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Technomics, Inc. invests $1.7 million to increase capacity in Arlington County, creating 150 new jobs

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Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that Technomics, Inc., an employee-owned decision analysis company specializing in cost analysis, data management, and data analytics, has invested $1.7 million to expand in Arlington County. The company is leasing an additional 10,000 square feet of space at 1225 South Clark Street to increase capacity. Virginia successfully competed with Maryland, DC, and California for the project, which will create 150 new jobs.

“Virginia boasts the largest concentration of tech talent in the U.S., and Technomics is a prime example of how an educated and skilled workforce pipeline can contribute to the success of a business,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “In addition to talent, Arlington County provides strategic proximity to the company’s primary customers. We congratulate Technomics on this expansion and look forward to its continued growth trajectory in the Commonwealth.”

“We are pleased to support the growth of Technomics in Arlington County,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “Northern Virginia’s world-class talent, data infrastructure, and access have provided an ideal location for the company to thrive for more than 20 years, and we are committed to our continued partnership.”

“In these financially challenging times, our federal clients need greater support to help them better manage their scarce resources. Because of its vicinity to many of our clients and employee-owners, Arlington County is the perfect location for our expansion,” said Al Leung, President & CEO of Technomics. “In fact, the need is so high that just as our expansion came to a close, we began to actively pursue an additional 10,000 square feet of space—also in Arlington County—to be dedicated to clients requiring compliance with highly specialized technical requirements.”


“We welcome Technomics’ decision to expand its footprint in Arlington and its ongoing contributions to our community’s economy,” said Katie Cristol, Chair of the Arlington County Board. “We believe Arlington’s proximity to the nation’s capital and federal client base, as well as our talented tech workforce and business resources, will be an asset as Technomics continues its success.”

“I’m happy to welcome Technomics, Inc.’s expansion and the addition of new, good-paying jobs to Arlington and to see Northern Virginia’s continued growth as a tech hub and national leader in innovation,” said Congressman Don Beyer.

“Technomics’ decision to expand its footprint in Arlington County is a testament to the skilled workforce and business infrastructure we’ve built in Northern Virginia,” said Senator Adam P. Ebbin. “The progressive business climate of Arlington County continues to attract top-level tech talent, including the skilled team at Technomics.”

“Technomics’ decision to expand in Arlington is a testament to the economic infrastructure and available talent in Arlington, particularly in the technology and analytics space,” said Delegate Richard C. “Rip” Sullivan, Jr. “I welcome Technomics’ decision to expand and look forward to seeing its continued impact on Arlington and the Commonwealth.”

Established in 1984, Technomics is a 100% employee-owned company focused on providing U.S. & international government clients with analytics-based services to help them make better decisions faster. The company’s more than 220 professionals are multi-disciplined, quantitatively oriented analysts who deliver a variety of analytical services. While its roots are in cost estimating and analysis, its services now extend to a wide range of analytic capabilities that drive organizational cost analysis maturity, support portfolio optimization, and provide actionable insights through smart data management and data analytics.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Arlington County to secure the project for Virginia and will support Technomics’ job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP), which provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs in order to support employee recruitment and training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for citizens.

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Two inmates escape Southwest Virginia jail and more state headlines

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The State Capitol. (Ned Oliver/ Virginia Mercury)

 

• The Supreme Court of Virginia reversed a $1 million jury award to the family of a Virginia Beach man killed by police in 2019 during a mental health crisis. In a split opinion, the court ruled the shooting was justified.—Virginian-Pilot

• Authorities in Southwest Virginia were searching for two inmates who escaped from a local jail Thursday afternoon.—Bristol Herald Courier

• “Hot topics roil Virginia General Assembly but lead to few new laws.”—Washington Post


• At a union hall in Northern Virginia, President Joe Biden warned “MAGA Republicans” are threatening to send the country into economic “chaos.”—CNN

