RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A series of gun control measures has been defeated by a Republican-controlled Virginia Senate committee. 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. Committee chairman Sen. Thomas K. Norment, Jr. said at the hearing that a bill to make it illegal for those convicted of certain violent crimes from transporting or possessing guns had passed the committee. But the General Assembly’s database of vote results later showed that the vote failed by a large margin. The panel also voted to allow gun owners to obtain a lifetime concealed carry permit.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The state Senate has approved constitutional amendments that would establish a bipartisan redistricting process and enable the Virginia governor to seek a second term. But both measures approved Monday face long odds in the House of Delegates. The redistricting measure from Republican Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel of Fauquier County and Sen. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth would establish an independent commission to redraw General Assembly and congressional districts after each federal census. It passed on a 27-12 vote. The redistricting process is now controlled by the majority party in each chamber. The measure allowing the state’s governor to run for a second consecutive term, sponsored by Sen. Thomas Garrett of Louisa County, was approved 24-15. Virginia is the only state that does not allow the governor to seek re-election.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A federal appeals court has approved former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s request to remain free while he appeals his corruption convictions. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond said McDonnell’s appeal raises a substantial question of law or fact that could warrant reversal or a new trial. The court also ordered that briefs in the case be filed by March 2 and set a May 12 hearing. A jury last year found McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, guilty of taking gifts and loans from a vitamin executive in exchange for promoting his products. McDonnell was scheduled to begin his two-year prison term Feb. 9. Federal prosecutors had opposed McDonnell’s request to remain free on bail pending his appeal.
The Transportation Security Administration says its screeners discovered 45 firearms in carry-on bags at Virginia airports last year — up more than 50% from the year before. Three of them were discovered by screeners at Lynchburg’s airport and one at Roanoke-Blacksburg. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The impact of climate change in Virginia will be the focus of a panel discussion sponsored by the Virginia Conservation Network. The forum Monday in Richmond will feature a coal miner’s daughter and activist from Wise County, a Norfolk resident and a staff attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. Virginia’s coast is among the most threatened in the U.S. by climate change and rising seas. Gov. Terry McAuliffe has revived a commission to blunt the impact of climate change along the coast and elsewhere. The Climate Change and Resiliency Commission’s 30-plus members include utility officials, environmentalists and climate scientists, among others. Two McAuliffe Cabinet secretaries co-chair the commission.
Multiple law enforcement agencies across Central Virginia are investigating a fraudulent check cashing scheme. The incidents happened at numerous Food Lion stores in the Lynchburg area. The suspects enter the store, give the cashier a fraudulent check and fake ID, and cash the check. The female suspect left her fake ID, with her actual photo, at one store. The suspects were seen leaving in a silver Dodge Durango. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective K.S. Mitchell at (434) 455-6122 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-798-5900.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A lawsuit seeking to redraw Virginia House district boundaries has surprised and sparked concern among some of the Democratic African-American lawmakers. A suit filed in December by a law firm with ties to the Democratic Party argues that state Republicans illegally packed black voters into a dozen House districts when it drew new district lines in 2011. But many of the African-American lawmakers who represent those districts say they weren’t consulted about the lawsuit before it was filed. Redistricting has been a hot topic in Virginia, a purple state where Democrats hold all the state-level elected offices but Republicans have sizeable majorities in both the state’s Congressional delegation and in the House of Delegates.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Nominations are being sought for Virginia’s 8th annual Super Teacher Awards. The Super Teacher program honors eight outstanding K-12 public school teachers in Virginia each year. Each winner will receive $2,000 from the Virginia Lottery and $2,000 worth of classroom supplies from The Supply Room Companies. The lottery says 56 teachers have received more than $200,000 in prizes since 2008. Virginians 18 years or older can submit nominations online here through Feb. 13. The winners will be announced online in the spring.
FOREST, Va. (AP) _ Poplar Forest will hold an open house next month for people interested in serving as volunteers at President Thomas Jefferson’s retreat. Prospective volunteers can learn about serving as hands-on history volunteers, docents or museum shop assistants. The open house is set for Feb. 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board has suspended former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s license to practice law, citing his felony public corruption convictions. The bar said yesterday that the suspension takes effect Thursday. McDonnell was directed to appear before the disciplinary panel on Feb. 20 to show cause why his license should not be further suspended or revoked.