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Monday News: Profile in Courage Award for Barack Obama, Who Urges Political Courage to Defend ACA; Sally Yates to Testify


by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, May 8. Also check out the Profile In Courage Award Ceremony with President Barack Obama – and remember when we had a president we could be proud of, one of brilliance, eloquence, erudition, humor, grace, class, wisdom, integrity, honesty, and many other great qualities. Needless to say, we don’t have that now, but our next president — after this national nightmare finally ends — must be the best of humanity, like Barack Obama, not the absolute dregs of humanity like the current occupant of the White House.

  • Quizzical

    Life without work?
    The meaning of life in a world without work – the guardian

  • Governor McAuliffe Signs Clean Energy Legislation

    ~ 11 bills receive bipartisan support to grow clean energy sector in VA ~

    RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today signed 11 bipartisan bills passed by the General Assembly earlier this year that promote the use of solar and other renewable energy options and aim to reduce energy consumption across the Commonwealth.

    “Today, I am honored to sign these bills into law, furthering the great work we’re doing to support and promote the clean energy sector across the Commonwealth,’ said Governor McAuliffe at the bill signing ceremony. “It is clear that Virginia is moving in the right direction, especially with the recent announcement of record growth in our solar industry, but there is still work to do. Together, with our partners in the General Assembly and the private sector, I will continue to implement policies that bolster the entire clean energy industry in the Commonwealth.”

    “With revenue in the clean energy sector increasing from $500 million to $2 billion since 2014, the industry is a vital component of the new Virginia economy, creating more jobs and opportunities for citizens across the Commonwealth,” added Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Today’s bill signing highlights the commitment we have to reducing energy consumption and providing more sustainable energy options in the Commonwealth.”

    “Energy storage is essential for a clean and sustainable energy future,” said Senator Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria). “The inventor who perfects the technology to store the power of the sun and the wind will be our next Bill Gates, and deservedly so.”

    “I carried two bills in the House of Delegates during the 2017 Session that will help Virginia citizens, businesses, and government agencies conserve energy and create energy from renewable sources,” said Delegate Randy Minchew (R – Leesburg). “First, I was the Chief Patron for HB 1712, an Administration Bill that will allow local governments, school boards, and state agencies to save taxpayer dollars and reduce their energy consumption. Second, I was the Chief Patron for HB 2303, a bill that was the product of a year-long mediation effort between investor-owned utilities, electrical cooperatives, farmers and rural business operators, and renewable energy stakeholders and that will allow agricultural landowners to ‘farm the Sun,’ become energy independent, and help increase renewable energy production throughout our Commonwealth.”

    “Giving localities the flexibility to enhance their economic growth with green businesses and buildings in green development zones was truly an idea that came from the ground up,” added Delegate Michael J. Webert (R – Marshall). “The Fauquier Economic Development team brought forth the idea, and I am excited that the County of Fauquier is poised to be one of the first counties to take advantage of this legislation. I sincerely appreciate the Governor signing this bill, and I look forward to the economic development that this will bring across the Commonwealth.”

    Joined by clean energy industry stakeholders and several bill patrons, Governor McAuliffe signed the following legislation into law at a ceremonial bill signing today at the Executive Mansion.

    SB 1393 – Senator Frank Wagner – Authorizes Community Solar Pilot Programs
    SB 1393 creates a path for the creation of community solar programs in the service territories of Appalachian Power Company (ApCo), Dominion, and the Electric Cooperatives. Each utility will develop its own territory-specific program that allows citizens and businesses the ability to “subscribe” to receive electricity generated by a small centrally-located solar generation system.

    SB 990 – Senator Roslyn Dance (and Delegate Rip Sullivan) – Energy Efficiency Goal Progress Report Requirement
    SB 990 requires the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to report annually the progress the state is making toward achieving the codified voluntary goal of reducing energy consumption in Virginia by 10 percent by 2022 from 2007 levels.

    SB 1258 – Senator Adam Ebbin – Changes the Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority to the Virginia Solar Energy and Battery Storage Development Authority
    SB1258 expands the mission of the Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority to include the promotion and development of battery storage technology. The bill increases the composition of the Authority by four seats.

    SB 1394/HB 2303 – Senator Frank Wagner and Delegate Randy Minchew – Establishes Small Agricultural Generators Program
    SB 1394 and HB 2303 are identical bills that create a new framework for the generation of renewable energy at agricultural facilities and how that energy can be sold to utilities. This bill was put forward by the so-called “Rubin Group.”

    SB 1395 – Senator Frank Wagner – Size of projects eligible for Permit by Rule
    SB 1395 increases the allowable maximum size of renewable projects to be eligible to be permitted through the Permit by Rule (PBR) process from 100MW to 125MW. It also exempts projects that are being built for use by a single customer of a utility from having to apply for and receive a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the SCC. This bill was put forward by the so-called “Rubin Group.”

    HB 1565 – Delegate Michael Webert – Local Option to Create Green Development Zones
    HB 1565 allows localities to establish “green development zones” where businesses can receive special taxing and zoning treatment for buildings and facilities that are determined to be energy efficient or the manufacturing of products that are beneficial to the environment.

    HB1712 – Delegate Randy Minchew- Energy Performance Contracting
    HB 1712 allows for the continued use by state agencies and localities of Energy Performance Contracting as a financing tool to reduce energy consumption and increase energy savings through building and facilities improvements.

    HB 1760/SB 1418 – Delegate Terry Kilgore and Senator Ben Chafin – Pump Storage Electric Generation Facilities in the Public Interest
    HB 1769 and SB 1418 are identical bills that place pump storage electric generation facilities in the public interest. This makes it easier for new pump storage projects to receive by the SCC.

    HB2390 – Delegate Terry Kilgore – Power Purchase Pilot Program creation in Southwest Virginia
    HB 2390 establishes a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) pilot program in the service territory of Appalachian Power Company (ApCo). Permitted participants in the pilot are private colleges and universities located within the ApCo territory.

  • A good start!

    RELEASE: Lt. Governor Northam Announces Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform Package

    Richmond, Va. – Today, Ralph Northam announced a series of proposals to reform Virginia’s campaign finance system, including banning corporate contributions and capping contributions to candidates at $10,000 from all donors except political party committees.

    This comes on top of his proposal for a DISCLOSE Act, which would require dark money groups, regardless of their tax status, to disclose their contributors if they spend money to influence Virginia’s elections.

    The full set of proposed reforms include:

    Reforming Virginia’s redistricting laws, like Ralph Northam has been fighting to do for nearly a decade
    Banning contributions to candidates or committees from corporations and businesses
    Capping contributions at $10,000 from all donors except political party committees
    Mandating donor disclosure for nonprofits seeking to influence Virginia’s elections
    Banning personal use of campaign funds
    Supporting a federal constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United

    Lt. Governor Northam released the following statement with regards to his proposed reforms:

    “Virginia’s campaign finance system is a boondoggle that alienates its citizens and makes them lose faith in government. Virginians across every part of the political spectrum want a system that is more responsive to the people, and less reliant on big checks from a few donors. If we implement some commonsense reforms including a ban on corporate contributions and capping donations to candidates, I believe our state government can take a huge step forward in regaining the people’s trust and show Congress that it must move to end Citizens United.”

    Lt. Governor Northam is proud to have received 45,000 individual contributions with 92% being $100 or less, and more than 85% of the total amount raised coming from Virginians.

  • Video: Sally Yates Testifies On Russian interference In 2016 Elections