• A judge declined to dismiss misdemeanor charges brought against Loudoun County’s former school superintendent after finding the attorney general’s office, which empaneled a grand jury to investigate the school system, has “a broad swath of authority” to pursue criminal cases at the request of the governor.—Washington Post

 

by Staff Report, Virginia Mercury


Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: info@virginiamercury.com. Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

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Bill increasing parental oversight of school library materials clears House but faces tough Senate

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A stack of books rests on top of a podium at the Virginia State Capitol building. (Nathaniel Cline/Virginia Mercury)

 

Legislation giving parents more control over checkout procedures for books and materials in Virginia’s public school libraries passed the Republican-controlled House of Delegates Thursday.

But Sen. Ghazala Hashmi, D-Richmond, who chairs the Senate’s public education subcommittee, said such a proposal is unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Earlier this month, the Senate Education and Health Committee rejected a different bill from Sen. Bill DeSteph, R-Virginia Beach, that would have directed school boards to adopt policies for school libraries that included mandatory written parental consent for students to check out materials that depict a child engaged in certain sexual acts.


“If that bill from the House is similar to Sen. DeSteph’s, it will likely receive the same votes,” said Hashmi.

Del. Tim Anderson, R-Virginia Beach, put forward the legislation that cleared the House Thursday and would require school principals or their designee to electronically catalog all printed and audiovisual materials in school libraries, identify whether the item contains graphic sexual content, and make the catalog available to parents.

It would also direct schools to permit parents to restrict their child’s access to any item that contains graphic sexual content and allow parents to request a graphic sexual content notation for any item.

School library materials have become a political flashpoint in Virginia in recent years, with parents increasingly attending school board meetings to challenge books in public schools. During his campaign, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin ran a television ad on the issue featuring a Fairfax County woman who, in 2013, objected to the inclusion of author Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Beloved” in her son’s Advanced Placement high school curriculum. Other challenges have occurred in Virginia Beach and Spotsylvania County.

Last year, Anderson, who is an attorney, and Republican congressional candidate Tommy Altman attempted to take legal action to prevent bookstores from selling two “obscene” books to minors without parental consent. The books were “Gender Queer,” an LGBTQ-themed memoir, and fantasy novel “A Court of Mist and Fury.” A Virginia Beach circuit court judge, ultimately dismissed the lawsuit.

Del. Tim Anderson speaking at a subcommittee meeting on Jan. 17, 2023. (Nathaniel Cline/Virginia Mercury)

 

Republicans have focused on the rights of parents following controversies over school policy changes, books, and school safety issues across Virginia. Meanwhile, Democrats have called for more resources in communities and schools and challenged Republican claims that “inherently divisive concepts” are being taught in schools.

During committee hearings on his legislation, DeSteph, who filed a similar bill last year, urged lawmakers to “protect our children’s innocence as long as humanly possible.”

While movies have ratings, and devices and televisions have parental controls, “our school libraries don’t,” he argued.

“I think it’s a sad state when our children are safer turning on the TV or radio than perusing their local school library,” he said.

Library workers, however, said the bill would place increased burdens on librarians. They also contended that school divisions have existing procedures that give parents “significant opportunity” to know and object to library books.

“What are these parents telling their children in the home?” asked Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, during the Jan. 12 committee hearing. “If parents are not taking responsibility in the house about what they’re saying to their children, relative to these kinds of materials, it isn’t going to mean anything if that child is going outside of that house and going to a library and accessing these materials.”

Hashmi questioned whether the state should require school librarians and staff to review every material instead of “giving the parents the responsibility of monitoring what their children are encountering.” She also pushed back against the notion that schools have pornographic material.

“I find that hard to believe,” Hashmi said. “Both of my girls went through public schools through Chesterfield County. I never had an incident where they encountered any material in a school library that I would object to. So I find it hard to believe that our schools are brimming with pornography.”

