Home Virginia Politics Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

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Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, February 28. Also, see President Obama’s weekly address, in which he reiterates “his commitment to middle-class economics, and to ensuring that all hard-working Americans get the secure and dignified retirement they deserve.”

*Congress passes 1-week extension for DHS funding (“President Obama signed the measure just before the midnight deadline. It marked the end of a whirlwind day of negotiations and a stinging defeat for the House GOP”)

*The Fix: Congressional Republicans are their own worst enemies, by a lot (“The Boehner renegades — Steve King of Iowa, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, Dave Brat of Virginia among many others — identify closely with the tea party wing of the GOP which finds its congressional champion in the form of Sen. Ted Cruz.”)

*Putin critic, Russian opposition leader gunned down in the streets of Moscow (Dark, dark days as Russia descends into corruption and tyranny.)

*Emotionless, yet beloved: Nimoy and the lasting dignity of being Spock (Spock actually wasn’t “emotionless,” in part because he was half human, in part because being Vulcan was about containing/controlling emotion and relying on logic instead. You know, kinda like the Tea Party. Hahahahahahaha.)

*Rand Paul wows CPAC crowd as Jeb Bush faces mix of cheers, boos (What a freak show.)

*Jeb Bush, CPAC piñata (“Conservatives show him no mercy.”)

*A Partial Accounting of the Damage Netanyahu Is Doing to Israel (“The Israeli prime minister seems willing to undermine his country’s relations with the U.S. in order to save his career.”)

*Marco Rubio Tries To Lecture Obama On ISIS, Commits Epic Error (Iran? Iraq? Shia? Sunnis? Whatever! LOL)

*Democrats to the Rescue: Congress Averts Shutdown for One More Week (It’s pretty much always “Democrats to the Rescue,” while Republicans are busy being wildly irresponsible, extremist ideologues, etc.)

*Fourth suspect in ISIS probe is being held in Hampton Roads

*Commentary: Warner’s vote wasn’t pro-jobs for Virginians (“Why would an ostensibly pro-jobs senator from Virginia damage his political future by supporting mega-pollution legislation that is directly harming large numbers of his own constituents? Warner should change his vote on the Keystone XL pipeline to no.”)

*Deals on ethics rules, reporting of sexual assaults wrap up Va. session (The “ethics” bill is weak, will NOT clean up the culture of corruption in Virginia or reverse the “capture” of Virginia government by corporations.)

*Week’s End Wrap up: Another week passes into the twilight

*House, Senate back rules on reporting campus sexual assaults

*Our view: Blowing in the wind

*Fairfax schools push for more money in tough budget year for the county

*Geer case has Fairfax supervisors taking another look at attorney

*Dominion, citing lower fuel costs, asks regulators to reduce customer bills (If Dominion would push hard for energy efficiency, the cheapest form of energy by far, customer bills would fall a lot further!)

*Another storm possible tomorrow bringing a mix of rain and sleet

  • Richmond – Senator A. Donald McEachin today released this statement on HB 2070 and SB 1424, the twin ethics bills that today passed both the House and the Senate.

    “At the eleventh hour, the General Assembly came together today to pass ethics legislation. This initial step is certainly not sufficient but is, at least, an acknowledgment that we have a responsibility and a duty to help Virginians trust their government again.

    “I am pleased to see tighter, lower caps on gifts from lobbyists. I believe changes to the Ethics Advisory Council (EAC), which will now have the authority to make determinations about gifts of travel, are a good start. I applaud the governor for seeking to prevent conflicts of interest at the Governor’s Opportunity Fund.

    “However, I see some glaring omissions that I hoped we would address. I am disappointed that essentially, the EAC still has no real investigative and enforcement capabilities.  There remains no cap on the cumulative value of gifts, and the gift ban has potentially problematic exemptions that render it much weaker than it should be. Organizations like ALEC will still be able to wine and dine legislators behind closed doors with no disclosure. The public’s right to know is still not honored. These are all critical and necessary components to provide true transparency and reform.

    “Over the next year, I hope we will address these significant shortfalls and create lasting, comprehensive ethics reform and transparency for the sake of all Virginians,” Senator McEachin concluded.

