Government & Politics

Virginia Festival of the Book.
9:40 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Congressional Gridlock-Busting Plan Outlined by Author

Jason Grumet heads the non-profit Bipartisan Policy Center.
Credit BPC

Washington's partisan political gridlock can be unlocked, according to one of the speakers at the upcoming Virginia Festival of the Book.

"The good news is that it doesn't involve a Constitutional convention or a Mars invasion."

That's Jason Grumet, whose new book, City of Rivals, proposes some intuitive solutions, such as more time for Congress to hang out together. And some not-so-intuitive solutions, such as bringing back earmarks, which Congress banned five years ago.

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Government & Politics
4:35 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Governor Considers Bill Expanding the State's DNA Database

One recently approved bill that’s still under review by Governor McAuliffe arose from the case of murdered UVa student Hannah Graham—and was championed by Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding.  The bill would require collection of DNA from people convicted of certain misdemeanors….with their DNA added to the state’s criminal database.   The governor had raised some objections to the legislation while the General Assembly was still in session.

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Trading with Cuba
10:04 am
Mon March 9, 2015

VA Lawmakers Weigh In on US/Cuba Relations

Flickr user Artur Staszewski
Credit Creative Commons, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

With more than $40 million in sales, Virginia is the third largest exporter of agricultural goods to Cuba - after Georgia and Louisiana. Some lawmakers hope to normalize trade relations - but some feel it’s best to maintain our distance.  

After recently venturing down to Cuba, Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner describes how the embargo hurts Virginia farmers. 

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General Assembly
4:32 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Measuring School Performance

Should they be signed into law by Governor McAuliffe, bills recently passed by the General Assembly would modify some of the scrutiny of school systems that meet state standards.  The state would also create a different method to inform parents of how well those schools are doing.

After educators lambasted the state's A-F grading system created a few years ago, lawmakers crafted a new method to measure school performance. Bill sponsor Delegate Tag Greason says this gives the Board of Education authority to redesign a more comprehensive school performance report card.

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General Assembly 2015
7:45 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Ethics Reform Passed in Final Hours of General Assembly Session

State and local officials would be governed by tougher ethics rules under legislation that passed the General Assembly during the final hours of the 2015 session.  The bills make it illegal for lobbyists, their clients, and anyone who seeks to do business with the state or local governments to give an official a gift worth more than $100. 

The bills lower the gift cap from $250 to $100, require on-line reporting of gifts worth more than $50, and erase the distinction between tangible and intangible gifts, such as meals or travel.  

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