The agenda President Obama is laying out at the start of this new Congress is being rejected by Virginia Republicans who now have more power at the Capitol than Democrats.
While Republicans were just swept into power running against President Obama’s economic policies, the president told lawmakers in last week’s State of the Union address that the economy is soaring again because of his policies. He’s now hoping to expand on that progress through things like offering two years of free community college and tax credits for child care.
A coalition of Virginia civil rights and community organizations marched in downtown Richmond over the weekend.
In advance of the General Assembly meeting Tuesday, the march called for several legislative reforms including an independent review board to handle issues of police misconduct and the implementation of police body cameras.
While many in opposition to body cameras site both cost and privacy concerns, the majority of protesters there believed the transparency of cameras would help rebuild trust between communities and law enforcement.
A state senator is proposing what sounds like a good deal for consumers – an 8-year freeze on rates charged by Virginia’s largest electric company.
Frank Wagner says he introduced the measure so Dominion Power wouldn’t pass the costs of meeting clean air requirements on to its customers, but Attorney General Mark Herring says the measure might actually deprive consumers of rebates. Mike Kelly speaks for the attorney general.
Regulating utilities in Virginia is a complicated job, and making sense of the rules requires expertise that few voters have, so it’s no surprise that citizens hoping to stop Dominion’s Atlantic Pipeline were alarmed by a bill that would change the way gas companies recoup their investment in pipelines.
An enormous surge in heroin and prescription-drug overdose deaths in Virginia has prompted the Centers for Disease Control to call it an epidemic. It’s also why state lawmakers of both parties have joined together to advance a multi-faceted package of bills to tackle the challenge. They believe it’s both a law enforcement AND a public health problem.
Virginia’s Chief Medical Examiner reports that every region of the state has seen a spike in heroin overdose fatalities. Attorney General Mark Herring says the data confirm that.