State Government

Reactions vary to a Democratic lawsuit challenging Virginia’s voter photo ID law—based primarily on which side of the political spectrum the stakeholders fall.  

Democrats argue that this is another attempt to disenfranchise minority and other voters, while the GOP and the law’s chief sponsor say it's designed to protect the integrity of the voting system. But political observers are wondering how this lawsuit will progress—and what's the best course of action for the state’s Democratic Attorney General.

Abortion clinics in Virginia thought they might have to close, since they were not able to meet tough new rules.

Under Governor Bob McDonnell, the Virginia Board of Health approved new requirements for abortion clinics – forcing them to follow the same rules as hospitals or shut down.  Supporters of the change said it was needed, because clinics posed a danger to women’s health.  This month, the state finished a routine semi-annual  inspection of all 18 facilities and found no serious flaws.  Erik Bodine is director of the Office of Licensure and Certification.

There were some electoral upsets yesterday as Virginia voters in 48 localities cast their ballots in state and local primaries.  Among the most contested were 18 elections to nominate candidates for the General Assembly—including challenges to nine incumbent Senators and Delegates. 

Among the Republicans, Chesapeake Senator John Cosgrove and Augusta Senator Emmett Hanger handily won.  But long-time Chesterfield Senator Steve Martin was defeated by Amanda Chase. 

Democratic Senator Rosalyn Dance of Petersburg prevailed over Delegate Joe Preston.  

It's been two years in the making, but now a public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Health and Ancestry has allowed the state to digitize the Commonwealth’s vital records-including some that were believed to be lost forever.

State leaders say this is huge: more than 16-million death, birth, and marriage certificates - as well as divorce decrees - have been scanned and digitized and can now be accessed for genealogy and family history research.

Governor McAuliffe has accelerated the timetable set in a 2007 state law that requires a voluntary 10% reduction in state energy consumption—by moving its target date to 2020. 

Now an expert panel established to help achieve that goal has concluded that it needs additional data just to clarify how that should be measured.  It also says the responsibility does not just rest with electric utilities to boost their own conservation efforts.

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