Bills seek to make newspaper notices from governments optional

Two members of the Virginia General Assembly have introduced bills that would change the mandate that official government notices be advertised in local newspapers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

The measures have the backing of the Virginia Municipal League, but have drawn opposition from statewide press and open government groups. Supporters say the legislation will save money and allow localities to tailor their official communication strategy to the community.

 

Read More: Bills seek to make newspaper notices from governments optional - The Daily Progress

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Delegate Dickie Bell Appointed to Committee on General Laws

Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell (R-Staunton) announced today that he has been appointed by Speaker Bill Howell to the Committee on General Laws.

 

Read More: Delegate Dickie Bell Appointed to Committee on General Laws - Augusta Free Press

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Bell Seeks Transparency in Eminent Domain

If Dominion gets the permit needed to build a $5 billion natural gas pipeline, Virginia citizens should have access to the information the company gathers when it takes private land through forced sales, a local lawmaker said.

Del. Richard P. "Dickie" Bell, R-Staunton, has a bill before the General Assembly that would make utilities that can use eminent domain subject to the state's public information laws under the Freedom of Information Act.

Read More: Bell Seeks Transparency in Eminent Domain - The News Leader

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Pipeline, education dominate town hall meeting

WEYERS CAVE-Local delegates from the Virginia General Assembly took some time on Wednesday evening to listen to the people they represent. Delegates Dickie Bell, Ben Cline and Steve Landes held a town hall meeting at Blue Ridge Community College, the last of three they’ve done this month in the 25th House District.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

“It’s great to hear the views of those we represent,” said Cline, who represents Rockbridge, Bath and parts of Amherst and Augusta counties, as well as the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista. He explained the vastly different views he often hears from the different jurisdictions within his district and the benefit of listening to all the voices.

Read More: Pipeline, education dominate town hall meeting-The News Virginian

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Please take my 2015 Legislative Survey!

The 2015 General Assembly is just around the corner!  I need to hear from you, so that I know how I can best represent you in Richmond.  The following are important public policy issues which may be considered by the General Assembly during the 2015 Legislative Session.  Your opinion is very important to me, so please take a few moments to let me know where you stand on these issues.

Feel free to share this survey with your friends and family who live in the 20th District!

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Proposal would drop newspaper notice mandate

How do you find out when your city or county government will hold a public hearing about building a new school or about a monster development planned for down the street?

Augusta County leaders think technology has come far enough that local governments shouldn’t have to bear the expense of big, wordy newspaper ads.

They’ll have backers in the coming session of the General Assembly who have sponsored bills that propose to do away with the public notice mandate or at least diversify the options.

 

Read More: Proposal Would Drop Newspaper Notice Mandate - The News Leader

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Bell: Students Need to Be Tested On Civics

One state legislator from the region referred Wednesday to the image of “low information voters” who come to polls with the shallowest grasp of the issues they’re expected to help their governments decide.

Del. Richard P. “Dickie” Bell believes Virginia schools can address what he considers to be a trend of growing citizen ignorance with a new requirement for high school graduation.

Read More - Bell: Students Need to Be Tested on Civics - The News Leader

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Civics Exam Proposed for Virginia High Schoolers

RICHMOND — Virginia would require high school juniors to pass the same civics exam required of hopeful U.S. citizens, if a lawmaker can find support for a bill he has filed for the 2015 General Assembly session.

Del. Richard P. “Dickie” Bell, R-Staunton, wants to amend the state code to make a passing score on the test be a requirement for graduation.

Read More: Civics Exam Proposed for Virginia High Schoolers - The News Virginian

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Recent State Revenue News is Good, But Legislators Cautious

While this past week offered optimism on recent Virginia revenue collections, area state legislators are guarded about what the news means for state funding for Virginia local governments and schools.

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This week will offer the legislators a chance to further dig into the upcoming budget. The Senate Finance Committee will come to Staunton on Thursday for a two-day retreat, while the House Appropriations and Finance committees will meet early in the week in Abingdon.

Read More: Recent State Revenue News is Good, But Legislators Cautious - The News Virginian

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SOL Committee Member Offers Update on Work

Can Virginia’s nearly two-decade old Standards of Learning education accountability system be changed?

A 32-member committee of educators and Virginia legislators have been at work since the summer looking at potential changes to the SOLs. Already, the committee has made 12 recommendations to the Virginia General Assembly, SOL Innovation Committee member Karen Thomsen told a group in Augusta County Tuesday night.

 

Read More: SOL Committee Member Offers Update on Work - The News Virginian

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