Governor Announces New Center for Behavioral Health and Justice

McAuliffeVirginia is creating a new Center for Behavioral Health and Justice under an executive directive signed by Governor McAuliffe.  Its mission is to foster better interagency collaboration and help coordinate services in the state’s behavioral health system. The focus will be on individuals with mental illness who become involved with the criminal justice system.

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VaNews: Columbia, VA and Ridesharing v. Taxis

VPAPnewOne of Virginia’s smallest towns has voted itself out of existence….and now that the General Assembly has established regulations that allow commercial online ridesharing in Virginia the taxi industry says it can’t compete. Those are among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. 

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Virginia Lawmakers on Sequestration

US Capitol Dome & SenateThe House and Senate are set to debate the nation’s budget this week and it has huge implications for the region. Virginia lawmakers are fighting to keep those indiscriminate budget cuts known as sequestration at bay.

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Charlottesville Bouncer Says ABC Claimed Fear of Riot

Kevin Badke shows how he extended his arm to return the ID card.

Kevin Badke shows how he extended his arm to return the ID card.

The debate continues this week over the level of force Alcoholic Beverage Control Officers may have used force against a UVA student, turned away from a Charlottesville bar. The public still has no explanation for why Martese Johnson ended up bleeding from a head wound, lying on a sidewalk, restrained by three officers.

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Student Leader’s Bloody Arrest Sparks Outrage at UVA

Photo: Black Dot

Photo: Black Dot

A Virginia State Police investigation is underway regarding the March 18th arrest of an honored UVA student in Charlottesville by state ABC officers.  During the incident, the student was injured and a picture of him on the ground and bleeding from the head spread quickly on social media.

Governor Terry McAullife has ordered an administrative review, and at the request of the City of Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney, a criminal investigation is also underway. Hawes Spencer reports.

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“Kill the Bees, Kill the Economy”

HoneybeeAnnually for about 13 years, Virginia—like many other states—has been losing about 30% of its honey bee population to a host of problems.

Some might think that there’s no need to worry.  But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports,  aside from the delicious honey they produce, bees are a major contributor to the production of Virginia agriculture, the state’s top commodity.

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Concerns Over Campus Sexual Assault Legislation

College LectureLegislation that addresses campus sexual assaults is already on Governor McAuliffe’s desk—but before he signs off, amends, or vetoes anything, he has the input from members of his Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence to consider. The legislation requires campus employees to report sexual violence allegations to the Title IX [9] coordinator, who must report the allegation to a review team that meets within 72 hours.  And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, one subcommittee believes that while the legislation is a good first step, there’s more work ahead.

The legislation also states that if the review team determines that disclosure of the information is necessary to protect the health and safety of the victim or others, the Title IX coordinator would be required to disclose the information to the relevant law-enforcement agency.

 

 

 

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Shining Light on Virginia’s Death Row

Sunshine WeekThis week civic groups and nonprofits are taking a closer look at the importance of open government and freedom of information for Sunshine week.   To that end, WAMU reporter Michael Pope is looking deeper into Virginia’s Death Row.

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Virginia’s Teams Take on March Madness

Courtesy of VCU Athletics

               Courtesy of VCU Athletics

From the White House to your house, the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament brackets are out, and this year the Commonwealth has a real contender.

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Cracking Down on Cyber Bullying

Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown presents plaque to Tammy Garcia.

Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown presents plaque to Tammy Garcia.

In the future, Virginia will pass laws to help prevent and punish cyberbullying—if the Bedford County Sheriff gets his way.Sheriff Mike Brown was shocked by cases of tragic suicides that have followed bullying on the Internet and social media, so he is raising public awareness in the meantime. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, Brown plans to distribute DVDs that educate people about cyberbullying to every school in the Commonwealth.

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Alumnae Rally for Returning Sweet Briar Students

Students sing the "Holla Holla" song atop Monument Hill on Sunday. Photo by Hawes Spencer.

Students sing the “Holla Holla” song atop Monument Hill on Sunday. Photo by Hawes Spencer.

Alumnae of Sweet Briar, whose board voted to shut down the 114-year-old women’s college at the end of the summer, are brewing a fight. On Sunday, however, they turned their attention to embracing the students. Hawes Spencer reports.

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The Bake Sale Debate

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

A Virginia lawmaker and groups of parents and students are hoping the Governor and First Lady keep their hands and noses out of their cookie jars. Delegate Richard Bell wants schools to be able to raise money through bake sales-or sales of other products that some call “junk food”-on school property.  But that would remain prohibited if Governor McAuliffe vetoes a measure that may or may not compete with the First Lady’s prominent focus on nutrition.

