In brief: Winter of our discontent, gerrymandering intact and more

Protesters at Mayor Mike Signer's "capital of the resistance" rally express displeasure with President Trump's executive orders.
Staff photo Protesters at Mayor Mike Signer’s “capital of the resistance” rally express displeasure with President Trump’s executive orders. Staff photo

Protests erupt

President Trump’s January 27 executive order banning refugees from seven Muslim countries caused chaos in airports and demonstrations all over the country. Hundreds packed The Haven January 28 for the first meeting of Indivisible Charlottesville, which is dedicated to opposing Trump’s agenda, and hundreds more demonstrated at UVA the next day. Mayor Mike Signer declared Charlottesville the “capital of the resistance” January 31.

Not everyone is upset with Trump

Will Tom Garrett’s support of Donald Trump help him in his 5th District race against Jane Dittmar?
Congressman Tom Garrett. File photo

New 5th District Congressman Tom Garrett praised the new prez’s flurry of executive orders, and called Signer’s response “reactionary fear mongering” on WINA January 31. Local gubernatorial candidate and Silverback Distillery owner Denver Riggleman says, as a former counter-terrorism intelligence officer, the 90-day vetting period isn’t a Muslim ban.

Kessler in court

The blogger who is collecting a petition to remove Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy from City Council was scheduled to be in Charlottesville General District Court January 31 facing an assault charge, as was James Justin Taylor, whom Jason Kessler says assaulted him. Kessler’s hearing was continued to March 3, according to court records. “You guys are all over this,” he said on the phone, likening his case to “red meat” for reporters.

Shot in the arm

UVA School of Medicine got a $25 million bump from the National Institutes of Health for biomedical research, bringing its 2016 federal funding to $126 million, according to a release.

Richmond rundown

The General Assembly is fast approaching crossover in this year’s session when each house exchanges bills it’s approved.

Gang of four kills redistricting reform Early January 30 in a House subcommittee, multiple bills to address gerrymandering all died at the hands of delegates Randy Minchew, Mark Cole, Tim Hugo and Jackson Miller.

Getty ImagesBusted for pot, lose your license A bill to nix the automatic six-month driver’s license suspension on marijuana convictions—unless you’re a juvenile—passed a House of Delegates committee January 27.

More medicinal pot Virginia has had medical marijuana on the books for decades, but no one has ever actually been able to get a prescription for it until last year’s legislature opened up THC-A oil for intractable epilepsy. The Senate okayed January 26 the addition of cancer, HIV, MS and other diseases as eligible for the non-high-producing oil.

Butts out A bill that says cigarette and cigar butts are indeed litter advanced in the General Assembly with bipartisan support.

Tim Kaine's official U.S. Senate photoTim Kaine scenario A Republican bill in the House removed the governor’s ability to fill temporarily a U.S. Senate seat until the next election, and instead allows the governor to call a special election—but doesn’t specify a time frame. Odds of Terry McAuliffe signing this into law: zilch.

Religious freedom The bill that allows churches to discriminate against LGBTs passed a House committee again, as it did last year. Odds of McAuliffe signing: zip.

Out with the old and in with the new?

In December, C-VILLE reported on a $4 million Cessna Citation Bravo (i.e. jet) owned by UVA since 2004. This came after a rumor that Thomas Jefferson’s university had purchased a new aircraft, which UVA denied.

The new model is a 2015 Cessna Citation, according to the FAA website. Wikipedia Commons user Markus Eigenheer

But perhaps we were on the right track, amid claims from UVA that there was no new aircraft in the picture. The Federal Aviation Administration’s website documents that tail number N560VA was reserved by the University of Virginia Foundation on December 30—just two days after our report was published. And on January 24, the foundation requested a new number for a 2015 Cessna Citation 560XL.

And what’s this? The university’s original Cessna, marked with tail number N800VA, is listed on Aircraft Shopper Online, a real-time aircraft market, for $1,095,000.

UVA has declined to comment.

Quote of the week

“Our refugee vetting system is the most sophisticated in the world. It is not insecure, it is not unsafe.”—Former U.S. State Department official Robert Kubinec at Sunday’s UVA rally and march, according to the Daily Progress.

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