Two bills that would have given online-only local news publications like ARLnow some of the same privileges afforded legacy media outlets failed in Richmond over the past few weeks.
In the House of Delegates, HB 1920 would have included online local news publications that employ at least one full time journalist in an exemption from local Business, Professional, and Occupational License (BPOL) taxes.
Current statute exempts radio stations, television stations, newspapers, magazines, newsletters and “other publication[s] issued daily or regularly at average intervals not exceeding three months.” Online publications are not considered an “other publication” in Virginia, in part because the state exemption was originally passed in the late 1980s, before the advent of the modern commercial internet.
ARLnow’s parent company, which is based in Arlington and pays a mid-four-figure BPOL tax annually — nearly 10% of the company’s net income for 2022 — appealed the exclusion from the media outlet BPOL exemption to the Arlington Office of the Commissioner of Revenue in the fall. The office rejected the appeal, citing a 2020 Virginia Tax Commissioner ruling against a food blog that was also seeking the exemption.
Introduced by Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), the bill garnered support from other Virginia online-only local news publishers but Arlington County officials expressed concern about a loss of tax revenue. Several other online publications, including Axios, are also based in Arlington.
HB 1920 was ultimately “laid on the table” by a House finance subcommittee, with committee members expressing both interest in studying the bill’s financial impact and surprise that legacy media outlets are excluded from BPOL.
Also considered this year was SB 1237, proposed by state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg), which would have given local governments and businesses the option of placing legal notice ads in qualifying online local news publications. Currently, such notices must be placed in printed newspapers to satisfy legal requirements.
Obenshain argued that numerous online-only local news publications have as many or more readers than their print counterparts, while citing the continued closure of print newspapers across the country, including the Richmond-area Chesterfield Observer earlier this month.
Here in Arlington, residents and County Board members have at times expressed frustration with the county placing its legal notices in the relatively lightly-circulated Washington Times newspaper. Board members, however, said that doing so is the most cost-effective way to meet state notice requirements and placing notices in the Washington Post, for instance, would be considerably more expensive.
Arlington County spent more than $37,000 with the Washington Times, an unabashedly conservative daily paper owned by an offshoot of the Unification Church, between fiscal years 2018 and 2019, according to a Freedom of Information Act response to a resident’s query in 2020.
The owners of ARLnow, Page Valley News and the MadRapp Recorder were among those to testify in favor of the bill last week. It was opposed by the Virginia Press Association and the publisher of InsideNoVa on the grounds that newspapers provide a permanent physical record of such notices and Virginia newspapers publishers already post notices online.
The state Senate’s judiciary committee ultimately voted 6-9 against the bill, after expressing concerns about which publications would qualify under SB 1237 and whether notices would be lost if online publications closed.
The vote was largely along party lines, with six GOP members voting in favor. Among those voting against it were members of the Democratic delegation from Fairfax County: Sen. Jennifer Boysko, Sen. Chap Petersen, Sen. Dick Saslaw and Sen. Scott Surovell. Previous attempts to pass a similar bill on the House side by Del. Hope have also failed in committee.
Online-only local news publishers who supported the bill — there are currently more than a dozen such local sites throughout the Commonwealth — have vowed to try again to gain bipartisan support for a modified version of this year’s bill during next year’s General Assembly session.
Separately, a bill from Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) to provide tax credits that would benefit both print and online local news publishers, also failed in a House finance subcommittee. The bill, HB 2061, had the support of the Virginia Press Association.
(Updated at 8:50 a.m. on 11/17/22) Arlington County is looking to the state legislature to help with some key priorities, including combating malicious 911 calls and predatory towing.
These are two of many issues that the county intends to have local legislators lobby for in the upcoming 2023 Virginia General Assembly session, which runs for 45 days beginning on Jan. 11, 2023.
The county’s legislative priorities address public safety, energy, transportation, criminal justice reform, affordable housing and mental health, among other things. The list of priorities was drafted with input from local commissions, advisory groups, county staff, the County Board and community members.
On Saturday, Ilana Creinin, the legislative liaison for Arlington County, told the County Board that “swatting,” or fake calls to emergency services with the intent to draw out a police response, are on the rise, and the county would support legislation that would combat it. Recent examples include a false active shooter call at Washington-Liberty High School in September and a false report of a shooting inside a home in October.
