Delegate Chris Hurst (D-Blacksburg), former House Majority Leader C. Richard “Dickie” Cranwell (Roanoke County), Montgomery County Supervisor Mary Biggs, and Bristol community leader and survivor of domestic gun violence Reverend Jackie Nophlin today endorsed Terry McAuliffe for governor on Friday.

These endorsements come after McAuliffe announced a plan earlier this week to address gun violence in Virginia.

“Southwest Virginia is at a major crossroads. We need a leader as governor who will boldly assist the growth of the New River Valley; someone who can hit the ground running on day one to help rebuild Virginia,” said Delegate Hurst. “Looking forward, I care about the future and there is no question in my mind that Terry is the best choice to lead us as governor into brighter days ahead.”

Hurst, someone who has been personally impacted by gun violence, gave a powerful speech on the House floor during the special session in July of 2019 that was called to address gun violence after the Virginia Beach attack.

“I’m honored to have the support of these leaders from Southwest Virginia. Our Commonwealth is sadly all too familiar with the reality of gun violence. While we have made great strides to protect lives in recent years, now is the time to boldly confront and end this epidemic once and for all,” said Terry McAuliffe. “I have never been afraid to stand up to the NRA, and that won’t change now. As governor, I will work tirelessly to eliminate weapons of war from our streets, keep guns out of the hands of hate crime perpetrators and domestic abusers, and keep our communities safe.”


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Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Endorses Kirk Cox for Governor

Former Governor Bob McDonnell, the last Republican to win statewide in Virginia, on Thursday endorsed 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,” said McDonnell. “He is a humble effective legislator who has great vision for bringing people together to pass laws that actually work and solve real problems. 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.”


Reports of a potential deal for Chase to avoid censure

The Washington Post is reporting that a deal is in the works in the state Senate that would help Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) avoid a censure.

“If state Sen. Amanda F. Chase (R-Chesterfield) stands up on the floor of the Senate on Friday to “clarify” her remark about patriots and offer a general apology for insults she lobbed at Democrats, Sen. John Bell (D-Loudoun) will withdraw the resolution he introduced Jan. 13 to censure her, according to three people with direct knowledge of the deal.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Chase told Virginia Scope that she believed the censure would not be successful when the full Senate takes up the resolution on Friday.


DPVA Chair Calls For Removal Of Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theorist Serving On The Redistricting Commission

DPVA Chair Susan Swecker released the following statement calling for the removal of Jose Feliciano Jr. from the redistricting commission. It was reported last week that Feliciano Jr. posted slurs towards women and election conspiracy theories on Twitter.

He was nominated by Republican leaders to serve on the commission.

“Jose Feliciano’s comments are disqualifying and he should be immediately removed from the redistricting commission. The commission’s work is central to our democracy, and someone who spreads demonstrable lies about the presidential election should have no role on it. The sexist and racist attacks he launched are disgusting, and it’s a shame that the Republican leaders who decided he was fit to serve on this body have yet to condemn those comments. 

“It’s clear that Feliciano won’t adhere to the commission’s goal of representing the interests of the diverse communities in our Commonwealth. His presence on this body threatens to undermine its crucial work for Virginia, and the commissioners should take immediate steps to remove him.”

The commission met for the first time on Thursday night. You can view the meeting when the archived video becomes available here.


Virginians support more transparency from health insurance companies.

Results from a recent statewide poll by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy show a majority of Virginians want the state government to provide more consumer-focused transparency regarding how health insurance companies operate in the Commonwealth, and they support changes to existing state law to limit insurers’ ability to unilaterally change contracts with health care providers. Among the poll findings:

  • 92 percent support the concept of the state providing easy to access, public-facing information to provide more transparency about insurance industry profits, medical expenditures, administrative costs, and other metrics (states such as California offer this information to the public).
  • 81 percent support changing a state law known as the Ethics and Fairness in Carrier Business Practices Act to prohibit health insurance plans from unilaterally changing contracts with doctors and hospitals, a practice that is currently allowed under the law.
  • 58 percent of Virginians say they are unaware of the existence of the State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance, which has regulatory authority over insurance companies.
  • 59 percent of Virginians think the Bureau of Insurance does not do enough to provide consumers with information about contesting adverse health insurance coverage decisions such as claim denials.

Links:

After tiebreaker, Senate passes bill moving local elections to November – Virginia Mercury

by Graham Moomaw

The Virginia Senate passed legislation Thursday to move all May local elections to November, with Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax casting a tiebreaking vote to put it over the top.

Many cities and counties already hold local elections in November, and all localities currently have the option to switch from May to November. But 16 cities and roughly 100 towns still hold elections in May.

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Emergency legislation aims to speed up vaccine rollout in Virginia – Richmond Times-Dispatch

by Eric Kolenich

A bipartisan group of legislators are sponsoring a piece of emergency legislation intended to accelerate the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine in Virginia.

Virginia lags behind most other states in the percentage of its residents who have been vaccinated. The reason for that delay, said Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, who is a physician, is the inability to mobilize a vast army of volunteer workers to put shots in people’s arms.

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FanDuel launches Virginia sports betting in partnership with Washington Football Team; move is seen as enticement for a new stadium – Richmond Times-Dispatch

by Michael Phillips

Virginia’s highly lucrative sports gambling market officially opened Thursday when, shortly after 2 p.m., a cellphone user placed a $25 bet on the Golden State Warriors to beat the New York Knicks.

Sports betting was approved by the General Assembly in 2020, and the Virginia Lottery was tasked with vetting interested companies.

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