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Virginia Politics Blog: February 20, 2011 - February 26, 2011

State legislators will return Sunday to complete budget

State legislators expect to return to the Capitol late Sunday to vote on revisions to Virginia's two-year budget. House and Senate negotiators continued meeting late Saturday, but differences on public safety, higher education and social services spending still remained. They were hopeful they could complete work on a compromise by midnight. Legislative staffers would then work throughout the night and morning to review and print the budget before they land on lawmakers' desks early Sunday afternoon. Legislators would likely vote on the budget about 5 p.m. The 46-day session was scheduled to end Saturday. It will be the sixth session extension in a decade. An extra day of session usually costs $20,000 for each additional day the legislature meets, but the House voted to reject its per diem. House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) said budget negotiators had made "pretty good progress" and were 80 percent done with amendments...

By Anita Kumar and Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 26, 2011; 8:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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General Assembly will extend its regular session

The Virginia General Assembly was unable to complete revisions to the state's two-year budget Saturday and announced plans to extend its annual legislative session. "We're dealing with huge amounts of money in a very short amount of time,'' House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) said. "If we go over a day or two, I don't think that's significant at all." House and Senate negotiators continued meeting Saturday, but differences in public safety and social services spending still remained. "There's work going on,'' Sen. R. Edward Houck (D-Spotsylvania) said. "We're not finished, but work continues. It could be resolved rather quickly. It could still drag out for a while." The 46-day session was scheduled to end Saturday. It will be the sixth session extension in a decade at a cost of about $20,000 a day for each additional day....

By Anita Kumar and Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 26, 2011; 4:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate, William Howell  
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Virginia labor rallies at state Capitol

More than 300 people rallied on Virginia Capitol Square on Saturday in sympathy with Wisconsin workers protesting their governor's proposal to end their collective-bargaining rights for public employees. Wearing red and carrying placards, Virginians gathered at the Bell Tower to voice their support for the union battle against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) a day after he threatened thousands of layoffs unless lawmakers carry through on his plan to limit collective-bargaining for public workers. "I cannot stand what's happening in Wisconsin," said Jeanne Wall, 60, an arts educator from Slate Mills, Va. who runs her own business. "Collective bargaining is something people fought and died for in this country. It's like voting rights. It's not something that can be taken away." Among the speakers were Rabbi Ben Romer of Richmond, Virginia Education Association president Kitty Boitnott, and Richard Hatch, who is president of the Central Virginia Labor Federation....

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 26, 2011; 2:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011  
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Virginia lawmakers approve hotels taxes -- except in Arlington

The Virginia General Assembly on Friday approved hotel taxes for several jurisdictions after a Northern Virginia senator backed down from an amendment whose sole purpose was to teach the GOP a lesson. But one jurisdiction that had asked to extend its lodging tax was still left out in the cold, apparently at least in part because of what some lawmakers view as its bad manners. Arlington. County boosters are fond of talking about the Arlington Way of conducting its public affairs with good cheer. But the urban Washington suburb created more than a little ill will in the commonwealth in the past year or so with a federal lawsuit to block the public-private installation of high-speed HOT lanes on Interstates 395 and 95. In effect, the lawsuit accused state and federal transportation officials of racism, and it also sought to sue officials in their non-official capacity as individuals....

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 25, 2011; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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McDonnell remakes Va. Parole Board

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced Friday afternoon that he has appointed four new members to the five-member Parole Board. The board, created in 1942, grants parole to inmates who are eligible from before Virginia abolished parole in the 1990s and advises the governor on clemencies. Bill Muse, senior assistant attorney general in the correctional litigation section, will serve as the new board chairman. He joined the attorney general's office in 1985 after 12 years of private practice in the Richmond area. All members will begin next month and serve at the pleasure of the governor. McDonnell also appointed a part-time investigator. He still must fill one vacancy. See below for the other appointments:...

