In the News
– Capitol Hill: Perriello sponsors earmark fundraising ban, posted Wednesday, 7:45 p.m.
– State News: Park Service announces stimulus projects, including Shenandoah National Park project, posted Wednesday, 7:45 p.m.
– State News: Planned Parenthood aims to provide Plan B emergency contraception to teens, posted Wednesday, 7:45 p.m.
– Event: Arts Council to present Governor’s School artworks, posted Wednesday, 9:15 a.m.
– State News: Kaine concludes Israel portion of foreign trade mission, posted Wednesday, 9:15 a.m.
Capitol Hill: Perriello sponsors earmark fundraising ban, posted Wednesday, 7:45 p.m.
Congressman Tom Perriello is an original co-sponsor of a bill that would prohibit Members of Congress from taking campaign contributions from companies, including their senior executives and lobbyists, on whose behalf they have requested earmarks. His championing of the legislation comes after voting five times (one of only a handful of Democrats to do so) for a resolution by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) calling for an ethics investigation of links between campaign donations and earmarks.
“While I’m living up to my commitment not to accept contributions from corporate PACs or lobbyists, I think the entire Congress should be held to a higher standard,” said Perriello. “We must demand a new era of honesty and accountability in Washington and on Wall Street to get this country back on course.”
The Clean Law for Earmark Accountability Reform (CLEAR) Act would ban congressional campaigns from accepting campaign contributions from any senior executive or registered lobbyist representing an entity for which a Member of Congress has requested earmarked federal funding in that election cycle. A senior executive is defined as the President, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, or Chief Financial Officer.
The Flake resolution, which Perriello has supported numerous times, arose from ongoing news reports about an FBI investigation of potentially improper campaign donations from the lobbying firm PMA Group, whose executives donated millions of dollars to the campaigns of key Members and received millions of dollars worth of earmarks for their clients.
State News: Park Service announces stimulus projects, including Shenandoah National Park project, posted Wednesday, 7:45 p.m.
The National Park Service (NPS) today announced nearly 800 projects totaling $750 million that can be completed across the country with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This major effort includes projects in the agency’s Northeast Region, which includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland.
Included on the list is a $9.4 million project to rehabilitate 16 historic overlooks along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.
“These projects are an investment in America’s future that will create jobs, stimulate the economies of local communities, and get our country moving again,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “They are also an investment in telling the story of America to future generations through our national parks by conserving our awe-inspiring landscapes, our rich culture, and our great heritage.”
“We will use Recovery Act funding to make a difference in parks,” said Acting Director Dan Wenk. “We will fix trails, invest in energy efficient vehicles, build new visitor facilities, cleanup abandoned mine sites, increase our ability to generate power from the sun, and finally complete overdue maintenance on our buildings and roads.”
State News: Planned Parenthood aims to provide Plan B emergency contraception to teens, posted Wednesday, 7:45 p.m.
Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Inc. will begin providing over-the-counter Plan B emergency contraception (EC) to 17-year-olds as soon as the regional health care organization receives word that it may legally do so. The FDA is expected to imminently announce that it would allow the sale of EC without a prescription to women as young as 17, making the post-coital contraceptive method available to minors for the first time without a doctor’s order.
“As soon as the FDA indicates we are legally able to provide over-the-counter emergency contraception to 17-year-old patients we will begin doing so,” says David Nova, Vice President of Planned Parenthood Health Systems. “This public health issue has taken years to resolve and we will not delay access to care by one single day.”
In March, a federal district court issued a strongly worded ruling to that criticized the Bush Administration for its political, non-scientific handling of the requests that EC be available to all women without a prescription. Specifically, the court ruled that the FDA cannot prevent EC being sold over the counter to 17 year olds, effective within 30 days. The court further ruled that the FDA must reconsider whether minors under the age of 17 should be permitted to obtain EC over the counter.
“We applaud the FDA’s decision,” says Nova. “This is a common sense policy will help reduce the alarming rate of unintended pregnancies among teens and protect their health and safety.” The U.S. has the highest rate of teen pregnancy among the most developed countries in the world. Approximately 750,000 teens will become pregnant this year.
Studies show that teenagers use emergency contraception responsibly and don’t rely on it as a regular method of birth control. Emergency contraception pills contain hormones that reduce the risk of pregnancy when started within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse. The sooner EC is administered, the better it works, making timely access critically important.
Event: Arts Council to present Governor’s School artworks, posted Wednesday, 9:15 a.m.
WHO: Arts Council of the Valley
WHAT: The Arts Council will exhibit two- and three-dimensional works of art by students attending the Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School. The artwork and exhibition were created under the direction of Jennifer Vaughan, a member of the school’s faculty.
WHEN: The exhibition opens from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, May 1, 2009 and will remain on view through May 27.
WHERE: The exhibition will be featured in the Darrin-McHone Art Gallery at the Smith House, which is located at 311 S. Main Street in downtown Harrisonburg.
WHAT ELSE: A festive May 1 opening reception will correspond with the First Fridays Downtown activities.
The Smith House is open to the public from 9-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please call 540.801.8779 or go to www.valleyarts.org for more information.
State News: Kaine concludes Israel portion of foreign trade mission, posted Wednesday, 9:15 a.m.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Tuesday concluded three days of meetings with business and government leaders in Israel. Governor Kaine and First Lady Anne Holton are visiting as guests of the Israeli government to promote Virginia to business and government leaders. Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Patrick O. Gottschalk is also traveling with Gov. Kaine.
In addition to his participation in roundtable discussions focused on the manufacturing and life sciences industries, Governor Kaine met with executives from Oran Safety Glass (OSG), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Strauss Group, three Israeli companies operating facilities in Virginia.
“All three companies are pleased with the success they are experiencing in the Commonwealth,” Gov. Kaine said. “In fact, at our meeting, Teva Pharmaceuticals announced that its Bedford County plant has been designated as a strategic facility for the company, a key indicator of Teva’s confidence in its Virginia operation.”
In December 2008, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries acquired Barr Pharmaceuticals, parent company of Barr Laboratories, which has operated in Bedford County since 1996. In January 2008 Barr Laboratories invested $62 million to add production and packaging capacity at its Bedford County facility. Teva is among the top 20 pharmaceutical companies and among the largest generic pharmaceutical companies in the world.
OSG in May 2008 invested $2.65 million to expand its Greensville County facility. OSG is Israel’s leading flat and curved glass processing company. The Greensville County facility, the company’s first U.S. operation, supplies bullet-proof glass for U.S. military vehicles.
Strauss Group, Israel’s second largest food and beverage Group, has over the past few years become an international corporation with a steadily growing part of its business conducted outside of Israel. The Group employs more than 11,000 people and operates in 19 countries. Sabra Dipping Company, a U.S./Canadian joint venture between Strauss Group and PepsiCo, announced in November 2008 its plans to open a food manufacturing facility in Chesterfield County, creating 260 jobs.