In an effort to prevent a future tax hike on Virginia businesses, Gov. Ralph Northam proposed allocating $862 million in federal relief money to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, but a small business association is warning it might not be enough.
The Unemployment Trust Fund, which provides unemployed Virginians with benefits, is funded primarily through payroll taxes from employers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia’s fund dried up and the state was forced to borrow money from the federal government. Unless the losses can be fully offset, business taxes would automatically increase to maintain the fund because of the state’s funding formula.
Democrat and Republican governors alike are promising not to implement new mask mandates as COVID-19 cases rise again.
“All Virginians should consider wearing a mask in public indoor settings where there is increased risk of [COVID-19] transmission, as the new [CDC] guidance recommends. This is not a requirement, but a recommendation,” Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said Thursday on Twitter.
Toward the end of the month, a state-imposed mask mandate at Virginia schools will no longer be enforced, but the state’s Department of Health is encouraging school divisions to create mask policies.
On July 25, the public health order forcing schools to require face coverings will expire and will not be renewed. However, the VDH issued guidelines that strongly recommend school divisions impose mask mandates for students, staff and teachers.
“Virginia has followed the science throughout this pandemic, and that’s what we continue to do,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “This guidance takes into consideration recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and will provide necessary flexibility for school divisions while ensuring a safe, healthy, and world-class learning environment for Virginia’s students. Again, I strongly urge every eligible Virginian to get vaccinated. Getting your shot will protect you, your family, and your community—and it is the only way we can beat this pandemic once and for all.”
Gov. Ralph Northam intends to let the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency expire June 30, which could affect mask wearing throughout the commonwealth and the remaining restrictions on businesses.
Virginia law normally prohibits a person from covering one’s face with the intent of concealing one’s identity in public spaces, which was put on hold during the state of emergency. According to the Virginia code, a person can only wear a mask in certain situations, which include a legitimate medical reason when advised by a physician or during a health-related state of emergency when the governor expressly waives this section of law.
With the governor ending the state of emergency, it’s unclear whether wearing a mask in public could be grounds for prosecution absent a doctor’s note. The governor has said a person would not be prosecuted for wearing a mask and that he has been in contact with police groups that told him police would not arrest anyone for wearing a mask. The provision that states a person would only be guilty when intending to conceal his or her identity with the mask could be difficult to prove when a person is simply following guidelines from the governor’s office and the Center for Disease Control.
Voters from around the commonwealth cast their ballots Tuesday to determine which candidate will represent the Democratic Party in Virginia’s 2021 race for governor, but the turnout dropped by about 11% compared to the 2017 primary.
In total, more than 488,100 people voted in the party’s five-candidate primary, compared to 542,858 in 2017’s two-candidate primary. This shows an 11% drop and more than 50,000 fewer votes cast in 2021.
About 8% of Democratic voters turned out for the primary, which is lower than 2017 when about 10% turned out to cast a vote. However, despite the numbers being low compared to the previous election, they are still higher than average when compared to the other most recent gubernatorial primaries.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill requiring several universities to start programs benefiting descendants of slave laborers.
The “Enslaved Ancestors College Access Scholarship and Memorial Program” was established “for the purpose of reckoning with the history of the Commonwealth” and “acknowledging that the foundational success of several public institutions of higher education was based on the labor of enslaved individuals.”
The bill — signed by Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) on May 5 — forces Longwood University, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Virginia Military Institute, and the College of William and Mary to implement the program “with any source of funds other than state funds or tuition or fee increases.”
Virginia has awarded $6.3 million worth of grants designed to spur economic growth, which includes workforce development grants, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday.
The money will be dispersed among 15 projects, which include workforce development, site development and infrastructure, entrepreneurial ecosystems and COVID-19 recovery efforts. This includes eight regional GO Virginia projects and seven funded through the GO Virginia’s Economic Resilience and Recovery Program.
Virginia will distribute $270,000 in farmland preservation grants to five localities, Gov. Ralph Northam’s office announced this week.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been reminded how important Virginia’s farms are to getting food into our stores and onto our tables,” Northam said in a statement. “In addition to being a vital part of our history, agriculture is central to our growing economy and maintaining the outstanding quality of life we enjoy in our Commonwealth. Partnering with local governments to preserve critical working landscapes and protect our abundant natural resources is key to maximizing the conservation impact of state funds.”
