Officials in Virginia are bracing for the impact of the federal budget cuts that start trickling down. Lawmakers in the commonwealth disagree about what should be done with the sequestration.
So now they’re dealing with the fallout: cuts to education, housing, healthcare, conservation programs – the list is seemingly endless. Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine says many federal workers and contractors in the commonwealth will feel those cuts directly.
Some of the laws that passed during this year's General Assembly session did so with little fanfare. Others gained lots of attention initially but received little follow-up—and one lawmaker sponsored two such bills. While you may not hear much about them now, they're likely to become hot topics in the near future since that lawmaker is running for higher office.
Virginia’s newest U-S senator, Tim Kaine, delivered his maiden speech on the Senate floor this week. His first address to his colleagues came much earlier than expected.
The Senate floor is viewed by many as a sacred space. That’s why most freshmen lawmakers wait months before addressing their peers in the austere chamber. But with billions of dollars in budget cuts slated to rip through his state on Friday, Senator Kaine broke unwritten Senate protocol and spoke on the floor before even finishing his second month in office.
It’s not often that a panel discussion at the University of Virginia leads to tears, but many of those in the audience wept as two experts talked about coping with the end of a pet’s life. A professor in UVA’s school of nursing and a specialist in end-of-life care, Susan Bauer-Wu has often lectured on death – but this experience was particularly painful for her and her audience.
A bill that is now under review by Governor McDonnell strengthens current state laws on stalking —although its sponsor says the law still needs to be even tougher. Delegate Jennifer McClellan hopes her bill will encourage law enforcement to take reports of stalking and domestic abuse more seriously. It would become a felony if someone convicted twice of stalking had also been convicted of committing violent acts against the same victim within five years. It would also apply if the aggressor had violated a protective order within that period.
Climate change is forcing some Virginians to consider a move. Coastal areas and islands like Tangiers are losing land as the sea rises, flooding is more frequent, and hurricanes could be more dangerous than ever. But for one Virginia couple, natural disasters are no deterrent. They’ve chosen to live in one of the riskiest places on Earth, on Hawaii's big island, about 3 miles from Pu’u’o’o - a volcanic crater that’s been oozing lava for the last 30 years.
The passage of Virginia’s transportation-funding bill was not the only change of heart that took place in the General Assembly this session. Another was tackling a growing traffic-safety hazard that did not even exist a generation ago—and making it a primary offense. It not only toughens current state penalties against texting while driving, but it targets similar communications.
President Obama was in Newport News, Virginia today highlighting the impact of pending budget cuts on the state's defense industry. Virginia Republicans are glad the president is highlighting the state's robust defense industry. But Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes says the president's time would have been better spent in Washington negotiating with congressional leaders.