Here are the top stories in Va politics, including Youngkin's response to a PAC focused on only beating him

Youngkin's campaign responds, plus more from Virginia politics.

Welcome to monday. Here are the top political stories from Virginia.

*This newsletter is sponsored by the Legal Aid Justice Center. They partner with communities and clients to achieve justice by dismantling systems that create and perpetuate poverty. Justice means racial justice, social justice, and economic justice.*

Virginia lawmakers advance bills eliminating mandatory minimums

By Aaron Royce

Capital News Service

Lawmakers in both chambers of the General Assembly advanced criminal justice reform measures that would eliminate mandatory minimums in favor of allowing judges more sentencing discretion. Senate Bill 1443, introduced by Sen. John S. Edwards, D-Roanoke, narrowly passed Friday on a 21-17 vote. 

The bill proposes to eliminate mandatory minimum prison sentences in Virginia for various crimes, including aggravated involuntary manslaughter, child pornography and violating a protective order for abuse victims. The legislation does not include Class 1 felonies such as willful and deliberate murder. Lawmakers in support of the bill emphasized that judges should be trusted to deliver the appropriate sentences without utilizing a sentencing policy that they say has been abused. Critics said the bill dismantled the criminal justice policies in place after years of deliberation.

Continue Reading

Cornerstone PAC hits Youngkin again in an attempt to prevent him from getting the GOP nomination

The Virginia Cornerstone PAC says on its Facebook page that it formed to “lay the foundation for the Republican comeback in Virginia in 2021.” The group, however, has seemed to only focus on opposing Glenn Youngkin in an attempt to prevent him from becoming the Republican nominee for Governor.

Youngkin’s campaign says that they are not surprised by the attacks.

“These ads use deceptively edited audio to spread ridiculous lies, but these dirty games aren’t a surprise when the other candidates have more than 100 years of combined political baggage,” said Youngkin campaign spokeswoman Macaulay Porter. “The truth is that Glenn is the first and only Republican candidate in this race to pledge he will oppose any effort to raise taxes, and he is the only real businessman in this race that has the experience to take on and win tough negotiations for Virginians. Throughout his career he supported American businesses and American workers, and secured the retirement plans of teachers, police officers, firefighters, and countless private sector employees. The career politicians and insiders are lobbing these false attacks because they’re scared of Glenn, a conservative outsider and leader from the private sector who can win. It’s not time for another politician, it’s time for someone who puts people over politics, and when Glenn is governor, Virginia will be an economic leader again, and business and jobs will be moving into Virginia, not moving out.”

You can view the ad below, which originally aired on the Christian radio station WHKT in the Hampton Roads region.

Democratic candidate for Governor Jennifer Carroll Foy Joins MSNBC’s Zerlina Maxwell on ‘The Choice’

Carroll Foy addresses several aspects of the gubernatorial race in Virginia.

Watch below:

Lawmakers consider dueling resolutions to restore voting rights for people convicted of felonies - Richmond Times-Dispatch

by Mel Leonor

Sheba Williams regained her right to vote by the grace of Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2015. She’s grateful for the ability to vote in the years since, but overriding is her belief that her right should have never been taken away.

Williams, an advocate with the criminal justice advocacy group Nolef Turns Inc., is urging lawmakers to end the revocation of voting rights in Virginia, one of just three states that permanently disenfranchise people convicted of a felony.

Continue Reading

Lieutenant Governor candidate Hala Ayala’s (D) Statement on Virginia surpassing 1 million vaccination doses administered

“Virginia has consistently been a leader throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and our vaccination process is no exception. As we surpass 1,000,000 doses administered, I want to thank to Governor Ralph Northam, Dr. Norman Oliver, and  Dr. Danny Avula for their continued leadership throughout the pandemic. From the beginning, we knew that it was going to take time to ensure every Virginian had the chance to be vaccinated, but our Commonwealth is moving quickly to keep every person in our Commonwealth safe and healthy from this pandemic.”

Herring sees win in General Assembly

The Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate have both passed legislation from Attorney General Mark R. Herring and sponsors Senator George Barker (SB1469) and House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (HB2322) to direct funds secured through Attorney General Herring’s ongoing lawsuits against drug manufacturers and distributors toward opioid abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery, ensuring that the most money possible goes to actually address the opioid crisis.

“The opioid crisis has upended lives and devastated communities and families in every corner of the Commonwealth. It’s a unique crisis, and solving it will require a unique, thoughtful approach,” said Attorney General Herring. “I’m going after the pharmaceutical companies and distributors who helped create, prolong, and profit off this crisis, and I want to make sure that, when we’re successful, the money is used to address the crisis, expand our capacity for treatment and recovery, and to save lives. I really appreciate the partnership and leadership of Senator Barker, Delegate Herring, and their colleagues in the legislature who supported this really important framework, and especially those in the recovery community who have our back in this fight.”

