Posted by 07 September 2016
Governor Terry McAuliffe is determined to restore voting rights to tens of thousands of Virginians with felony records. It appears he will get his way prior to Election Day.
He first attempted to do so in April, when he announced a blanket order to restore voting rights to over 200,000 felons, saying, “There’s no question that we’ve had a horrible history in voting rights as relates to African-Americans — we should remedy it.”
Republicans said that the governor was overstepping his constitutional powers. Senate Republican Leader Thomas Norment said, “Gov. McAuliffe's flagrant disregard for the Constitution of Virginia and the rule of law must not go unchecked.” By a 4-3 vote, the Virginia Supreme Court sided with the Republicans and invalidated the governor’s action.
That did not deter Governor McAuliffe, however. He vowed to restore voting rights on a case-by-case basis to comply with the court decision. He is in the process of doing that, already restoring rights for 13,000 individuals.
Some Republicans claim the governor is playing politics by focusing efforts on felons who primarily live in Democratic areas of the commonwealth. Supporters of Governor McAuliffe point out that the man who preceded McAuliffe in the governor’s mansion, Republican Bob McDonnell, also restored the voting rights of some felons.
If McAuliffe were governor in most other states, this would not be an issue. Virginia is one of only 9 states that do not grant felons voting rights. Most states restore voting rights to felons after they serve their sentences. Some restore these rights to felons even while they are on probation or parole. Two states, Maine and Vermont, even allow prisoners to vote.
What do you think? Should felons be able to vote?
Posted by 14 August 2016
The Washington Redskins may be coming to Virginia. Would the state benefit if taxpayers shelled out for a new stadium?
Virginia Governor Terry McCauliffe is having what he calls “very serious negotiations” to persuade the Washington Redskins to move to Northern Virginia. While the Redskins’ current lease in Maryland is not up for another decade, the team is already looking at its options for future stadiums.
Governor McCauliffe would like the state to use its resources to persuade the team to move across the Potomac River. However, he also says, “It’s got to make sense for the taxpayers of Virginia.”
Will such a deal make sense for taxpayers? It may be possible, but it will be difficult. The academic literature on the economic impact of stadiums and the return to taxpayers is summed up by researchers from the Brookings Institution:
A new sports facility has an extremely small (perhaps even negative) effect on overall economic activity and employment. No recent facility appears to have earned anything approaching a reasonable return on investment. No recent facility has been self-financing in terms of its impact on net tax revenues. Regardless of whether the unit of analysis is a local neighborhood, a city, or an entire metropolitan area, the economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimus.
Virginians may gain some pride from having the Washington Redskins located within their commonwealth. However, as Governor McCauliffe works to lure the team, he should be aware of the ways that stadium subsidies can go wrong.
Do you support using taxpayer dollars to subsidize sports stadiums?
Posted by 08 July 2016
Posted by 24 June 2016
According to Virginia Senator Mark Warner, “Regardless of the Brexit vote, global trade remains essential to America’s economic durability and leadership in the world.” But he also says that the government should do more to assist those negatively affected by trade. What do you think? Is global trade a net win for the U.S.?
Posted by 24 June 2016
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine could be Hillary Clinton’s choice for vice president. He is seen as a “safe” pick – a mainstream Democrat who is from a potential swing state. Do you think Sen. Kaine would make a good vice president? Or should Clinton choose someone else? https
Posted by 07 June 2016
In producing a documentary on gun control, Katie Couric edited the comments of Virginia gun rights supporters in a way they claimed was misleading. Was this artistic license, or was it deceptive editing to promote a political agenda?
Posted by 21 May 2016
The city of Charlottesville is weighing in on the debate over federal gun control laws. Is it useful for local politicians to pass symbolic resolutions on national issues? Or should city council members focus on city issues, leaving national issues up to members of Congress?
Posted by 16 May 2016
Sen. Tim Kaine is calling on Congress to authorize military action against the Islamic State, or ISIS. President Obama has already ordered some attacks on ISIS without congressional approval. Do you think Sen. Kaine has the right idea? Or should the U.S. end military action in this area?
Posted by 04 May 2016
Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have joined other Democratic senators in asking the federal government to enforce policies affecting gay and transgendered college students. This is partially in response to North Carolina’s law that mandates transgendered students use bathrooms according to their biological sex. Does the federal government have a place in policing school policies on bathroom use?