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VaNews for 03.15.16

VPAPnewEven though Virginia imposes a financial penalty on localities when they create bike lanes on public streets Richmond has been given one year to do so without losing any money….and a Henrico County woman had to take drastic action to defend herself against a rabid raccoon. Those are among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews on vpap.org.  Fred Echols reports.

 

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Was Sweet Briar’s Board Rash or Reasonable?

SweetBriarUpdate

Photo: Sweet Briar College

Sweet Briar College was founded in 1901 when Indiana Fletcher Williams left her entire estate, including the Sweet Briar Plantation, to found an institution in the name of her deceased daughter, Daisy. 114 years later, the school unexpectedly announced its closure – sending shockwaves through alumnae, academia, and Amherst County.  Did the board act prudently, or did it move hastily?  Hawes Spencer reports.

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Inside the Governor’s Access Plan

terry+mcauliffe2During its recent session, Virginia’s General Assembly took action on the Governor’s Access Plan, which is a limited mental health and medical benefits package for a group of low-income adults in the Commonwealth. But what does it do, who is eligible, and what are its limitations?

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Governor Reviews Public Safety Measures

Photo: Creative Commons, Flickr

Photo: Creative Commons, Flickr

Bills that REALLY crack down on those who first exhibit signs of domestic abuse and strengthen penalties for sex traffickers are some of the public safety measures that the General Assembly recently sent to Governor McAuliffe.  The governor is also reviewing a potential new law that’s designed to take the temptation out of smuggling cigarettes.

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More Access to Dental Care

Gov. McAuliffe announces dental benefits at the VCU School  of Dentistry.The state’s Medicaid and FAMIS programs have traditionally authorized dental services for enrollees up to the age of 21. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, one group of adults will now have access to dental care under a new program announced by Governor McAuliffe.
 

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Property Owners’ Rights Need Clarifying

State Senator John Edwards

State Senator John Edwards

State Senator John Edwards drew applause at Monday’s Cabell Brand Center forum on gas pipelines with his assertion about property owners’ rights, but as Tim Thornton reports, the case may not be as clear as some people in the audience seemed to believe.

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Forum on Pipeline Projects

pipeline mapMore than 130 people gathered in Virginia Western Community College’s Whitman Auditorium today to learn more about natural gas pipelines.

Sponsored by The Cabell Brand Center, the forum sought to present arguments from both supporters and opponents of those pipelines… with explanation about the roles local, state and federal governments play in evaluating proposals for three pipelines planned to cross Virginia. Tim Thornton reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Charlottesville Aims Hidden Cameras on Own Workers

LONGO hawes

Chief Longo urging City Council to approve public surveillance cameras. Photo: Hawes Spencer

Charlottesville Police have planted as many as a dozen hidden cameras over the past few years – not to watch for criminals but to keep an eye on city employees. Not surprisingly, that’s causing controversy as Hawes Spencer reports.

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Anti-Hunger Initiative in High-Poverty Schools

U.S. Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Gov.  McAuliffe, and Rep. Bobby Scott watch as First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe  speaks at the announcement.

U.S. Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Gov. McAuliffe, and Rep. Bobby Scott watch as First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe speaks at the announcement.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack joined Virginia’s governor and first lady to announce an $8.8 million federal grant for an anti-hunger initiative in some of the state’s high-poverty schools. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the demonstration project will provide students in selected schools with breakfast, lunch, and after-school supper—as well as non-perishable food to take home on weekends and breaks.

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VA Lawmakers Weigh In on US/Cuba Relations

7049332619_fd035b9131_oWith more than $40 million in sales, Virginia is the third largest exporter of agricultural goods to Cuba of – after Georgia and Louisiana. Some lawmakers hope to normalize trade relations – but some feel it’s best to maintain our distance.

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Mental Health Reform Success in the General Assembly: A Mixed Bag

creigh_deedsOne of the state’s greatest proponents in the General Assembly for mental health reforms says when it comes to progress made during this legislative session, it’s a mixed bag. Senator Creigh Deeds says the MOST important legislation he sponsored actually died in the House of Delegates.

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VaNews: Execution Bill, Civilian Peace Officer Training

VPAPnewThe failure of a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates could stop executions in the Commonwealth, at least temporarily. And the General Assembly has increased training requirements for civilian peace officers. Those are among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VA News link onvpap.org. 

