Home Virginia Politics Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

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Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, January 27.

*How Winter Snow Leads To A Blizzard Of Climate Denial

*Netanyahu to American Jews: Get Lost (“By accepting Speaker Boehner’s invitation to address Congress, the Israeli leader has chosen to side with political forces opposed by many US Jews.” Yep, that’s what he’s basically saying to people like me.)

*Netanyahu’s contempt (“His actions could harm support for Israel.” Agreed. I’ve been pro-Israel my whole life, but the right wing in Israel, particularly its alliance with the far right in this country, is REALLY putting a strain on my support…)

*Koch-backed network aims to spend nearly $1 billion on 2016 elections (So much for “democracy.” Thanks a LOT Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy!)

*Senate’s swing-state Republicans break ranks (“2016 electoral map complicates life for new Senate majority.”)

*Morning Joe Hosts Receive Special Invite To Closed Koch Event, Lavish Koch Brothers With Praise (That really says it all. Utterly corrupt.)

*Senate panel votes to end sexual orientation workplace discrimination (“A Virginia Senate committee voted Monday to prohibit discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”)

*With confusion, Senate kills McAuliffe gun bills (We need to take back the Senate. End of story.)

*Court says Bob McDonnell will be free during appeal (“A federal appeals court has approved the former Virginia governor’s request to remain free while he appeals his corruption convictions. A hearing is set for May 12.”)

*White House to propose opening waters off Atlantic coast to drilling (Huge mistake if they do that.)

*Virginia lawmakers are rushing too fast to change the law on college sexual assault

*Virginia Senate approves measure allowing 2-term governor (“Sen. Thomas Garrett, R-Lynchburg argued that voters should have a chance to re-elect the governor, no matter who it is. Garrett’s measure was approved 24-15.”)

*John Guevara, Candidate for Sully District Supervisor (This is getting more fun as a Tea Partier enters the race…)

*Virginia Senate committee defeats gun control proposals (“The Republican-led committee rejected Democratic gun control bills that included restoring a state law requiring criminal background checks on private sales at gun shows.”)

*Searching for ways to prevent drug deaths (“Heroin, increasingly a drug of choice for young people, killed 213 people in Virginia in 2013. Prescription drug overdoses caused 468 more deaths that year. Three bills before the General Assembly offer worthwhile tools to keep more people safe and hold dealers accountable when their drugs lead to death.”)

*Morning snow showers, blustery today; Sunshine returns Wednesday

  • First, check out Chris Cillizza’s 2015 list of “best state political reporters.”

    Virginia

    Jeff Shapiro, Richmond Times-Dispatch

    Laura Vozzella, Washington Post

    Rachel Weiner, Washington Post

    Those are three fine choices, no doubt. But there are many other excellent ones who did not make this list. For instance:

    Travis Fain of the Daily Press

    Dave Ress of the Daily Press

    Jenna Portnoy of the Washington Post

    Patrick Wilson of the Virginian Pilot

    Markus Schmidt of the Richmond Times Dispatch

    Jim Nolan of the Richmond Times Dispatch

    Peter Galuszka of Bacon’s Rebellion

    Steve Albertson of The Bull Elephant

    Ben Tribbett (formerly of “Not Larry Sabato” but still very active on social media)

    Yours truly of Blue Virginia

    Chelyen Davis of the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

    Michael Pope of WAMU

    Joe St. George of CBS 6

    And I’m sure I missed a bunch, including some (Dave Sherfinski, Roz Helderman) who are mostly not covering Virginia politics anymore, but who do a great job whenever they do. Just not sure why Chris Cillizza publishes this list if it’s not going to be anywhere near complete…

  • Virginians back $250 gift ban, reporting campus rape to police, redistricting reform, two-term governor, looser marijuana laws

    NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Barely 1 out of 3 Virginia voters (34%) believes the state’s political culture is exceptionally or mostly honest and ethical, according to a poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. In the Center’s annual survey of issues before the General Assembly, 64% were skeptical of “The Virginia Way,” calling the state’s political culture only somewhat or not very honest.

    Asked about specific proposals before the legislature, 85% said they support banning gifts of more than $250 to state and local officials, and 71% support creating an independent ethics commission to monitor those officials. Also, 62% said former governor Bob McDonnell’s 2-year prison sentence for corruption is fair.  

    “The public is very sour on our elected officials, and on our larger political culture right now,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center. “Clearly the idea that Virginia has an exceptionally ethical and honest political culture is a figment of the imagination. The public simply doesn’t buy it.”

    Here are some other highlights from the survey:

    90% of voters surveyed support requiring colleges and universities to report campus sexual assaults to local police, rather than handle them as internal disciplinary matters. Support for that mandatory reporting is extremely high across all demographic, regional and political categories.

    A majority of voters familiar with Virginia’s redistricting process say it is unfair. They favor giving that task to an independent commission and prohibiting the use of partisan voting patterns to tailor districts.  

    Asked to prioritize potential budget cuts, 34% put transportation first on the chopping block. A very strong majority (86%) said they would exempt K-12 school funding from cuts.

    Although a small majority (51%) would support a general tax increase to avoid budget cuts, 55% oppose a gas tax increase for transportation.

