RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The Virginia GOP House caucus has named its leadership team in an important election year.The Republicans officially named House Majority Leader Kirk Cox as speaker designee, the de facto replacement for retiring Speaker William J. Howell. Cox would be named speaker in January if Republicans hold on to a majority.Del. Todd Gilbert was named as the majority leader in waiting. Republicans will be looking to maintain or even grow their 66 to 34 majority in the lower chamber. The GOP will be defending several districts where Hillary Clinton won in last year’s presidential contest.Howell announced his retirement Monday. Cox said the caucus wanted to announce its leadership team early so it could show a unified front heading into the election dance.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly have approved legislation banning localities from restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws.The Senate voted along party lines Wednesday to approve the measure after a contentious debate about what kind of message it would send.Republicans said the bill is needed to show that Virginia respects the rule of law and undocumented immigrants are not entitled to special privileges in sanctuary cities. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has promised to veto the bill, saying it stokes fear among the state’s immigrant communities.Since President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month to strip funding from sanctuary cities, states across the country have taken action, with some moving to limit such communities and others adding protections for immigrants.
With Immigration legislation in the forefront of lawmaker’s minds – New data released by a bipartisan organization that supports immigration reform highlights the contributions immigrants have in every congressional district. WLNI’s Ian Price has details on immigration’s impact in our area:
A full breakdown of the numbers from New American Economy can be found here
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A federal appeals court has upheld a Virginia law allowing only federal, statewide and General Assembly candidates to be identified by party affiliation on the ballot.The Powhatan County Republican Committee sued the Virginia State board of Elections over the law in 2015, arguing that it was unfair that candidates for local offices can’t be identified on the ballot as Republicans, Democrats or other parties.But a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on yesterday unanimously upheld a decision from a lower court, which found the state’s law to be constitutional.The appeals court said Virginia officials have important reasons for keeping political affiliation off local ballots, including “minimizing partisanship at the local government level.”
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Federal regulators are seeking input from people in central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley about the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.A Charlottesville TV station reports the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has the final say on interstate pipelines, is holding a public hearing tonight in Nelson County and tomorrow night in Staunton.The proposed 600-mile pipeline would carry natural gas and serve public utilities in Virginia and North Carolina, including Dominion and Duke Energy.Proponents say the pipeline will generate thousands of jobs, enrich local tax collections and attract businesses seeking relatively cheap natural gas. Opponents worry it will harm the environment and say the companies behind it haven’t done enough to show the project is necessary.
Lynchburg Police are looking for a woman suspected of taking stealing steak, shrimp and lobster tails in three different recent thefts from the Timberlake Road Kroger. Police say the same woman appears to be responsible for all three incidents, helping herself to more than $445 worth between January 10th and yesterday. Police say in the most recent theft, the suspect arrived in a red two-door pickup truck.
(Continue reading for the full Lynchburg Police news release.)
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a Virginia death row inmate who killed two people during an escape in 2006. William Morva argued that he should have been allowed to present evidence that he wouldn’t pose a risk of future violence if he was spared the death penalty. But the justices on Tuesday left in place an appeals court ruling that rejected those claims. Morva was in jail awaiting trial on attempted robbery charges in 2006 when he overpowered a deputy sheriff during a trip to the hospital. He used the deputy’s pistol to fatally shoot security guard Derrick McFarland and Deputy Eric Sutphin during a manhunt the next day.
Serious concerns are being raised about how fake news stories are being spread through social media by everyone from your old high school friend to the President of the United States. WLNI’s Ian Price has more:
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has vetoed legislation that would allow people to carry concealed switchblades and a bill that would allow home-schooled students to participate in public-school sports.The governor announced the vetoes Monday. He also vetoed a bill that would lower the allowable age of conceal handgun permit holders from 21 to 18 for active duty military members and veterans.McAuliffe vetoed a similar school sports bill last year, saying it would create an uneven playing field. The so-called “Tebow bill” is named for Tim Tebow, the former NFL quarterback who was home-schooled and allowed to play football for his local high school.Though Republicans control both chambers of the General Assembly, they do not have enough votes to overturn McAuliffe’s vetoes.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – One of Virginia’s most powerful politicians is stepping down.Republican House Speaker William J. Howell said yesterday he is retiring and will not seek re-election when his term ends in January.House Majority Leader Kirk Cox is expected to be Howell’s successor, though other Republicans may try to challenge him.Elected as speaker in 2003, Howell helped grow a near GOP supermajority in the House thanks in part to the favorable legislative boundaries drawn during the last redistricting.The 73-year-old has promoted conservative, business-friendly policies while helping thwart parts of three Democratic governors’ agendas, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s push to expand Medicaid.The quick-witted speaker has not been ideologically inflexible. He helped former GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell pass tax increases to pay for a transportation-funding overhaul.