Clinton chooses Kaine as running mate

AP photo

AP photo

TAMPA, Florida (AP) — Hillary Clinton named Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate Friday, adding a centrist former governor of a crucial battleground state to the Democratic ticket. In a text message to supporters, the presumptive Democratic nominee said, “I’m thrilled to tell you this first: I’ve chosen Sen. Tim Kaine as my running mate.” Kaine himself tweeted, “I’m honored to be her running mate.” The two will make their first appearance together as a ticket Saturday at a rally in Miami. Clinton’s decision caps a highly secretive, months-long process to find a political partner. It’s also the final puzzle piece for the general election, pitting Clinton and Kaine against Republican Donald Trump and running mate Mike Pence, the Indiana governor. Clinton called Kaine by phone around 7:30 p.m. Friday to offer him the job, and he accepted, according to a campaign aide. She then called President Barack Obama to inform him of the decision.

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Virginia prosecutor sues McAuliffe over felons’ names

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A county prosecutor is suing Gov. Terry McAuliffe to force him to release the names of the felons whose civil rights have been restored.

Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman filed the lawsuit Wednesday in the Loudoun County Circuit Court.

McAuliffe’s executive order restoring voting rights of roughly 200,000 felons who completed their sentences also allows them to run for public office, serve on a jury and become a notary public. Plowman says he needs their names to determine whether someone is truly eligible to serve on a jury, among other things.

Plowman and media organizations have filed public records requests for a list of the names. McAuliffe’s administration denied them under a “working papers” exemption in state law.

McAuliffe’s spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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7 Virginia lawmakers seek details on UVA surplus

UVA-LogoRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Seven state legislators are asking the University of Virginia to explain how operating balances were transferred to create a $2.3 billion surplus.

Three senators and four delegates sent letters to UVA on Tuesday. The lawmakers say they have checked the investment reports, which seemed to indicate the balances were transferred to the fund a month before the board voted to create it in February.

According to The Richmond Times-Dispatch the lawmakers want a 10-year accounting ledger for the sources and originally approved uses for money in the operating fund and the Strategic Investment Fund.

Former rector Helen Dragas characterized the $2.3 billion fund as a “slush fund” in a column in The Washington Post. UVA says the fund is not connected to tuition or public funding.

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AG Herring, feds teaming up to fight human trafficking

Mark Herring

Mark Herring

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia’s attorney general and federal officials are teaming up to fight human trafficking in the state.

Attorney General Mark Herring joined Maria Odom, chair of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, in Richmond on Wednesday to announce the new state-federal partnership.

Herring’s office says the partnership will mean that Virginia communities and local law enforcement agencies will have more resources and training to fight human trafficking. Officials will be providing training, resource and educational materials on combating human trafficking to school administrators and other members of the public.

The first trainings for law enforcement officials and community stakeholders are scheduled for August in Hampton Roads.

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McAuliffe: sharp drop in homelessness in Virginia

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said was a sharp drop in homelessness in the Old Dominion in the last year.

McAuliffe said at a Capitol news conference Wednesday that overall homeless in Virginia had dropped 10.5 percent, from 7,001 to 6,268.

That’s compared to virtually no decrease between 2014 and 2015.

The figures are based on a count done in a single night in January each year. McAuliffe attributed the drop to work done by the state and nonprofit agencies to combat homelessness.

Since 2010, homelessness in Virginia has dropped by 31 percent, according to the McAuliffe administration.

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GOP pre-files bills that McAuliffe vetoed

WLNI-GENERAL-ASSEMBLYRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Republican lawmakers are set to try again on a trio of bills that Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed earlier this year.

GOP lawmakers announced they had pre-filed legislation on Monday, the first day to do so ahead of the 2017 General Assembly session.

The legislation includes a bill to allow school security officers to carry guns, a bill to clarify that subscription-based primary care service is not insurance and a bill to limit the influence of labor unions on small business franchises.

Democrats Sen. Adam Ebbin and Del. Mark Sickles, both openly gay, also pre-filed legislation Monday to repeal Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, a ban overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

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Battle over felons’ voting heads to Virginia Supreme Court

Virginia Supreme Court SealRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The Virginia Supreme Court will meet Tuesday to hear arguments in a Republican lawsuit trying to block more than 200,000 former felons in the state from voting in November.

At issue in the case is whether the state’s constitution allows governors to restore voting rights to ex-felons en masse or requires them to be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Republican lawmakers who sued McAuliffe say the governor clearly violated the constitution and ignored decades of practice with his April executive order. McAuliffe says he’s confident he’s on firm legal ground. But he has said he will restore all roughly 206,000 former felons’ political rights individually if he has to.

As of July 11, 9,500 ex-felons whose rights were restored by the governor since April 22 had registered to vote.

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Review: Abuse reports ignored by Rockbridge social services

wlni-fbLEXINGTON, Va. (AP) – An internal review has found reports of child abuse and neglect that were ignored by Rockbridge social services.

The review identified 41 problems, including evidence that a former Rockbridge Area Department of Social Services supervisor shredded reports before they could be investigated. Other problems cited in the report include slow responses to emergency calls, missed deadlines, altered documents and low staff morale.

The review also cites one case in which a child later died. Police are investigating that case as well as others. Susan Reese, head of the social services’ Piedmont Regional Office, says the three-month review, which was completed in May, is “very concerning.”

The regional office conducted the review after receiving several complaints from the county sheriff’s office and other state agencies.

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State senators call for audit into university’s surplus

UVA-LogoRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Two Virginia state senators are calling for an investigation into a $2.3 billion University of Virginia surplus.

Sens. Chap Petersen and Bill DeSteph said in a statement Thursday that they intend to formally call for an audit into the fund, which former university board member Helen Dragas called a “slush fund.”

The two senators say the fund should be used for lowering student tuition and fees. They also accuse the university of overcharging for its services.

The university said in a statement Tuesday that the Strategic Investment Fund is not connected with tuition or public funding. The school also says that the money came primarily from additional returns on the university’s $7.5 billion endowment since 2009.

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Council: Governor can’t keep rights restoration list secret

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia’s advisory council on open records has argued that Gov. Terry McAuliffe shouldn’t keep secret a list of felons whose voting rights are believed to have been restored.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council issued the opinion Tuesday, arguing that the list doesn’t qualify as an executive working paper.

The list contains roughly 206,000 felons believed to meet the criteria of McAuliffe’s rights restoration order.

The council also says that exemption doesn’t apply to the list since it was distributed to the Virginia Department of Elections for voter registration purposes.

McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy says the administration disagrees with the council and will continue to keep the list confidential until an official clemency report is made to the general assembly next year.

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