Del. Delores L. McQuinn, D-Richmond, tonight spoke out against the arrests of 31 women's rights demonstrators in a protest at the state Capitol earlier today that drew Virginia State Police in riot gear.
She said the arrests "are just the latest example of government overreach that we’ve seen in recent weeks."
"The men and women who marched on Capitol Square have a right to peacefully protest without the threat that they will be arrested for exercising that right," McQuinn said in a news release. "At several recent women’s rights events, there has been an overabundance of police presence. In fact, the Capitol Police tactical team has been at all of the events," she said.
McQuinn said she had "never seen a similar police presence when guns rights advocates assemble on Capitol Square on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday."
McQuinn called the arrests "a sad reminder that our progress towards equality for all Virginians has not been achieved.”
(This has been a breaking news update. Check back for more details as they become available. Earlier updates are posted below. Read more in tomorrow's Richmond Times-Dispatch.)
Thirty-one women's-rights demonstrators were arrested this afternoon in a protest at the state Capitol that drew hundreds of protesters and Virginia State Police in riot gear.
Capt. Raymond Goodloe of the Virginia Division of Capitol Policesaid 17 women and 14 men were arrested. He did not have a breakdown on charges but said those arrested were likely accused of either trespassing or unalawful assembly.
The arrests took place after some protesters, who had marched on downtown streets before entering Capitol Square, refused to leave the south steps of the Capitol. They were hauled off by officers and taken away in a bus parked nearby while other armed officers held protesters at bay with riot shields.
The demonstration came after the General Assembly approved hotly disputed legislation that requires women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion.
Shelley Abrams, who runs a local abortion clinic, spoke to the crowd this morning before the march. She said she had an abortion and has never regretted her decision.
"Being in a clinic, people have no idea how many people get abortions," she said. "Your sisters are getting them, your mothers. There's a stigma of shame around that and I want that to go away and it starts with people saying, ''I had an abortion.'" Urbanna resident Louise Friday said legislators are "taking us back to another time with their rules and trying to, in a sneaky way, prohibit women from using contraceptives."
Along with Friday was Sheila Jones, who was wearing a T-shirt that she said she wore in April 1992 during the March for Women's Lives at the National Mall in Washington, DC, a pro-choice rally that drew more than 1 million people.
"I thought we'd taken care of these atrocities [on women's rights] back then, and we haven't," she said. "So I had to come back down here and do this for all of the young women that now are fighting for the same thing that we thought we had taken care of 20 years ago." (Staff writer Holly Prestidge contributed to this report.)
(This has been a breaking news update. Check back for more details as they become available. Read more in tomorrow's Richmond Times-Dispatch. Earlier updates are posted below.)
Virginia State Police in full riot gear held women's-rights demonstrators at bay this afternoon while officers began to arrest about 40 protesters who refused to leave the south steps of the state Capitol.
After a march that began on 9th Street and onto Broad before winding back to the Capitol, protesters gathered at the steps to the Capitol and about 40 people sat there with locked arms. State police were arresting those protesters individually.
Protest organizers said they had a permit to demonstrate at the nearby Bell Tower on Capitol Square, but some chose to stay at the steps.
Those arrested were put on what appeared to be a refitted school bus that had been parked near the Capitol. A calmed crowd began to disperse, and a smaller group then gathered on the Bank Street.
A total number of people arrested was not immediately available.
(This has been a breaking news update. Check back for more details as they become available. An earlier update is posted below. Read more in tomorrow's Richmond Times-Dispatch.)
About 500 women's-rights activists gathered on the grounds of the state Capitol today to protest legislation requiring an ultrasound before getting an abortion.
They planned to march to the Executive Mansion to protest House Bill 462 and other legislation proposed by the General Assembly that they see as an assault on women's reproductive rights.
Many of the women wore red arm bands to show their support. Some carried signs that expressed sentiments like, "Gov. McDonnell Get Out Of My Vagina" and "Mind Your Own Private Parts."
Shelley Abrams, who runs a local abortion clinic, spoke to the crowd this morning before they marched. She said she had an abortion and has never regretted her decision.
"Being in a clinic, people have no idea how many people get abortions. There's a stigma of shame around that and I want that to go away and it starts with people saying 'I had an abortion.'"
