Transparency News, 1/4/21


 January 4, 2021
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state & local news stories

Want to track legislation in the 2021 General Assembly session but don't know where or what to look for? Check our our 8-minute (low-budget!) video on navigating the Legislative Information Systemand tracking legislation you're interested in.

The 2021 "Redbook," a picture directory of the members of the Virginia House and Senate, plus the governor and the cabinet, published by David Bailey Associates, is online. It's got birthdays, seniority, districts, names of legislative aides and significant others. It is THE go-to resource.
David Bailey Associates

Over the holiday weekend, Virginia legislative leaders narrowed the 1,200-plus applicant pool to 62 nominees for the state's new Redistricting Commission. This visual shows how the finalists and applicant pool compare in terms of geography, age, gender, race and income. There's also a filter for those nominated by Republican and Democratic leaders.
Virginia Public Access Project

Earlier in December, Virginia Sen. Bill DeSteph filed a court petition for an injunction to have the Pocahontas building — where the legislators’ offices are — open to constituents. The petition was filed against Senate Rules Chair Sen. Mamie Locke, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, among others because currently, the building is only open for legislators and credentialed employees. According to a statement released by DeSteph’s office Friday, the public will now have access to lawmakers in Richmond during the upcoming regular session.

A Northern Virginia engineering firm is suing the owner of the former Landmark Hotel on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall for trademark infringement and breaching a confidential settlement agreement. The filing came after The Progress published an article on Jan. 13, 2020, about a new name for the building, which is now planned as apartments rather than a hotel. On Dec. 15, the city provided an attorney for the Fairfax-based engineering firm with a trove of information on the development dating back to 2013. The Daily Progress obtained those records under a request through the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
The Daily Progress
stories from around the country
For the second time in two days, the Nevada Supreme Court on Wednesday denied Clark County’s attempts to withhold unredacted child autopsies, requiring that the records be released to the Review-Journal. The county had filed an emergency request late Tuesday, asking that the state high court revisit its initial ruling, which ordered that the records be released by District Judge Jim Crockett’s Wednesday deadline. But on late Wednesday, the majority of a three-justice panel upheld the deadline, again ruling against the county.
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Vermont legislators will gather Wednesday in Montpelier for the opening of the 2021 legislative session. They should be heading home by Wednesday afternoon. They’re meeting only to swear in new members, elect officers and then vote to allow further meetings to be held remotely, at least through the end of the month. Vermont isn’t the only legislature that will remain virtual this year. Around the country, at least a half-dozen legislators have died from COVID-19. Outbreaks among lawmakers and staff have been common in states that have held in-person sessions in recent months. “In 2020, we saw states look at their constitutions and the question of where the legislature has to take place, does it have to be at the seat of government,” says Natalie Wood, of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “In over half the states, one chamber or both adopted rules to allow remote participation on the floor.”