“We want to make sure we’re able to combat the act of making a hoax communication to 911,” Creinin said. “We’ve seen in some of our schools there’s been an uptick in instances of people calling in false communications.”
A county report outlining the priorities did not say what kind of legislation it would support.
Meanwhile, Arlington County is looking to support legislation that provides parity for Northern Virginia, compared with the rest of the state, when pursuing litigation against towing companies through the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
County Board member Takis Karantonis said he is “very happy” to “see push for consumer protection against predatory towing in our region.”
Del. Alfonso Lopez supported a bill last year, which failed, that would have given residents and localities more ability to protect themselves against bad-actor towing companies. The bill responded to public scrutiny of Ballston-based Advanced Towing, which is frequently accused of unsafe and predatory towing practices, though such accusations fizzled in court after the previous state Attorney General sued the company.
One legislative priority carried over from last year would address the state mental health crisis caused by a workforce shortage and a lack of beds in state-run mental hospitals.
With fewer staff to run them, the Commonwealth closed more than half of these hospitals to new admissions, overwhelming local hospitals and the Arlington County Police Department and driving fatigued county clinicians and Arlington police officers to quit.
“As you know, we’re still going through a large mental health crisis in our state with both staffing shortages and also a lack of state hospital beds,” said Creinin. “We want to work toward solving this crisis.”
Others respond to actions taken or proposed by the Republican-controlled state house or the administration of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.).
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is addressing a key constituent concern — airplane noise — through the just-signed CHIPS Act.
The $280 billion bill is primarily focused on boosting domestic semiconductor manufacturing, but contains other scientific research provisions. Among them is wording from Beyer to “bolster NASA’s efforts to reduce emissions from the aviation industry while also reducing the impact of airplane noise in airport-adjacent communities.”
“Climate change and aircraft noise have always been two of the most consistent constituent concerns in my district,” Beyer said in a statement yesterday. “I wrote a bill to address both problems – the Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act – which President Biden just signed into law.”
The legislation “authorizes NASA to accelerate its work on electrified propulsion systems and the integration of multiple technologies and airframe concepts to achieve noise and emissions reductions,” Beyer’s office said in a press release.
The roar of jet engines from airliners arriving at and departing from National Airport has long been a concern of Arlington and Alexandria residents, particularly those who live along the flight paths near the Potomac River. Beyer has frequently pledged to address the noise issue from commercial airliners and military helicopters, writing letters to top federal officials about flight paths and attaching legislation to larger bills.
The full press release is below.
President Joe Biden yesterday signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law, which included the first NASA authorization passed by Congress in over five years. That section of the Act, Title VII of the science division, included the full text of Rep. Don Beyer’s Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act. Beyer chairs the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics; he introduced the Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act to bolster NASA’s efforts to create the next generation of climate-friendly aviation while also reducing the impact of airplane noise in airport-adjacent communities.
“Climate change and aircraft noise have always been two of the most consistent constituent concerns in my district. I wrote a bill to address both problems – the Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act – which President Biden just signed into law,” said Beyer. “As the climate crisis continues to harm American communities, ensuring we are also tackling aviation emissions is vital. This piece of legislation does just that by making the necessary investments to develop the technology to make cleaner flight a reality in addition to driving innovation that would reduce aircraft noise pollution.”
This legislation sets a goal for cleaner, quieter airplanes, accelerating NASA’s aeronautics work on reducing greenhouse gas and noise emissions. Specifically, this bill:
- Establishes the ambitious goal of commercial airplanes emitting 50 percent less greenhouse gas compared to the highest performing aircraft in 2021 as well as being net-zero by 2050.
- Challenges NASA to work with industry partners to carry out flight tests by 2025 that will enable industry to bring a new generation of more sustainable airplanes into service between 2030 and 2040.
- Authorizes NASA to accelerate its work on electrified propulsion systems and the integration of multiple technologies and airframe concepts to achieve noise and emissions reductions.
- Requires NASA to provide data and insight on new technologies to help the FAA’s work to ensure the safe and effective deployment of these technologies.
