In brief: Scary legislation, same-sex education and more

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Sheriff ponies up

Chip Harding
Albemarle Sheriff Chip Harding. File photo

Albemarle’s Chip Harding says he’ll write a check for $5,000 and has raised another $28K to donate to the Virginia Crime Commission, chaired by Delegate Rob Bell, to help study the effects of collecting DNA for misdemeanor convictions. Harding and Hannah Graham’s parents say it would have saved her life if Jesse Matthew’s DNA had been collected following a trespassing conviction.

Revenue sharing stays

Delegate Steve Landes withdrew a budget amendment that would have axed the agreement in which Albemarle pays Charlottesville for not annexing. Virginia outlawed annexation in 1987, and the county has paid the city more than $280 million since the deal went into effect in 1982.

Meredith Woo. Photo Cade Martin

Woo goes to Sweet Briar

UVA’s former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Meredith Woo, has taken a job as president of Sweet Briar, the Amherst women’s college that was saved from closure by its alumnae in 2015.

Baldwin beef

The historic women’s college in Staunton (that just started accepting applications from men for its residential programs) isn’t too happy about alumnae group Boldly Baldwin, which “publicly professes the desire to divert fundraising away from Mary Baldwin University,” for admitting men and carries a name already used—and trademarked—by the school. The alums are now calling themselves Boldly Lead.

First lady of Charlottesville

Mayor Mike Signer’s wife, Emily Blout, declares herself FLOC on Twitter.

Bigger tax bill

Every year the city and county dispatch appraisers to determine fair market value for every taxable parcel, and the results are in. Both Charlottesville and Albemarle reassessments went out February 1, and property owners saw increases all around, most astoundingly a whopping 29 percent for commercial property in the city. In the county, Scottsville had the biggest bump in assessments. No word yet whether Albemarle will up its 83.9 cents per $100 of value tax rate or the city its 95 cents per $100, but, in any case, your tax bill most likely is going up.


Albemarle increases

Scottsville:  3.65%

Samuel Miller:  3.20%

Rio:  2.96%

Jack Jouett:  2.93%

White Hall:  2.88%

Rivanna:  1.86%

Richmond rundown

Give ICE your immigrants A bill that would require public institutions of higher ed to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement died in subcommittee January 31.

Can’t afford birth control? Too bad Amherst Delegate Ben Cline’s bill to defund Planned Parenthood passed subcommittee February 1. Last year the House was one vote short of overturning Governor Terry McAuliffe’s veto.

Police shooting gag order A bill that makes it illegal for public officials to reveal the identity of an officer involved in a shooting until an investigation is complete advanced to the House of Delegates floor.

Annoying drivers The House passed with bipartisan support February 2 a $250 mandatory fine for driving too slowly in the left lane on highways.

Quote of the week

“Do the right thing!”—Onlookers shouted February 3 after the General Assembly’s House Privileges and Elections Committee adjourned without taking up redistricting reform bills.

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