State Government

General Assembly
4:36 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Lawmakers Promise Rate Freeze, But Electric Bills May Still Rise

Credit Creative Commons

Virginia’s two big electric companies will escape state regulation of their base rates for up to eight years under a bill which caught opponents by surprise – a measure just approved by the Virginia House.   Its sponsor promised a rate freeze for consumers, but your bill could still be going up.

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Government & Politics
8:40 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Legislation Authorizes Lyft and Uber; Sets Industry Standards

Flickr user Johnny Ainsworth
Credit Creative Commons, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly have now approved bills that authorize ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber to operate in Virginia-but under greater scrutiny.  The legislation would apply standards to the companies that are similar to those governing the taxi industry.

The taxicab industry balked at the notion that these companies could not only set up shop and compete for the same customers, but could do so without paying set-up costs, getting insurance, or vetting drivers. House bill sponsor Delegate Tom Rust described the benefits.

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Unclaimed Cash
6:40 am
Thu February 12, 2015

VA Treasury's Piggy Bank of Unclaimed Cash

Credit Creative Commons, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Faced with a budget shortfall, state legislators are eyeing a very large piggy bank - the unclaimed cash of Virginia residents being held by the Treasury. About $1.7 billion dollars - that’s billion with a B - is awaiting a call from the rightful owners. 

Benjamin Jarvela looks nothing like Santa Claus, but he hopes to give Virginians lots of presents this year.  As spokesman for the state’s treasury, he says one in four people has a forgotten utility deposit or some other money in Richmond, waiting to be claimed. 

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Ethics Reform
8:30 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Governor and General Assembly at Odds Over Ethics Bill

Bill sponsor Delegate Todd Gilbert argues for the legislation.
Credit Anne Marie Morgan

State and local government officials would be subject to more restrictive ethics rules under separate bills that have passed both houses of the General Assembly.  The measures lower the cap on gifts that officials may accept from $250 to $100, and remove the distinction between tangible and intangible gifts, such as travel or meals. However, the legislation may not completely have Governor McAuliffe’s seal of approval.

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Medical Marijuana
8:17 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Medical Marijuana in Treating Epilepsy Moves Forward in General Assembly

Credit Photo: David Trawin, creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Virginia’s medical marijuana law may soon be expanded.  The House of Delegates has given preliminary approval to legislation that would allow the prescribed use of certain oils derived from marijuana if they are used for the treatment of epilepsy.  The legislation appears to be sailing through both chambers of the General Assembly.

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