By Anita Kumar  | February 25, 2011; 4:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Senator discovers asbestos in his legislative office

Workers discovered asbestos at the Virginia General Assembly Building earlier this week, the clerk of the state senate confirmed Friday.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 25, 2011; 3:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Fairfax urges McDonnell to veto PE requirement for schoolchildren

Fairfax County is asking Gov. Bob McDonnell to veto a bill that requires all children in public elementary and middle schools to participate in at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week to help fight the growing problem of childhood obesity. School officials say the requirement -- to be implemented in 2014 -- would require them to extend the school day, lead to cuts in arts and music classes or increase costs because additional teachers would be needed. In a lettersent Thursday to McDonnell (R) by the school board chairman and superintendent, Fairfax estimates that the bill could cost the school district $18 million to $24 million. "Mandating a specific amount of time for physical education, particularly given the many other mandates and accountability requirements faced by our students and schools, will force school divisions into a very difficult choice,'' they wrote. "To implement the requirement, school divisions can...

By Anita Kumar  | February 25, 2011; 3:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate  
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Leading Northern Va. senator announces retirement

Virginia Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, a 15-year veteran from Arlington who chairs her chamber's Democratic caucus, has announced she will not run for reelection to her seat in November.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 25, 2011; 1:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Arlington County, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Pollard will not seek reelection in the House of Delegates

Del. Albert Pollard (D-Northumberland) will not seek reelection to the House of Delegates in November. Pollard, 43, surprised his colleagues on the House floor by announcing his retirement during the morning hour on the House floor. Delegates gave him a prolonged standing ovation and heaped praise on him, calling him a true "Virginia gentleman." He said he had pledged to serve 10 years and will leave having served from 2000 to 2005 and then again from 2008 through 2012. A representive of the Northern Neck, he was well known for his support of environmental causes. In his farewell speech, he warned his colleagues against partisanship and the influence of lobbyists. The General Assembly is in its closing days, the time in which legislators generally announce their retirements. Already, Sen. Patricia S. Ticer (D-Alexandria) who has served in the state Senate since 1996, announced that she will retire from the Senate...

By Anita Kumar  | February 25, 2011; 12:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates  
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Northern Va. lawmakers ask Congress to restore Metro's $150 million

Northern Virginia's state lawmakers have closed ranks in asking their counterparts in Congress to restore $150 million in Metro funding. In a Feb. 22 letter authored by Del. Scott A. Surovell (D-Fairfax), 24 of 27 lawmakers asked members of the Virginia congressional delegation to make sure that Congress honors a bipartisan funding agreement between Maryland, the District, Virginia and the U.S. government. The 2008 deal had been brokered by Rep. Tom Davis, a Republican, and Rep. Jim Moran, a Democrat, to address $1.5 billion in needed improvements to Metro. The funds were dropped as part of the Republican-controlled House's decision to lop $60 billion from federal spending. Rep. Gerald Connolly, a Democrat from Fairfax, offered legislation to put the money back in but was ruled out of order. Surovell's letter notes that the system is integral not just to the Washington region's economy but to Virginia's, as Northern Virginia is...

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 25, 2011; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Bolling, Cuccinelli play key roles in Senate abortion vote

Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) got to burnish his gubernatorial credentials with the GOP base by casting decisive vote to regulate state abortion clinics as hospitals. But his potential rival, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), also played a role.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 25, 2011; 10:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Bill Bolling, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Ken Cuccinelli, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Virginia lawmakers create Progressive Caucus

"Society ought to be judged not by how it treats the people at the top -- it should be judged by how it treats the people at the bottom," Englin said. "So we want to make sure the most vulnerable among us are taken care of."

