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RICHMOND, Va. — There’s more than one way to kill legislation in the Virginia General Assembly.

There’s the straight-up way: Put it up for a vote and lawmakers must go on record, pro or con.

Then there’s the stealthy way: Kill it in a subcommittee without a recorded vote, and it vanishes without a trace.

It’s a longstanding practice in Virginia’s 400-year-old legislature. But transparency advocates say the public deserves better.

Gov. Bob McDonnell expedited the restoration of voting rights of nonviolent felons who have completed their sentences. Gov. Terry McAuliffe has built on the precedent. The state Senate has taken the next step.

The chamber has given first approval to a proposed constitutional amendment to make restoration automatic. Nonviolent felons would not need to apply for it.

Section 1 of Article II in the Virginia Constitution describes qualifications of voters. The amendment adds the italicized language to the text:

A bill co-sponsored by Arlington legislators that would require college campuses to provide survivors of sexual assaults with options for off-campus resources — like counseling and law enforcement — has passed the state Senate.

The General Assembly could dramatically change the way Virginia regulates its two major power companies.

Dominion Virginia Power is proposing a trade: It will lock base rates in place until 2020 and cover the costs of any power plants it closes during the next five years.

In return, the Richmond-based company’s overall profits will not be reviewed by the State Corporation Commission, which is charged with regulating the company and reviewing its rates every two years. If the utility earns more than it should under current law, it must issue a partial refund to customers.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday reiterated his belief that the commonwealth over the last year has seen “tremendous progress” on the expansion of rights to its LGBT residents.

“We have made tremendous progress,” said McAuliffe during an Equality Virginia reception at the Library of Virginia, which is a few blocks away from the Statehouse in downtown Richmond. “We have a long way to go.”

You may not have noticed, but on Tuesday huge cheers boomed out of every nursery school classroom in the commonwealth.

Four-year-old boys and girls wept in happiness and relief. They’d been so scared of losing their gun rights they couldn’t concentrate on learning their ABCs. Thankfully, the National Rifle Association came through for them again.

Unless you or someone close to you has been victimized or affected by the crime of human trafficking, its horrors might seem difficult to grasp. It can come across like one of those problems so insidious, so under the radar, that as much as we’d like to see it eradicated, the perpetrators are extremely adept at hiding in the darkness—just like the cockroaches they are.

RICHMOND — A Republican-controlled Virginia Senate voted to approve Monday measures aimed at easing restrictions on gun owners while voting against several gun-control measures championed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

The Senate Courts of Justice panel voted Monday against bills aimed at beefing up Virginia's gun control laws. The proposals include limiting handgun purchases to one a month and closing the so-called gun show loophole that allows sales by private sellers without a criminal background check.

Washington, D.C. -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, commends Virginia Senator Adam Ebbin (D-30) for introducing S.B. 1215. The bill, crafted partially with research conducted by Born Free USA, seeks to eliminate the trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn in the state of Virginia. Illegal trafficking of these wildlife products is directly responsible for shocking declines in wild populations in recent years, and this bill is a crucial step toward reducing the target market.

RICHMOND — State Sen. Adam P. Ebbin wants Virginia to join more than a dozen states that have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The lawmaker is pushing a bill that would downgrade the offense from a criminal charge to a civil one with a fine of up to $100.

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