AP

Gov. McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe has added his signature to legislation to repeal the state’s $64 annual fee on hybrid vehicles.   McAuliffe signed the legislation Wednesday during a one-hour appearance on WTOP radio in Washington. He said the repeal is effective July 1 and will affect the 75,000 hybrid vehicles in Virginia.  The tax was part of a massive transportation funding bill passed last year. It was originally set at $100 but reduced to $64 by then-Gov. Bob McDonnell.   Critics said the tax on hybrids unfairly punished drivers who are trying to use less fuel.   In signing the repeal legislation, McAuliffe called it the “right thing to do.”  Much of McAuliffe’s WTOP interview was devoted to the Democrat’s efforts to convince Republican House lawmakers to accept billions in federal Medicaid funds.

State-News

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Chamber of Commerce is renewing its push for expanded Medicaid eligibility in the Old Dominion, saying it would be good for the state’s economy. The group presented at a Capitol news conference Monday what it said was the “business case” for increasing the number of low-income Virginia residents who qualify for publicly financed health insurance.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Critics say a new Virginia policy on transgender high school athletes is too restrictive because it applies only to students who have undergone formal sex-reassignment surgery. The Virginia High School League announced Wednesday it would allow transgender student-athletes to compete on teams opposite of their birth gender, provided their sex-reassignment surgery has minimized “gender-related advantages in sports competition.”

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Bob-McDonnellRICHMOND, Va. (AP)  Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says evidence turned over by prosecutors in his public corruption case is incomprehensible.   In court papers filed Wednesday, defense lawyers say the government has produced a mountain of computerized documents “in a chaotic format riddled with errors.” They say it’s the digital equivalent of dumping 5 million loose-leaf documents on the floor.   The lawyers are asking a federal judge to order prosecutors to immediately fix the problem. The government has not yet responded to the motion.   McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting more than $165,000 in loans and gifts from the former CEO of a dietary supplements maker in exchange for helping promote his company’s products. They have pleaded not guilty. A trial is set for late July.

General-Assembly

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ House Republican leaders are planning a full floor vote on a Senate plan to accept federal Medicaid funds to provide health insurance to low-income residents who are currently without coverage. The vote is set for Thursday. The House is likely to reject the Senate’s plan.

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ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ Roanoke City Council has approved changes to an agreement that will allow Carilion Clinic to convert a former grocery store to a neuroscience and orthopedic outpatient clinic. The agreement between the city and the property’s current owner, Valley Bank, required the building’s occupant to be a retailer. Council members voted Tuesday to change the agreement.

Carilion said Wednesday that it plans to buy the property from Valley Bank for $7 million. The Roanoke-based health care system will spend an additional $9 million to renovate the building. The project is expected to be completed in 18 months.

The building formerly housed a Ukrop’s grocery store. The store closed in 2009 and Valley Bank later bought the property at a foreclosure auction.

Gov. McDonnellRICHMOND, Va. (AP)  Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he will file a motion to dismiss the 14-count indictment against him by March 25.   That’s the deadline for such motions set Tuesday by the judge in the public corruption case against McDonnell and his wife Maureen. U.S. District Judge James Spencer scheduled a hearing on motions for May 19.
McDonnell’s lawyers disclosed plans to file the dismissal motion in court papers seeking a March 18 hearing on their requests for prompt access to certain evidence in the case.   The McDonnells are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in loans and gifts from the former CEO of a dietary supplements maker in exchange for helping promote his company’s products. They have pleaded not guilty, and a jury trial is set for late July.