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Wednesday News: McCain Slams Trump for “congratulating dictators on winning sham elections”; “Lawmakers zero in on Zuckerberg”; Austin Bomber; Snow Day!

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by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, March 21. Yes, Spring officially began yesterday, but it sure doesn’t feel like it!

  • Quizzical
  • Quizzical

    Fed up with Facebook – fix privacy settings
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2164337-fed-up-with-facebook

  • Progress Virginia Statement on Gov. Northam Budget Proposal

    Progress Virginia, the commonwealth’s leading voice for progressive values, today applauded Governor Northam’s proposed budget for the General Assembly to consider in a special session on April 11th. The legislature adjourned its regular session Sine Die after House and Senate Republicans were unable to reach an agreement on the state budget. Items of contention include not only expanding healthcare coverage to up to 400,000 Virginians but also state investments in higher education and K-12 schools, pay raises for teachers and state employees, and a proposed deposit in the revenue reserve.

    “Today, Governor Northam put forward a balanced and progressive budget proposal that utilizes the significant savings from a clean Medicaid expansion to invest in priorities for Virginia families: affordable higher education, quality local schools, safe communities, and pay raises to recruit and retain talented teachers and public employees,” said Progress Virginia executive director Anna Scholl. “There is no more important issue facing our elected officials right now than solving the impasse over healthcare for Virginia families. Republicans in the state Senate have remained completely unserious on this issue, refusing to engage in true compromise while throwing out ludicrous proposals they simply have no way to pay for.

    “Governor Northam and Republicans in the House of Delegates have both come to the table with proposals to ensure no family has to choose between health care or bankruptcy. Governor Northam’s plan for a clean expansion is the quickest path to affordable health care for Virginia families without punitive barriers or gimmicks and we applaud him for continuing to advocate for working families.”

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  • Governor Northam Introduces New Biennial Budget for April 11th Special Session

    RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today unveiled the budget that he will be proposing to the Virginia General Assembly as they prepare to return to Richmond on April 11th to finish their work on the Commonwealth’s biennial spending plan.

    In a press conference Governor Northam announced that he will introduce the same budget that the previous administration proposed in December. That budget includes language that would expand Medicaid coverage to nearly 400,000 Virginians and an assessment on state hospitals to cover the Commonwealth’s share of the costs.

    Thanks to the savings the state will realize from Medicaid expansion, the budget makes significant investments in core economic priorities like education, workforce development, mental health services, opioid addiction prevention, and pay raises for state employees, teachers and law enforcement professionals.

    “Virginians have waited long enough for a balanced budget that expands health care access and invests in economic opportunity through education, workforce training, mental health and addiction services, and better pay for public servants,” said Governor Northam. “The General Assembly will return on April 11th to pass the budget Virginians deserve, but we shouldn’t wait until then to get to work. My team and I are ready to work with the General Assembly money committees to get Virginia families, local governments, institutions of higher education and many others the certainty and resources they deserve by passing a budget that expands health coverage.”

    Governor Northam also explained his approach to Medicaid expansion in the budget, saying, “The budget I am proposing expands health coverage to Virginians who need it in the most simple and straightforward way possible. I am aware that members of the General Assembly, particularly in the House of Delegates, support significant reforms to the Medicaid program that would accompany any expansion of coverage. That discussion will continue, but our starting point should be expanding health care to our fellow Virginians in the simplest and least restrictive way possible.”

    Finally, the Governor announced that he will introduce an amendment to the introduced budget that would require any revenues above those that are forecast in this budget to be invested in a revenue reserve fund.

    “The budget I am introducing makes a strong investment in our Commonwealth’s cash reserves. However, in a period of unprecedented volatility in Washington and economic uncertainty across the globe, we should do everything we can to shield Virginia taxpayers against an unexpected revenue shortfall. By including this amendment we can maintain a fiscally conservative budget and send a message to Virginians and to the ratings agencies that this budget will invest wisely while also preparing for unexpected downturns.”

    For additional information on the Governor’s budget, please visit: http://dpb.virginia.gov/

  • Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia Statement on Governor Northam’s Budget Announcement

    Richmond, Va. — Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia released the following statement after Governor Ralph Northam announced a new budget for the Virginia General Assembly to consider during the April 11 special session.

    Jennifer Allen, CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, said:
    “Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia applauds Governor Northam for prioritizing the health and wellbeing of all Virginians in the budget his administration introduced today. The Governor’s budget includes Medicaid Expansion without restrictions to provide a speedy path to healthcare access for up to 400,000 Virginians.

    “Governor Northam continues to demonstrate his commitment to equitable reproductive health care access without government restrictions. The introduced budget includes a fully-funded pilot program to increase access to all forms of long-acting reversible contraception, assuring Virginians can get the birth control option that is best for them.

    “We continue to stand by Governor Northam and the General Assembly leaders who have been fighting to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare for years. This fiscally-responsible budget provides health care access and creates major savings as well, providing funding for other urgent needs in the Commonwealth like education.

    “Now is the time to expand Medicaid. We call on General Assembly leaders to put the interests of Virginians first and approve Governor Northam’s budget during the April 11 special session.”

    Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia (PPAV) is a statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to preserve and broaden access to reproductive health care through legislation, public education, electoral activity and litigation in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Planned Parenthood health centers provide high-quality, affordable reproductive health care, education programs, and outreach to more than 31,000 people in the Commonwealth. PPAV works to ensure that individuals and families have the freedom, information, and ability to make their own informed reproductive choices.

  • Virginia House Dems’ Statement on Gov. Ralph Northam’s Budget

    RICHMOND, Va.- House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano and Caucus Chair Charniele Herring today issued the following statement praising Governor Northam’s proposed budget:

    “The proposed budget is the budget Virginia voters voted for last fall and deserve. It includes major investments in education and job creation. It provides Medicaid expansion in the most simple and direct way possible. Nearly 400,000 Virginians will finally have access to health care and this will allow us to make vital investments to improve the lives of all Virginians by providing more funding for education, economic development, and tackling the opioid crisis. We are also in support of Governor Northam‘s amendment that is set to protect our Commonwealth from any economic volatility by requiring any revenues above those that are forecast in this budget to be invested in a revenue reserve fund. We are motivated to return for special session to pass a budget that will make Virginian lives better.”

  • Ha, love this from Bert Mizusawa…neither Nick Freitas or Corey Stewart “are ready to lead” or “will be our next US Senator”

    http://bluevirginia.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/MizusawaStatement.png