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 25, 2011; 7:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Fredrick Kunkle, General Assembly 2011  
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Va. lawmakers vote to raise medical malpractice awards

The General Assembly has agreed to raise awards in medical malpractice lawsuits $50,000 each year starting in 2012. The bill calls for an increase from $2 million starting in 2012 and then $50,000 each year until 2031. Del. David Albo (R-Fairfax) said he and Sen. Henry Marsh (D-Richmond), both attorneys, helped trial attorneys and doctors negotiate a deal before the session began by telling them that if they didn't work out a compromise, legislators would do it for them. In the 1970s, the General Assembly capped awards in medical malpractice lawsuits at $750,000. The cap was gradually increased and capped at $2 million in 2008. Legislators have debated for years whether to increase the amount. Some Democrats have favored an increase, but Republicans have rejected the proposals in the name of tort reform. The bill now heads to Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) for his signature. A spokesman for McDonnell said...

By Anita Kumar  | February 24, 2011; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, State Senate  
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Legislature passes police pursuit rules inspired by Fairfax case

Virginia legislators passed a bill designed to ensure that police pursuits don't endanger other drivers on the road. The bill requires that emergency vehicles driving past any signals must stop or sound a siren before proceeding. The House and Senate passed the bill Thursday. It now heads to Gov. Bob McDonnell (R)'s desk. 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. In December, when the Virginia Crime Commission debated the proposal, 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 take due regard for safety. But the commission endorsed the proposal unanimously after it received the support of...

By Anita Kumar  | February 24, 2011; 5:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, State Senate  
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Va. House clears bill extending time for sex assault victims to sue

The House on Thursday agreed to give victims of childhood sexual assault more time to sue their abusers, clearing the way for final passage of one of the more combative issues of the session. The compromise would allow victims to file a lawsuit up to 20 years after the event, after the victim turns 18 years old, or after the abuse has come to light, such as through a recovered memory. The current statute of limitations sets a two-year limit....

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 24, 2011; 4:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011  
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UPDATED:Virginia House passes bill that eases NOVA's anticompetitive concerns about water utilities

The House of Delegates on Thursday approved a reworked water utilities bill after allaying concerns among some Northern Virginian lawmakers that the measure could limit developers' choice of water suppliers in Tysons Corner and other fast-growing areas. The bill -- which concerns the power of water utilities to mandate the use of their service so long as local governments agree -- had threatened to reignite the long-running "water war" between Fairfax Water and the City of Falls Church. Some members of the legislature and the business community worried that, as originally written, the bill might give an unfair advantage to one utility over another--in this case, Fairfax Water, which was formerly known as the Fairfax County Water Authority. The two water suppliers fought a bruising lawsuit that ended in victory for Fairfax Water--and a finding that Falls Church had been unlawfully diverting millions of dollars to city coffers from Fairfax...

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 24, 2011; 3:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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General Assembly passes restrictions on alcohol ads on billboards

Virginia lawmakers have passed a bill to restrict alcohol ads on billboards in certain places following a settlement last month with billboard company Lamar that resulted in the commonwealth lifting a long-standing ban on the ads across the state. The House of Delegates voted 97-0 Wednesday for an emergency bill that would allow liquor billboards in industrial and commercial areas, but bans them within 500 feet (equal to about six houses) from schools, houses, places of worship or parks. The Senate unanimously passed the bill Thursday. A spokesman for Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said he would review the bill before deciding whether to sign it. If he signs it, it would go into effect immediately. Legislators have been working around the clock for a week to come up with a deal with more than three dozen lobbyists who represents alcohol, advertising and other interests....

By Anita Kumar  | February 24, 2011; 2:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, State Senate  
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Va. General Assembly agrees to regulate abortion clinics as hospitals

The Virginia General Assembly has agreed abortion clinics should be regulated as hospitals instead of physician's offices, a move the state's anti-abortion activists have sought for almost two decades and say will improve clinic safety.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 24, 2011; 2:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (104)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Virginia expands Prince William commuter parking

Virginia officials plan to invest almost $8 million to expand commuter parking in eastern Prince William County, Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton said Thursday. The state's announcement comes after Potomac Mills mall closed about 700 of the commuter parking spaces it had provided for years on Feb. 14. Connaughton said a temporary commuter lot will open March 14 at First Baptist Church at Minnieville and Elm Farm roads in Woodbridge. The state will pay about $288,600 for the 600-space lot, which will also be served by the local bus system. Construction of a $7.2 million commuter lot on Telegraph Road -- a quarter-mile from the Horner Road lot -- will commence later this year. The 600-space lot is set to open in 2012, said Connaughton, who made the announcement with Prince William Board Chairman Corey Stewart and Virginia Department of Transportation officials. "I've commuted from Prince William on...

