenging Stewart in a Republican primary next year Nohe, however, will not confirm or deny the rumors about his potential run for the chairman seat. "The honest answer is right...

By Jennifer Buske  | December 9, 2010; 3:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Whipple asks for funds to help senate Democrats defeat tea party

A fundraising appeal by the chairwoman of the senate's Democratic caucus makes clear the party's strategy for next year's legislative elections: Argue a Democratic senate is needed to stop the far right from taking over Virginia.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 9, 2010; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Jim Moran on why Congress will continue to fund the arts, even controversial exhibits

Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va) talks to Georgetown University's Jacques Berlinerblau about religion and the arts. He weighs in on Jesus' embrace of the suffering as depicted in the controversial Hide/Seek exhibit at the National Portrait Galleries and why Congress will continue to fund the arts. "We need discussion, not censorship," Moran says in an interview for The Post's On Faith site. To see the full "The God Vote" video, click here....

By Washington Post Editors  | December 9, 2010; 11:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Updated: Allen criticizes Webb, moves closer to Senate run

Democratic Sen. Jim Webb still hasn't said whether he is running for reelection in 2012, but it increasingly looks like Republican George Allen will jump into the race.

By Anita Kumar  | December 9, 2010; 11:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Election 2012, George F. Allen, James Webb, Mark Warner, U.S. Senate  
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Va.'s Wittman signs onto bill on Arlington Cemetery accountability

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) has signed on to the U.S. House bill that would require the Army to give an accounting of every grave in Arlington National Cemetery.

By Fredrick Kunkle  | December 8, 2010; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Arlington County, Fredrick Kunkle, Rob Wittman, _National  
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Va. teachers group lobbies state to help fund pay increase

The Virginia Education Association is urging the General Assembly to approve the state funding necessary to allow school systems to give employees a three percent raise next year.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 8, 2010; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Crime commission endorses new police pursuit rules inspired by Fairfax case

The Virginia Crime Commission has endorsed a proposed law designed to ensure that police pursuits don't endanger other drivers on the road. The bill would require that emergency vehicles passing through an intersection where traffic laws would require that they stop either go ahead and stop at the intersection or proceed through it at a safe speed, with their sirens running and, as necessary, their lights on. The legislation will be considered by the General Assembly when it convenes in January. The proposal was inspired by the case of Ashley McIntosh, a teacher's assistant who was killed when her car was hit by a vehicle driven by a Fairfax police officer who ran a red light. McIntosh's mother has been pushing for such legislation. Some law enforcement members had expressed hesitation about imposing new restrictions on police during pursuits. Existing law allows emergency vehicles to disregard traffic rules provided they...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 8, 2010; 2:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Fairfax County, Rosalind Helderman  
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Albo: ABC liquor privatization group hasn't met for weeks

A legislative work group convened to help Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) come up with a new proposal to privatize state-run liquor stores hasn't met since early November and likely won't meet again until late this month.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 8, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Virginia rail board fights back against elimination proposal

An advisory board that rail officials said has strengthened freight and passenger rail relations in Virginia and helped advance rail projects is in jeopardy as the governor looks to make government more efficient.

By Jennifer Buske  | December 7, 2010; 5:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Virginia senators and delegates to hold joint redistricting hearing

After some tension over the issue, Virginia senators and delegates have now agreed to hold a joint public hearing to discuss legislative redistricting.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 7, 2010; 4:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Allen surprised by Stewarts's comments calling his record 'mediocre'

Former governor and senator George Allen said he was surprised to hear that fellow Republican Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, describe his time in the U.S. Senate as "mediocre." "I've always been complimentary of Corey Stewart,'' Allen said in an interview. "We've always gotten along. It was surprising to me." Allen said he and Stewart last appeared together before the November election at an event for Republican Keith Fimian, who narrowly lost to Democrat Rep. Gerry Connolly of Northern Virginia. In a television interview last week, Stewart said he thinks Allen will find that his "base has moved on" as he contemplates running for U.S. Senate in 2012. "Senator Allen was a great governor of Virginia -- he really was," Stewart said. "But his record in the United States Senate was mediocre. And I don't think most people in Virginia think of him as...

