A number of changes are in the works for Virginia’s open-government laws. For instance, the General Assembly passed more than a dozen bills earlier this year that would amend the Freedom of Information Act. Other controversial bills were referred to a state advisory council to be studied—and potentially reintroduced in next year's session.
Hampton Roads has twice the relative sea-level rise of other Atlantic coastal communities, and Virginia is stepping up its efforts to address the associated recurrent flooding. While the General Assembly recently ordered updates to the state’s flood protection plan, the Army Corps of Engineers has rolled out a new, proactive strategic framework. It calls on local, state, regional, and federal governments to work together—due to the enormity of the tasks ahead.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments today (Tuesday) during former Governor Bob McDonnell’s appeal of federal corruption convictions… and vigorously questioned both defense and prosecution attorneys. They focused on two critical issues: what constitutes “official acts” under federal law…and whether McDonnell was denied due process because potential jurors were never asked whether they had formed opinions after the extensive pre-trial news coverage.
A coalition of nonprofit and advocacy organizations says the General Assembly’s legislative process needs to be more open and clear to the public.
Members of “Transparency Virginia” attended more than three-quarters of the Assembly’s 101 committee and subcommittee meetings during its recent session. They found a less-than-stellar record of adequate notice for meetings, recorded votes, and full consideration of bills.
Lawmakers in Virginia passed a couple of bills earlier this year to protect personal privacy. But the governor has amended those measures, and civil rights advocates are furious.
When the general assembly approved a bill limiting the use of drones to spy on citizens, not a single lawmaker voted against it, and Claire Gastanaga, who heads the American Civil Liberties office in Richmond was pleased.