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Surf’s Up: The Art of Ryan McGinness

Year_2014_1Artist Ryan McGinness spent his teen years surfing, riding skateboards and making art in Virginia Beach.  Today, his brightly colored works – which incorporate strong graphics, signs and logos from popular culture, hang in museums around the world.  He’s based in Manhattan, but next month he comes back to share his ideas and techniques with kids from his hometown as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Push for Virginia Students May Have Backfired at Sweet Briar

SweetBriar

Photo Credit: Sweet Briar College

The news that Sweet Briar College would close after 114 years of educating women caught many by surprise. But to one veteran educator, it’s the culmination of a financial disaster wrought by rising costs, changing tastes, and more affordable alternatives. Hawes Spencer prepared this report.

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Measuring School Performance

classroomShould they be signed into law by Governor McAuliffe, bills recently passed by the General Assembly would modify some of the scrutiny of school systems that meet state standards.  And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the state would also create a different method to inform parents of how well those schools are doing.

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Tangier Island Missing Oyster Floats

Oyster CageIt’s been a rough winter out on the Chesapeake Bay for Virginia’s Tangier Island. Last month, Virginia Army National Guard flew in supplies after residents were trapped by thick ice from days of freezing temperatures and snow. Now, island watermen and a group of Richmond investors including former State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli have been dealt another blow by mother nature. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Lawmakers Build on Education Reform Bills

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

A large number of public education reform bills made it through this year’s General Assembly session. As Tommie McNeil reports, the sponsor of many of the House bills says lawmakers wanted to build on last year’s successes with the SOL reforms.

 

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Parents of Slain Students See Jesse Matthew for the First Time

Jesse Matthew

Jesse Matthew

The parents of slain college students Morgan Harrington and Hannah Graham got their first look at the man they believe killed their daughters. Hawes Spencer reports.

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VA News for 3.2.15: Deer Hunting, Southern Virginia University Policies

VPAPnewA plan to bring deer hunters into an Albemarle County’s subdivision has neighbors at odds with one another…and a Virginia university that primarily educates Mormon students has been cleared of an anti-gay harassment accusation but told to institute some new policies. Those are among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VA News link on vpap.org. Fred Echols reports. S

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March is Mediation Month

handshakeGovernor McAuliffe has named March “Mediation Month” in the Commonwealth, to honor the work done in courts and other resolution centers.  As Beverly Amsler reports, The Virginia Association for Community Conflict Resolution and the Virginia Mediation Network are promoting several free seminars during the month.

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General Assembly Ends, Children of Undocumented Parents Still Have In-State Tuition

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

The 2015 legislative session in Virginia may be remembered for expanding access to medical marijuana and excusing Dominion Power from government oversight of its rates, but it could also be known for what didn’t happen. Sandy Hausman reports.

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Ethics Reform Passed in Final Hours of General Assembly Session

Virginia_State_CapitolState and local officials would be governed by tougher ethics rules under legislation that passed the General Assembly during the final hours of the 2015 session.  As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the bills make it illegal for lobbyists, their clients, and anyone who seeks to do business with the state or local governments to give an official a gift worth more than $100.

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Lawmakers Pass State Budget

Virginia_State_CapitolNo post session per diems, last-minute deals, and burning of the midnight oil this year. While the votes were not unanimous, Senate and House lawmakers have passed a state budget that includes pay raises for state employees, college faculty, state police, and teachers. But as Tommie McNeil reports, although the bill passed by an overwhelming margin, some assert there’s still something missing.

 

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Lawmakers Consider Tighter Guidlines on Home Daycare Providers

Day-Care-CenterRecent tragedies where children have died under the care of unlicensed daycare providers have prompted the General Assembly to pass measures to strengthen Virginia’s licensing guidelines. But as WVTF RADIO IQ’s Tommie McNeil reports, while lawmakers agree on the overall goals, they’re still trying to reach a consensus on how far the guidelines should go.

One version of the legislation is now in a conference committee, which will try to reconcile differences between the House and Senate.

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UVA Students Vote On Softening 1842 Honor Code

HonorCodeFor 172 years, the University of Virginia has had a rule that students caught cheating, lying or stealing get kicked out. In the 21st century, that seems harsh to some, and students are now voting on whether to change the rule. Hawes Spencer reports.