The commonwealth will use the Purchase of Development Rights programs to match local government funding to permanently preserve farmland. The program gives incentives to landowners who protect their working lands and it lets localities limit development on priority farm and forest land.
Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears announced that she is asking for Virginia to remove the “mask mandate” that has been instituted by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. In a video posted to Facebook, former Delegate Sears announced that she will be publicly calling for Governor Northam to remove the mandate to wear a face mask to enter Virginia businesses, open schools, and open Virginia businesses at full capacity.
Dominion Energy Chairman and Virginia philanthropist Thomas F. “Tom” Farrell II has died, causing the Commonwealth of Virginia and it’s political leaders to mourn the loss of one of the most powerful businessmen in Virginia history. Farrell, age 66, passed away due to cancer on Friday, one day after relinquishing the Chairmanship of the company he had steered from 2007 to 2020. Mr. Farrell and his family have heavily influenced some of the most important business and political decisions in the Commonwealth.
A fascinating article in the far-left blog Virginia Mercury says that New York’s Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo should not resign amid mounting sexual harassment claims from scores of women, because Virginia’s Democrat Governor Ralph Northam survived his own racism scandal.
According to the blog, persuing and implementing the left-wing agenda is more important than Democrat politicians continuing their charade of signalling virtue on issues like women’s rights and anti-racism.
The deadline for filing and paying individual income taxes in Virginia has been extended until May 17, 2021 to coincide with the federal government’s extension on the same date, Gov. Ralph Northam’s office announced Friday.
“Aligning Virginia’s filing and payment deadline with the federal government will provide additional flexibility and simplify the process for taxpayers,” Northam said in a statement. “Even with this extended deadline, we encourage Virginians to file as soon as possible so we can get people the refunds they are entitled to while also protecting the Commonwealth’s strong fiscal footing.”
Virginia will award $2.6 million in grants to help prevent evictions in highly needed areas, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday.
Funding will help build capacity and implement eviction prevention and diversion programs created to address underlying causes of eviction. Money will go to the 14 localities the state identified as having the highest eviction rates. The grants will be awarded through a new pilot program called the Virginia Eviction Reduction Pilot (VERP) Program.
Despite a double-digit percentage drop in payroll taxes in January and a dip in overall General Fund collections, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said the state’s revenue remains stable.
The state’s January 2021 revenue report showed payroll withholding taxes down 12.6% for the month compared with last January, but the state said the decrease was expected because of one less deposit day compared with a year ago. The report said collections of the sales and use taxes, showing December sales, rose 5.6% in January, and the combined December and January receipts rose 5.4% over the same time from a year ago.
Rep. Bob Good (R-VA-05) is leading Virginia’s Republican congressional delegation in asking Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to loosen COVID-19 restrictions.
In a letter co-signed by Rep. Robert J. Wittman (R-VA-01), Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA-09), and Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA-06), Good asked Northam Monday on behalf of his constituents to give them a reprieve from COVID-19 restrictions, and allow them to get back to work.
Virginia is one step closer to abolishing the death penalty after a bill to do so passed the Senate Thursday.
SB 1165 passed by a vote of 21-17 along party lines, with one GOP Senator Bill Stanley (R-20th District) abstaining. Stanley originally co-sponsored the bill, but wanted to add a provision that would ensure murderers convicted of aggravated offenses would never be allowed out of prison.
Virginia’s House Majority Leader celebrated Wednesday morning after a bill she introduced passed through committee.
“What a great way to start the day!” Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D-VA-46) said on Twitter. “My proposed constitutional amendment that will put an end to the disenfranchisement of felons has passed out of the Privileges and Elections Committee and is on its way to the house floor!”
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) showed his support Friday as a bill that would end the death penalty in the state passed through a subcommittee in the Virginia House of Delegates.
“The use of capital punishment has been inequitable. The administration strongly supports HB 2263 and abolishing the death penalty. The Office of [Gov. Northam],” Del. Mike Mullin (D-Newport News) said on Twitter, attributing the statement to Northam’s office.
