Archive for the ‘local government’ Category

Re-Districting After Shelby County v. Alabama: a Volatile Mix of Race and Politics

In 2012, following the 2010 decennial census, Virginia re-drew the boundaries of its Congressional Districts.  In 2013, plaintiffs brought a Voting Rights Act challenge to that re-districting.  They alleged that the re-districting unconstitutionally packed African-American voters into a small number of Districts.  The suit was ultimately defended by Virginia’s Republican Congressional delegation and was initiated […]


Lights, Camera, Action: Entering the Age of Electronic Law Enforcement with the Use of Body-Worn Cameras

This article was originally published in the Journal of Local Government Law, a publication of Local Government Section of the Virginia State Bar. It is posted here with copyright permission. Rapid technological advancements are putting law enforcement agencies across the country in a difficult position. It is now easier than ever for citizens to record […]


Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law: October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!  The Virginia Supreme Court issued opinions on Halloween this year. A complete coincidence, but I do hope that nothing in this term’s opinions has scares you!  This term resulted in two cases related to school law, and one related to DSS law.  As always, congratulations to the winners! The case summaries are taken […]


Seven Attributes of Good Local Government Leadership

As a long-time local government attorney, I have had the opportunity to study local government officials a lot.  Over the years, I have sat on the dais or in the meeting room or in a conference room and examined the traits of elected and appointed local government officials that help and those that hurt.  In […]


Nervous Time for Localities: The General Assembly Is In Session

It happens in January, every year.  The General Assembly convenes and considers all manner of bills that localities support or oppose.  And localities get nervous.  More nervous than most Assembly-watchers, I say. Why would that be? While the General Assembly adopts legislation every year that affects Virginians, arguably it has more of an effect on […]


Summertime and the Livin’ is … Busy

With apologies to Gershwin, Heyward and Gershwin, who authored the famous musical, Porgy and Bess, and its signature song, “Summertime,” this author has been busy.


Devolution: Will Virginia Pass its “Neglected,” “Crumbling” Highway System on to Local Governments?

As discussed on this blog previously, there is a movement afoot in the Virginia General Assembly to transfer the responsibility and costs of the secondary road system in Virginia to your local county, city or town.  See our previous post — VDOT Study: Will State Roads Become Local Again?  (To be clear, secondary roads are more […]


Virginia Freedom of Information Act: FOIA Advisory Council, Training and Resources

There are few things more basic to the practice of local government law than the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.  The Act can be easy to comply with in some respects, and yet can be complex in some details. Violations or suspected violations can hold political or even criminal penalties. Fortunately, local government attorneys, public officials, and citizens […]


A Government Solution

I am often asked. “What kind of law do you practice?”  As a long-time local government attorney, most of my practice involves representing and defending litigation against governments, governmental entities, officials and their employees.  That is what I have done for most of my legal career in private practice and as a full-time attorney with Arlington, Culpeper […]


VDOT Secondary Roads Study: Will State Roads Become Local Again?

At the end of June, the Virginia Secretary of Transportation announced a new study dated June 16, 2011 that says something we all have known for a decade or more — the state has no funds to adequately maintain our roads, let alone construct new ones, and that our roads and bridges are in a […]