Morning Read: Secular-Rights Lobbyists Headed to Virginia - NBC4 Washington
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Morning Read: Secular-Rights Lobbyists Headed to Virginia



    If you think Virginia politics has been driven by religion to its detriment this legislative session, then this lobbyist group is pushing your cause.

    A national secular group is planning to have a lobbying interest in Virginia by January with a strictly religious-free agenda.

    Virginia is part of the first group of states the Secular Coalition for America is targeting for new chapters with trained lobbyists in each statehouse, according to the Associated Press.

    It will focus on this first batch of states because that’s where the group sees the most egregious legislation emerging from.

    During this past legislation session, Virginia introduced a number of controversial measures that one could easily argue were rooted in state lawmakers’ religious beliefs.

    Among them: the now-infamous transvaginal ultrasound abortion bill and another measure that protects religious-affiliated child-placement organizations from being forced to place adoptive children with same-sex couples.

    The group, according to the AP, emphasizes that it is not just for atheists, but for people who want keep to religion out of their laws.

    Still, the SCA isn’t expecting a warm reception in Virginia, where every House of Delegates and State Senate floor session begins with a prayer.

    Del. Robert G. Marshall (R) had this to say about the group, according to the AP: "I hope to drive them to their knees in prayer ...but this time in Washington."


    * The Associated Press apparently thinks there are too many prostitutes outside of its D.C. bureau.

    Jim Romenesko obtained an email from a manager at the AP informing his colleagues that he has been in touch with the commander of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Third District about the resurgence of the prostitution problem in front of its bureau on the 1100 block of 13th Street.

    He requested for the area to be made a “prostitution free zone.” Commander Jacob Kishter responded by saying “the prostitution free zones are under legal review currently so they are not being used, but we can definitely do some undercover work in the area.”

    * A federal judge this week dismissed a defamation suit filed by reformed gangster Cornell Jones, accused by the D.C. attorney general of using more than $300,000 from D.C.'s HIV/AIDS program to open a strip club, according to the Washington Times.

    The judge also denied a motion by Jones to amend the complaint.

    The suit filed by the attorney general is still pending. Read the full story here.

    * Gov. Martin O’Malley is traveling to Wisconsin today to campaign for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who is running against Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the heated gubernatorial recall election next week.

    According to the Baltimore Sun, Colm O’Comartun, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, which O’Malley chairs, said the DGA has already donated $3.2 million to the campaign.

    O’Malley will be in Milwaukee and Madison.

    * Washington City Paper’s latest cover story is about Michael Sindram -- Washington D.C.’s squeakiest wheel. Read about the gadfly who is at nearly every D.C. council hearing.

    * Virginia State Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D) has a nickname for Gov. McDonnell: VP.

    And here’s a hint, the VP does not stand for vice-president. Instead, it stands for... vaginal probe.

    On a conference call with reporters Tuesday, the Washington Post reports, Lucas talked about the Wisconsin recall election and said that, like McDonnell, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants to turn the clock back on women’s rights.

    McDonnell’s nickname derives from what Lucas describes as his “outrageous ultrasound bill” that, in its original form, would have required a woman to get a transvaginal ultrasound prior to an abortion.