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RICHMOND — As the House and Senate remain divided over whether to expand Medicaid eligibility to 400,000 uninsured Virginians, Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. made a rare appearance before House Republicans to say his chamber was dead set against the House plan.

In a closed-door gathering Thursday with House Republicans, Norment (R-James City) said all 21 Senate Republicans were united against expansion.

A Virginia Senate committee overwhelmingly approved two bills that would prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in the commonwealth, setting up a floor vote in the coming days.

The Senate Committee on General Laws & Technology voted 12-3 to send both nondiscrimination measures out of committee and to the floor, where the bill can then be voted upon by the full Senate.

Last Friday, January 26, the Senate of Virginia took a step in the right direction. In a floor vote, the Senate passed SB 202, which will ban discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

RICHMOND — Democrats in Virginia’s House of Delegates invoked the recent school shooting in Florida to demand that Republicans revive gun-control measures that died in committee this year. But GOP leaders said it is too late in the legislative session to act.

Guns have been the one area that has resisted all compromise in a General Assembly session otherwise marked by bipartisan dealmaking. A host of bills, many of them favored by Gov. Ralph Northam (D), have disappeared in committees in the House and Senate.

RICHMOND – State government could not ask most job seekers criminal history questions on employment applications under a bill passed last week by the Virginia Senate.

The Senate approved the “ban the box” bill Friday on a 23-16 vote. All of the Democrats in the Senate voted for SB 252; they were joined by four Republicans.

Until recently, job application forms used by state agencies included a box that asked whether the applicant had ever been arrested, charged or convicted of a crime.

THE EARLY governors in Virginia were chosen by the General Assembly, and not by the commonwealth’s voters. It wasn’t until after the Constitution of 1851 that the legislature turned over that duty to residents.

Even then, the General Assembly’s loosening of the reins only went so far — the governor’s tenure was limited to a single four-year term.

The Virginia Senate’s General Laws Committee on Monday approved two bills that would ban discrimination in public employment and housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The committee approved Senate Bill 202,which would ban discrimination against LGBT state employees, by a 12-3 vote margin. Senate Bill 423, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Virginia Fair Housing Law, passed by the same margin.

Gov. Ralph Northam made a pitch for gun control at a Capitol Square rally Monday afternoon, but much of his firearm agenda had died Monday morning in a Republican-controlled Senate committee.

A Democratic bill to require universal background checks for gun purchases — a key component of Northam’s gun agenda — was defeated in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. Another Northam-backed bill to allow localities to ban firearms at permitted events, which arose from the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville last year, also failed to get through the committee.

Senator Adam Ebbin’s (D-Alexandria) SB 5 instituting universal background checks failed to report on a party line 9-6 vote on Monday.

 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just released a report on noise complaints coming from Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in 2016. According to the noise report, DCA received 9,094 complaints from Virginia. The majority of individuals submitted only one complaint. The Alexandria portion of Fairfax County accounted for 6,473 of Virginia’s 9,094 total complaints. There are just too many planes flying over our homes, too often, at too low an altitude.

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