The Virginia state Senate is expected to vote Monday on a measure that would weaken a land-use tool used for decades by local governments to get builders to add roads, parks and other improvements to new home developments.
The bill, which calls for placing restrictions on what local officials can ask for in development negotiations, is one of two measures working its way through the General Assembly. A House version of the bill passed 68-27 last week.
Both measures are generating strong opposition from local officials in Northern Virginia, where development deals have helped shape the character of some of the region’s fastest-growing communities.
Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William county officials say that changing the legislation would hamper their ability to negotiate for extra amenities from developers that, in the past, have been crucial to community support for new housing in places like Merrifield or Woodbridge. Officials also argue that amending the land-use tool would open them up to lawsuits if builders whose projects were rejected argued that they were denied because of their refusal to agree to “unreasonable” proffer requests.
Reprinted with permission from Jill Palermo
An unauthorized investigation aimed at uncovering possible voter fraud might cost Prince William County Electoral Board Chairman Guy Anthony “Tony” Guiffré his job.
The Virginia State Board of Elections took a rare vote Friday to initiate steps to remove Guiffré from the county electoral board over allegations he compromised voter privacy and might have broken state and federal laws. The allegations stem from his efforts to determine whether absentee ballots were improperly requested for the Nov. 3 election.
The three-member state board, which includes two Democrats and one Republican, voted along party lines during a meeting in Richmond to ask Attorney General Mark Herring (D) to begin the removal proceedings.
Guiffré’s fate will ultimately be decided by the Prince William County Circuit Court.
Virginia Republicans concoct a highway horror story about I-66 tolls
By Editorial Board
TURN ON the World Series these days and, at the commercial break, you’ll be subjected to an onslaught of political advertising, courtesy of Republicans running for the Virginia state legislature. Like many political ads, these are crass, misleading and pitched toward exploiting voters’ fears — in this case, about the costs of commuting.
The bogeyman invoked to strike terror in commuters is the specter of punishingly high tolls on Interstate 66 in Northern Virginia — specifically $17 tolls, as scary as any Halloween fright. The 30-second spots suggest that Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) plans to impose that levy on all drivers who use I-66, a major artery for commuters in Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties.
That’s false. In fact, rush-hour drivers who drive legally on I-66 now — meaning those with at least one passenger — would be untouched by the governor’s plan. They drive the road for free now and would continue to do so.
RICHMOND — Former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder on Wednesday blasted Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s handling of an appointment to the state’s Supreme Court, saying his fellow Democrat had made political missteps that hurt him with Republican legislative leaders and black voters.
Wilder said McAuliffe failed to follow basic Richmond protocol by not running his pick by House and Senate leaders. He also dismissed as “silly” McAuliffe’s claims that the GOP was bucking his nominee because she is a woman. And he said McAuliffe had offended African Americans by choosing a white circuit court judge over a black jurist on the state’s appeals court — a perceived snub that he said would hurt McAuliffe’s friend Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
“McAuliffe being the majordomo for the Clinton campaign in Virginia, this doesn’t help her,” Wilder said. “Some of us are not going to forget it. . . . The real question is, who in the hell was advising the governor?”
Wilder made the remarks during an interview with The Washington Post about an upcoming special session of the General Assembly, during which Republicans plan to take the rare step of removing a sitting Supreme Court justice.
So basically this is all about race. Wilder wants a black judge and the Republicans want to get their brownie points with the potential black voters. Wilder is rarely subtle.
RICHMOND — Virginia Republicans say they will reject Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s pick for the state’s newest Supreme Court justice and install their own choice — an unprecedented move in modern Virginia history.
The decision added another layer of tension to the already fraught relationship between McAuliffe (D) and the GOP-controlled legislature, with the governor accusing legislative leaders of throwing “a political temper tantrum.”
“This woman is highly qualified, and I’ve got to tell you, it doesn’t send a good message to women around the commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said about the GOP decision not to back his appointment of former Fairfax Circuit Court judge Jane Marum Roush.
“This is the same group of individuals who have tried to roll back women’s rights and tried to hurt women’s rights in the commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said.
House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City) said lawmakers will elect Virginia Court of Appeals Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. to the Supreme Court when they convene in Richmond on Aug. 17 for a special legislative session.
Shame on Virginia Republicans. Rossie D. Alston might not be the best person for the job. He used to be a circuit court judge right here in Prince William County and some of his decisions were very questionable in high-profile cases. Alston is known for his “designer sentences” that are light on crime.
