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McAuliffe attempts to beef up gun restrictions

December 16th, 2014 44 comments

9mm

Dailypress.com:

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced a package of proposed gun control measures Monday, saying Virginia should reinstate its one-handgun-a-month rule and tighten restrictions on who can carry a gun to target domestic abusers.

He also called for new background check requirements on private gun sales at gun shows.

The bulk of McAuliffe’s proposals are sure to bring criticism from gun advocates, and a spokesman for Speaker of the House William Howell criticized the governor’s proposals shortly after their announcement.

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Virginia to get uber-ethics laws

December 11th, 2014 6 comments

Washingtonpost.com:

The anything-goes gift culture that once dominated Virginia’s Capitol is giving way to a game of legislative limbo, with state lawmakers and the governor competing to take the value of acceptable handouts ever lower.

Republican leaders of Virginia’s House of Delegates made their move Wednesday, proposing a $100 cap on gifts of any sort, including meals and travel. That standard would be tighter than what the legislature imposed on itself earlier this year — and what an ethics panel appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) recommended just nine days ago.

The announcement prompted McAuliffe to declare that he, too, would propose a $100 gift cap — and to suggest that the Republicans had gotten the idea from him.

All of these proposals and counterproposals stem from a gifts scandal involving former governor Robert F. McDonnell (R) and his wife, Maureen. McAuliffe and legislators made an initial series of reforms in the General Assembly session that began last January. Now comes a second push, triggered by the shock of the McDonnells’ conviction on federal corruption charges in September.

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Categories: Va Politics, Virginia Tags:

Mark Warner squeaks by Ed Gillespie

November 5th, 2014 63 comments

 

As of 12:30 am, incumbent Senator Mark Warner seemed to be the apparent winner of the senate election.  No one really expected this election to be so close.   Prince William County, included cities, and Fairfax seemed to save the day for Warner.  Northern Virginia prevailed, once again.  Albemarle, Charlottesville and Nelson County also helped pull off a Warner win, as did some of the southside counties.  At last glimpse, Warner was ahead by about 18,000 votes.

The Republicans will take over the Senate. That fact changes the dynamics of the country a great deal, although it isn’t really apparent how it will change things.  The different factions in the Republican party may decide to battle each other rather than to continue sparring with the President.  Who knows.  They also probably will not have a super majority so bills wont just go sailing through.  then there is also the presidential veto.  I feel certain that President Obama will enjoy using that presidential option quite a bit.  I know I sure would.

This is the first time that the Republicans have controlled the Senate in 8 years.  Will we move forward or will we revisit all the social issues?  That’s what the Republicans seem to concentrate on most of the time these days.  Abortion, personhood, same sex marriage, Planned Parenthood funding, school prayer…the list goes on.

What do you predict?

 

Categories: Elections, General, US Politics, Va Politics Tags:

WaPo editorial: Virginia, the McDonnells, and ethics

September 5th, 2014 7 comments

From the Washington Post:

September 4 at 5:58 PM

IN THE end, it didn’t take long. After months of legal wrangling and public spinning; after five weeks of courtroom testimony; after two hours of a judge’s instructions in the legal niceties of the case, the jury in Robert F. and Maureen McDonnell’s trial knew public corruption when it saw it. Scarcely 48 hours after they got the case, the jurors rendered their verdict with no minced words: The McDonnells are guilty.

Until today, too many politicians in Richmond had convinced themselves of the commonwealth’s alleged exceptionalism — the supposed civility and ethical uprightness of the so-called Virginia Way. Convinced of its own abiding rectitude, Virginia’s political class has refused to enact laws with teeth to hold elected officials to decent standards of conduct in carrying out the people’s business. At the least, the McDonnell verdict should disabuse the old boys of their smug self-righteousness and their conviction that the state’s egregious absence of laws on public ethics is somehow all right. At the very least, it should end, once and for all, the common, cosseted view that legislation will not eradicate moral obtuseness. Of course it won’t; but a vacuum of laws will only encourage it.

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Categories: Va Politics, Virginia Tags:

Virginia ethics laws: It seems that anything goes in the Old Dominion

September 1st, 2014 3 comments

Washingtonpost.com:

 

But the perfectly legal, unlimited-cash culture that has long pervaded Virginia campaign giving has been on display right alongside McDonnell and his wife, Maureen — and it has renewed the question of whether that culture is broken and needs a fix.

Although it enjoyed a reputation for clean government, Virginia had some of the loosest ethics rules in the nation before the McDonnell scandal prompted reforms by the General Assembly this year. Even now, elected officials can accept campaign contributions of any size and unlimited “intangible gifts,” such as vacations and meals.

Some legislators expect the closely watched trial to inspire even tougher standards. Others say the case seems too extraordinary to form the basis for broad policy.

“I don’t think you can write a law that can cure what’s going on in the McDonnell trial,” said state Sen. William M. Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin), expressing a common sentiment among state politicians who point to trial evidence of Maureen McDonnell’s possible mental illness and infatuation with Williams as unique circumstances to this case.

But there’s one thing the case has exposed: how subjective and mutable the rules are for who can give and how much.

For example, the legislature capped gifts at $250 this year. But gifts from “personal friends” remain unlimited. In 2013, McDonnell described Williams as a personal friend.

