Northam is waiting until after the session to consider endorsements and Republicans (hopefully) finalize a nomination method today

Here is the latest news in Virginia politics and the statewide races.

Governor Ralph Northam’s office has not commented on if he will be endorsing in the upcoming primary elections when candidates for the statewide races will be chosen. His office has stayed true to focusing on the legislative session and advancing their agenda during this time.

A source close to the governor, however, has indicated that Governor Northam will not be endorsing Andria McClellan for Lieutenant Governor. McClellan is a Norfolk City Councilor and served as Northam’s campaign treasurer for his 2013 LG run.

The Republican Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee is meeting at 10 a.m. on Saturday to finalize the nomination method. They punted on the decision last weekend to finalize the convention. The committee has been fractured over the nomination process since the talks began. You can watch it here when the video goes live.

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Herring confirms General Assembly’s power to expel members; Chase responds

Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring (D) issued an opinion in response to a request as to whether the General Assembly has the authority to discipline or expel legislators who may have contributed to the January 6th insurrection at the United States Capitol.

After state Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) attended the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally in Washington D.C. that resulted in the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas) sent a letter to Herring requesting a formal opinion on expelling a legislator in Virginia.

“At least one member of the General Assembly is alleged to have participated in the events in the District of Columbia on the 6th of January, however, the General Assembly has not had to enforce the prohibition set forth in the 14th Amendment in living memory,” the request from Carter reads.

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Gilbert proposes bill to mitigate group, gang violence throughout Virginia

By Ashley Spinks Dugan

RICHMOND – Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), the Republican leader in the Virginia House of Delegates, has a plan to reduce gun violence throughout the Commonwealth and he says he doesn’t even care if he gets the credit for it.

On Thursday, Gilbert’s HB 2231 was introduced to the House Subcommittee on Public Safety. The bill would establish a Group Violence Intervention Board, as well as a Division of Group Violence Intervention within the state’s Department of Criminal Justice Services. Addressing this violence is a racial justice issue. According to Gilbert, young men of color are about 11 times more likely to die of gun violence than their white peers. “These young men are dying senselessly and needlessly,” Gilbert said.

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Bill Advances to Remove Statue of Segregationist in Richmond

By Zachary Klosko

Capital News Service

A Virginia House of Delegates committee voted Friday to advance a bill to remove the statue of former state Gov. Harry F. Byrd Sr. from Capitol Square. 

House Bill 2208, introduced by Del. Jay Jones, D-Norfolk, instructs the Department of General Services to place the statue in storage until its final location is chosen by the General Assembly.

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Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Endorses Kirk Cox for Governor

“Kirk Cox is a highly accomplished career teacher and servant leader who has shown through more than 30 years of public service that he loves this Commonwealth deeply. He is a humble effective legislator who has great vision for bringing people together to pass laws that actually work and solve real problems,” said McDonnell. “He is a consistent conservative who governs with the traditional values made this state a national model for good government. Kirk Cox will be a strong and compassionate Governor who will create jobs, improve schools, and bring civility and results to the job. I strongly support Kirk, and ask Republicans to unite behind this good man and proven winner who will be a principled and effective governor for all Virginians.”

Lieutenant Governor

Congressman Ben Cline (R-VA06) endorsed Tim Hugo for Lieutenant Governor.

“Liberal Democrats now have full control of our government in Washington D.C. and they are promising higher taxes, more regulation, and more of the job killing policies we have seen from them over the last two years,” said Cline. “While Virginia voters will not be able to reject these out of touch policies at the federal level until the elections of 2022, they will have an opportunity to reject them in our Commonwealth this November when they head to the polls.

“I am supporting Tim Hugo for Lieutenant Governor because I know he can beat the liberal Democrats this November and help put our Commonwealth back on the right track. Tim has a strong record when it comes to cutting taxes, reducing regulations, and growing jobs and that is what our Commonwealth needs now more than ever.”

