Kaine pick could upend Virginia politics

AP photo

AP photo

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Tim Kaine’s selection as Hillary Clinton’s running mate could totally upend Virginia politics.

And it would all but certainly result in the most expensive election cycle in the state’s history next if Kaine becomes vice president.

Kaine was announced Friday as Clinton’s choice to be the Democratic vice presidential candidate.

If he wins, it’ll mean Virginia has an unprecedented dual Senate and gubernatorial races next year, with yet another Senate contest the year after.

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe would get to pick a temporary replacement for Kaine’s Senate seat. McAuliffe declined to say whom he would pick, but said that having a minority or female candidate represent the state is a significant consideration.

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Hundreds protest governor’s positions on fossil fuels

Virginia Executive MansionRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Hundreds of protesters have streamed into Virginia’s capital city to criticize the Democratic governor’s energy policies, including his support for a proposed natural gas pipeline.

Carrying signs that read “We won’t pipe down,” the group on Saturday also lambasted Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s support for offshore oil drilling and for not trying to stop an electric company’s release of treated coal ash water into
rivers.

Among the protesters was 23-year-old Sonia Wang, an environmental researcher who lives in Richmond. She said it’s important to show that these issues matter to Virginians and to hold McAuliffe accountable for his support of fossil fuels.

A McAuliffe spokeswoman has told media outlets in recent weeks that he’s aggressively pushed for renewable energy development in Virginia, particularly solar generation.

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Virginia court strikes down order giving felons voting right

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia’s highest court has struck down Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s executive order restoring voting rights to more than 206,000 felons. The Supreme Court of Virginia issued the ruling declaring the order unconstitutional late Friday afternoon. In a 4-3 decision, the court says McAuliffe overstepped his clemency powers.

The executive order, issued in April, restored voting rights of felons who completed their sentences and also allowed them to run for public office, serve on a jury and become a notary public.

Republican lawmakers filed a lawsuit challenging the order.

The court ordered the state to cancel the registration of all felons under the order. More than 11,000 felons have registered to vote under the action.

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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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Man charged with attempted arson, attempted murder; second time deputies called to home in less than a week

David Ramsey

David Ramsey

From the Amherst County Sheriff’s office: On Wednesday July 20, 2016 Amherst County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a residence on Richmond Highway for problems with other subjects.  David Tyson Ramsey was arrested for violation of a protective order, attempted arson of the residence and attempted murder.  He is currently being held on no bond at the Amherst Adult Detention Center. This incident is the second time deputies have dealt with Mr. Ramsey this week.  The first incident also occurred at the same residence on July 16, 2016 where he was arrested for simple assault, assault on law enforcement and resisting arrest.  A protective order was also issued.

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Sales tax holiday coming August 5-7; school supplies, emergency preparedness, appliances

wlni-defaultFrom the Virginia Department of Taxation: Legislation enacted by the 2015 General Assembly combined Virginia’s three sales tax holidays into one three-day holiday beginning the first Friday in August at 12:01 a.m. and ending the following Sunday at 11:59 p.m. This year’s sales tax holiday is August 5-7. During the sales tax holiday period, consumers can purchase qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star™ and WaterSense™ products without paying sales tax. This includes qualifying items purchased online, by mail or over the phone. In addition to the specific items exempted, retailers may also choose to offer other items “tax-free” by paying the sales tax themselves during the holiday.

Click here for the Department of Taxation’s sales tax holiday web page

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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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