Virginia Employment Commission Lawsuit Reaches Agreement as Gov Northam Orders Faster Claims Processing

The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) is facing criticism and a lawsuit over delays while processing unemployment claims flagged as potentially ineligible. On Tuesday, in court-ordered mediation, the parties in the lawsuit came to an agreement. The same day, Governor Ralph Northam announced Executive Directive 16, requiring the VEC to add 300 new adjudication officers and make technology upgrades.

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Former Portsmouth Police Chief Greene Sues City, Senator Lucas

Former Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene is suing the City of Portsmouth and Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), along with several other civic leaders and current and former city officials. Former City Manager Lydia Pettis-Patton placed Greene on leave in the wake of a June protest at the Portsmouth monument that led to Greene’s department filing felony charges, later dropped, against Lucas. Greene was finally terminated in November. Her lawsuit bundles multiple complaints against multiple figures.

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Northam Snubs Herring, Endorses Jones for Attorney General

Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) picked up a big endorsement in the race for Attorney General this week. Governor Ralph Northam chose to endorse Jones instead of incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring, Northam’s former running mate.

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Virginia’s Robert E. Lee Statue Removed from U.S. Capitol

Virginia’s statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee was removed from its place in the National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol by a crew of workers overnight.

Every state is allowed to have two statues on display in the hall and Lee has stood along with President George Washington as representatives of the Commonwealth since 1909.

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Bill Giving AG Increased Authority to Investigate Patterns of Misconduct by Police Signed into Law

Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill into law on Wednesday that gives the state attorney general additional powers to investigate unlawful patterns or practices by law enforcement officers and file civil action to stop the misconduct.

Introduced by Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), Senate Bill 5024 was one of several bills approved by the governor this week.

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Sen. Louise Lucas Does the Expungement Two-Step

Senator Louise Lucas is a patron for a bill that would expunge records of her current felony charges if passed.
Senate Bill 5043 originally was designed to expunge criminal records relating to marijuana possession and open container violations. The latest version of the bill is much more expanded. It covers 76 crimes – many of them felonies. 

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Virginia Wants to Pay Nearly Half a Million or More in Commonwealth Funds to Remove and Replace U.S. Capitol Lee Statue

The Commonwealth will pay nearly $500,000 or more to remove and replace the Robert E. Lee statue in the U.S. Capitol. In charge of the project is the Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol, created for the sole purpose of removing the Lee statue from the National Statuary Hall Collection.
The projected costs total $498,500 – funds the commission says could total more or less in the coming months. Their estimate comes from other states’ costs for similar projects.

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