By Jennifer Buske  | February 24, 2011; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Virginia groups criticize McDonnell's support of Wisconsin's Walker

A group of labor and non-profit organizations sent a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) criticizing his support of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is backing a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits leaving his state capital awash in protests.

By Anita Kumar  | February 24, 2011; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Facing federal threat, Virginia House endorses $30 million to move disabled from institutions

Hoping to fend off a potential lawsuit from the federal government, the House on Wednesday agreed to spend $30 million to begin moving people with severe intellectual disabilities out of state-operated institutions and into community-based care. The measure was sent down to the legislature by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) in response to a long-awaited report by the U.S. Justice Department that was highly critical of the commonwealth's compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The House bill--sponsored by Del. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and amended by Del. Johnny S. Joannou (D-Portsmouth)--would put $30 million into a trust fund for up to 600 "waivers" and other programs that would allow people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to receive services in community settings, instead of institutions....

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 24, 2011; 6:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011  
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Updated: Morrissey takes bar exam, asks for his law license back

Del. Joe Morrissey, who serves as the House Democratic whip, said he took a day off from the General Assembly Tuesday to drive to Norfolk to take his bar exam as he tries to get his law license reinstated. The Virginia State Bar disciplinary board, which will provide a recommendation to the Supreme Court, will hold a hearing April 22 in Richmond. The court will decide whether his petition should be granted or denied. Morrissey, a former criminal defense lawyer and commonwealth's attorney in Richmond, had his law license revoked in 2003 after a series of missteps including several suspensions and stint in jail. Morrissey, elected in 2007, said he plans to run for re-election in the House in November. But he has spoken to some lobbyists and staffers about possibly running against Sen. Henry Marsh (D-Richmond)....

By Anita Kumar  | February 23, 2011; 6:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, House of Delegates  
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Va. delegates pass measure urging Congress to stop EPA from further regulating air quality

Del. David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville) also drew attention to Morefield's use of the phrase "train wreck" in the resolution. "I guess I'd ask the gentleman, since this is not a legal term, and it doesn't seem to be a scientific term, is this your term -- or did it come from some other organization or group?' Toscano asked. "This is was not my term. This was presented to me by the coal industry," Morefield replied, eliciting guffaws on the other side of the aisle.

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 23, 2011; 5:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011  
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DCCC targets Wolf for vote on spending bill

The House Democratic campaign arm is targeting Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) for his vote last week in favor of the GOP's spending resolution, accusing the Northern Virginia lawmaker of betraying his constituents in the federal workforce.

By Ben Pershing  | February 23, 2011; 3:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Frank R. Wolf  
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Virginia Senate puts off major abortion vote to Thursday

The Virginia Senate has postponed a major vote over abortion rights, as Democrats in the chamber hunt for votes to kill last-minute legislation that would regulate clinics where first trimester abortions are performed as hospitals.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 23, 2011; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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House, Senate extend budget deadline to midnight Thursday

The Senate and House of Delegates voted Wednesday to extend the deadline for budget negotiators to reach a deal on the state budget until midnight Thursday after their original Tuesday deadline passed with no compromise. The dozen lawmakers assigned to work out a deal between the two chambers are still far apart on a variety of issues, including funding for K-12 education, use of general fund money for transportation, how much money to put in the rainy day fund, pension reform, funding for a program to keep sexual predators locked up once their sentences are completed and how much to set aside to move developmentally disabled residents from institutions to community-based care. Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Colgan (D-Prince William) had sounded optimistic about the conference's progressTuesday, predicting a compromise would be complete by Thursday. But Wednesday, he said the two sides had experienced a "backwards slide" and compromise was still...