 

It doesn’t seem that Virginia really has any ethics rules.  What seems even more amazing is the fact that Virginia lawmakers didn’t race in to shore up their loose-knit, obviously problematic non-ethical standards.  It appears that current legislators wanted to keep the status quo of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”

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Is McDonnell just an innocent chump?

August 25th, 2014 21 comments

Washingtonpost.com:

Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell had just explained, with a heart-breaking letter and a sotto voce delivery, that his marriage was in shambles. He went on from there to describe how those personal woes sucked him into a public corruption case.

He testified that first lady Maureen McDonnell was seeking money, attention and maybe even affection from a charming, free-spending businessman. McDonnell told the jury he was in the dark about his wife’s affairs, both financial and (non-physically) romantic.

And so the first criminal case in history against a Virginia governor could come down to this: Does McDonnell, self-professed micromanager and 2012 vice presidential prospect, make a convincing chump?

“Maureen, I manage the finances,” McDonnell said he told his wife upon learning (belatedly, he claimed) that she had borrowed $50,000 from then-Star Scientific executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr.

Did he manage them or not?

I have been sucked into this political soap opera just like it is Dallas, back in “Who shot J. R.” days.  I tune in after each day in court.  It isn’t even that I dislike Bob McDonnell.  I dislike some of the things he did–extremely dislike. (Gov. Ultra-sound)  On the flipside, I also like some of the things he did, like just saying NO to Common Core.  So this isn’t a matter of like or dislike.  It’s a matter of just being incredulous.

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Categories: Va Politics, Virginia Tags:

The times, they will be a changing….

August 20th, 2014 19 comments

Thanks to that royal D-bag, Phillip Puckett.

Washingtonpost.com:

Republican A. Benton Chafin Jr. won a state Senate seat Tuesday that secured GOP control of the General Assembly, dimming Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s legislative prospects and erasing the last vestige of blue from Southwest Virginia.

Chafin, a freshman state delegate, easily defeated Democrat Mike Hymes to fill the Senate seat that Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell) abruptly resigned in June. The nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) called the race shortly before 8 p.m.

The race — potentially the most expensive state Senate contest in Virginia history — was one of four special elections statewide Tuesday. Voters in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads chose Democratic delegates for two empty House seats. And in central Virginia, a town council race put the commonwealth’s new voter identification rules to their first test.

The Senate election was the most important of the day given its impact on Richmond’s upper chamber. Republicans already dominate the House, so the GOP victory in the Senate put the General Assembly fully in the hands of a party that opposes the Democratic governor’s top policy aims.

Time to start counting the anti-abortion bills.  Terry McAuliffe, get your veto pen out.  Rocky roads ahead.

Little attention was paid up here in Northern Virginia to this critical special election.  The state Democrats sure didn’t do their job on this one.  I didn’t see one ad, I didn’t get one piece of mail regarding this election.   Are the Democrats broke?

The only hope the Democrats have is to pick up a couple of seats in the election Nov. 2015 election.  Think that will happen?  If I were a betting kind of lady, I would say no.

Categories: Va Politics, Virginia Senate Tags:

Press helps perpetuate McDonnell defense

July 31st, 2014 4 comments

The press has helped the McDonnell’s defense in the former governor’s criminal trial  but reporting on every salacious tidbit that comes out.  We have heard about school board crushes, meetings, shopping trips, Ferrari’s and doomed marriages that have lost their luster.  We have watched as the McDonnell couple has gone from hand holding to arriving separately.  A year ago the couple appeared united as illustrated by the hand holding.  Now Maureen McDonnell arrives with her daughter, with pursed lips.

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Categories: Criminal Activity, Scandal, Va Politics Tags:

Don Shaw: Democratic candidate to run for the 13th Delegate seat

July 22nd, 2014 12 comments

Bristowbeat.com:

Democrat Don Shaw declared his candidacy Tuesday for the 13th House of Delegates District seat, which voters will decide in November 2015.

The district covers portions of the Brentsville, Coles, Gainesville and Occoquan Magisterial Districts in Prince William County as well as all of the city of Manassas Park.

His campaign announcement means that he will not seek the office of Brentsville County Supervisor in the special election that would be held if current Supervisor Wally Covington receives a judicial appointment from the Virginia General Assembly.

So that leaves the race for the Brentsville Magisterial District supervisor  to the Republicans unless someone else jumps in.  Meanwhile, this can’t be very good news for Del. Bob Marshall.  Marshall has been in office for years and is seen as a politician with a not so hidden agenda.   While he takes  up a few popular causes in his district, he is mainly known around the  State Capital as an anti abortion extremist.

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The Puckett resignation: Smelling a huge giant stinky rat

June 27th, 2014 19 comments

Richmond Times Dispatch:

 

A series of emails from the interim director of the Virginia Tobacco Commission outline plans hatched by Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, to offer Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell, a senior job with the commission once he resigned from the Virginia Senate.

The emails, obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, document the overtures made by Kilgore through the commission in the week leading up to Puckett’s June 9 resignation, which effectively transferred power from Senate Democrats to Senate Republicans — giving the GOP a majority in the evenly divided chamber prior to a crucial vote on the state budget and Medicaid expansion.

“If you’re in tomorrow Terry would like us to call Puckett to discuss what kind of role he might like with w/ Commission,” Interim Executive Director Tim Pfohl wrote to commission staffer Ned Stephenson on Thursday, May 29.

 

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