 

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Traveling Through Virtual Art History

DivinationWhen it comes to ethnicity, the largest group of people in Virginia-about 20% — trace their ancestry back to Africa, but kids in our schools learn relatively little about African history, arts and culture.  Now, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will offer a lively supplement to the curriculum — taking children on a virtual trip to Mali, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Sandy Hausman has details.

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Humane Pet Sales Bill Clears Both Houses in General Assembly

1557627176_67e8d0bb56_oSales of dogs and cats in Virginia would be governed by tougher restrictions under legislation that has passed both houses of the General Assembly.  The bill limits pet shops to selling dogs that were obtained from humane societies, public or private animal shelters, and qualified breeders. One goal is to close the loopholes in state law that have allowed puppy mills some latitude to sell in the Commonwealth.

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Lawmakers Consider “Right to Try” for Terminally Ill Patients

Aimee Hardy advocates for the legislation

Aimee Hardy advocates for the legislation.

Patients with a terminal illness would have expanded access to investigational drugs under Senate legislation that has been given preliminary approval by the House of Delegates. The bill would allow manufacturers to supply the medicine when all other treatment options have been exhausted. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the legislation—which has been dubbed the “Right to Try” bill—was inspired by a young boy in the Commonwealth who fought for access to an investigational drug last year.

 

 

 

 

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UVA Looks to History, Italy in Fixing Rotunda

Rotunda Sullivan

UVA President Teresa Sullivan shows off a Carrara marble capital. Photo: Hawes Spencer

Just as Thomas Jefferson did nearly 200 years ago, restoration experts for the University of Virginia’s Rotunda have turned to history to bring this iconic building into the 21st Century. Hawes Spencer has more.

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VaNews: General Assembly Stories

VPAPnewConcerns about government surveillance have created an unlikely political alliance in Richmond. And the Virginia General Assembly has second thoughts about brass knuckles. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org.

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Rallying the Legislators: Richmond’s Bell Tower

Belltower1 (1)During the General Assembly session in Richmond, lawmakers are rallied to the Capitol each day by two different bell towers that ring in coordination with each other. Reporter Michael Pope wanted to know why.

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Obamacare on the Ropes

ACALawsuitOne of the biggest Supreme Court cases of this term could wipe away the insurance subsidies that tens of thousands of Virginians now rely on under the Affordable Care Act. Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the story on how Virginia lawmakers in both parties are already scrambling to find a Plan B.  

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Lawmakers Crack Down on Cigarette Smuggling

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Republican state senator is trying desperately to crack down on cigarette trafficking from Virginia to the Northeast, which evidence suggests is so profitable that it’s funding terrorist organizations and fuels organized crime. But several members of his own caucus in the House are standing in the way of one bill that’s passed the Senate.

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Home School Sports Bill Advances in General Assembly

189770708_560f025b63_oSome Virginia students who are home-schooled may be able to participate in public school interscholastic programs under legislation that has passed both houses of the General Assembly.  Lawmakers also sought to alleviate some concerns raised by school divisions.

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Exotic Weapons Ban Debated in General Assembly

Ballistic knives

Ballistic knives

In Richmond, lawmakers are taking action to overturn a longstanding ban on selling blackjacks, brass knuckles, throwing stars and ballistic knives. Virginia reporter Michael Pope has more from the state Capitol.

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Senate Debates Junk Food in School Fundraisers

208692428_8a433b5267_oVirginia schools could hold numerous fundraisers per year selling food that doesn’t meet nutritional guidelines under legislation that has passed both houses of the General Assembly.  The bill requires the Board of Education to craft regulations that would be more permissive than current state policy, and permit the sale of what some call “junk food” during school hours.  The Senate made its decision only after lengthy debate about what’s really best for the students.

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Governor Declares State of Emergency for Virginia

Gov State PrepsWith a major snowstorm blowing across the Commonwealth, Governor Terry McAuliffe says the declaration allows the Virginia Department of Transportation to mobilize its 12,000 pieces of equipment, and 2,500 workers and contractors to respond.

The governor is also calling on Virginians to stay off the roads, if possible, in order to allow emergency vehicles passage and to cut down on the potential for accidents.

“Every part of the Commonwealth is going to be impacted by this storm,” Gov. McAuliffe said. “Every single part of the Commonwealth.”

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VaNews from VPAP: Most Read Stories

VPAPnewVirginia’s James City County paid $25-million to buy water it never bought and may have to pay $33-million more…

VCU is preparing for major schedule disruptions when a world cycling event comes to downtown Richmond this fall. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week the Virginia Public Access Project’s V-A News link on V-PAP-dot-org. Fred Echols reports.

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