By Anita Kumar and Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 23, 2011; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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All in the family: Senate honors Redskin who calls member aunt

The Virginia Senate honored a well-known Washington Redskin DeAngelo Hall Wednesday, nephew to a state senator.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 23, 2011; 11:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Northern Virginia's water war heats up again as some see anticompetitive bill

A new front in Northern Virginia's "water war" between Fairfax Water and the City of Falls Church appears to have opened, with a proposal to add two words to existing law governing water utilities. And some believe the spoils lie in Tysons Corner and other places ripe for redevelopment. With less than a week before the scheduled conclusion of the annual legislative session, members of the business community, lawmakers and business groups appeared blindsided by the potentially significant impact of SB1160, with some believing it could undercut competition for water service, thereby driving up water utility rates....

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 23, 2011; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Fairfax County, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, General Assembly 2011  
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Virginia state Senate girds for major abortion debate

Anti-abortion activists in Virginia believe they have the opportunity to score a majority victory in the state's stalemated fight over abortion rights, as the state senate will debate a bill as early as Wednesday that would require Virginia's Board of Health to regulate clinics where first trimester abortions are performed.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 23, 2011; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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In Va., the lowly menhaden loses out to striped bass

The Virginia General Assembly on Tuesday voted to designate the striped bass as the commonwealth's official state saltwater fish -- but not before the lowly menhaden gave sporting battle. The bill, SB940, sponsored by Sen. John C. Miller (D-Newport News), navigated easily through the Senate and the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources. But the striped bass hit a snag Tuesday when Del. Jackson H. Miller (R-Manassas) offered an amendment to substitute menhaden, a fish harvested in Virginia largely for animal feed and human Omega-3 supplements. Unlike the striped bass, a game fish that is prized by sports fishermen and foodies alike, the menhaden has never been viewed as much more than aquatic fodder. Several species of fish eat them, including stripers. (Native Americans' name for menhaden was "munnawhatteaug" -- a word meaning fertilizer, biologists say.) Still, the fish supports an important industry in the commonwealth, with about...

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 22, 2011; 4:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Hampton Roads lawyer David McCormick to seek 2012 GOP Senate nomination

As Democrats keep waiting to see whether Timothy Kaine will jump into the race to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), the Republican field just got a little more crowded.

By Ben Pershing  | February 22, 2011; 2:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Election 2012, George F. Allen, James Webb, U.S. Senate  
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McDonnell doesn't rule out vice presidential run

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday morning he would run for vice president on the Republican ticket in 2012 if asked, but that he was not seeking it out. "I don't know what's going to happen in 2012, we don't even have a candidate yet on our team," he said on WTOP radio. "I'm not expecting a call. I'm expecting to be governor of Virginia for three years." McDonnell appeared on the hour-long program dubbed Hands Across the Potomac with Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D). O'Malley, the new chairman of the Democratic Governors Association whose national profile has been on the rise since his November reelection, quickly said he would not entertain the possibility (though unless President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden don't plan to run for re-election next year, there's not much he can run for until he leaves the Governor's Mansion...

By Anita Kumar  | February 22, 2011; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Veterans charities will again have to register after U.S. Navy Vets fiasco

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which regulates state charities, confirms it has concluded an eight-month investigation into the activities of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association and turned its reports over to the Virginia Attorney General's office for possible criminal prosecution.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 22, 2011; 12:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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McDonnell tapped as speaker for 2011 Shad Planking

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell knows how to tell a good joke or two. So it's no wonder that the folks at the Shad Planking have asked him to return for the third time to be their speaker. The speeches at Shad -- the curious Virginia political tradition named for the bony, oily fish -- are always lighthearted. Candidates who appear together often roast each other. McDonnell (R) spoke in 2006 as attorney general and then again in 2009 alongside gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran. (Creigh Deeeds did the unthinkable and skipped that year even though the event is generally considered a must-do for statewide candidates.) An official announcement is not expected until next week, but we hear McDonnell has been asked and has agreed to speak again this year. More than 1,000 people are expected at the April 20 event, where candidates set up booths and dole out...