Text of the Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act is available here.
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.
A Ballston-based tech firm is on the “cutting and bleeding” edge of supply chain issues facing the country, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said during a visit to the company late last month.
Supply chains have become an international focus, with the shortage of personal protective equipment at the beginning of the pandemic, competition in manufacturing computer chips, and global impacts of Russian goods bans fresh in people’s minds.
“Knowing how supply chains work, this has become the buzzword of the time,” Warner said in an employee town hall at Interos — the first private Arlington startup to reach a billion-dollar valuation. Warner’s visit to the company was “to highlight Northern Virginia’s growing role as a hub of tech innovation for national security,” his staff said.
Work that companies like Interos do, identifying companies’ suppliers, is particularly important as the war in Ukraine continues, Warner said. He’s working on legislation that would mandate public sector companies of a certain size to map out their supply chains, he said. The timeliest measures would focus on identifying Russian companies, as countries ban imports on its goods and raw materials.
“If you can’t go upstream and find where that product originates and who’s in the supply chain, you’re not going to be able to bring the full power of sanctions on a country,” he said.
Interos uses artificial intelligence to map out the suppliers of their clients and assess the risk scores of each. Its platform is used by federal agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
Interos Founder and CEO Jennifer Bisceglie said there is “a very good environment” for Warner’s proposed legislation.
“A lot of companies are truly trying to understand where they are connected to Russia and not being able to comply with sanctions,” she said, adding that companies “want to be able to answer these questions.”
Bisceglie added that Interos could provide supply chain knowledge to those companies.
“It’s all about understanding what’s happening in the sub-tiers of your supply chain and that’s where we help,” she said.
Bisceglie said Interos raised $100 million last year to work on getting more data faster that would provide “more interesting and pro-active insights” to their customers. These new data include a supplier’s cybersecurity and financial information.
“So this is all about speed, about unique datasets, and really to solve global transparency challenges on a global scale,” she said.
Warner also called China “the threat of our time” at the town hall.
“The challenge going forward is going to be who wins the technology struggle for the 21st century,” he said.
More Bad Driving on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “WATCH THIS! I thought I saw a crash in the distance. Nope. An I-395S driver stopped in the left lane for 30 secs to cross 4 lanes to get to the right hand Boundary Channel exit!” [Twitter]
Drug Take-Back Day Tomorrow — “If you have expired or unused prescription drugs taking up space in your medicine cabinet, Arlington County residents will have an opportunity to safely get rid of them this weekend. National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Saturday.” [Patch]
Civic Association to Celebrate Anniversary — “The John M. Langston Citizens Association has set a weekend’s worth of activities to celebrate its 85th anniversary, running May 13-15. The association represents residents in the communities of Halls Hill and High View Park, straddling what long was known as Lee Highway but has been renamed Langston Boulevard.” [Sun Gazette]
AHC Honors Volunteers — “Providing services where residents live is AHC’s secret sauce. Volunteers are the key ingredient. This Volunteer Month, AHC is celebrating the nearly 350 individuals and groups who generously contribute their time and talents annually through our education and social services programs.” [AHC Inc.]
Art Truck Marks Five Years — “Not long after I began working for Arlington County, Arlington Arts launched the Arlington Art Truck: a bold new project to take curated and interactive visual art experiences out into the community to where people congregate. Five years in, the program has succeeded beyond our wildest expectations.” [Arlington County]
Rep. Beyer Interviewed — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) “has cast over 2,100 proxy votes for his colleagues in the last 2 years, by *far* the most of any lawmakers. I spoke w/ him about what that’s like, how it could change, and how he’s cast more votes to impeach Trump (6) than anyone else.” [Business Insider, Twitter]
Va. Requires Digital School Floor Plans — “Every second counts for first responders when it comes to saving lives and now a new Virginia law aims to help those heroes navigate better as they respond to emergencies at schools. Public schools will be required to digitally keep an up-to-date and accurate floor plan for each building.” [Fox 5]
It’s Friday — Clear throughout the day. High of 63 and low of 40. Sunrise at 6:14 am and sunset at 8:00 pm. [Weather.gov]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Virginians are going to have to wait until next year to see any further movement on cannabis regulation and legalization of retail sales.
