State and National Government

WFIR/Evan Jones

It looks like supporters of extending passenger rail service from Ronaoke to the New River Valley must be willing to be patient. The state has money set aside for a study — but to this point, nothing more. The state’s latest six-year rail spending plan as drafted contains no additional money that would be needed to make extension of that service possible. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

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WFIR/Evan Jones

The latest proposed state transportation spending plan shows millions of dollars are allocated to prepare for additional passenger rail service connecting Lynchburg with the northeast corridor. But how soon that might come, and whether it will extend as far as Roanoke, are not yet determined. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

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Rep. Ben Cline

Congressman Ben Cline called upon his colleagues in Washington this week to support additional funding for Interstate 81. It comes as Cline has frequently said Congress must lower the national debt, but he says this is funding that should be a priority — and it can be done, he says, if Congress changes its spending habits and priorities. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he will no longer sign any legislation that imposes new mandatory minimum sentence requirements. Northam said in a news release Wednesday and in an opinion piece in the Washington Post that Virginia has “more than enough” mandatory minimum sentences in law already. He said judges need more discretion to decide punishments on a case-by-case basis. The Democratic governor said he adopted this new policy after talking to community leaders about how to make Virginia more equitable for communities of color. Northam almost resigned earlier this year over a blackface scandal. Northam also announced he was vetoing two recently passed pieces of legislation that imposed new mandatory minimums, including one related to repeat domestic abusers. Republican House Majority Leader called Northam’s veto of that bill “unconscionable.”

Rep. Denver Riggleman

Congressman Denver Riggleman says his colleagues are devoting far too little attention to a part of the Mueller Report dealing with Russian efforts to attack our on-line infrastructure — and to conduct web-based psychological operations on this country. This comes as Congress reconvenes this week for the first time since report’s release. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

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He also says the violence in his home town of Charlottesville two summers ago should not be used for political purposes today. Riggleman’s comments are part of a wide-ranging live conversation Monday on the Roanoke Valley’s Morning News. Here is the full conversation:

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Rep. Ben Cline

It’s back to business this week in Washington after members of Congress spent more than two weeks at home since the release of the Mueller report. Congressman Ben Cline sits on the House Judiciary Committee, which may play on highly visible role this week. It is scheduled to hear from and question Attorney General William Barr regarding the Mueller Report, but questions arose over the weekend whether that will actually happen. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:

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