By Anita Kumar  | February 22, 2011; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Virginia House approves bill to allow car title lending to out-of-state drivers

A bill to allow car title lenders to extend credit to out-of-state drivers squeaked through the Virginia General Assembly Monday, overcoming objections from a bipartisan group of delegates who argued Virginia should respect the laws of neighboring states that have banned car title lending.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 21, 2011; 5:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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McDonnell urges lawmakers to add money for developmentally disabled

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) sent a letter to legislators Monday encouraging them to set aside millions of dollars to move residents from institutions that house developmentally disabled people to community-based care.

By Anita Kumar  | February 21, 2011; 5:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate  
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Virginia's new 'currency' debuts at the Capitol

Del. Bob Marshall's proposal for the state to begin minting its own gold and silver coins as an alternative currency to the U.S. dollar didn't quite make it through the legislature this session. But in honor of the Prince William Republican, coins with Marshall's likeness with the words In Bob We Trust and Bob Bucks have been distributed around Capitol Square. They're called "Ginnies." Get it? For Virginia. The coins first debuted at the annual Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association dinner two weeks ago, but have cropping up ever since at the state Capitol and the General Assembly Building. Marshall, one of the most conservative and controversial legislators, downplayed talk that his bill could be construed as well, a bit wacky. He said he wanted to inject competition into the national economy and force the federal government to change monetary policy he believes is leading to hyperinflation. His critique mirrors that...

By Anita Kumar  | February 21, 2011; 3:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Bob Marshall, General Assembly 2011  
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Senate kills bill to require more parent notification of school discipline

The Virginia Senate Monday killed a bill to require school administrators to contact parents of school children whenever they face disciplinary action that is "likely" to result in suspension. Advocates of the bill argued parents need to know whenever their children face serious disciplinary action. The Washington Post reported Sunday that in the case of a Fairfax County high school student who committed suicide after he was harshly disciplined for buying a legal marijuana-like substance at school, the student signed a written confession of his actions at the direction of school officials before his parents were informed he was in trouble. "There has been a significant loss of confidence in the school disciplinary system," said Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City), alluding to the Fairfax case. Petersen said passage of the bill could have helped restore confidence in Fairfax. But school organizations, including the Virginia Education Association and the principals' organization...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 21, 2011; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Former NFL player talks of childhood sexual assault in pushing Virginia victims bill

Advocates for childhood victims of sexual assault enlisted the help of a hard-hitting lobbyist on Monday to persuade lawmakers to expand the existing statute of limitations for civil lawsuits so that victims could sue their abusers long after the event. With lawmakers unable to agree on whether to extend the statute of limitations to 25 years, eight years or a compromise between the two, advocates tapped former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Al Chesley to help push for the longest period possible....

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 21, 2011; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011  
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Beyer rules out Virginia Senate race

Don Beyer, a former Democratic lieutenant governor who now serves as ambassador to Switzerland and the principality of Liechtenstein, says he is not interested in running for U.S. Senate in 2012. Beyer is one of the many potential candidates who has been mentioned to replace U.S. Sen. James Webb (D), who recently announced he would not run for a second term. "Serving the people of Virginia as a U.S. Senator would be an extraordinary honor,'' Beyer writes us from Switzerland. "However, Megan and I love our current role in Switzerland and Liechtenstein -- the work is important and interesting, it is fulfilling to serve our country and President, and we enjoy the people, culture, languages, and landscapes of our temporary home." Beyer was elected lieutenant governor in 1989, and served for two terms. Most interested Democrats are waiting for Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Commitee and former governor,...

By Anita Kumar  | February 21, 2011; 9:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Election 2012, Timothy M. Kaine, Tom Perriello, U.S. Senate  
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