Government & Politics

An in-depth look at the issues and policies of our government from the local, state and national levels.

Virginia's growing craft beer culture is running into complications as the state tries to decide how to regulate the brewers...and Petersburg's sheriff is facing a lawsuit from a surprising source, the City of Petersburg. Those stories have been among the most read over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project's VaNews

State legislators meet in a special session Monday to discuss how they will redraw congressional boundaries after two courts ruled the current map is unconstitutional, but lawmakers are likely to divide along partisan lines.

Under a federal court order, Virginia’s legislature has until September first to come up with a new map that eliminates racial gerrymandering – drawing strangely shaped districts that minimize the influence African Americans can have in electing candidates to Congress. Dale Eisman is with the watchdog group Common Cause.

Advocates say proposed changes to Virginia’s voter registration form will help prevent voter disenfranchisement and simplify the process.  But they’re not getting a warm reception from a number of state lawmakers and especially registrars.  With less than a month away before the State Board of Elections meets again, some are asking that the Board scrap the revisions and start anew.

New Life for Tobacco Commission

Jul 23, 2015

In its 16 years, the Tobacco Commission has had a lengthy history of, well, slaps on the wrist. Created to distribute the state’s share of a national tobacco settlement in Southside and Southwest Virginia, members have been accused of playing a number of political and financial games under the guise of the commission’s intent. However, a few recent changes might have put the commission back on track.

File Photo

For years the use of hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—has been exclusive to Southwest Virginia, but some organizations and communities are vehemently opposed to it. Now, as companies are exploring more energy sources throughout the state, such as natural gas and shale, officials are feeling more pressure to amend regulations that govern the practice. 

State Water Commission Chair and Delegate Thomas Wright says he's in favor of offshore drilling and whatever the state can do to produce more energy—but he also advocates environmental stewardship.

Pages