State and National Government

Rep. Morgan Griffith

A bill that would allow terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs is now half-way through Congress, and one of its orignal co-sponsors is Congressman Morgan Griffith. It’s called “Right to Try” legislation, the idea being that people already facing terminal illness should have the option of trying medications not yet fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The bill passed the House last week and now heads for the Senate. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:


Two area Congressmen voted against the omnibus budget bill that President Trump signed this afternoon — both saying they were not about to vote for a bill they hadn’t had time to read. 9th District Congressman Morgan Griffith says no one can digest more than 2,200 pages in the 18 hours they had to look it over before voting:

His 5th District colleague, Tom Garrett, says he voted no for the same reason. And Garrett is proposing a change to House rules requiring a minimum period time to read any bill after it is introduced. 6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte voted for the budget bill.

Photo: Matt Waters Facebook

There will be at least three names on the ballot this fall for U.S. Senate. The Libertarian Party has nominated Matt Waters as its candidate, and Waters promises a well-organized, well-funded campaign to better compete with the major parties. One key campaign point: he wants to eliminate the federal income tax as a key way to reduce the size and role of government. He spoke with WFIR’s Evan Jones:

Click here for the Waters for Senate website.


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Ralph Northam is renewing his call for the General Assembly to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income Virginians. During a press conference Wednesday, Northam unveiled the budget he will propose to lawmakers when they return for a special session in April. It includes language that would expand Medicaid. Lawmakers adjourned the regular session earlier this month without passing a budget due to an impasse between the House and Senate over Medicaid expansion. The House supported it while the Senate did not. Both chambers are controlled by Republicans. Northam, a Democrat, says his proposal will “guide the discussion,” but he’s open to working with both chambers. The state government will shut down on July 1 if no budget is passed.

It didn’t receive a lot of attention at the time, but a proposal that would create an additional gas tax for areas along Interstate 81 made it half-way through the General Assembly this year. It would create an additional two-point-one per cent gas tax for cities and counties along the interstate corridor. It passed the Senate, but the House continued any consideration until next year. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:


Photo: Va Senate

State Senator Dave Suetterlein joined WFIR for a wide-ranging live conversation this morning on subjects that varied from the current state budget impasse to a proposal calling for creation of a regional gas tax devoted specifically to I-81 improvements. Here is the conversation:

(Note: one brief portion was deleted over bad audio quality.)