Archive for May, 2011

Virginia’s Aging Population

There hasn’t been a systematic study of seniors in Virginia since the late 70s and early 80s … and since then the needs of the Commonwealth’s aging population have changed dramatically. Now there’s a new study in the works to assist in planning for what is being called the “age wave.” And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the feedback indicates that there’s a lot of preparation to be done.

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Challenges to Small Businesses

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor returned to his Richmond-area district to host a jobs forum comprised of small business-owners and economists … to discuss the challenges they are facing. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, Cantor said he would like to take many of Virginia’s business models back to Washington and incorporate those practices there.

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Groups Call for Delay on New Adoption Regulations

An alliance of advocacy organization is seeking to delay state regulations that would prevent adoptions by gay couples in Virginia. The new rules removed proposed language that would ban discrimination in adoptions based on family status, sexual orientation and other factors. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the groups say the State Board of Social Services revised the language without adequate time for public comment.

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State Funding to Charities

State lawmakers are working to develop new appropriations criteria in the wake of an Attorney General’s opinion clarifying that direct funding to charities violates the state constitution.  And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the goals include determining whether they can still receive some version of state funding—and, if so, under what conditions.

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PolitiFact Virginia: The Tax Code

As Congressional Democrats and Republicans work toward what they hope will be reductions in the federal deficit, there is no shortage of claims and counter-claims about the budget. A favorite target for criticism is the Tax Code. Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor recently said the income tax is so flawed that nearly 50% of all federal filers pay “no” tax. Researchers at the website  decided to check out that claim by Congressman Cantor.  Virginia Public Radio’s Fred Echols talked with Warren Fiske with PolitiFact, in his office at the Richmond Times Dispatch.

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Uranium Mining

A consortium of anti-uranium mining groups says it’s stepping up its campaign to visit communities and inform residents and lawmakers about the risks of uranium mining in Virginia.  Although there is a statewide ban on uranium mining, several companies are lobbying the state to lift it in order to mine a large deposit in Pittsylvania County—and perhaps elsewhere—to create jobs and prosperity.  Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil has more from the State Capitol.

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Familial DNA

Although some believe the practice is invasive…Virginia is moving forward with familial DNA testing that helps police capture violent offenders.  But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the technology will be used as a last resort …and even defense attorneys may embrace the approach.

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Virginia & Health Care Reform

A three-judge panel heard oral arguments in appeals of two U-S district court decisions that either upheld the federal-health care law or struck down the mandate requiring most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.  The two cases heard before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals arose from lawsuits filed by the Commonwealth of Virginia and Liberty University.  Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports from the federal courthouse in Richmond.

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Cuts to Community Action Projects

The White House and Congress are both talking about cutting federal spending. Groups in Virginia that work with the poor say their programs are a small part of the government’s budget.  But they say some of those cuts will mean big problems for their clients.  Virginia Public Radio’s Joe Staniunas reports.

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Paychecks Made Public

Virginia’s Freedom of Information Advisory Council is weighing whether the law should allow the public to know -and the media to publish-the names, positions, and compensation of state employees … or whether such transparency is an invasion of privacy.  And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the members agree that the public has a right to know how tax dollars are being spent … but they’re not sure yet how MUCH information is appropriate.

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Small Business Appreciation Week

While Governor McDonnell will be spending next week abroad in Asia to build business relationships there, he’s asking Virginians to continue building relationships with small businesses as part of the Commonwealth’s Business Appreciation Week.  Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil has more from the State Capitol.

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Governor McDonnell on Gas Prices

Despite the fact that federal officials have once killed a proposal to lift the moratorium on offshore gas and oil drilling, Governor McDonnell says he is not dissuaded … and is continuing his push to convince President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to expedite the process.  And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, McDonnell says rising gas prices are hurting families and businesses so much that a delay will cripple the economy even more.

The Sierra Club’s response is that even if the moratorium were lifted today, it would still take years to take advantage of any oil or gas discovered, and during that time, the country could be investing in renewable, cleaner energy exploration and development.

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