On Thursday the House of Delegates agreed to Senate amendments to the ultrasound bill, sending the measure to the governor. The bill has been amended so that a woman could refuse a transvaginal ultrasound. The measure now also would exempt from the ultrasound requirement victims of rape or incest who report the attack to authorities.
Link to original article from The Richmond Times Dispatch
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine today signed onto the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act – legislation that would end the ban on prescription drug price negotiations for the government’s largest health care program.
“Every corner pharmacy negotiates for prescription drug prices so it makes no sense that the federal government isn’t allowed to do the same,” said Kaine. “At a time when we continue to look at every line item of the budget for savings, this common sense measure should be adopted to make Medicare more efficient and low-cost without compromising...
Valerie Garner | Roanoke Free Press 17 Jun 2013 Hits:142 Virginia
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli today released a report presenting legal alternatives to the current system of restoring the civil rights of nonviolent felons.
The report, compiled by a bipartisan commission of lawyers convened by the attorney general in March, suggests the General Assembly could establish and fund a "permanent function" under the governor's office, dedicated to rights applications.
It also says the governor could "exercise his discretionary clemency power in a more expansive manner" to streamline the process and make it easier for felons who have paid their debt to society to enjoy its rights...
Jim Nolan | Richmond Times Dispatch 28 May 2013 Hits:1399 Virginia
If a woman in Virginia has a miscarriage without a doctor present, they must report it within 24 hours to the police or risk going to jail for a full year. At least, that’s what would have happened if a bill introduced by Virginia state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R) had become law.
And yet, the Virginia Republican Party wants to make Obenshain into the state’s top prosecutor. This weekend, Virginia Republicans selected Obenshain as their nominee to replace tea party stalwart Ken Cuccinelli (R) as the state’s attorney general.
Obenshain’s bill, which was introduced...
Ian Millhiser | ThinkProgress 20 May 2013 Hits:417 Virginia
Last week, Virginia’s Board of Health voted to finalize unnecessary regulations that will force many of the state’s abortion clinics to shut down. Those new restrictions — which are known as the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP laws — are already having their intended effect. Hillcrest Clinic, which opened to the public just nine months after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion services, will be closing its doors this weekend.
The state officials pushing for the new abortion regulations claim they will help ensure women’s safety. But...
Tara Culp-Ressler | ThinkProgress 22 Apr 2013 Hits:1923 Virginia
The vice chairwoman of the State Board of Elections says she has “some glaring issues” with the practicality and cost of Virginia’s new photo ID legislation for voting that Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law last month.
Kimberly T. Bowers, a Democrat, was appointed to a four-year term as one of the state’s leading elections officials in 2011 by Gov. Bob McDonnell. She said in an interview that the process for obtaining a free government-issued photo ID “leaves a lot to be desired” and that the decision to implement a new...
Markus Schmidt | Richmond Times Dispatch 14 Apr 2013 Hits:1308 Virginia
Today, the Virginia Board of Health will take a final vote on regulations that would restrict women's access to reproductive health care by imposing standards that would force women's health centers in Virginia to undertake massive renovations or close altogether.
The proposed regulations are the result of legislation passed by the General Assembly-with the overwhelming support of the House Republicans-and revised by Ken Cuccinelli, who strong armed the Board to vote on his version of the amendments.
"This is yet another instance of Ken Cuccinelli and his Republican allies in the...
DPVA 12 Apr 2013 Hits:626 Virginia
Backers of Virginia’s candidates for governor exchanged hard-edged humor Monday, issuing false April Fools' Day statements at their rival’s expense.
Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccineli’s campaign struck first, issuing a release under the headline: “McAuliffe To Open Job-Rich Plant in Virginia.”
The Republican spoof claimed that Terry McAuliffe had announced “a major commitment to bringing manufacturing jobs to Virginia” and that GreenTech, his electric car company, would soon open a factory outside Fredericksburg.
Then, under a headline of APRIL FOOL’S! the statement noted that McAuliffe “chose to base his electric car company in...
Andrew Cain | Richmond Times Dispatch 01 Apr 2013 Hits:358 Virginia
A political action committee spearheaded by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean will spend $750,000 to target five Republican-held districts in the Virginia House of Delegates for takeover by Democrats in the 2013 elections.
Dubbing their effort the “Purple to Blue Project,” the group, Democracy for America, said it is embarking on a multi-year effort to reverse the trend of GOP-controlled legislatures in swing states like Virginia.