    69% of Virginia voters support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes; 71% would make possession of a small amount of marijuana subject to a fine, not a criminal offense.

    Overall, voters strongly support raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10, although support varies by demographic and political categories.

    Virginians give Gov. Terry McAuliffe a 52% approval rating, the first time he has been above 50% in Wason Center polling. President Obama’s approval rating stands at 44%, with 50% disapproval.

  • The Obama Administration’s short-sighted decision to open drilling off Virginia’s coastline will pose significant threats to Virginia’s coastal economy, our natural resources, and jeopardize the Navy’s presence in Hampton Roads for nothing more than a few days of national oil and gas supply. Clearly the risks of drilling in this sensitive region far outweigh any benefits.

    It is disappointing and ironic that while the Obama Administration took an important step in protecting 12 million acres of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge they are willing to expose Virginia’s barrier islands, our wildlife, estuaries and natural resources, and much of the Eastern coastline, to this very same threat. I will continue to urge the Department of Interior to reconsider this dangerous decision.

  • It’s truly appalling…very disappointed with/angry at the Obama administration right now!

    RICHMOND-The Obama administration today announced a plan to open up vast areas of the Atlantic Coast, from Virginia to Georgia, to oil and gas drilling. Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, had the following statement in response:

    “The Obama administration is turning its back on the lessons of the BP disaster and opening Virginia’s coast to unacceptable and unnecessary risks. A major oil spill would cut the legs out from under coastal Virginia’s economy, imperiling critical tourism, port and naval infrastructure.

    “This drilling plan also betrays President Obama’s own State of the Union warning last week that ‘climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.'” Rising sea levels along Virginia’s coast are not only flooding homes and businesses, but also threaten Naval Station Norfolk, which is spending millions to raise piers. Why are we talking about drilling for more of the fossil fuels causing our seas to rise, when we have vast renewable energy resources waiting to be developed?

    “Offshore wind power has far more upside, and none of the same downsides as drilling. Developing the Atlantic’s vast offshore wind power resources could create more than twice as many jobs, and, within two decades, produce more than twice the energy. This is the solution to grow our economy while protecting our children.”

  • Glen Besa, Sierra Club’s Virginia Director issued the following statement regarding the Obama administration’s draft 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, which opens up new areas off the Atlantic, Gulf and Alaskan coasts to drilling.

    “In keeping some areas of America’s coastline off-limits to new offshore drilling the Obama administration has recognized that some places are too special to drill. Virginia’s coast should have been one of them.  Travel-related spending in Virginia Beach alone reached $1.3 billion and sportfishing in saltwater alone generated $1 billion in 2013. Drilling off our Virginia coast risks Virginia’s highly profitable coastal economies that depend on clean beaches and healthy ocean waters.

    “It also risks our climate.  The Obama administration has done more than any other to tackle the climate crisis. However, these efforts must extend to keeping dirty fuels in the ground, especially in undeveloped and environmentally fragile areas like those off Virginia’s beaches.

    “As the administration moves to finalize this draft proposal, we hope they’ll recognize that new energy projects should be focused on tapping our region’s large offshore wind potential. Choosing clean energy will benefit coastal communities already dealing with the rising seas and severe storms brought by climate disruption; it will benefit tourism economies up and down the Atlantic coast; and will benefit the environment.”

  • Here’s their statement, which I completely disagree with:

    This is a significant step in a multi-year process that should result in the safe, responsible development of energy resources off the Virginia and mid-Atlantic coasts. This draft leasing plan from the Interior Department includes appropriate environmental reviews and opportunities for public hearings before any lease sales would occur. It does not, however, allow Virginia or other Atlantic coastal states to share in any of the revenue from energy resources developed offshore. We will continue to push for legislation to allow Virginia to have the same revenue-sharing system currently applied to Gulf Coast states.

  • Today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of the Interior is a positive step toward responsible offshore energy development that will create jobs and economic activity, while helping our Commonwealth diversify its energy resources. If we proceed in a smart and safe way, we can unlock gas, oil, and wind assets offshore while protecting our environment and Virginia’s close relationship with the Department of Defense and other key stakeholders. I will continue to work with the Obama administration on this important issue to move our energy economy forward.

  • From the Virginia House Dem caucus:

    VA HOUSE GOP TO WORKING FAMILIES: DROP DEAD

    Richmond, VA — Today, the House Democratic Caucus released the following joint statement from Democratic Leader David Toscano (D-57) and Caucus Chair Scott Surovell (D-44) slamming House Republicans for voting against legislation that would work towards building a new Virginia economy. This legislation included: raising the minimum wage, protecting low-income workers from predatory lenders, closing the gender pay gap, and establishing paid sick leave — kitchen table issues working families care about. House Republicans killed such legislation today.

    “Working families needed their elected officials to stand up for them, and today in the House, the Republican Caucus failed those working families. Commonsense policies like raising the minimum wage, paid sick leave, regulating predatory lenders, and closing the gender pay gap — policies that would help strengthen the middle class — should not be partisan or divisive,” said Leader Toscano and Caucus Chair Surovell. “In a new Virginia economy, every Virginian deserves to make a living wage that will enable them to support themselves and their families. Twenty states raised their minimum wage on January 1, and it’s time for Virginia to do the same.”