By Anita Kumar  | December 7, 2010; 3:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Corey Stewart, Election 2012, George F. Allen, James Webb, U.S. Senate  
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Cuccinelli: Va. should examine opting out of Medicaid, ending federal oversight of redistricting

Virginia should study what would be involve with opting out of the federal Medicaid program, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) told reporters and editors attending the annual AP Day at the Capitol Tuesday. The state has also has moved beyond the point where it needs the federal government to oversee and approve its legislative redistricting, he said.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 7, 2010; 2:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Christine O'Donnell to speak to Northern Virginia tea party

Tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell will speak to a Northern Virginia gathering Tuesday night billed as one of her first speeches since losing her race for U.S. Senate last month. O'Donnell announced last week that she will write a book about her 2010 Senate campaign and her frustrations with the political process. O'Donnell and Virginia Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) will speak to the Northern Virginia Tea Party at Harvest Moon in Falls Church, according to the group's founder, Ron Wilcox. More than 150 people are expected at the fundraiser. Tickets are $45 in advance and $60 at the door. Keith Fimian (R), who ran against Rep. Gerry Connolly (D), and Patrick Murray (R), who ran against Rep. Jim Moran, also will be on hand....

By Anita Kumar  | December 7, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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McDonnell to give state employees an additional day off

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced Tuesday that he will close Virginia's government offices on Dec. 23, giving state employees a paid day off.

By Anita Kumar  | December 6, 2010; 6:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Va. tea party chairwoman to step aside as she ponders Senate run

Here's one more sign Jamie Radtke may be inching closer to a run for U.S. Senate. Radtke, chairwoman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation, did not seek a second term during the group's closed-door elections this weekend. The federation, comprised of about 50 people representing tea party groups across the state, elected a slate of seven leaders. Radtke confirmed that she will be replaced Feb. 1 by Mark Kevin Lloyd, who serves as vice chairman. Last week, Radtke told us she is considering running for U.S. Senate as a Republican in 2012. At least four other Republicans are interested in running against Democrat Sen. Jim Webb -- if he seeks reelection: former senator and governor George Allen; Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of County Supervisors; Del. Bob Marshall (Prince William) and Bert Mizusawa, a businessman and attorney who ran against Rep.-elect Scott Rigell in Hampton...

By Anita Kumar  | December 6, 2010; 4:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Corey Stewart, Election 2012, George F. Allen, James Webb, Thomas M. Davis III, U.S. Senate  
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VDOT speeding process for bidding road construction projects

By the end of the December, the Virginia Department of Transportation will have advertised $1.1 billion in construction and maintenance projects since the fiscal year began on July 1, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) told the Dulles Area Transportation Association at a luncheon Monday. About $500 million of that figure will be advertised just this month. A recent audit of the transportation agency criticized the department for spending its allotted construction dollars too slowly. Last year at this time, VDOT had advertised just $600 million in construction spending, said agency spokesman Jeffrey Caldwell. The $1.1 billion represents about a third of VDOT's total budget for the year, he said. VDOT advertises projects to solicit bids from construction companies. Work can begin once contracts are awarded. "By working hard to ensure that VDOT invests all available transportation resources as soon as they become available, and in a manner that has the most...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 6, 2010; 4:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Transportation  
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Deeds confirms to supporters that he's running for reelection

Despite some speculation to the contrary, State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D), former gubernatorial candidate, says he's definitely running for reelection to the state senate.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 6, 2010; 11:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Defeated Boucher had $700K left in the bank

Rick Boucher, who lost to state House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R), 51 percent to 46 percent, on Nov. 2, had a significant amount of money left in the bank at the time of his defeat. As of Nov. 22, Boucher had $699,000 left in the bank, a remarkably large amount for a candidate who had been locked in a tough race.

By Ben Pershing  | December 6, 2010; 9:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Glenn Nye, Morgan Griffith, Rick Boucher, Tom Perriello  
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House Republicans elect Cox majority leader; Janis majority whip

Republicans elected Del. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) the House of Delegates' new majority leader Sunday afternoon in a closed door caucus meeting. The outcome was expected. No one challenged Cox who was persuaded by Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) to run for the post to replace Congressman-elect Morgan Griffith. "We have many challenging years ahead with tight budgets and a need to grow private sector jobs,'' Cox said in a statement. "I look forward to working hard with House Republicans and all of my legislative colleagues to address these challenges and the aspirations of the people of Virginia as the next House majority leader." Del. Bill Janis (R-Goochland) defeated Del. Kathy Byron (R-Lynchburg) in the race to replace Cox as majority whip. "After Republicans solidified our House majority when voters and gave us a net gain of six additional seats and now that these caucus elections are behind us, it's time...

By Anita Kumar  | December 5, 2010; 5:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Morgan Griffith, Robert F. McDonnell, William Howell  
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