The group plans to deploy data-driven, micro-targeting, mail and media strategies similar to those that helped President Barack Obama win Virginia and other in the 2012...
Jim Nolan | Richmond Times Dispatch 29 Mar 2013 Hits:365 Virginia
Governor Bob McDonnell last night proposed limited amendments to legislation that called for a two-year moratorium on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, by law enforcement and regulatory agencies in the Commonwealth thereby assuring that Virginia will become the first state in the nation to enact a statewide restriction on the use of drones.
“This is an important first step in assuring all Virginians that we have reasonable rules in place that will govern the deployment of drones over the Commonwealth,” said Delegate Ben Cline, author of the...
ACLU Virginia 28 Mar 2013 Hits:362 Virginia
Virginia workers like Anthony Van Buren will now have state investigators to take up their wage theft claims. (Photo by Raul Coto-Batres)
After a months-long lobbying effort by labor advocates, Virginia’s General Assembly voted on Saturday to restore funding to the state's investigative division responsible for enforcing wage law. One year ago, the assembly cut its funding and reassigned the six investigators tasked with assisting Virginians whose wages are illegally withheld by their employers.
Barring an unlikely veto by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, the budget...
Spencer Woodman | In These Times 08 Mar 2013 Hits:383 Virginia
ARLINGTON, Va. — To listen to the human side of sequestration, wait in line here for the 595 bus to Reston, Va., a journey across a suburbia grown fat and happy on a federal spending boom in the past decade, primarily military.
While the rest of the country experienced a corrosive recession, unemployment in Arlington County, home of the Pentagon, never rose above 5 percent. Nearby Fairfax County, with a cyberintelligence industry that took off after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, gorged on government contracts to private companies.
“It was easy, and...
TRIP GABRIEL | The New York Times 07 Mar 2013 Hits:716 Virginia
By a 65-34 vote, the Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday passed a measure that would mandate voters show photo ID at the polls.
Senate Bill 1256, sponsored by Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, would also require the state to provide free photo ID to voters who do not have such identification.
The bill now moves to the desk of Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has not commented on the legislation during the session. If McDonnell signs it, the U.S. Department of Justice would also have to...
Markus Schmidt | Richmond Times Dispatch 24 Feb 2013 Hits:547 Virginia
Virginia will embark on a series of major reforms to its Medicaid program as a required prelude to extending coverage to as many as 400,000 uninsured Virginians by the middle of next year.
The House of Delegates and Senate voted overwhelmingly on Saturday to adopt amendments to the state budget that include the ability to reform and expand the joint federal-state health care program for the poor, subject to certification by a special legislative committee that benchmarks for reforms have been met.
“It’s pretty clear...
Michael Martz | Richmond Times Dispatch 24 Feb 2013 Hits:442 Virginia
Virginia Senate and House negotiators agreed on a deal today to resolve their differences over transportation funding.
When fully phased in, the agreement in its current form would raise roughly $880 million by doing the following:
-- Replace the current 17.5 cents per gallon tax on gasoline with a 3.5 percent wholesale tax paid by distributors and a 6 percent wholesale tax on diesel fuel;
-- Increase the 5 percent retail sales and use tax paid on most purchases to 5.3 percent;
-- Apply a $100 annual fee on alternative fuel...
Jim Nolan | Richmond Times Dispatch 21 Feb 2013 Hits:378 Virginia
Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, has ruled that the surprise Senate amendments to redistricting changes are not germane, throwing the future of the proposed Senate boundary moves in doubt.
Senate Republicans pushed through the amendments on a 20-19 party-line vote on a day when Democrats were down one member because Sen. Henry L. Marsh III, D-Richmond, attended inauguration ceremonies for President Barack Obama in Washington on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Because the Senate made changes to a House measure, it had...
Olympia Meola | Richmond Times Dispatch 06 Feb 2013 Hits:437 Virginia
RICHMOND — House Speaker William J. Howell effectively killed the GOP’s surprise Senate redistricting plan Wednesday, taking one of the most contentious issues off the table in this year’s General Assembly session
Howell (R-Stafford) used a procedural move to scrap the proposed map, which Republicans muscled through the evenly divided Senate when a Democrat who is considered a civil rights icon was away in Washington to attend President Obama’s inauguration.
