Peninsula delegation may be gaining influence in Richmond

Regional leaders endorse plan to widen HRBT to 6 lanes by 2024

Small Business Endorses David Yancey in the 94th District Race

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Nicole Riley (NFIB), 804-377-3661

                     Johnny Alvarado (Campaign Manager), 703-999-3783

RICHMOND, VA. Oct. 5th 2015—The National Federation of Independent Business, Virginia’s leading small-business association, has endorsed David Yancey in the 94th House of Delegates race.

The endorsement comes from the NFIB/Virginia SAFE (Save America’s Free Enterprise) Trust, which is comprised exclusively of NFIB members.

“David Yancey is clearly the best choice for small business owners, their employees and their families,” said Nicole Riley, state director of NFIB/Virginia.”

“David Yancey understands the challenges facing the commonwealth’s small businesses, and our members believe he will continue to take a fiscally responsible approach to managing state government and support legislation that helps our small businesses grow and create jobs.”

“As a small business owner, I am honored to have the support of the National Federation of Independent Business,” Yancey said. “Small businesses are the innovators and job creators in our economy, they’re the ones who are working to get Virginians back to work. When we roll back excessive regulations on our small businesses, we allow them to do what they do best – create jobs.”

 

The NFIB/Virginia SAFE Trust’s endorsement is critical to David Yancey’s campaign. Small business owners and their employees vote in high numbers and are known for actively recruiting friends, family members and acquaintances to go to the polls. NFIB has pledged it will activate its grassroots network on behalf of the campaign. NFIB’s political support is based on the candidates’ positions and records on small business issues. 

 

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NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small- and independent-business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends its views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.

Shipyard Layoffs, Impact In Newport News

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                              Contact: Johnny Alvarado

September 15, 2015                                                                                                 (757) 897-3953

 

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – The announcement this morning from the Newport News Shipbuilding that they will lay off 480 people is devastating to our community, and will have an impact on our local economy. Since the announcement this morning, Delegate David Yancey has been in contact with our local congressional delegation, management at the Newport News Shipbuilding, as well as the manufacturers association to seek alternative opportunities for these people.

“It is never easy to hear of a person losing their job, it can be devastating to a family,” Yancey said. “I am focusing on finding resources to guide people to during this difficult time of transition.”

Yancey is currently in discussions with the Virginia Manufacturers Association to develop plans to help displaced workers find new positions that are commensurate with their skills.

“Layoff’s like this is why I am fighting in Richmond to diversify our economy, making us less dependent on military related employment to keep our economy growing,” Yancey said.

As a service to constituents who are impacted by this layoff, my office is available to provide any assistance it can, he added.

The following two links to Websites on employment may be of assistance to those seeking employment:

Information on Unemployment – http://www.vec.virginia.gov/unemployed

Find a Job Resources – http://www.vec.virginia.gov/find-a-job

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Trafficking crack downs aided by new laws

Legislation that cleared Congress earlier this month would make it easier for law enforcement to charge people who frequent prostitutes with human trafficking.

The law already allows this, but a broad piece of anti-trafficking legislation sitting now on Pres. Obama’s desk clarifies the matter. If a customer knows, or recklessly disregards the fact that a woman has been coerced into a sexual act, he can be brought up on the much more serious charges.

“It’s definitely a start in the right direction,” said Anton Bell, Hampton’s commonwealth’s attorney. “You make them equally responsible as those who are transporting.”

The bill, s. 178, also includes federal training money to help officers distinguish between willing prostitutes and women forced into the business, Bell said. It includes a new $5,000 fine to help pay for that, and for other anti-trafficking programs, including services for victims.

The bill treats traffickers more like violent criminals than current law, recognizes child pornography as a form of trafficking and makes it easier for law enforcement to seize a violator’s assets. The bill is essentially an overhaul of a federal trafficking statute, but it got more attention over things it didn’t include.

The bill’s senate vote was held up over an argument about abortion funding, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed a confirmation vote on new U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch until the matter was settled. Then the bill passed the Senate unanimously and the House 420-3.

The president is expected to sign it.

Sex trafficking crackdown moves forward in Virginia
U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell, a member of the Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus, said the legislation gives law enforcement new tools and increases resources to help victims recover.

“Human trafficking is not theoretical and it’s not just overseas; it’s here in our backyard,” he said in a statement. “We have a moral obligation not only to end this heinous crime, but to help victims recover.”