Virginia’s state senate had a narrow Democratic majority, with 21 Democrats and 19 Republicans. Then, on Jan. 1, Republican State Senator Ben Chafin died. Virginia’s Democratic governor deliberately delayed filling the seat, so that progressive bills will be able to pass the state legislature more easily, and without being moderated by the amendment process.
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed over a dozen police reforms into law, including mandated anti-racism training for law enforcement and a ban on no-knock warrants.
Senate Bill 5030, which was passed Wednesday, “creates statewide minimum training standards” on “awareness of racism” and “biased profiling,” according to a statement from the governor’s office. The ordinance makes the Commonwealth the third state in the nation to ban no-knock raids, and the legislation also forbids local departments from acquiring “grenades, weaponized aircraft and high caliber rifles” in an effort to demilitarize, Northam’s team wrote.
Members of anti-government paramilitary groups discussed kidnapping Virginia’s governor during a June meeting in Ohio, an FBI agent testified Tuesday during a court hearing for a group of men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor.
Special Agent Richard Trask also revealed new details about investigators’ use of confidential informants, undercover agents and encrypted communication to arrest and charge six men last week in the plot aimed at Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
A new poll shows Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by only 5 points, nearly at the margin of error of 3.9 percent, but the president’s delegation chairman says that does not factor in Trump’s grassroots effort.
The Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University released the poll, which is available here.
Even as rioting damages large sections of Richmond and the Virginia General Assembly convenes in a special session, Mayor Levar Stoney wants lawmakers to take action — not on fighting lawlessness, but to help people get stoned.
Stoney used his bully pulpit to call for the Assembly to legalize marijuana.
Gov. Ralph Northam is asking the Virginia Supreme Court to extend a ban on evictions until Sept. 7 amid thousands of pending cases, but some critics worry about the economic impact.
The ban was first implemented earlier this year to prevent Virginians from losing their homes because of the economic hardships caused by the shutdown over COVID-19. With hardships continuing statewide and the governor pulling back on the reopening of Hampton Roads, he has requested an extension.
Establishment media news outlets insist that Republicans and President Donald Trump falsely emphasize Democratic support for infanticide, but the discussion of infanticide originated with the sitting governor of Virginia — and continues through 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s recent appearance on “The View.”
U.S. Rep. Dr. Green (R-TN-07) announced Tuesday he would sign the petition to force a floor vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The act was filed by House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA-01) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) and would require medical care to children born alive after…
The attack against Southerners appearing in old photos has now ensnared District Attorney General Glenn Funk, who revealed his photo appearance in an attempt to get ahead of the story, multiple media outlets report. WKRN reports that Funk, of the 20th Judicial District in Nashville, appeared in a 1982 Wake…
The backlash that prompted Amazon to discard its New York HQ2 headquarters plans like a rotten apple has emboldened critics of the tax deals being offered for the Virginia headquarters site. Amazon’s New York announcement, ironically made on Valentine’s Day, showed there was no love lost between the e-retailer and…
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Sunday he has no intention of resigning, despite widespread calls for him to quit because of a racist picture on his personal page in a 1984 medical school yearbook and his use of black face to depict a pop music star. “I have thought about…
by George Rasley No one can be sure when the first white man “blackened up” to play an African American on stage; however, Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice developed the first popularly known blackface minstrel character called “Jim Crow” in 1830.* Rice’s imitation of a black man and perpetuation of…
by Peter Hasson The uncorroborated sexual assault allegation against Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, a Democrat, has drawn comparisons to the uncorroborated allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Fairfax issued a statement early Monday morning disputing a report by the right-wing blog Big League Politics, which linked Fairfax…
Calls are mounting for Virginia’s governor to step down from office after the emergence of a racist photo in which he appeared in his medical school yearbook more than 30 years ago. Ralph Northam apologized Friday for the “racist and offensive” costume seen on his 1984 medical school yearbook page.…
by Chuck Ross A top aide to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was reportedly quietly forced to resign in November 2018 over improper sexual relationships with junior staffers that made some of his colleagues uncomfortable. Matt House announced in November 2018 he was leaving Schumer’s office, where he had…
by Luke Rosiak Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday announced proposed legislation to repeal the state’s requirement that voters show photo ID. “Participation makes our democracy strong—we should encourage every eligible voter to exercise this fundamental right, rather than creating unnecessary barriers that make getting to the ballot box…