Attorney General:

Former Attorney General Mark Earley Endorses Jason Miyares (R-Va Beach) for Attorney General

"Having served as Attorney General, I know what it takes to be successful and am proud to support Jason Miyares,” said Earley. “As a former prosecutor, he was on the front line protecting our communities and in the General Assembly has been a leader in supporting the safety and security for our citizens. He remains a passionate advocate for freedom and opportunity for our Commonwealth. Jason Miyares will be a fantastic conservative advocate for Virginia, and I am proud to support him."

Del. Jay Jones’ Bill to Remove Byrd Statue from Capitol Square Reports Out of Committee, Heads to House Floor for Vote

Delegate Jay Jones’ bill to direct the state to remove the statue of Harry F. Byrd, Sr. from Capitol Square reported out of the House Rules Committee this morning and now heads to the full House of Delegates for passage.

“Racism and its symbols, obvious and subtle, have no place in this new Virginia decade,” said Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk). “Monuments to segregation, Massive Resistance, and the subjugation of one race below another, such as the Byrd statue, serve only as a reminder of the overt and institutional racism that has and continues to plague our Commonwealth. It’s long past time to bring them down, and I’m proud to be a voice to do just that.”

The full Senate chamber convened on Friday afternoon and passed several pieces of legislation.

The following bills passed the Senate and will be sent to the House of Delegates for consideration:

SB 1255 SCC; issuance or renewal of insurance licenses or registrations during an emergency - Sen. Monty Mason (D)

Authorizes the State Corporation Commission to temporarily suspend, authorize extensions of time, or waive requirements for the issuance or renewal of licenses or registrations related to insurance in the event of an emergency.

SB 1142 Marriage; persons who may celebrate rites, authorizes current members of the General Assembly. Sen. John Cosgrove Jr. (R)

 Authorizes any current member of the General Assembly and the current Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General to celebrate the rites of marriage anywhere in the Commonwealth without the necessity of bond or order of authorization.

SB 1202 Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance policies; bad faith. - Sen. Chap Petersen (D)

Provides that if an insurance company denies, refuses, or fails to pay its insured, or refuses a reasonable settlement demand within the policy's coverage limits, for a claim for uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits within a reasonable time after being presented with a demand for such benefits and it is subsequently found that such denial, refusal, or failure was not in good faith, then the insurance company is liable to the insured for the full amount of the judgment and reasonable attorney fees, expenses, and interest.

SB 1211 Vehicle registration fees; imposes an additional fee to be deposited into Public Safety Trust Fund. - Sen. John Edwards (D)

Imposes an additional $4 vehicle registration fee to be deposited into the Public Safety Trust Fund, established by the bill. The moneys in the Public Safety Trust Fund are to be used to eliminate barriers to an inclusive, diverse, and well-qualified workforce by addressing compensation issues related to staffing, retention, and pay compression at the Department of State Police.

SB 1219 Paid family leave; SCC's Bureau of Insurance to review and make recommendations, report. - Sen. Barbara Favola (D)

 Directs the State Corporation Commission's Bureau of Insurance (the Bureau) to review and make recommendations, including any necessary statutory and regulatory changes, to authorize the State Corporation Commission to approve the sale of individual and group paid family leave plans in Virginia.

SB 1276 Essential health benefits; abortion coverage. - Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D)

Essential health benefits; abortion coverage. Removes the prohibition on the provision of coverage for abortions in any qualified health insurance plan that is sold or offered for sale through a health benefits exchange established or operating in Virginia.

SB 1445 COVID-19; facilitates vaccine administration. - Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R)

COVID-19; vaccine administration; emergency. Facilitates the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. The bill requires the Department of Health (the Department) to establish a process whereby any health care provider in the Commonwealth who is qualified and available to administer the COVID-19 vaccine may volunteer to administer the vaccine to citizens of the Commonwealth and sets out which health care providers are eligible to volunteer.