A bill — SB 591 — that would have regulated cannabis products shapes, banned Delta-8, increased penalties for possessing more than the legal limit, and reclassified many CBD products as marijuana was effectively killed in the Virginia Senate yesterday (April 27) with a bipartisan vote.
While the achievement was celebrated by advocates, there remains much to be figured out. Notably, there’s still no legal retail market and regulation remains incomplete.
One bill that would have contributed to regulating marijuana products was SB 591. When it was first introduced back in January, it initially only dealt with the sale of cannabis products in shapes that could appeal to children — like candy, fruit, or animals. Despite it being introduced by a Republican, Ebbin and other local Democrats initially supported it.
“It was the right thing to do,” Ebbin tells ARLnow.
But a series of amendments from Governor Glenn Youngkin significantly altered the bill, adding in provisions about CBD products, Delta-8, and making possession over the legal limit a crime rather than a civil infraction.
“The governor’s amendments were ill-constructed, poorly thought out, and left lots of loopholes,” Ebbin says. “The original bill was better.”
The state Senator says the modified legislation “left a door open” for production of other synthetic marijuana products besides Delta-8, allowed for the removal of THC limits on packaging, and re-criminalized possession of over an ounce.
“The government’s proposed penalties for personal possession of two ounces of marijuana were more punitive than the laws that were in place prior to Virginia’s enactment of decriminalization in 2020,” Ebbin says.
SB 591 had a bit of a unique journey. The original bill, introduced by a Republican, was passed unanimously in the Senate and with very limited opposition in the House of Delegates. It was then sent to Governor Youngkin’s desk, who changed it by adding those amendments.
It was, then, sent back to the Senate yesterday for a vote where it was deadlocked with 20 yeas and 20 nays. However, Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears (R) broke the tie, essentially going against the Governor from her own party.
Whoa. Sears breaks tie with the Democrats to take marijuana bill by for the day (killing Governor's recommendations). There are no further meetings of the Rehab committee, and this prevents the Governor from being able to sign the bill in its original form either. pic.twitter.com/O5O6MSOtBV
— VAPLAN (@vaplan2018) April 27, 2022
With the bill being referred back to the committee, both the Governor’s amendments and the original bill are dead and any related legislation will have to wait until at least next year to be considered again for enactment.
“Well, it’s disappointing,” says Ebbin. “People need to be aware of what they are buying.”
This is the second time in just the last couple of months that a bill aimed at creating infrastructure for a legal cannabis retail market in Virginia was voted down.
Ebbin’s own SB 391 would have allowed existing medical dispensaries to start selling retail cannabis starting in September. While it passed the Democratic-controlled Senate, the Republican-controlled House of Delegates pushed the decision until next year.
For the moment, the Cannabis Oversight Commission — for which Ebbin is Chair — will continue to review the two bills with the hope that a consensus can be built with how best to move forward on marijuana legislation in Virginia next year.
While Ebbin remains hopeful that 2023 will bring cannabis retail sales and further market regulation, he’s a bit skeptical.
“I’ve learned not to be overly optimistic in this field,” he says. “This is a product that’s now legal for adults 21 and older. So, it’s in our best interest to make sure this is a tested, regulated product.”
