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Posted in Virginia's News on March 19, 2015
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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on March 19, 2015
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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on March 18, 2015
Legislation 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  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.
Posted in Virginia's News on March 18, 2015
This 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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on March 16, 2015
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.
Posted in Virginia's News on March 16, 2015
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.
Posted in VaNews from VPAP on March 15, 2015
Even 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.
Posted in Virginia's News on March 13, 2015
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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on March 10, 2015
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.
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.
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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on March 9, 2015
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.
Artist 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.
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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on March 5, 2015
Should 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.
It’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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on March 4, 2015
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.
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.
Posted in VaNews from VPAP on March 2, 2015
A 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
Posted in Virginia's News on March 2, 2015
Governor 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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on February 26, 2015
No 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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on February 25, 2015
Recent 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.
For 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.
When 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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on February 23, 2015
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.
Posted in Virginia's News on February 23, 2015
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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on February 22, 2015
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.
Posted in Virginia's News on February 22, 2015
One 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.
Posted in Uncategorized on February 16, 2015
With 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.”
Posted in VaNews from VPAP on February 15, 2015
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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on February 13, 2015
When a special needs child is a bit fussy or has a history of violent outbursts in a classroom setting, who has the right to restrain them or put them into seclusion—and who decides when that goes too far? In Virginia, that’s not clear. But as Tommie McNeil reports, a bill that’s sailed through both chambers of the General Assembly will soon change that.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on February 12, 2015
Both the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate today overwhelmingly approved their respective versions of the state’s spending plan. Budget day at the Virginia State Capitol typically reveals how lawmakers really feel about the state of the Commonwealth and how dire things are. But as Tommie McNeil reports, while lawmakers have philosophical differences, the tone, at least for now, doesn’t seem as contentious as it has been in recent years.
Virginia’s two big electric companies will escape state regulation of their base rates for up to eight years under a bill which caught opponents by surprise – a measure just approved by the Virginia House. Its sponsor promised a rate freeze for consumers, but as Sandy Hausman reports, your bill could still be going up.
Posted in Virginia's News on February 10, 2015
Posted in Virginia's News on February 9, 2015
The popular NPR podcast Serial is back in the headlines with news that a young Maryland man convicted of killing his high-school girlfriend will get the opportunity to appeal. Here in Virginia, a separate effort is underway to determine whether the guy featured in Serial is the real killer. Hawes Spencer has that story.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on February 8, 2015
There’s good news from the Governor and the heads of the General Assembly’s money committees. Despite dealing earlier with a significant revenue shortfall, the state is now seeing a $338-million revenue bump from withholdings through corporate income tax and insurance premiums. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil explains.
Bills to stop gerrymandering are enjoying an unusual bout of success in the General Assembly this year. While most pundits still think they’ll get shot down, the head of a political training center thinks there’s momentum for reform. Hawes Spencer reports.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on January 28, 2015
VEA President Meg Gruber pointed out that before the recent recession, Virginia ranked number one in the nation on the “chance of success” index for children, but that the state has now fallen to 9th place. And in spite of rhetoric at the Capitol about “holding the line” on education cuts, state funding has actually dropped 16% since 2009,when inflation is taken into account. Gruber said the new campaign aims to help the public recognize the troubling signs:
Gruber said elected leaders claim to be “friends of education”… so parents, teachers, and the public must compel them to take action to reverse these trends. The organizations will hold a rally in support of public education at the State Capitol on April 18th. More information can be found here.
Here’s the full audio of the news conference in Richmond:
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on January 27, 2015
Virginia governors would be allowed to run for a second, consecutive term of office under a constitutional amendment that has passed the state Senate. The revision would change a tradition that has left Virginia as the sole state in the nation to forbid its governor from running for re-election. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the 24 to 15 vote for passage did not break down along party lines.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on January 26, 2015
In advance of the General Assembly meeting tomorrow, the march called for several legislative reforms including an independent review board to handle issues of police misconduct and the implementation of police body cameras.
While many in opposition to body cameras site both cost and privacy concerns, the majority of protestors believed the transparency of cameras would help rebuild trust between communities and law enforcement. Intern Reporter James Perla was there.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on January 8, 2015
Ahead of next week’s start of the Virginia General Assembly Session, GOP lawmakers are rolling out new initiatives in public education. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, one reform is a revamped version of an unpopular law—which they say should be more useful to parents and stakeholders.
Posted in Virginia's News on January 8, 2015
Last fall’s controversial handcuffing and shackling of a Greene County pre-schooler might have been prevented by a new bill that could soon make its way through the General Assembly. Hawes Spencer reports.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on January 6, 2015
The judge’s punishment was far below the 10 years prosecutors wanted, but still more than the community service that the former governor and hundreds of supporters asked for.
Speaking to reporters after the sentencing, McDonnell said he was a fallen human being.
But McDonnell reiterates that he never betrayed his oath of office. He says he disagrees with the jury’s verdict, and his attorneys have already begin the appeal process with the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
McDonnell’s wife Maureen faces sentencing February 20th, after being convicted on eight counts of corruption.
You can hear his complete comments to the media following the sentencing.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on January 5, 2015
When he’s sentenced tomorrow will a former Virginia Governor get a slap on the wrist with community service or a short time in prison for 11 corruption convictions—or will U.S. District Judge James Spencer sentence him to a lengthy stint behind bars?
Tommie McNeil reports, one analyst says it’s probably the latter, and it will be interesting to see whether Bob McDonnell will remain free as he appeals his convictions.
It’s been almost a year since former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe took office as Virginia Governor, and many agree is that he’s hit the ground running. But while McAuliffe is proud of the work he’s accomplished thus far, some say he’s tripping over some obstacles-either of his own making or from a GOP-led legislature. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil has more from the State Capitol.
Virginia lawmakers are bemoaning the meager work accomplished in Washington in 2014. Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the story on how some lawmakers fear 2015 may once again bring stiff budget cuts that would hurt the state’s economy.
The City of Buena Vista has a loan payment due on January 15, a payment it does not intend to make. What will happen after that is unknown at present but one possible result is that local government officials and the police department will receive eviction notices. Fred Echols reports on a financial crisis in this Blue Ridge city of 7,000 residents that’s been in the making for more than a decade.
Despite criticism from gun-rights advocates and GOP legislative leaders, Governor McAuliffe is not retreating on a package of gun control measures that he has proposed for the upcoming General Assembly session. And as Tommie McNeil reports, the Governor ays this was one of his campaign promises, so no one should be surprised.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on December 29, 2014
Political junkies looking for a good read may find one in an exposé of insider political language by two veteran journalists. It’s called “Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs and Washington Handshakes: Decoding the Jargon, Slang and Bluster of American Political Speech.” The light-hearted book also has a serious purpose. Tommie McNeil reports.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on December 23, 2014
Recent reports about the growth of transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft would suggest that their success pits them directly against traditional taxi drivers. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, a representative from the taxi industry says that’s not what’s behind a rally in Richmond….where they called for more fairness for taxicab drivers.