General Assembly

For third year, governor vetoes ‘Tebow bill’


Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Monday vetoed the so-called Tebow bill that would have allowed home-schooled students to participate in high school sports.

“Participation in athletic and academic competitions is a privilege for students who satisfy eligibility requirements,” McAuliffe wrote in vetoing HB 1578, sponsored by Del. Rob Bell, R-Charlottesville. “Opening participation in those competitions to individuals who are not required to satisfy the same criteria codifies academic inequality in interscholastic competition.”

This is the third consecutive year that Bell has shepherded such legislation through the General Assembly only to be stopped at the governor’s office.

McAuliffe pushes for easier absentee voting


Currently, to vote absentee in Virginia, you must cite a specific excuse, such as attending college or having a disability.

But if Gov. Terry McAuliffe has his way, the state would expand the list of excuses to include people caring for children or for an ill or disabled individual and anyone without reliable transportation. Better yet, McAuliffe says, Virginians should be able to vote absentee without having to give an excuse.

McAuliffe is urging the General Assembly to approve those proposals during the legislative session that began Wednesday.

General Assembly convenes, welcomes new members


The Virginia General Assembly opened its 2017 session on Wednesday, welcoming new members while pondering the work ahead. Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon, addressed the looming issue of the state budget, which faces a shortfall of more than $1.2 billion. Hanger said legislators must grapple with the “limited resources and uncertainties in the budgeting process” during the session, which will end Feb. 25.

The House and Senate each convened at noon to start the 45-day legislative session and begin laying the groundwork for decisions on the state budget to be determined in the coming weeks.

Don’t pass ‘divisive’ proposals, McAuliffe warns


In his final State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe warned legislators not to pass bills such as ones banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy or restricting which bathroom transgender individuals can use.

“I want to make it very clear that I will veto any legislation that discriminates against LGBT Virginians or undermines the constitutional health care rights of Virginia women,” McAuliffe told a joint meeting of the General Assembly on the opening day of its 2017 session.

McAuliffe, a Democrat who is entering the last year of his four-year term, discussed strides toward economic development and announced that the Navy Federal Credit Union has agreed to locate 1,400 new jobs and invest $102 million in Frederick County.

Bourne to seek 71st District House seat


Richmond School Board member Jeff Bourne is the first candidate to formally announce his intention to seek the 71st District Virginia House of Delegates seat that will be vacated by Jennifer McClellan, who Tuesday won a special election for the Ninth District Virginia Senate seat. Bourne is a Democrat and a deputy attorney general for the state.

The 71st District primarily includes the City of Richmond but also includes several Henrico precincts. It is viewed as a Democratic stronghold.

McClellan wins, but GOP still controls Senate


Democrat Jennifer McClellan of Richmond easily won a seat in the Virginia Senate in a special election Tuesday, but Republicans retained control of the chamber by holding on to a district west of the capital city. As expected, McClellan won the 9th Senate District race, receiving 91 percent of the votes against her opponent, Libertarian Corey Fauconier.

McClellan, an attorney who currently serves in the Virginia House of Delegates, will be sworn in as a state senator on Wednesday as the General Assembly convenes for its 2017 session. During the session, balancing the state budget will be a priority, McClellan said Tuesday night.

Ninth District Senate election pits McClellan, Fauconier


Voters in Virginia's Ninth Senate District will elect a new state senator Jan. 10.

Voters in the district (which includes portions of Eastern and Northern Henrico, as well as part of Richmond and Hanover and all of Charles City County) will choose between Democrat Jennifer McClellan, a six-time member of the Virginia House of Delegates, and Libertarian Corey Fauconier of Highland Springs, who is running as an independent. McClellan is considered a heavy favorite for the seat, which was vacated by Donald McEachin after he won election to the U.S. Congress in November from Virginia's redrawn Fourth District.

Assembly sustains all of McAuliffe’s vetoes


The General Assembly failed Wednesday to override any of Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s vetoes of legislation championed by Republicans, including bills to defund Planned Parenthood and let home-schoolers participate in public-school sports.

Overriding a veto requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate. That was doable in the House, where there are 66 Republicans and 34 Democrats. But it proved impossible in the Senate, where Democrats hold 19 of the 40 seats.

Lawmakers reconvene for ‘veto session’


Virginia legislators will return to the state Capitol April 20 to consider whether to uphold or override Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s vetoes and recommendations of legislation passed during their 2016 session.

The Democratic governor vetoed 32 bills approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly. That is the most vetoes since 1998, when Jim Gilmore, a Republican, was governor and most legislators were Democrats.

McAuliffe objected to a slew of hot-button bills – from a measure that would allow some school security officers to carry guns on the job, to the so-called “Tebow Bills” that would allow home-schoolers to participate in high school sports.

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Mothers Against Drunk Driving will present its annual Walk Like MADD 5k Dash/Walk from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Dorey Park, 2999 Darbytown Rd. Walk Like MADD honors those killed or injured in impaired driving crashes. Funds raised support victim services and educational events in Virginia. Check-in starts at 8 a.m. For details, call 353-7121 x5153 or visit http://www.walklikemadd.org/richmond. Full text

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