Bipartisan support for reforms of Va. tobacco commission

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and a powerful Republican lawmaker are proposing tighter grant making rules for the embattled Virginia tobacco commission. The commission’s chairman, GOP Del. Terry Kilgore, introduced legislation Friday that would require greater scrutiny and transparency over how the commission spends its funds. The legislation is backed by McAuliffe. Created 16 years ago to spend Virginia’s portion of the national tobacco settlement, the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission has doled out more than $1 billion on a wide range of projects in an effort to spur economic development in southwest and Southside Virginia. The commission has come under fire recently for what critics say is an opaque, haphazard system of awarding grants often based on political considerations.

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