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Cuccinelli not defending school takeover law

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) informed Gov. Bob McDonnell on Tuesday that his office will not defend a new law in court that allows the state to take over failing schools. The Norfolk City School Board and the Virginia School Boards Association are expected to file a constitutional challenge to the law.

In a letter to McDonnell, Cuccinelli states that the decision was made after performing a constitutional analysis of the law, which was passed during this year’s General Assembly session with McDonnell’s backing. He advises the governor that he may use special counsel to represent the state.

“Attorney General Cuccinelli certainly supports efforts to turn failing schools around. However, his legal analysis shows that, unfortunately, this law goes about it in a way that is unconstitutional,” said Brian Gottstein, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office. “The Virginia Constitution states — and the courts have affirmed — that the supervision of public schools must remain with their local school districts.”

Cuccinelli is running for governor in this year’s statewide elections against Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Libertarian Robert Sarvis.

I-95 HOV lane closures scheduled

The Virginia Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that it is planning six weekends of complete closures of the Interstate 95 reversible HOV lanes between Edsall Road and Dumfries. The closures will facilitate construction of the 95 Express Lanes.

On the weekends of Sept. 13, 20, and 27, the HOV lanes will close on Friday nights, remain closed all day on Saturdays, and reopen on Sunday afternoons by 2 p.m. heading northbound.

On the weekends of Oct. 4, 18 and 25, the HOV lanes will close on Friday nights and remain closed the entire weekend, and reopen on Monday mornings by 4 a.m. heading northbound.

On Columbus Day weekend, the weekend of Oct. 11, the HOV lanes will close during overnight hours only.

In addition, on Sundays when the Washington Redskins play at home, the HOV lanes will open northbound by 2 p.m.

County businesses add 1,600 jobs

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority reports that it provided services and resources to 60 businesses that are adding more than 1,400 jobs in Fairfax County in the second quarter of 2013. Most of these businesses are in the information technology and professional services sectors, and seven are foreign-based firms using a Fairfax County location to expand in North America.

“It is most impressive for so many companies in Fairfax County to be hiring at this time,” Gerald Gordon, president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority, said in a released statement. “In the midst of federal budget issues and a generally slow economy, such growth speaks to the continuing diversification of the county’s economy and its core vitality.”

The biggest announcement came from Amazon Web Services, which designs and offers IT infrastructure services to business and government customers and is adding 500 IT-focused positions.