House bills headed for Senate

Besides the bills from Anderson and DeSteph, House Bill 1448 from Del. Bobby Orrock, R-Spotsylvania, would direct the Department of Education to recommend model policies for the “selection and removal of books and other audiovisual materials in public schools” by Nov. 1 to the General Assembly. That bill passed the House Thursday.

Anderson has said his legislation does not ban any books from school libraries.

“It simply says me in my household, I don’t want my children to have access to these books, and I have to know what they are before I can do that,” Anderson said Wednesday on the House floor.

Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler, D-Virginia Beach, said she trusts educators and librarians to do their jobs.

“There’s no teacher, no librarian, no educator that I have met in a classroom that has ever not wanted the best for the children,” Convirs-Fowler said. “This is not our expertise, but rather extremism trying to play to their extreme MAGA base.”

 

by Nathaniel Cline, Virginia Mercury


Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: info@virginiamercury.com. Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

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Three interesting bills of the week: Pound charter, stillborn child tax credit and private police

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The Virginia General Assembly convened for its 2023 session in Richmond Jan. 11, 2023. (Sarah Vogelsong / Virginia Mercury)

 

Hundreds of bills are filed for General Assembly consideration each year. In this occasional series, the Mercury takes a look at a few of the proposals that might not otherwise make headlines during the whirlwind legislative session. 

Senate Bill 1537: Restoring the town of Pound’s charter

This bill from Sen. Todd Pillion, R-Abingdon, would repeal legislation passed in 2022 to revoke the charter for the town of Pound in Wise County.


Revoking the charter means Pound would legally cease to exist as a municipality, and the roughly 900 residents would therefore live in an unincorporated part of Wise County.

The original bill to revoke the charter came from House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, despite objections from residents. Pound made headlines in the fall of 2021 after business owners in the former coal town stopped paying taxes, every town employee either quit or was fired, and the police department was disbanded.

“Wise County is now providing water, sewer, and public safety for the citizens of Pound,” said Kilgore in a statement to WJHL last January. “My genuine hope is that this serves as a wake-up call.”

Kilgore’s bill had a provision that delayed the charter’s repeal until Nov. 1, 2023. Last spring, he told The Washington Post that if he felt Pound was getting back on track, he would be willing to ask the General Assembly to restore the charter.

If Pillion’s legislation fails, Pound will join the four other towns in Virginia to have their charter terminated. Most faced similar financial difficulties and population decline before their demise.

House Bill 1915: Stillborn child tax credit

HB 1915 from Del. Angelia Williams Graves, D-Norfolk, would establish a refundable income tax credit of $2,000 for individuals or married persons filing jointly after delivering a stillborn child.

The tax credit would be available starting this year until the end of 2027 and could only be claimed in the year in which the stillbirth occurred and if the child would have become a dependent of the taxpayer.

The bill defines a “stillborn child” as a child who suffered a spontaneous death, was at least 20 weeks, weighed at least 350 grams and whose death was not the result of an induced termination.

If the amount of credit exceeded the taxpayer’s tax liability for the year, the excess would be refunded to them.

House Bill 2448: Allowing private police to make arrests without a warrant

This legislation from Del. John Avoli, R-Staunton, would add private police officers employed by a private police department to the list of officers who can make arrests without a warrant in certain cases.

Virginia recognizes eight private police departments primarily employed by homeowners associations, hospitals, amusement parks, and resorts, Avoli said Wednesday. Language added to the bill defines a “private police officer” as someone exercising the powers and duties of the law on property controlled by their employer and on any contiguous property upon approval by the local chief of police or sheriff. These officers would be required to meet all training requirements for law enforcement officers but wouldn’t be considered state or local employees.

Private police officers could make arrests without a warrant for many reasons under Avoli’s bill, including if the officer has probable cause to suspect a person of having committed a felony or a misdemeanor like shoplifting or destruction of property.

Individuals employed as law enforcement officers by private corporations or entities used to be defined as special conservators of the peace with the authority to make arrests without a warrant. But legislation in 2015 redefined those employees as law enforcement officers while withholding that authority.

