Virginia Politics

Government & Policy

Virginia will expand mental health coverage under Medicaid


For years, mental health treatment for many Virginians has followed a predictable pattern, said Anna Mendez, executive director of the Charlottesville-based nonprofit Partner for Mental Health. 

“For community providers like us, a family member will call and say their loved one is in crisis,” Mendez said. “And we can tell that they’re in distress, but they’re not in enough distress to be able to get the care they need.”

The state’s Medicaid system sets strict screening criteria for psychiatric services, and often doesn’t reimburse enough to cover the cost of providing treatment. As a result, many patients don’t receive care until their symptoms reach a crisis point, requiring hospitalization and — frequently — admission into one of the state’s inpatient psychiatric facilities.

Reporting from Virginia Mercury »

Statewide Races

Financial disclosures in Va. governor’s race detail wealth of Youngkin, McAuliffe

RICHMOND — Two wealthy men are running for governor of Virginia, but Republican Glenn A. Youngkin’s assets are on a completely different scale than those of Democrat Terry McAuliffe, according to recent financial filings.

State conflict of interest disclosure forms paint only part of the picture, but they show Youngkin with stock and other financial holdings of between $14.5 million and $30.9 million, according to the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project.

Because Virginia’s reporting requirements are so loose, that’s a fraction of Youngkin’s actual net worth, which is probably close to $400 million, judging from other financial documents.

View coverage from the Washington Post »

General Assembly


(The Arc of Virginia)

We’re proud to report that the legislation featured in this news piece –
HB 2047/SB 1315 – was signed into law and went into effect on July 1st. 

Bill requiring consideration of autism, mental illness in criminal justice system passes in Virginia


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Advocates say a law that bars Virginia courts from fully considering a person’s disability or mental illness is causing defendants with autism to fall through the cracks.

A recently passed bill would require judges to take these conditions into consideration in more stages of the criminal justice system. Some prosecutors fear there could be unintended consequences.

Matthew Rushin, a Black male with autism from Virginia Beach, is expected to be released this spring after originally being sentenced to 50 years in prison. Rushin, 22, was expected to serve a reduced term of 10 years when he was granted a partial pardon by Gov. Ralph Northam.

View coverage from WRIC »

Elections 2021

Virginia elections board votes to allow 3 Republicans on ballot despite late filings by party officials


Incumbent GOP Del. Dave LaRock and two other Republicans will appear on the ballot this year after the State Board of Elections voted 2-1 Wednesday to certify their candidacies despite local party officials missing a filing deadline this month to formally nominate them for office.

The decision comes a few months after several Democratic candidates planning to run primary challenges against incumbent House Democrats were denied a place on the ballot by the same board for different late paperwork issues. At Wednesday’s meeting, the board rejected several requests for filing extensions from other would-be state and local candidates.

Election officials defended their approach by pointing out there are key differences in how it handles specific forms. The main distinction, they said, is between paperwork campaigns are responsible for and paperwork that has to be filed by local party officials.

More from the Virginia Mercury »


Reps. Raskin, Luria to serve on committee probing Jan. 6 riot at U.S. Capitol


After leading the February impeachment inquiry against former president Donald Trump, Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) will continue investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol as a member of the Jan. 6 House select committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday.

Pelosi also appointed Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), a retired Navy commander — leaving the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia region well-represented on the first investigative body formed to probe the most consequential attack on the U.S. Capitol in two centuries.

Full story from the Washington Post »


KEY MEASURES: Virginia Department of Health

Dashboard updated 7/2/2021. Case counts reflect what has been reported to VDH by healthcare providers and laboratories.

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Officials struggle to persuade the hesitant

“Public health officials were already struggling with how to persuade coronavirus vaccination holdouts to get the shot. But declining case rates and a highly contagious variant have made their work at once more difficult…”

Coverage from The Washington Post

Fewer COVID patients in SWVA, but sick are sicker

Under the law, no one older than 16 is allowed to wear a mask with intentions to conceal their identity in a public place or on private property. Violating the law can result in a class 6 felony..

Full story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Business, Economy, & Labor News

Judge weighs manufacturers’ lawsuit to overturn Virginia carbon market regulation

Despite Virginia’s participation in two carbon auctions netting the state almost $90 million, Virginia manufacturers are continuing to fight an environmental regulation outlining the carbon-trading program.

Full story »

Virginia announces progress on unemployment claims backlog, but applications keep piling up

Richmond Times-Dispatch »

Legalization of marijuana expected to have little impact on workplace


Roanoke Times »

Asian American businesses accuse Virginia of discrimination in ban on electronic skill games

RT-D »

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2021 Virginia General Election