State Government

As state lawmakers decide whether to mandate abuse-deterrent formulations for opioid medications in health insurance plans, an expert makes one thing clear: Americans have a huge problem with pain and don't manage it well. As a result, billions are being spent on pain-relief drugs that often lead to addiction. Some are urging lawmakers to do something to mitigate those costs.

A federal appeals court has upheld former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's public corruption convictions.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the convictions this morning.

In  September, a jury found McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, guilty of doing favors for former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans.

While state lawmakers spent a great deal of time this year on serious ethics, education, and public safety challenges, some other issues also merited the General Assembly’s attention. One topic that did not grab many headlines, though: food.

When mobile food-vendors were being told to remove their trucks from state highway rights-of-way, Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn conducted an investigation.  She said no one knows why the policy was enacted in the first place, but it was stifling entrepreneurs and innovation. 

Among the new state public safety laws that have taken effect are those that get tougher on sexual violence and other sex crimes – as well as laws that pertain to DNA collection, alcohol and drug abuse, and licensed day care centers. 

Virginia now imposes new felony charges for commercial sex traffickers. Colleges and universities have new reporting requirements for sexual assaults on campus. And as a result of several recent tragedies, a law sponsored by Senator Mark Obenshain now requires the collection of DNA from those convicted of criminal misdemeanors.

Many aspiring college students take time each summer to visit different schools or to take part in orientation at the campus where they’ll study in the fall, but a much older group of visitors has been touring universities in Virginia.

Virginia Commonwealth University is less than a mile from the state capitol, but 22 members of the House Appropriations committee recently took a bus ride across campus to complete a statewide listening tour focused on higher education. Here’s committee vice chair Steve Landes.