State Government

During its recent session, Virginia's General Assembly took action on the Governor's Access Plan, which is a limited mental health and medical benefits package for a group of low-income adults in the Commonwealth. But what does it do, who is eligible, and what are its limitations? 

Lawmakers approved a variation of the program granted by the federal government at the behest of Governor McAuliffe.  Mira Signer with the National Alliance for Mental Illness says the benefits are for the seriously mentally ill between the ages of 21 and 64.

Bills that REALLY crack down on those who first exhibit signs of domestic abuse and strengthen penalties for sex traffickers are some of the public safety measures that the General Assembly recently sent to Governor McAuliffe.  The governor is also reviewing a potential new law that’s designed to take the temptation out of smuggling cigarettes.  

Property Owners' Rights Need Clarifying

Mar 10, 2015

State Senator John Edwards drew applause at Monday’s Cabell Brand Center forum on gas pipelines with his assertion about property owners’ rights, but the case may not be as clear as some people in the audience seemed to believe.

“I think our senator, Senator Edwards, did a really great job today, clarifying about Virginia law about imminent domain. So that alone is worth its weight in gold.” 

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.

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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