Arlington Ranks in New ‘Best’ Lists — “Niche, a platform for community and school ratings, released its 2022 Best Places to Live rankings this week, and Arlington and its neighborhoods ranked high on the lists. This year, Arlington County ranked No. 3 in Best Cities to Raise a Family in America, No. 4 in Best Cities to Live in America, and No. 5 for Best Cities for Young Professionals in America.” [Patch]
NAACP Asks for Civil Rights Investigation — “The Arlington County, Virginia, jail is the subject of a civil rights complaint by the Arlington Branch of the NAACP. The civil rights agency wrote a letter Monday to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division asking for an investigation into the patterns and practices at the Arlington County Detention Facility.” [WTOP]
Ebbin Bill Heads to Governor — “A proposal to repeal a Virginia law that requires adult children to be financially responsible for their parents is headed to the governor’s desk. Senator Adam Ebbin, who is behind the bill, says while it is rarely enforced it can be misused and abused.” [Fox 5]
It’s Friday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 71 and low of 47. Sunrise at 7:16 am and sunset at 7:19 pm. [Weather.gov]
Post Office Naming Bill Introduced — “Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today introduced legislation to rename the post office in Arlington on George Mason Drive (currently designated ‘Arlington Post Office’) after local letter carrier Jesus Collazos. Collazos immigrated to Northern Virginia from Colombia in 1978 and worked for 25 years as a USPS postal carrier in Arlington. He died of COVID-19 early in the pandemic.” [Press Release]
Police Hosting Summer Camps — “As part of our department’s key initiative of Community Engagement, the Youth Outreach Unit (YOU) works to proactively engage youth in Arlington through community-based outreach strategies. YOU Officers are excited to offer three camps focused on education, relationship-building and positive youth development while ensuring participants enjoy a fun-filled and safe summer.” [ACPD]
Join the Press Club — ARLnow wants to invest more in our local reporting and audience engagement, but we need your help to make it happen. Support local journalism by joining the ARLnow Press Club. As a bonus, you’ll also get our exclusive Early Morning Notes email, with a 3 a.m. “early edition” of this post and a preview of the stories we’re planning to cover that day, plus an early look at some of our feature stories. [ARLnow]
It’s Wednesday — Sunny in the morning, then becoming cloudy in the afternoon before rain overnight. High of 68 and low of 44. Sunrise at 7:19 am and sunset at 7:18 pm. [Weather.gov]
Whiskey Bar Coming to Clarendon — “Chicken + Whiskey is branching out into Northern Virginia. The Peruvian rotisserie chicken restaurant and whiskey bar, which got its start from a smaller location in Logan Circle in 2017, has inked a deal for a new location near the Clarendon Metro in Arlington County. The 5,708-square-foot restaurant is slated to open late this year or early next at 3033 Wilson Blvd.” [Washington Business Journal]
It’s Flood Awareness Week — “Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States and it is becoming more frequent with climate change. As we head into the typical rainy season, Arlington County and Fairfax County are teaming up for Virginia Flood Awareness Week to get out key messages of being informed and prepared.” [Arlington County]
Bill to Limit Gov. Powers — “Five of Arlington’s seven-member General Assembly delegation voted in support of a measure that will limit the power of governors to act unilaterally for an indeterminate period in a crisis. Legislation sponsored by state Sen. David Suetterlein (R-Roanoke) on March 9 cleared the House of Delegates on a 91-8 vote, following earlier passage in the state Senate by a margin of 29-11. Gov. Youngkin is expected to sign the bill.” [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Kids Hold Ukraine Bake Sale — “Our boys and friends wanted to do something to help the people of #Ukraine – they decided on a bake sale. They raised $900+ today and it’s now headed to medical staff that are getting supplies to the Ukraine/Poland border. Nice job kiddos.” [Twitter]
Bishop O’Connell Swimmer Stands Out — “For Kate Bailey, her time to receive deserved recognition as a standout high-school swimmer in Arlington came this season in her final senior campaign. During past winter years, Bailey and other top local swimmers performed in the shadow of 2022 Yorktown High School graduate and Summer Olympian Torri Huske. With Huske now swimming in college at Stanford University, Bailey’s accomplishments this winter drew more attention.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 58 and low of 31. Sunrise at 7:22 am and sunset at 7:16 pm. [Weather.gov]
Giant Spiders May Drop In — “An invasive species of spider the size of a child’s hand is expected to ‘colonize’ the entire East Coast this spring by parachuting down from the sky, researchers at the University of Georgia announced last week… Andy Davis, author of the study and a researcher at Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology, tells Axios that it isn’t certain how far north the spiders will travel, but they may make it as far north as D.C. or even Delaware.” [Axios, Fox 5, NPR]