Lawmakers voted 4-3 along party lines to recommend approval of the bill during the House Subcommittee for Courts of Justice on Wednesday.

 

by Meghan McIntyre, Virginia Mercury


Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: info@virginiamercury.com. Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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As Republicans tout Parole Board report, some Democrats see ‘a whole lot of nothing’

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House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, looks out over the chamber from the dais. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

 

The top Republican in the Virginia House of Delegates said Thursday that the GOP is considering “every possibility” in response to a new investigative report alleging systemic violations of law and state policy at the Virginia Parole Board under the watch of a former leader who’s now a sitting judge.

But House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said the decision on whether the General Assembly should remove Virginia Beach Judge Adrianne Bennett from the bench will rest largely with the Democrat-controlled state Senate.

“We intend to ask them if they are as shocked by the findings as we are,” Gilbert told reporters Thursday on the House floor. “I know the Democratic leadership told us how silly the whole thing was then. I think the report reveals a number of things to the contrary.”


While announcing the release of a 69-page report outlining a series of missteps at the Parole Board in 2020, Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares on Wednesday raised the possibility of impeachment proceedings against Bennett, a judge with the Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

In Bennett’s final weeks as chair of the Parole Board in early 2020, according to the attorney general’s report, the board she led repeatedly failed to properly notify victims and prosecutors of pending decisions to release violent offenders. The report alleges Bennett went as far as falsifying records and declaring some inmates eligible for parole even though courts had said they were not.

Miyares said his office concluded Bennett could have been charged with criminal offenses over the allegedly altered paperwork and overriding of court decisions. But because his investigation didn’t begin until 2022, after he and Gov. Glenn Youngkin took office, Miyares said the one-year statute of limitations for misdemeanor offenses had expired.

The General Assembly appoints all state and local judges, but the legislature almost never removes a judge over misconduct allegations. Gilbert said he believes judicial impeachment proceedings would begin in the House and then go to the Senate, but he acknowledged such a process would be fairly uncharted territory.

“We don’t have any modern precedent for it in Virginia,” Gilbert said.

Democratic General Assembly leaders had not formally weighed in on the report as of midday Thursday, nearly 24 hours after Miyares released it. In interviews, several Democratic senators said they had not yet read it and could not comment on its substance.

Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, said he was skeptical of any suggestion a judge could be removed over conduct that occurred before they were serving on the bench. He also raised doubts about whether the misconduct of which Miyares is accusing Bennett without charging her should rise to the level of impeachment.

“To paraphrase Allen Iverson, we’re talking about a misdemeanor. Not a felony. A misdemeanor,” Petersen said, stressing that he was not up to speed on everything laid out in the report.

Sen. John Bell, D-Loudoun, whose call for a bipartisan legislative investigation into the Parole Board affair was not acted upon in 2021, said he was concerned by what he’s heard. But he, too, said he would need to read the report before commenting further.

“I really wish it had been done in a clearly nonpartisan way,” Bell said. “I think it would be more credible.”

Other Democrats seemed to have already concluded the report isn’t the bombshell the Republicans are portraying it as.

“All politics,” said House Minority Leader Don Scott, D-Portsmouth.

Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, said it appears to him the headline should be “The Parole Board granted parole.” He said Miyares seems to be trying to “play racial politics with a basic government function.”

“I know that my conservative friends don’t like it when the Parole Board does its job,” said Surovell, who acknowledged he had not read the report. “And they continue to try to demonize the board for doing what we’ve charged it to do under the code.”

Surovell noted that the time period in question was the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when the state was trying to protect elderly inmates who were most at risk of dying from a new disease few understood.

However, former Public Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Brian Moran — whose duties included overseeing the Parole Board during Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration — told the attorney general’s office the board wasn’t given any special authority to release offenders because of the pandemic.

