The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette and The Mt. Vernon Voice in the week of June 24, 2014.
A State Budget, A Federal Grand Jury, and Court ChallengesThe last two weeks in Richmond have been unusually busy.First, ethics are back at the forefront. in the wake of the resignation of State Senator Phil Puckett and change in control of the State Senate, the new state budget was written under one-party control. A $1.6 billion shortfall due to lagging income tax collections forced cuts which I detailed two weeks ago: K-12, higher education, affordable housing, healthcare, and funding for continued planning for improvements on U.S. 1 was removed from the budget.Last week, press reports suggest a Federal grand jury was summoned to investigate the resignation of Senator Puckett and allegations that a judgeship for this thirty-three year-old daughter and a six-figure job at the Virginia Tobacco Commission were offered in exchange for his resignation. The lack of any state investigation spotlights the weakness of the ethics reforms we just passed.