Burke Politics

Burke Politics

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At the Crossroads

Lawmakers to slash the state budget and consider criminal-justice reforms.

The threadbare Franklin and Armfield office on Duke Street stands at the crossroads between racial injustice and economic crisis. It’s a ramshackle building now, but it was once the headquarters for the largest domestic slave trading firm in the United States, present at the creation of the systemic racism that plagues Virginia cops and courts. It’s also the city’s latest acquisition, and the state budget was to include $2.5 million to help transform it into the Freedom House Museum. But then the pandemic hit, and the governor hit the pause button on that line item as well as all the other spending priorities of the new Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

School Board Votes to Change the Lee High School Name

The Fairfax County School Board has voted to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School, and will gather community input prior to voting on the new name on July 23.

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‘We Can’t Wait Until 2021’ in Fairfax County

Calls for police reform intensify in the days since Fairfax County officer charged with assault for tasing man in Gum Springs.

The institution of policing dates back to the institution of slavery. “It has to be acknowledged as such. What happened 400 years ago is actually manifesting itself in practice today,” said Fairfax County Chief Equity Officer Karla Bruce.

Fairfax County Supervisors Approve Budget Plan, Fairfax RISE

Highlights of May 12 Board of Supervisors meeting.

Some of the first words Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay Fairfax County Board of Supervisors said at the May 12 Board of Supervisors meeting were for county families; in particular, those who lost loved ones or had family members hospitalized with the coronavirus. "If we could keep them and their entire families in our thoughts and prayers," McKay said. "As a reminder, our County flag continues to fly at half-staff, throughout the County at our facilities, in honor of the residents who sadly died as a result of COVID-19 and in recognition of our many essential workers who are responding to the pandemic," he said.

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NoVA Legislators Lasso Outdoor Tethering Law

New tethering restrictions go into effect July 1.

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Loan Sharks in the Water

Lawmakers crack down on predatory lending, although reform won’t happen for eight months.

The LoanMax on Mount Vernon Avenue in Arlandria is open for business during the pandemic, and colorful signs in the windows announce in English and Spanish that the car-title lender remains open during a stay-at-home order — offering loans at 200 percent annual interest during a time when unemployment claims in Alexandria are skyrocketing. Those kinds of interest rates will be illegal under the Fairness in Lending Act, which Gov. Ralph Northam signed last week after lawmakers signed off on some last-minute changes. But the ban on such high-interest lending won’t take effect until New Years Day 2021, which means high-interest lenders have eight months to engage in an unprecedented lending spree during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

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Coalition to Fairfax County: Reduce Number of Inmates

County responds to NOVA Equity Agenda Coalition initiative.

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Virginia House Passes Bike, Pedestrian and Driver Bills Aimed at Safety

New Assembly makeup allows for more safety legislation.

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Generational Divide

Senior conservative Democratic senators from Fairfax undermine labor agenda.

When Democrats won both chambers of the General Assembly in November, hopes were high that the new majorities in the House and Senate would move forward with a progressive agenda that had been rejected when Republicans were in power. Labor groups were particularly excited about the prospect of passing a $15 minimum wage, collective bargaining for public employees and a requirement that all employers offer five paid sick days. But the General Assembly session ended this week without fully accomplishing these goals.

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“Invest in Fairfax,” Says Grassroots Coalition

Reaction to County Executive’s FY21 Advertised Budget

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Virginia Lawmakers Reflect on Historic General Assembly Session

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Biden Wins Virginia

Virginia Presidential Primary 2020 Results

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House Versus Senate

Conservative upper chamber undermines progressive House of Delegates.

Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly like to see themselves as adversaries. The real enemy, they like to say, is down the hall.

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Mapmaking Politics

Legislative Black Caucus leads effort to undermine redistricting amendment.

Virginia has a horrible history with racial gerrymandering. It started with the ratification of the Constitution, an effort led by Virginians who wanted to count slaves as three-fifths of a person so representation in the south wouldn’t suffer because so many of its inhabitants were non-voting enslaved people. It continued all the way to 2011, when the Republican leaders engaged in a scheme of packing black voters into House districts to dilute their influence elsewhere, a plan the United States Supreme Court later determined was unconstitutional. Now members of the Legislative Black Caucus are worried a proposed amendment might enshrine racial gerrymandering into the Virginia Constitution.

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