  • February 27, 2015 (Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Representative Don Beyer voted tonight for a Continuing Resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security for seven days ahead of an expected vote next week to advance long term funding of the Department without anti-immigration provisions favored by House Republicans.

    “Tonight’s vote to provide a short term funding measure for the Department of Homeland Security presents our best opportunity to secure long term funding of DHS while keeping President Obama’s immigration reforms in place. Budgetary brinksmanship is no way to govern. It was irresponsible for House Republicans to jeopardize our national security and the livelihoods of thousands of federal employees in the name of a fruitless ideological agenda.”

  • From the Virginia House Dem caucus:

    HOUSE GOP WORKS UNDER THE TABLE

    Richmond, VA — With the 2015 legislative session coming to a close, the House Democratic Caucus released the following statements pointing out while the House of Delegates made positive accomplishments towards building a new Virginia economy, the Republican Caucus hid many of their legislative actions under the table and away from Virginia voters, rather than focus on many kitchen table issues Virginians care about.

    Delegate Scott Surovell (D-44)

    “I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the Republican Caucus of the House of Delegates chose to focus on allowing loaded shotguns in cars and facilitated concealed weapons permits for convicted stalkers and mentally ill Virginians instead of focusing on gun violence prevention and firearms safety which are what most Virginians discuss at their kitchen table.”

    Delegate David Toscano (D-57)

    “The Democratic Caucus is pleased with our efforts this session to build a new Virginia economy, but we are disappointed that the kitchen table issues of raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid were instead laid on the table killed by Republicans. Working Virginians need a raise, and we were very disappointed that at every given opportunity, the Republican Caucus chose to deny Virginians a raise in the minimum wage. Additionally, our Republican colleagues continue their opposition to closing the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians. We will continue to fight for our Democratic values as we work to build a new Virginia economy that creates opportunities for all Virginians.”

    Delegate Kaye Kory (D-38)

    “While I am pleased with the progress we made this session, I am disappointed that so many pro-women bills were killed under the table by the Republican Caucus. By repealing the invasive mandatory ultrasound, ensuring equal pay, and passing the Equal Rights Amendment, we could have sent a message that in a new Virginia economy, we ensure women have their rights protected to make their own healthcare decisions, are paid equally for equal work, and are guaranteed equal rights under the law. Instead, our colleagues across the aisle chose to kill these bills under the table. Our Caucus remains committed to fighting for women’s rights in a new Virginia economy.”

    Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-49)

    “This session, the House of Delegates had an opportunity to pass bills to invest in our clean energy infrastructure that would protect our environment while creating good jobs for a new Virginia economy. Instead, our colleagues across the aisle not only killed these pieces of legislation, but passed legislation under the table that undermines the E.P.A.’s clean air standards in our Commonwealth. Global climate change is a very real problem, and we had an opportunity to pursue initiatives to combat this issue. The Republican Caucus, however, chose to continue subscribing to the Tea Party science magazine of climate change denial.”

    Delegate Rob Krupicka (D-45)

    “We applaud the bipartisan work on education and testing reform this year and the modest increases in funding for our schools, but hidden under the kitchen table, per pupil funding is still lower than a few years ago, our teacher pay is still behind national standards, our state’s education ranking is falling and the General Assembly continues to push for new ways to take away local school funds with proposals for new government bureaucracies for virtual schools, new board of education powers to force the cost of charter schools onto local communities without any local say-so and proposals to take local funds and divert them to religious schools. For Virginia’s new economy, we need to make public education a higher priority, give our teachers a real pay increase so they can focus on our kids and don’t have to work two or more jobs, and help local districts meet the rising demands on their time and resources.”

    Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-11)

    “Voters should be able to pick their politicians, not the other way around, and this legislative session our body failed to pass legislation that would allow for fair redistricting. It is very unfortunate our two Caucuses were unable to come together to ensure all Virginians have their voices heard in elections. I hope going forward, the General Assembly sees the need for fair redistricting, and works to achieve this commonsense, widely supported initiative.”