This federal legislation follows changes approved a few months ago in Virginia law. The state became the last in the union to pass a dedicated human trafficking statute, according to bill sponsors, including Del. David Yancey, R-Newport News.
Both laws should help law enforcement zero in on a business that often crosses jurisdictional lines and almost always operates in the shadows, local prosecutors said. The state law increased penalties and defined the crime, Newport News Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Pyecha said.

Before, prosecutors might charge a trafficker with pandering or abduction. Now “this bill specifically recognizes human trafficking for what it is,” she said.

Bell said these cases are fairly rare, but he believes some victims slip through the system unidentified.

Obama signs trafficking bill that held up Lynch confirmation
Pyecha said trafficking isn’t limited to large criminal operations. It can be small time, operated by one person over the Internet. She said trafficking reminds her of the cycle of domestic violence: Men target vulnerable girls, start a relationship and turn them into accomplices.

But the man controls the money, the living space and all too often the drugs, she said. Some times women who’ve been trafficked themselves become the traffickers, Pyecha said.

“It’s easier for them to gain the trust of the other girls,” she said.

Fain can be reached by phone at 757-525-1759.

Jaffe: In Virginia, signing on to Earth Day

On Earth Day, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a package of six clean-energy jobs bills carried by a bipartisan group of legislators (six Republicans and six Democrats).

These new laws – focused on solar energy and energy efficiency – have the potential to create thousands of jobs in Virginia. They leverage advances in renewable energy and efficiency to increase consumers’ carbon-free choices.

That should also help bring us closer to meeting Virginia’s goals under the Clean Power Plan – the federal draft rule for reducing carbon pollution linked to climate change and rising sea levels.

Based on decisions that utilities have already made, we are nearly 80 percent of the way to meeting the state’s goal under the federal plan.

These decisions include retiring some of the oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the commonwealth, like Dominion’s Chesapeake Energy Center.

Under the Clean Power Plan, Virginia will get 100 percent credit for the pollution reductions associated with the Chesapeake retirement, even though it was planned long before a draft of the rule was even published.

Virginia is now starting out on a path to replace aging coal plants with better options. With expanded commitments to clean energy coming out of this year’s legislative session, we are positioned to meet the remaining 20 percent of Virginia’s Clean Power Plan target through investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Virginia’s clean-energy package includes legislation championed by Newport News Republican Del. David Yancey, which declares up to 500 megawatts of solar energy projects to be in the public interest. Dominion has highlighted this legislation to support its proposal to build a new solar farm in Fauquier County-a project that the company says will create 350 construction jobs.

The new laws also include expansion of Virginia’s solar net metering program and the creation of a Virginia Solar Development Authority, both aimed at reducing barriers to solar in the commonwealth.

The opportunities here are clear when comparing the paltry 15 megawatts of solar currently installed statewide-enough to power just 2,500 homes-to the 950 megawatts in North Carolina, sufficient to power 156,000 homes.

On the efficiency front, legislation sponsored by Fairfax Democratic Sen. Chap Petersen paves the way for greater investments in programs from the state’s natural gas utilities to cut waste and reduce bills.

That means funding for programs to retrofit buildings with better insulation or to install high-efficiency water heaters. These improvements not only reduce global warming pollution, they also save money. After all, the cheapest kilowatt-hour of electricity or cubic foot of natural gas is the one you never have to purchase in the first place.

Two additional bills will help Virginia meet targets while also supporting a clean-energy economy. The first extends a green job creation tax credit through the end of 2017, while the second allows localities to create loan programs to finance energy efficiency, water efficiency, and renewable energy projects for commercial buildings.

Altogether, this suite of clean-energy jobs legislation represents a remarkable turn in the right direction for a General Assembly that, back in 2007, declared a heavily-polluting, 585-megawatt coal-fired power plant to be in the public interest. This turn-around is best explained by a growing recognition of the immense job-creation potential with energy efficiency and renewable energy.

A recent report from the Advanced Energy Economy Institute and the Virginia Advanced Energy Industries Coalition finds that leveraging green industries to meet our goals under the Clean Power Plan “can lead to substantial direct job creation in Virginia.”

The report cites the creation of “more than 54,000 cumulative added job-years” over the life of the Clean Power Plan, even accounting for labor lost from the retirement of our oldest coal plants.

That job-creation message has struck a chord with the legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle who patroned these bills. It is also resonating with McAuliffe, who recently said he “fully supports” the Clean Power Plan.

Cale Jaffe is director of the Virginia office of the Southern Environmental Law Center.

