Transparency News 11/13/19



November 13, 2019


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state & local news stories


"Those who addressed the Board approached the floor and were given three minutes each to speak to the Board and the audience. The Board did not respond to any comments made during the session."

The Hanover County School Board wants a raise. The board on Tuesday voted 6-1 to approve a resolution calling for legislation this General Assembly session that could increase its members’ pay by as much as 50%. Board members currently make $8,000; the last raise was in 2006. The resolution calls for School Board members, who are appointed by the county’s Board of Supervisors, to make $12,000 per year, effective Jan. 1, 2021. The county’s board is currently the highest-paid of 17 appointed boards in Virginia.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

An invasion of privacy lawsuit against Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond, will move fully toward a trial after a federal district judge on Tuesday denied a request by the lawmaker to toss out most of the claims against her. A former legislative aide sued Adams in July, accusing her of hacking into her email and social media accounts. The aide, Maureen Hains, claims Adams deleted files related to unpaid work she performed for Adams’ private business. In a ruling issued Tuesday morning, U.S. District Judge David J. Novak said all of Hains’ claims are at least “plausible” — enough to merit a full examination and trial. Adams’ legal team had sought to do away with many of the claims, arguing in court filings that they did not meet legal standards or were not specific enough.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

For most of the past eight months, former Norfolk Treasurer Anthony Burfoot has been in a minimum-security federal prison camp in rural Pennsylvania. He did not seek re-election last month and – as a convicted felon – could not have won it if he had tried. But Burfoot is still fighting the court orders that suspended him from office in February and removed him for good in April.
The Virginian-Pilot

A security weakness in Staunton's tax website allows confidential data to be seen // Personal property tax bills were accessible using bill numbers that could be guessed.
News Leader

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors held a workshop and public comment session Friday regarding proposed tuition increases for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Board’s current proposal includes a tuition increase between three and four percent for both in-state and out-of-state students. Following the information session, the Board heard comments from members of the University community and the general public. Those who addressed the Board approached the floor and were given three minutes each to speak to the Board and the audience. The Board did not respond to any comments made during the session. Some in attendance questioned whether the Board would make any significant changes as a result of the comments. “We are listening,” said James B. Murray, rector of the Board of Visitors. “We have a lot of constituencies — balancing the public interest across all these constituencies is our job.”
The Cavalier Daily

In a last-ditch effort to save the county’s only newspaper, the owners of The Fauquier Times essentially have agreed to give the weekly to a journalism foundation based in The Plains. Founded last year, the Piedmont Journalism Foundation will pay Piedmont Media LLC $1,000 for The Fauquier Times, The Prince William Times, a group of specialty magazines and the company’s websites, according two sources. Over just more than three years, investors put approximately $2 million into the newspaper company, according to sources. Landon Butler, who helped manage Piedmont Media and headed its board, declined to discuss the details of the deal or the company’s financials.


stories of national interest

A federal judge in Washington State on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from allowing blueprints for making plastic guns on 3-D printers to be posted on the internet, ruling that the move violated federal procedures. The judge, Robert S. Lasnik of United States District Court in Seattle, said that the government violated federal law in July 2018, when the State Department said the blueprints could be posted online. The department previously held that export laws banning the foreign distribution of firearms prevented the publication of the blueprints. Among the procedural steps the State Department should have followed was a requirement to give Congress advance notice of such an action, Judge Lasnik said. He said that the federal government did not offer a “reasoned explanation” for its reversal.
The New York Times

San Francisco police Sgt. John Haggett is one of more than 1,000 California law enforcement agency workers in the last decade who have been found to have misused the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System or other sensitive databases that are supposed to be accessed only for legitimate investigative purposes. The allegations against officers around the state run the gamut, according to an investigation from a coalition of news organizations, including McClatchy, and coordinated by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley. The data is collected by Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office, and figures provided to The Sacramento Bee show that over the last 10 years 1,002 cases of computer database misuse have been confirmed.


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