The Virginia Board of Health voted Friday for new abortion clinic regulations, a move that could force clinics in the state to either undertake costly renovations or shut down.
The 11-2 vote follows two years of back-and-forth, as detailed by The Washington Post, between the health board, Gov. Bob McDonnell, and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The state General Assembly voted for the legislation in 2011. The rules now go to McDonnell and Cuccinelli, both Republicans, for a final review.
Under these regulations, abortion clinics will have to follow the same building codes as surgical centers, mandating that they meet specific standards for things like the width of hallways and doorways. If the locations can’t spend the money to renovate and adhere to these new rules, they will be forced to close.
“What they did was rubber stamp these regulations,” NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Deputy Director Caroline O’Shea told MSNBC.com. “They were intent on the ultimate goal of restricting safe, legal abortion access in Virginia.”
Former Executive Mansion chef Todd Schneider told FBI agents and state investigators more than a year ago that he had information of “wrongdoing” by Gov. Bob McDonnell and first lady Maureen McDonnell and discussed with authorities their relationship to Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, according to a court filing in Schneider’s felony embezzlement case.
The dismissal motion that Schneider’s attorneys filed Monday in Richmond Circuit Court, also argues that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli pursued an indictment of Schneider despite having, months earlier, “conflicting personal, financial and political interests more substantial and pervasive” than the conflicts the attorney general’s office cited last week in a brief seeking to withdraw from the case.
The declarations in Schneider’s dismissal motion indicate an investigative inquiry — outside of Schneider’s embezzlement case — that further complicates the already complex relationship between Williams, the McDonnells and Cuccinelli.
As part of his state’s new budget, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and his administration are trying to force potentially tens of thousands of public sector employees in the state to work fewer hours so that the government can avoid providing them health care.
Under Obamacare, employers are required to offer health insurance options for any employee working 30 hours or more per week. So McDonnell and his team have slipped language into the state’s budget bill requiring that any hourly waged workers employed by the state put in no more than 29 hours a week.
The rule applies to a range of state employees, including adjunct college professors:
The 29-hour limit is on its way to becoming state law, thanks to language inserted into the state budget at the request of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration. The language appears in both versions of the budget adopted Thursday by the Senate and House of Delegates.[…]
Anticipating legislative approval of the policy, the state Department of Human Resource Management has advised all state agencies to implement it now.
The state has more than 37,000 wage employees. More than 7,000 of them have been working at least 30 hours a week, according to a recent survey taken by the department.
The GOP war on women: They can’t pass a workable budget, but somehow they still find time to hyper-regulate vagina care.
On the Friday before the long holiday weekend, the Republican governors of Michigan and Virginia snuck in a little New Year’s surprise for the women of their states, quietly signing abortion legislation that helped make 2012 the second most restrictive year for reproductive rights.
In Michigan, Rick Snyder signed a bill passed by the lame-duck Senate — the same one whose anti-union legislating dominated headlines in recent weeks — requiring clinics that perform more than 120 abortions a year to become surgical outpatient facilities, a level of licensing intended to be onerous and put clinics out of business. He also approved a bill that purports to screen for women being coerced into abortions.
Snyder did veto another bill limiting insurance coverage in private employee plans, which would have required purchase of a separate abortion rider. He objected to that on the grounds that rape victims would have to pay out of pocket if they didn’t buy the rider, and because, “As a practical matter, I believe this type of policy is an overreach of government into the private market.” Overreach of government into other realms, of course, is another matter entirely. (According to Michigan resident Emily Magner, one legislator interrupted her to cry, “THIS ISN’T ABOUT WOMEN! THIS IS ABOUT PROTECTING FETUSES!”)
Virginia’s similar, hospital-level restrictions on clinics were somewhat overshadowed by the ultrasound requirements for women seeking abortions. Under threat of forever having the word “transvaginal” attached to his name, Gov. Bob McDonnell tried to split the difference on the ultrasound legislation, but in the final days of the year signed off on the clinic regulations. This followed months of conflict between the Board of Health and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli over whether existing clinics would be grandfathered into the legislation. The governor’s office called the regulations “common-sense”; NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia said in a statement, “After two years of shocking backroom deals and bullying public health servants, Governor Bob McDonnell is clearly proving his disregard of Virginians’ opinions about women’s health care.”