After the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly are preparing to push back in what they call a culture war aimed at destroying religious freedoms.
Del. C. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said protections of religious liberties are going to be the primary focus for House Republicans in the 2016 General Assembly session, which begins in January.
“My concern is that the ultimate goal of the far left is not to secure rights for gay individuals but to tear down religious institutions and the belief systems that support them,” Gilbert said this week.
Asserting that this is the “next frontier for the far left,” Gilbert said he believes it is “more important than ever that we ensure that people’s deeply held convictions” are protected.
“If we are truly going to live in a world where everyone is afforded their rights to live their lives precisely as they please, then surely that has to include people of faith as well,” he said.
While GOP leaders in both houses of the legislature have acknowledged they will abide by the high court ruling that made same-sex marriage the law of the land, House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, said the most pressing concern now is protecting religious liberty.
“We will need to carefully evaluate how this ruling will be applied and make sure we take steps to protect faith leaders, churches, nonprofits and individuals,” Howell said in an email. “The House of Delegates will fight vigilantly to protect religious freedom.”
Gilbert was tapped to take the lead in reviewing current law and what other states are doing to determine what actions Republicans may take during the 2016 session.
I get it that some people feel gay marriage is wrong. That’s OK. They can have their beliefs. The question isn’t what they believe, it’s how they behave. Gilbert and Lingamfelter apparently want to legalize discrimination. How well I recall Del. Lingamfelter pontificating in front of the General Assembly against a Richmond prosecutor being appointed a general district court judge because he was gay. Actually, the delegate used every reason in the world other than he was gay. His message was still very transparent.
Someone please help me understand how religious rights have been violated or will be violated. Gilbert and Lingamfelter are both known for extreme right positions that border on the ridiculous. Unless Virginians are going to be lined up and forced to marry someone of the same sex, there are no violations. People are still entitled to believe what they want to believe. No one is suggesting that a “thought police” be formed.
Virginians need to send a strong message to Lingamfelter and Gilbert that Virginians do not discriminate. Since Virginia is for Lovers, that should include its elected representatives. Both legislators need to understand that people don’t choose who they love. They need to SDASTFU. Maybe they need to get busy and work out some Medicaid legislation. That issue is far more pressing for Virginians than who someone else marries. It isn’t hurting them.
I guess this is the only way either man can appeal to his base. How pathetic.
RICHMOND — The newly elected chairman of the Virginia Republican Party on Saturday promised to stick to GOP principles of fiscal responsibility and individual liberty.
John Whitbeck, a 38-year-old lawyer from Loudoun County, ran on a platform of healing a fissure within the party and expanding its reach through a renewed focus on fundraising.
To underscore the point, he also announced former Texas governor Rick Perry will give the keynote address Feb. 24 at a fundraising dinner.
Dick Black’s statement regarding Senate Bill 722:
There is a Federal Statute that says that if you give in-state tuition to unlawful immigrants then you must give in-state tuition to Americans from other states. It just makes sense that Americans should receive as much consideration as people here illegally. Giving in-state tuition moves illegal immigrants to the front of the line. For every unlawful person who get in-state tuition, there will be an American who can’t go to college in Virginia and that’s unfair. Any time you give something free to a person here illegally, you have to take it from an American.
I would like to see a copy of that law. I find it hard to believe that there is a law stating such bullsh!t.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said he would veto a bill barring undocumented immigrant students from receiving in-state tuition at state universities, which passed a Senate committee Thursday.
A spokesman for the governor called the legislation, put forward in the House and Senate by two Loudoun County Republicans, “counterproductive and mean-spirited.” The Senate version advanced Thursday morning out of the Senate Education and Health Committee on a party-line vote of 8 to 7.
McAuliffe “is focused on expanding economic opportunity to Virginians from all walks of life, not targeting some for discrimination,” spokesman Brian Coy added.
In his first State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night, McAuliffe called for passage of a state version of the so-called Dream Act that would grant in-state tuition to some students who were brought to the country illegally as children. Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) has already ruled that students who qualify for deferred action under President Obama’s recent executive order can apply for the tuition discount.
“The Senators who voted for this measure should meet some of the young people they are trying to punish,” Herring said in a statement Thursday.
Herring is right. Black and Ramadan should have to meet some of the kids they are attempting to discriminate against. I think they would feel like worthless dogs if they ever met some of these kids that have worked so hard to become something.
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.