Former Senator Bill Carrico endorsed Jason Miyares (R-Va Beach) for Attorney General.

Senator Bill Carrico, Former State Senator and Virginia State Trooper said, “Now more than ever, we need leaders who stand with law enforcement. Jason Miyares is a former prosecutor and gets it; as a Senator who served with Delegate Miyares while I was in the General Assembly, I know he will always stand with police, not defund them, and give them the tools to do their job. As a former State Trooper and father of a State Trooper, I know Jason Miyares will make an outstanding Attorney General and I’m proud to stand with him.”

Virginia might scrap its defunct same-sex marriage ban. Most GOP legislators aren’t on board - Virginia Mercury

by Graham Moomaw

Fifteen years ago, more than 1.3 million Virginians said marriage should only mean a union between a man and a woman and same-sex couples shouldn’t be entitled to similar status that would give them the same rights under the law as straight couples.

That was the view of 57 percent of Virginians who voted in 2006, more than enough to put a same-sex marriage ban in the state Constitution.

Continue Reading

Virginia’s Legislative Session Spotlights Shifting Political Power - Courthouse News

by Brad Kutner

Virginia’s annual legislative session, now in its second year under Democratic control, continues to show what happens when political power shifts after decades in the hands of Republicans. 

Friday was the 30-day, 2021 session’s midpoint, known as crossover where bills switch between chambers for final review and passage, and the bills left standing this year once again highlight just how stark a political shift can be.

Continue Reading

Governor Northam Announced Administration Appointments

Governor Ralph Northam announced additional appointments to his Administration today.

Secretariat of the Commonwealth

Board Appointments

Board of Dentistry

  • Dagoberto Zapatero of Virginia Beach, Dentist, Starfish Dental

Board of Education

  • Dr. Stewart D. Roberson of Richmond, President, Moseley Architects and former Superintendent of Schools, Falls Church City Public Schools and Hanover County Public Schools

  • Anthony Swann of Vinton, Teacher, Franklin County Public Schools and 2021 Virginia Teacher of the Year

Board of Juvenile Justice

  • The Honorable Anita James Price of Roanoke, former Councilmember and Vice Mayor, City of Roanoke and Retired Educator, Roanoke City Public Schools

Board of Social Services

  • Megan Miloser of Warrenton, Director of Children’s Education, Warrenton United Methodist Church

Board of Trustees for the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia

  • Iris Park of Roanoke, Marketing Director, Miss You Flowers

Norfolk State University Board of Visitors

  • Dr. Terri L. Best of Newport News, Member, Newport News School Board

State Historical Records Advisory Board

  • Bernadette Battle* of Emporia, Associate Dean of Advising Services, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

  • Heather Bollinger of Aldie, Historic Records Manager, Fairfax Circuit Court

  • Kim Curtis of Albemarle, Researcher, Project on Lived Theology, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

  • Katherine Egner Gruber* of Williamsburg, Curator, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation

  • Zachary Hottel of Woodstock, Archivist, Shenandoah County Library

  • Josh Howard of Staunton, Public Historian, Passel Historical Consultants and Collections and Technology Manager, Jefferson-Madison Regional Library

  • Sara Townsend of Fredericksburg, PhD Student, George Mason University

Task Force for the Identification of the History of Formerly Enslaved African Americans in Virginia

  • Makola M. Abdullah, PhD of Petersburg, President, Virginia State University

  • The Honorable Nelson Harris of Roanoke, Pastor, Heights Community Church

  • Khadijah O. Miller, PhD of Chesapeake, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Interim Dean, Robert C. Nusbaum Honors College, Norfolk State University

  • Jalane Schmidt of Charlottesville, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

  • Cainan D. Townsend* of Farmville, Director of Education and Outreach, Robert Russa Moton Museum

University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors

  • Princess R. Moss of Alexandria, Elementary Music Teacher, Louisa County Public Schools and Vice President, National Education Association

Veterans Services Foundation

  • Lettie J. Bien of Charlottesville, Retired Colonel, United States Army and Defense Affairs Program Manager, Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce

  • Paula Buckley of Richmond, Director of Outreach and Public Affairs, GReat Aspirations Scholarship Program, Inc. (GRASP)

  • Phillip Jones of Newport News, Consultant, Bain & Company

Virginia African American Advisory Board

  • Eldon Burton of Richmond, Director of Government Relations, Virginia State University

Virginia Lottery Board

  • Scott Price* of Alexandria, Regional Policy Director, Dominion Energy