Calling it a “vast rewrite of Senate districts,” Howell ruled that the map was not germane...
Laura Vozzella | Washington Post 06 Feb 2013 Hits:478 Virginia
On Tuesday afternoon, the Virginia House and Senate passed two bills to make the state’s voter ID law even stricter. The measures, sponsored by Sen. Dick Black (R-VA) and Rep. Mark Cole (R-VA), would ban voters from presenting a utility bill, pay stub, government or Social Security card as proof of identity — all forms of ID allowed under the current law. They could still use a voter ID card, concealed handgun permit, drivers license, or student ID. But the Senate is also considering a bill that would even further restrict acceptable...
Aviva Shen | Think Progress Justice 05 Feb 2013 Hits:1196 Virginia
Richmond, VA – The ACLU of Virginia applauded Virginia legislators as the House of Delegates and Senate today approved by overwhelming bi-partisan votes in both houses legislation that calls for a two year moratorium on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, by law enforcement and regulatory agencies in the Commonwealth.
“We are very pleased that Virginia is the first state in which both chambers of its legislature have approved measures that limit the use of drones,” said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia. “We are...
ACLU VA 05 Feb 2013 Hits:648 Virginia
At least two black House Democrats say they might vote for the GOP’s surprise Virginia Senate redistricting plan, a move that could make it easier for Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and House Speaker William J. Howell to find their way out of a sticky political quandary.
Dels. Onzlee Ware (Roanoke) and Rosalyn R. Dance (Petersburg) told The Washington Post on Wednesday that they are considering the plan, which would create a new majority-black district in Southside but also disperse black voting power in at least...
Laura Vozzella | The Washington Post 31 Jan 2013 Hits:723 Virginia
ProgressVA reports that the Virginia State Senate has killed the Electoral College-skewing Carrico bill. It was the Privileges and Elections committee, not the full Senate, that did the deed. Republicans run the committee, with eight out of 15 members. And the bill only got four "ayes."
That leaves Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania as the next-most-likely places for a splitter bill.
Hang on. No, it doesn't.
The state House may be considering a new and controversial plan on how Michigan's Electoral College votes are distributed, but the state Senate isn't interested, said Senate...
David Weigel | Salon.com 31 Jan 2013 Hits:574 Virginia
A coalition of progressive groups spearheaded by Virginia New Majority delivered more than 18,000 petitions to Gov. Bob McDonnell today, asking him to veto a surprise redistricting change if it reaches his desk.
Noah Feldman of Virginia New Majority called the change engineered by Senate Republicans “a massive power grab by the conservative state legislature that is going to attempt to steal the integrity of the people’s vote here in the commonwealth.”
A majority of Virginians re-elected President Barack Obama last year and even...
Markus Schmidt | Richmond Times Dispatch 30 Jan 2013 Hits:451 Virginia
Each day women across this country continue to battle issues of inequality. The sad fact is that women still make seventy-four cents on the dollar in comparison to us men. By remaining stagnant on this issue, by simply brushing it aside, keeping it in the back of our minds, we remain committed to an all too familiar phrase, “separate, but equal.”
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), passed by Congress in 1972, would have become the 27th Amendment to the Constitution if three-fourths of the states had ratified it by June 30,...
Shaun Broy 30 Jan 2013 Hits:550 Virginia
Leaders of Virginia's Legislative Black Caucus rallied against a surprise redistricting change approved by Senate Republicans, accusing the GOP today of "plantation politics."
“These are trying times in Virginia. Last year, we were known as the epicenter for the war on women, now we are the epicenter for the war on Virginia voters,” Sen. A. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, said before a crowd of more than 150 at the annual rally hosted by the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus at the Bell Tower on Capitol Square...
Markus Schmidt | Richmond Times Dispatch 29 Jan 2013 Hits:574 Virginia
The secret plan began unfolding about two weeks ago. Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. went to Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling with a way to redraw Senate districts and make them more favorable to Republicans.
But Bolling rejected the idea, fearing that it would set a bad precedent, according to two people familiar with the meeting but not authorized to discuss it publicly. Bolling, who would be needed to break a tie vote in the evenly divided Senate, also thought the move would so inflame...
By Laura Vozzella and Errin Haines | Washington Post 25 Jan 2013 Hits:489 Virginia
Senate Republicans on Monday pushed through a surprise rewrite of the 2011 redistricting plan that erases a Democratic seat in western Virginia and creates a sixth majority black district that would be located between Petersburg and Danville.