Anti-Growth Group Decries Route 29 Planning — “On March 6, ASF wrote to the Arlington County Board expressing concerns that significant new land use and zoning plans will cause seismic shifts for the communities now lining Langston Blvd. We believe the process — which will soon produce a new Preliminary Concept Plan that likely will be fast-tracked like other county planning processes — will neglect or defer costs of critically-needed new infrastructure, will displace those earning 60% or less than the Area Median Income, and will make it difficult for local entrepreneurs to stay in business.” [Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future]
Polish Pike Pierogi Purveyor Praised — “‘Oh my god, it smells so good it’s driving me crazy!’ my husband reported after picking up a pierogi order from chef Ewa Fraszczyk, who shares kitchen space with La Cocina VA, selling her pan-fried Polish dumplings from the nonprofit’s Columbia Pike café every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Arlington chef’s pierogi, all delicate and delicious, come six to an order ($10-$12) in four varieties.” [Arlington Magazine]
Apartment Child Care Bill Advances — “House members voted unanimously on March 8 in support of a measure by state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington-Fairfax-Loudoun) to amend the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act and permit child-care facilities in apartment units. That followed earlier, also unanimous, support in the state Senate.” [Sun Gazette]
Teen Stabbed in Va. Square Area — “At approximately 6:28 p.m. on March 8, police were dispatched to the report of a fight involving a group of approximately 6 – 10 juveniles. Upon arrival, the juveniles were no longer on scene and officers canvassed the area and located evidence of an injury in the 500 block of N. Quincy Street. At approximately 7:14 p.m., the juvenile male victim arrived at Virginia Hospital Center for treatment of stab wounds suffered during the fight. The victim’s injuries are considered serious but non-life threatening.” [ACPD]
Bus Driver Nearly Causes Wreck on I-395 — From public safety watchdog Dave Statter: “Watch: A ‘professional’ driver does no better trying to quickly get across 4 lanes of interstate highway. This one almost takes out a car–twice!! Must have been a fun bus ride.” [Twitter]
Takeout for a Cause at Four Courts — From Ireland’s Four Courts: “Stop in or order takeout on Thursday for dinner. We are donating 20 percent of our food sales to @PathForwardVA help #endhomelessness in Arlington.” [Twitter]
It’s Thursday — Overcast throughout the day. High of 52 and low of 35. Sunrise at 6:28 am and sunset at 6:12 pm. [Weather.gov]
Proposed legislation from Del. Alfonso Lopez that would support local journalism has withered away without bipartisan support.
HB 1217 would have provided up to $5 million annually in income tax credits to eligible news outlets that employ local journalists and up to $10 million annually in income tax credits to businesses that advertise with these outlets.
The newspaper industry has seen a slow decline over the last two decades — as documented on CBS’s 60 Minutes this past Sunday.
The decay of local newspapers is driven in large part by a loss in advertising revenue as classifieds have moved to services like Craigslist and other ads have migrated online to Facebook, Google and other large platforms. In recent years, hedge funds and private equity firms have further squeezed local news by acquiring hundreds of newspapers and slashing costs — which has boosted profitability but led to additional layoffs.
In the past year, however, there’s been a push to enact federal policy to stop this trend, and the activity at the federal level has sparked state-level bills.
Lopez’s bill died this legislative session during a finance subcommittee meeting, with six Republicans voting against it and three Democrats voting for it. While the Arlington Democrat said the objections didn’t seem related to spending, he didn’t offer further theories about why it failed.
Lopez said he intends to keep applying pressure until this measure is adopted.
“I think we need local journalists to keep our constituents informed of what’s happening at the local level,” he tells ARLnow. “I’m going to bring this bill back every year until it becomes a law in the Commonwealth.”
The bill makes business sense because it would encourage ad revenue, which pays the salaries of local journalists, according to Lopez. It’s also good for democracy, he said, as areas without local coverage tend to have more government and small business corruption and see lower local election turnout.
Virginia Press Association Executive Director Betsy Edwards says it’s unfortunate the bill was killed.
“VPA supported this bill because it would have helped local newspapers through income tax credits,” she said. “While we did not work with Delegate Lopez in drafting this bill — we support what he was trying to do to help local news.”
Lopez modeled his bill on the federal Local Journalism Sustainability Act (LJSA), included in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, which effectively died when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) withdrew his support.
“It became clear to me that, in addition to improved business models and greater philanthropy, the crisis is so severe, and the threat to democracy so urgent, that we needed better public policy,” he tells ARLnow.