Instead, according to the report, Moran felt that authority should have rested with the Virginia Department of Corrections. At the time, the state prison agency had a more public and detailed plan for which offenders would be eligible for early release, emphasizing nonviolent offenders with less than a year left on their sentences.

“We weren’t going to do it randomly,” Moran is quoted as saying in the report. “I mean, that was insane.”

The General Assembly approved budget language dealing with the early release of prisoners during COVID-19. That language specifically excluded prisoners convicted of serious felonies like murder and rape from the emergency COVID-19 accommodations. The Northam administration also asked the Parole Board to expedite pending cases. Still, state watchdog reports stressed nothing about the COVID-19 emergency allowed the Parole Board to sidestep its own policies or state law.

On Thursday, Del. Marcus Simon, D-Fairfax, called the report “a whole lot of nothing.”

“This idea that there’s probably a lot of criminal stuff that’s gone on, but we can’t charge any of it because the statute of limitations ran out? It’s a political tool. It’s more political theater,” Simon said. “I don’t think there’s any real there.”

Senate Republicans have called for Bennett to step down on her own accord rather than forcing the legislature to consider removing her. She has given no indication she plans to do so, and a lawyer representing her released a statement saying the report was an attempt to “vilify” a “dedicated public servant.”

Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham, said the Miyares report offered a much more thorough look at the Parole Board’s problems than any of the various reports made public under Democratic leadership.

“It’s a well-documented investigation,” he said.

 

by Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury


Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: info@virginiamercury.com. Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

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Attorney General Miyares joins the charge against contraband cell phones in prison

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On January 26, 2023, Attorney General Jason Miyares joined a coalition of 22 Attorneys General urging Congressional leaders to pass legislation giving states the authority to jam contraband cell phones.

“Contraband cell phones are already illegal and pose a significant threat to safety and security at correctional facilities – but the reality is that they exist and are prevalent in our prison system. They allow willing inmates a way to continue running and organizing criminal activity while incarcerated, threatening the public safety of Virginians,” said Attorney General Miyares. “I encourage Congress to swiftly pass legislation permitting states to implement a contraband cell phone jamming system to stop this illicit activity and protect our communities.”

Contraband cell phones are a nationwide problem, commonly allowing inmates to continue their criminal behavior, plan escapes, and intimidate witnesses from behind bars.

The letter details that “in Oklahoma, the white supremacist prison gang, the Universal Aryan Brotherhood, used contraband cell phones to help commit murder, money laundering, assault and robbery throughout the state. In Tennessee, a Memphis inmate used a contraband cell phone to orchestrate drug conspiracy deals by sending a FedEx package full of methamphetamine to his girlfriend. Then in Georgia, inmates used contraband cell phones to make scam calls and demand payment and even texted photos of bloodied inmates to the relatives demanding cash.”


Bills have been filed regarding this issue in previous sessions, H.R. 1954 in the 116th Congress and H.R. 8645, S. 4699 in the 117th Congress. But none of the bills have moved or received a vote.

Click here to read the letter.

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A 13-car crash on Interstate 95 and more Va. headlines

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The State Capitol. (Ned Oliver/ Virginia Mercury)

 

• The Newport News elementary school teacher who a 6-year-old student shot sent someone a text message before the shooting indicating the boy had a gun, and her superiors weren’t doing anything about it. A lawyer for the teacher said she intends to sue the school district.—NBC News

• The Newport News School Board voted to part ways with Superintendent George Parker III, who has been sharply criticized after the classroom shooting.—Daily Press

• The former president of the Arlington Education Association was arrested and charged with embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the teachers union.—Prince William Times


• The Virginia Senate passed a bill to protect same-sex marriage in a bipartisan vote, but the measure faces an uncertain future in the Republican-led House of Delegates.—WRIC

• More than a dozen vehicles were involved in a “chain reaction” crash on Interstate 95 near Fredericksburg.—WTOP

 

by Staff Report, Virginia Mercury


Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: info@virginiamercury.com. Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

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