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2015-4-27

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KAINE STATEMENT ON CONFIRMATION OF LORETTA LYNCH AS ATTORNEY GENERAL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States:

"In confirming Loretta Lynch as our next Attorney General, the Senate has chosen a distinguished legal mind and experienced public servant to lead the Department of Justice. Throughout her career, Lynch has developed a reputation for her integrity and trusted leadership, which will serve the nation well as she addresses recent tensions between law enforcement and communities across the country. While it is unacceptable that is has taken the Senate 166 days to act on such a well-qualified and highly-regarded nominee, I am proud that we have finally confirmed Loretta Lynch, and I am confident that she will work hard to ensure justice for all Americans.”

On March 12, Kaine spoke on the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to swiftly confirm Lynch as Attorney General.

Watchdog Group Blasts Assembly’s ‘Murky Practices’

By Michael Melkonian, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Transparency Virginia, a nonprofit, nonpartisan legislative watchdog group, released a report Tuesday highlighting “murky practices” and “disturbing” findings from the 2015 General Assembly session with regard to unrecorded votes and short notices for committee meetings.

The principal author of the report, Megan Rhyne of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, said the system is devised for insiders and “the short sessions and the rapid-fire scheduling of committee meetings undermine participation by and accountability to the citizens of Virginia.”

Transparency Virginia formed in December to study legislative practices in three areas: advanced notice of committee meetings, consideration of bills and recorded votes on bills.

In the House of Delegates, Transparency Virginia’s report revealed that 76 percent of almost 825 bills that died in a committee died without a recorded vote or without any vote at all. In the House’s Rules Committee, 95 percent of bills died this way.

Ironically, that was the committee that could recommend changing the chamber’s procedures.

No legislators were identified or chastised in the report, and political parties weren’t accused of wrongdoing. Transparency Virginia said this was because all legislators should be held accountable for the practices.

Republicans have a majority in both the House and Senate. Consequently, one party controls who will chair committee and subcommittees.

The House Rules Committee, for example, is chaired by House Speaker Bill Howell, a Republican from Fredericksburg. The Rules Committee has three subcommittees: Joint Rules, Standards of Conduct and Studies. The subcommittees are chaired by Republicans Howell, Del. Barry Knight of Virginia Beach and Del. Bobby Orrock of Thornburg.

Sixty of the 63 bills killed in the Rules Committee and its subcommittees died without recorded votes or any vote at all.

The report is mostly anecdotal, with bullet points for the most dubious practices. Rhyne wondered what it must be like for citizens to try to participate in their government when even professionals like herself and her colleagues are confused by the procedural jargon.

“When engaged observers are physically present in the committee room and yet still cannot completely pick out which members of a 22-person committee shouted out aye or nay, imagine a citizen’s confusion back home when the disposition of a bill is listed online only as ‘subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote,’” Rhyne said.

Michael Jackson, president of Richmond First Club, said that the system works – but only for those on the inside.

“It works if you’re a legislator – maximum flexibility and minimum accountability. It works if you own a business – access and influence,” Jackson said.

But it doesn’t work for citizens because of a lack of predictability and consistency, Jackson said. Meetings can be called on a whim, or docket changes can be made without notice to the general public.

Though some committee rooms are equipped with electronic voting boards, they are often unused. Transparency Virginia brainstormed solutions to its complaints, including digital video streams for committees and subcommittees – something other state legislatures have introduced. House and Senate floor sessions already can be viewed online.

Jackson said Transparency Virginia is “simply holding up a mirror to the General Assembly legislators and asking them, ‘Is this the form of democracy that the Virginia citizens elected you to uphold?’”

Anne Sterling, president of the League of Women Voters in Virginia, chaired Transparency Virginia. She said the group’s mission is to open a dialogue.

“This is just the first volley. Now we are waiting for a response from citizens, from the press and from legislators,” Sterling said.

70 Youth Pre-registered for Football & Cheer Camp

Southampton County, VA. The 6th Free Cover 3 Youth Football & Cheer Camp will be April 25 from 9 am – 3 pm. The camp will be held at Southampton High School, 23350 Southampton Parkway, Courtland, VA.  The football & cheer camp is open to the first 200 participants, ages 6-14. Currently, 70 children have pre-registered for the camp.

