VA Week in Review: Medicaid, multiple voters, and mystery commission make headlines

By Kaitlyn Speer | Watchdog.org, Virginia Bureau

GOING FORWARD: McAuliffe forges ahead with Medicaid plans, despite dismissed vetoes.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — There’s never a dull day in Virginia politics. Earlier this week, the Virginia House of Delegates dismissed Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Medicaid-related vetoes, and it’s a safe bet the courts will decide who has the legal upper hand.

The Virginia Tobacco Commission also made headlines this week, and Watchdog.org found out a number of things you might want to know about the mysterious group. But that wasn’t all Watchdog.org uncovered — there are also 6.9 million multiple voters in 28 states, according to a recent report. Here’s your week in review:

VA Medicaid move could set precedent

McAuliffe has continued to make clear he’s prepared to use his executive authority as he sees fit to expand the government health care program for 400,000 more Virginians.

Republican lawmakers — and some editorial writers — wonder what kind of precedent that will set.

“Unfortunately, I think he’s taking a page out of what the president has been doing related to his actions, either by executive order or just by skirting or ignoring U.S. Constitution,” said Augusta Republican Delegate Steve Landes, who co-chairs the controversial Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission, which McAuliffe is trying to eliminate.

“I think, unfortunately, it would set a precedent similarly for Virginia,” Landes said. “Hopefully, future governors would follow the state constitution and their authority. But it’s the legislature’s job to make sure we are the check and balance in the system, along with the judiciary, that no governor, no executive, goes beyond their power.”

Report finds 6.9 million multiple voters in 28 states

Our nation’s voter rolls are a mess, according to Catherine Engelbrecht, president of the election-watch group True The Vote.

“Sensible approaches to roll maintenance are fought tooth and nail by radical special interests who can use the duplicity in the system to their advantage,” she said.

Some 6.9 million Americans are registered to vote in two or more states, according to a report obtained by Watchdog.org.

The latest interstate voter cross check tallied 6,951,484 overlapping voter registrations, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg. The cross-check program involves only 28 states and does not include the three largest: California, Texas and Florida.

Seven things you should know about Virginia’s mysterious tobacco commission

Multiple voters in Virginia were not the state government’s only problem this week. Virginia’s mysterious tobacco commission made headlines earlier this month when former state Sen. Phillip Puckett resigned and prepared to take a job with the group.

The results of a five-month-old state inspector general report suggested a closer inspection of the commission might be warranted.

D.C. dependence cramping Virginia economy, business ranking

To top off a busy week in Virginia, the media announced Tuesday the state dropped from fifth to eighth in CNBC’s Top States for Business rankings. It seems like dependence on the federal government isn’t always a blessing.

“We have to make Virginia more attractive to industries not attached to the partisan battles in Washington,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said shortly before he took office in January.

That, however, is going to take work. Total federal spending per person in Virginia through military spending, federal contracts and other forms of assistance have doubled since 2000, according to another new report by the watchdog arm of the General Assembly.

Kaitlyn Speer is an intern for Watchdog.org, Virginia Bureau. She can be reached at kspeer@watchdog.org or on twitter at @KSpeer11.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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