By Cale Jaffe, Virginia Pilot

Virginia needs to listen to Newport News, Yancey says

Newport News has things to tell the rest of the state, Del. David Yancey says, reflecting on the General Assembly session just past.

Take, for instance, his proposal to give police a hand making cases against those who coerce others into prostitution or forced labor.

Yancey was shaken last year when Newport News police officers detailed the scope of human trafficking and the challenges they face making cases. So he proposed a bill this year making it a class four felony to receive money for leading others into selling their bodies.

Problem is, he quickly learned, that his measure would boost the cost of running prisons by an incalculable amount. Fellow Delegates Rob Bell, of Albemarle County and Tim Hugo, of Northern Virginia, also wanted to tackle the issue, and were trying to find a good balance because the cost of locking up more human traffickers with the obvious benefit of getting those lowlifes off Virginia streets.

At a critical point, when legislators huddled trying to find that balance, Yancey brought two Newport News detectives and an assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney from the city to a General Assembly hearing room. They waited out a long afternoon (more than three hours worth) of committee deliberations on other bills, in order to make their case for what police officers and prosecutors really need. And they got much of what’s necessary in a bill that sailed through.

That it wasn’t his bill?

Doesn’t matter, he said.

“When it came time, it was Newport News law enforcement in the room,” Yancey said. “We came out with something they can work with.”

One Yancey bill that did make it opens the door for people with technical and scientific skills to get provisional teaching licenses.

It grew out of an unsuccessful effort of his a few years back to get the General Assembly to launch summertime science, technology, engineering and math programs, an idea the Newport News Public Schools had urged.

When it didn’t work, “I thought we’d try from the other side — the people with those skills who might want to teach,” he said.

Although any issue touching on licensing can be difficult, Yancey got state Education Department and city school officials sitting down in the same room, worked out some changes to make the state people happy, and had a bill. Basically, his measure gives would-be teachers a chance to teach while they get the certifications needed for a full license.

“We’ve got people here who know how to make things with their hands. We’ve got a lot of pride in what we make,” Yancey said. “Newport News can be a beacon for the rest of the state.”

Yancey, a member of the House Education Committee hopes to keep pushing next year, if he is re-elected, on career and technical education, to better match what students learn in school with work that can give them a good living and companies with hard-to-fill needs.

He wants to push in another area, too.

Door-knocking in Newport News, he keeps hearing about people overwhelmed by the high interest rate loans that target working people and the poor. That’s why he keep trying to tighten Virginia consumer protection laws, despite the opposition of one of the free-est spending lobbies in Richmond.

It’s also why he wants to take a look at math and financial literacy education — and to urge an approach he tries when he coaches rugby players in a club team based at Heritage High School.

“Sometimes, you’re working on something … and there’s someone who’s not getting it,” he said. “What you want to do is focus on that, maybe change your next practice, until they do.”

By Dave Ress, Daily Press

Couple of surprises as Peninsula House, Senate races shape up

The local elections slate for General Assembly seats is coming together, and it looks like there won’t be many contested races.

Folks may still get in under the wire (all they had to do was have completed campaign forms postmarked by Thursday at 5 p.m.) to run in the Republican or Democratic parties. Plus, third party candidates and independents don’t have to join the race until June.

But as of Friday afternoon, no one but Marcia Price had told the state Board of Elections they want to run for retiring Del. Mamye BaCote’s seat. That’s a bit of a surprise. If it holds then Price, Newport News McKinley Price’s daughter, will get the seat without a race.

The other interesting tidbit from Thursday’s close of filing is that state Sen. John Miller, D-Newport News, picked up a Republican challenger, and it’s not John Bloom. Newport News DUI attorney Mark Matney filed to run against Miller, and Bloom’s name doesn’t appear on the Board of Elections’ Senate candidate list.

Shad Plank has an email out to Bloom seeking confirmation, but he’s said before that he was running because voters needed a GOP option in the race.

Miller’s district leans Democratic, and it won’t be in the top tier of Senate races as the parties fight for what’s likely to be narrow control of the chamber. Still, it could draw some funding and attention if things break the right way.

Miller’s certainly not taking too many chances. He released a list of 38 campaign steering committee members Friday, a list that includes a number of area business and political leaders.

An attempt to reach Matney by telephone Friday wasn’t immediately successful. He has a YouTube channel.

Significant attention will be paid to the Peninsula’s two swingy House districts. Del. David Yancey, R-Newport News, had the most expensive House of Delegates race in the state two years ago. He’s got a challenge this year from Newport News School Board member Shelly Simonds, a Democrat who joined this race late last summer.