Sponsored by the NFL Foundation, the camp is open to the public and directed by Southampton County native, Founder and Retired NFL Defensive Lineman, Greg Scott and his staff of League Representatives and coaches. In addition, members of the Hampton University Football and Cheer teams will be in attendance to lead portions of the camp.

Hampton University Coach Gary Lowery, who is serving his first year as assistant coach to the Pirates in the defensive lineman position, will be coaching at the camp. Within this position Coach Lowery is also responsible for day-to-day operations and recruiting.  Coach Lowery has not only played the sport of football, he has coached at both the high school and college level prior to gaining his position with the Hampton University Pirates.  

The participating football team members include:  Ronnie Screen, Junior Offensive Lineman; TJ Mixson, Junior Wide Receiver; Rashawn Proctor, Junior Wide Receiver; Ray Riddick, Junior Wide Receiver; Charles Owens, Senior Defensive Tackle; Miles Grooms, Senior Defensive End; Joshua Thorton, Junior Linebacker; David Watford, Graduate student Quarterback; Ibn Wallace, Freshman Defensive Back; Christopher Dukes, Senior Running Back; Donovan Johnson, Sophomore Offensive Lineman; and Eric Carter, Freshman Running Back will be assisting with the football participants.

Cheer participants will be coached by Cover 3 Youth Cheer coaches and Hampton University’s own Malani Mitchell, Hampton University Athletics Personnel.  Malani’s passion and love for the sport of Cheer dates back to her middle school days. She has led several of her teams to championships as a member of the cheering squad from 2005 through 2013. Malani served as the captain of her cheering squads in both her junior and senior year of high school. In addition to her cheering experience, Malani has a wealth of coaching experience to share. She has held several summer coaching positions dating back to 2008. Currently, Malani is working towards becoming a certified Coach in the State of Virginia.

Football and cheer drills and games will be non-contact and no tackling will be permitted. The camp will feature drills, fundamentals, motivational tools, inspirational messages, flag football competitions and games, free lunch and t-shirt for all participants. To register for the free camp, visit http://www.cover3foundation.org/cover-3-football---cheer-camp-registrati....

League registration is open now for board members, assistant coaches and volunteers for the 2015 Youth Football & Cheer League season. Registration to participate in the League will be every Monday through Wednesday from 3 pm – 5 pm at the Cover 3 Foundation, 125 S. College Drive, Franklin, VA. Registration will also be held on April 25 at the 6th Free Cover 3 Football & Cheer Camp. On May 9, registration will be held at the Courtland Community Center, 25499 Florence St, Courtland, from 9 am – 12 noon. On May 23, registration will be held in Holland at the City of Suffolk’s Holland Park, 6720 Ruritan Blvd, Suffolk from 9 am – 12 noon. On June 6, registration will be held at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, Grays Shop Rd, Newsoms from 9 am – 12 noon. There will also be a Saturday registration on June 20 at the Foundation headquarters from 9 am – 12 noon. Registration deadline for all coaches is June 1 and for players is June 30.

The teams for the 2015 season are as follows: Courtland Tide (Coach Dwayne Joyner), Holland Razorbacks (Coach Marcus Evans), Riverdale Chiefs (Coach Ray Tucker), Meherrin Pirates (Coach C.C. Cooper), Sussex Green Machine (Coach Jason Flowers). For the 2015 season, all children are allowed to play for the group of their choice without a release from their prior team. For questions concerning registration, please contact 757-562-2252. The Franklin Mustangs, Boykins Bulldogs and Windsor Knights are not participating in C3YFCL for the 2015 season. Players and cheerleaders from the Mustangs, Bulldogs and Knights are welcome to try out for any of C3YFCL 2015 teams.      

The Cover 3 Youth Football & Cheer League is accepting sponsorship and donations for the 2015 season. If you are interested in sponsoring the program or making a donation towards a local team, please visit www.cover3foundation.org for more information. Sponsorship packages are available by emailing a request to info@cover3foundation.org.

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