Democrats were shocked by the move, vowing to oppose the new plan in court as an unconstitutional redo of Senate district boundaries.
Republicans passed the new map without support of the governor or the lieutenant governor.
The maneuver immediately poisoned the atmosphere at the 2013 General Assembly and threatened to...
Andrew Cain | Richmond Times Dispatch 22 Jan 2013 Hits:516 Virginia
The Virginia House of Delegates usually meets at noon, but Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, D-Henrico, turned it into High Noon today when he pulled out an AK-47 on the House floor to make a point for his gun control bill.
“What you are looking at is a 30-round magazine. Right now, you’re allowed to have 50, 75 or 100-round magazines. We hear a lot of people talk about assault rifles, but it’s very different when you see one,” Morrissey said, waving the gun.
“At many locations...
Markus S. Schmidt | Richmond Times Dispatch 17 Jan 2013 Hits:531 Virginia
Legislation backed by Gov. Bob McDonnell to automatically restore nonviolent felons' voting rights emerged from a Senate subcommittee without a recommendation today.
A motion to recommend the bill failed on a 3-3 vote, with all of the votes against the measure coming from McDonnell's fellow Republicans. The tie vote was enough to keep the measure alive for the full Privileges and Elections Committee.
The Senate action came a day after a GOP-dominated House of Delegates subcommittee killed that chamber's version of the legislation and less...
Associated Press | Richmond Times Dispatch 15 Jan 2013 Hits:457 Virginia
A House of Delegates subcommittee this morning effectively killed proposals to automatically restore the rights of nonviolent felons, something Gov. Bob McDonnell called for in his State of the Commonwealth address.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Kelly testified in favor of the constitutional amendment, though Cuccinelli made clear his support for restoring voting and other rights was specific to nonviolent felons.
'The governor and the secretary have done spectacular work in bringing standardization and a methodical and reliable approach...
Markus Schmidt & Olympia Meola | Richmond Times-Dispatch 15 Jan 2013 Hits:490 Virginia
In the heart of Richmond’s Southside, you’ll find a community saturated with Latino businesses.
It bustles with community businesses that fulfill the needs of a growing population.
“We are Dominican. We know how to work the hair. We know how to treat the people,” said Jose Almonte, co-owner of J&J beauty salon.
Some of the residents like, Jose Almonte, are living the American dream. Almonte is Dominican and the co-owner of J&J beauty salon.
Jose came to the U.S. in 1997. He and his wife, Judy, moved from the Bronx, New...
Sandra Jones | WTVR.com 11 Jan 2013 Hits:1090 Virginia
The Virginia State Board of Elections received dozens of complaints from voters across the Commonwealth about the November elections, suggesting widespread issues beyond just the long lines emblematic of 2012 swing states. Correspondence obtained by ThinkProgress under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act shows voter complaints alleged significant problems including understaffed polls and errors made by poll workers.
The dozens of complaints submitted mostly fell into a few areas:
Josh Israel | Think Progress - Justice 10 Jan 2013 Hits:1801 Virginia
Virginia New Majority has issued the following statement following the Democratic primary. “The selection of Ralph Northam for Lieutenant Governor and Mark Herring for Attorney General is certainly a welcome contrast to the Republican ticket....
By Anthony Advincula, Darrell Gooden wanted to vote in the historic 2008 election, but he couldn’t because he was released from prison the year before and needed to wait two years before applying to reinstate his voting rights, under Virginia...
In a major victory for voting rights, Virginia’s Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has announced he will automatically restore voting rights for people with nonviolent felony convictions. Read more here.
By Brentin Mock, Yesterday, a task force commissioned by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli found no legal basis for either the governor or the general assembly to automatically restore the voting rights of former convicted felons, but...
Governor Bob McDonnell announced Wednesday that he will create a process to automatically restore the rights of convicted felons. Read more here.
By Joe St. George, In a historic move Tuesday, Governor Bob McDonnell vowed to speed up the restoration of voting rights in Virginia by offering automatic restoration to non-violent felons. Read more here.
By Brentin Mock, In Virginia, where over 350,000 people can’t vote due to past felony convictions, legal experts have said for years that the governor could allow former incarcerated felons to vote again by issuing an executive order that...
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