Freshman Del. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg, will defend his seat against Lara Overy, a first-time candidate with a compelling back story. Mason’s seat has gone back and forth between Republicans and Democrats over the last several cycles. Phil Hamilton was the last person to hold it for more than one term.

None of the Peninsula’s other House or Senate seats were contested as of Friday afternoon

By Travis Fain – Daily Press

In Newport News, looking at the money in a competitive House district

So far, the Peninsula is seeing only two contested races for the General Assembly, now that Lara Overy has announced she’ll challenge Del. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg.

But Shelly Simonds threw her hat in the ring back in September to challenge Del. David Yancey, R-Newport News, so Shad Plank decided to take a look at what’s been happening in the earliest phases of campaigning — which, of course, is all about fundraising and organization building.

Simonds raised $25,120 since announcing. Considering that the Newport News district is one of the most competitive in the state, there’s not been a lot of big party money flowing in yet.

In fact of the 14 donors who have kicked in $500 or more to her race, the only  big Democratic donors are Newport News layer Bobby Hatten, who gave $2,500, Virginia Beach investor Paul Hirschbiel, who gave $1,000, former Newport News Mayor Joe Frank, who gave $500, and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, which gave $500.

With the exception of attorney Lynne Fiscella, all the rest are making their very first donations to any campaign, according to the data compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project.

Yancey, meanwhile, raised $90,766 during the last six months of 2014. His biggest donor is Speaker Bill Howell’s political action committee, which gave $7,500. House Majority Leader Kirk Cox’s PAC gave $4,000. His biggest local donor was the nursing home group Virginia Health Services, which gave $3,000.

Like many incumbents, he’s also received donations from interest groups, including the bankers (for $2,500), wine and beer wholesalers ($1,500 each) and Dominion Resources ($1,000).

Yancey this year joined the Commerce and Labor Committee, which handles a wide range of business issues — and whose members are generally among the legislature’s top fundraisers.

Going forward, once the General Assembly session ends and it is legal to give donations to legislators, watching how and from whom the money this summer could give an early hint as to how hard this year’s race will be run.

By Dave Ress, Daily Press

School calendar bills crop back up in Virginia House

The House of Delegates resurrected a pair of bills Thursday meant to strike down Virginia’s no-school-before-Labor-Day policy.

Both bills would give local school systems far more power to set their own calendars. They died temporarily Wednesday in the House Education Committee on a pair of tie votes.

Supporters brought them back up Thursday afternoon during a called committee meeting that was also used to vote on a major campus sexual assault bill. House bills 1550 and 1838 made it through, surviving an undermanned effort to block the new votes.

Del. Brenda Pogge’s office said the bills weren’t mentioned in a emailed meeting announcement that went out about a half hour before the meeting.

Del. David Yancey, R-Newport News, left another committee meeting to be among the “no” votes on these bills. He sprinted back after the education meeting.

It’s crunch time at the General Assembly, and a number of other legislators who voted “no” Wednesday were elsewhere during Thursday afternoon’s meeting, including Pogge, R-Norge.

Del. Glenn Davis, a Virginia Beach Republican who voted against these bills Wednesday, came from his Richmond hotel room, where he had been home sick, to vote.

He was too late, he said, by minutes.

Advocates for the calendar change have argued for years that local schools should be able to start earlier. Current law requires them to get a waiver from the state to do so. The tourism industry has resisted, and these sort of bills have traditionally passed the House, only to be killed in the state Senate.

Del. Tag Greason, the sponsor on House Bill 1550, said the bills only failed to clear committee Wednesday because several supporters were absent, victims to “the pace of the day.”

“The other day was the fluke,” said Greason, R-Lansdowne. “For six years it has passed the House.”

Last year the measure passed the House 75-24, only to sit the rest of the session without a vote in a Senate committee.

A spokesman for Busch Gardens, which has opposed the change, said the park is “concerned about this legislation’s impact on state and local revenues.” Family vacations at summer’s end would be threatened by earlier school starts, the argument goes.

“We look forward to working with Gov. (Terry) McAuliffe and the General Assembly to ensure Virginia’s economic engine remains strong,” Busch Gardens Communications Manager Kevin Crossett said in a recent email.

Yancey put the tax hit from starting school earlier at nearly $369 million.

“I voted against the bill today because I consistently hear from the public schools in my district that they need more money, so I think it would be irresponsible,” he in a late-evening email

By Travis Fain, Daily Press