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Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on December 22, 2014
A gubernatorial panel created to propose ethics reforms has recommended revisions to Virginia laws on redistricting, as well as an amendment to the state Constitution that would revise the way legislative districts are drawn. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the Governor’s Commission to Ensure Integrity and Public Confidence in State Government left no doubt that it considers the current process to be overtly partisan and unfair.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on December 18, 2014
Praises, tears, accolades, and stories of lives renewed are par for the course in a church setting. But although the venue was a church in Richmond, the occasion was the long-awaited restoration of rights for three Virginians who are among the thousands who have— and will have—their rights restored by Governor McAuliffe. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil explains, although the process is still not automatic, the governor has made it simpler.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on December 17, 2014
Governor McAuliffe told the General Assembly’s money committees Wednesday that while they made great strides in closing the state’s budget shortfall, much more needs to be done to secure Virginia’s future. As Virginia Public Radio Tommie McNeil reports, it’s why he will continue to implement nearly 954 million dollars in spending cuts over the biennium and work to advance his vision for the upcoming session.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on December 16, 2014
Governor McAuliffe says when he addresses lawmakers about the state’s budget this week, he intends to talk about his new economic development package. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, his initiative includes legislative proposals that the governor says are necessary to reduce the Commonwealth’s reliance on federal dollars.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on December 11, 2014
The Commonwealth’s Attorney General has some advice for Virginians who plan to do lots of holiday shopping—especially over the Internet and with a credit or debit card. He says scammers love this time of year–and therefore, it’s up to you to be extra vigilant. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil explains how.
Posted in Virginia's News on December 7, 2014
In the wake of Rolling Stone renouncing its own story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, some students say that Jackie, the undergraduate at the center of the storm, has been abused– this time by the magazine. Hawes Spencer reports.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on December 4, 2014
It’s back to the drawing board for a slightly revamped State Board of Health, which now has new political appointees. The Board has decided to study and amend abortion clinic regulations that have only been in effect since last year. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the regulations’ defenders say the inspections have uncovered unsafe conditions, while abortion-rights advocates say the rules may force clinics to close.
Sticking to his promise not to discuss or attack any other potential 2016 presidential candidate, former Democratic U.S. Senator Jim Webb today [Wednesday] did discuss where he believes the U.S. needs improvement—and where his own party has contributed to the dysfunction in Congress. More from Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil.
In spite of recent stronger penalties, traffickers are still smuggling Virginia’s low-tax cigarettes to other states—especially to New York City, where demand for the Commonwealth’s cigarettes is soaring due to the city’s high excise taxes.
Some estimates suggest that 21 percent of Virginia cigarettes end up in other states, where profits are so high that many criminals would rather sell tobacco than heroin. But the State Crime Commission is recommending a different tactic to deter the traffickers.
Posted in Virginia's News on December 3, 2014
The American Humane Society calls pet overpopulation a tragic problem, forcing shelters to euthanize millions of cats and dogs each year. Now, students at the University of Virginia have a solution – a non-surgical, reversible form of birth control for pets. Sandy Hausman has that story.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on December 2, 2014
In court documents released late yesterday, the federal judge who presided over the corruption trial of former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, rejected a request by the former first couple for a new trial. Judge James Spencer also denied their request to throw out their guilty verdicts—with the exception of one conviction against Maureen. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil has more details.
Posted in Virginia's News on December 2, 2014
The president of the University of Virginia cancelled a speech to the National Press Club in favor of speaking to students Monday. She pledged a series of changes to combat sexual assault on campus – among them, forcing fraternities to operate under new rules and pressing police to arrest sellers of date rape drugs. Sandy Hausman has details.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on December 1, 2014
Virginia universities have invested at least one-billion-dollars in highly sophisticated, expensive equipment for research and development. Some allow entrepreneurs to have access to that equipment and school expertise for a fee. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, a panel of lawmakers and experts is working to craft state policies to expand such opportunities in a way that benefits businesses, universities, and taxpayers.
Posted in Virginia's News on December 1, 2014
Many people spend their weekends looking at houses. Some are in the market to buy. Others are just nosey, but recently Virginians toured a new building like no other in the nation – a place that gets all its water from rain, generates all the power it needs, has not a single flush toilet and keeps the floors clean in an ingenious way. Sandy Hausman took the tour and filed this report.
Posted in VaNews from VPAP on December 1, 2014
As the blue crab harvest in the Chesapeake Bay continues to decline there’s still uncertainty over the causes and disagreement about what should be done. That’s been one of the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link at vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.
Earlier this month Virginia voters sent three new politicians to represent them in Washington. For most, their terms won’t start until January, but, as Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo explains, they’ve been busy learning how to be a member of one of the most exclusive bodies on earth.
A University of Virginia Medical Clinic sees one or two patients a week for injuries from…of all things…yoga. That’s an unfortunate side effect of the practice’s boom…20.4 million Americans do yoga and on average spend $500 a year on clothes and retreats. Reporter Lydia Wilson spoke with a teacher-turned-entrepreneur trying to reverse the rising trend of yoga injuries.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on November 30, 2014
When Americans think of terrorism, they often envision 9-11-style attacks or some other extreme act of violence. But the nation’s enemies don’t just hail from a specific part of the world, and Americans are under attack every day—not by air, land, or sea, but electronically through data breaches and hacking. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, that’s why the commonwealth’s Cyber Security Commission is focusing on discovering vulnerabilities and strengthening the state’s databases.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on November 21, 2014
A Virginia child advocacy organization has a new take on “No Child Left Behind”—that is, making sure all children in Virginia have health insurance. And while that IS possible right now, Voices for Virginia’s Children says that could change in the very near future if federal lawmakers don’t act. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports.
Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2014
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on November 17, 2014
Virginia schools are increasingly confronted with youth who exhibit challenging behavior. And while schools sometimes use physical restraint and seclusion to de-escalate a crisis, the state does not have any explicit laws or regulations that govern their use. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, that concerns the Commission on Youth, which is recommending legislation to require the Board of Education to formulate new rules and restrictions.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on November 16, 2014
Although they’re not quite final, the Governor’s Commission on Integrity and Public Confidence in State Government is just about ready to submit its recommendations to Governor McAuliffe to meet his December 1st deadline. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, one of the lingering issues is how to change the process for determining legislative districts and prevent gerrymandering.
Eric Cantor loses the number two spot in the House of Representatives, former Governor Bob McDonnell is convicted on corruption charges, and Mark Warner almost loses his U.S. Senate seat after one term. Political analyst Bob Holsworth told social studies teachers at a Civics Summit that if he had predicted several years ago what happened to Virginia’s most popular politicians this year, he probably would not have been invited to speak. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, he offered some enlightenment about the Commonwealth’s recent electoral politics.
Posted in Uncategorized on November 11, 2014
The State Crime Commission is wrestling with how to craft balanced legislation that addresses the growing problem of underage teens who take sexually explicit images of themselves and send them to others. The members’ concern is heightened by some widely published cases—including a Louisa County “sexting” ring involving 100 teens and 1,000 images of minors posted on Instagram. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, they’re also concerned that the penalties in existing laws designed for adult child predators may be too steep for teens.
With a concession speech in Northern Virginia by Republican Ed Gillespie, the U.S. Senate race is officially over, and Democrat Mark Warner will be entering his second term as a U.S. Senator. More from Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil.
It does not appear that Virginia lawmakers have a clear idea of how to house and treat thousands of people who are developmentally and intellectually disabled after the federal government ordered four of the five state facilities to close as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the debate isn’t about whether it’s right to house them within their communities, but whether the state can pay for adequate facilities to fit all their needs.
The Virginia Outdoors Foundation has agreed to act as a mediator in a property rights dispute between a Fauquier County farmer and the Piedmont Environmental Council. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports that depending on the outcome, some farmers say the case could have a negative impact on the state’s conservation easements program and create a hostile environment between landowners and government entities.
Though it’s not yet official Democrat Mark Warner appears to have narrowly won reelection to the US Senate in a contest that was much closer than anticipated. Even in apparent victory, Warner’s national brand may have been tarnished by his election night struggle against Republican Ed Gillespie. Fred Echols reports.
For 27 years in Charlottesville, the Virginia Film Festival has provided an annual showcase of movies, everything from independent films to classics to documentaries, along with panel discussions and other special events. Not to mention an opportunity for local folks to rub elbows with some big names in film. Andrew Jenner reports.
Posted in Virginia's News on November 4, 2014
In a mid term election, the goal is to ‘get out the vote.’ As Robbie Harris tells us, one demographic is stepping up its “G-O-T-V’ efforts this time around.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on November 3, 2014
Virginia voters head to the polls today to elect a U.S. Senator, their member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and a number of local offices in various localities. They also must make a decision on a state constitutional amendment—whether to authorize local property tax exemptions for the surviving spouses of military members who were killed in action. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, voters must also present a valid photo ID when they go to cast their ballots.
More information on acceptable forms of identification and ALL of the candidates on the ballot can be found on the Virginia Department of Elections website at: elections.virginia.gov. Voters who don’t bring photo IDs can still cast provisional ballots, then present valid IDs to their local registrars by Friday at noon.
Posted in VaNews from VPAP on November 2, 2014
The Virginia General Assembly is likely to consider new rules for unregulated day care centers next year…and commuters who make the difficult slog through Interstate 66 gridlock in Northern Virginia are using license plates to vent their frustration. Those stories have been among the most read over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. More now from Fred Echols.
Posted in Virginia's News on November 2, 2014
Some contend his campaign stole votes from the Ken Cuccinelli for Governor campaign last year. And many wonder why Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis is now running for the U.S. Senate when his poll numbers pale compared to his Democratic and Republican rivals. But in a conversation with Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil, Sarvis explains his focus isn’t on winning, it’s on branding.
Posted in Spotlight on WVTF 2014 on November 1, 2014
Posted in Virginia's News on October 30, 2014
The Wildlife Center of Virginia is one-of-a-kind – a privately funded medical facility for injured animals from across the Commonwealth. To make ends meet, the Waynesboro Center will host a fundraiser and auction featuring some surprising items. Sandy Hausman has that story.
Posted in Virginia's News on October 29, 2014
Experts suggest that Jesse L. Matthew Jr., the man authorities link to the Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington cases, stands no chance of bail and little chance of a life outside of prison– even if he attempts an insanity defense. Hawes Spencer has this report ahead of Matthew’s court appearance Friday, October 31st.
The lawyer now tasked with representing Virginia’s most embattled criminal suspect has a long track record, primarily on the prosecution side of the courtroom. Is Jim Camblos the right lawyer for the man charged in the case of Hannah Graham, the 18-year-old University of Virginia student whose remains were publicly identified on Friday, October 24?
You may have heard rumors, grumblings, and conspiracy theories about planned attacks by ISIS or ISIL militants on American soil—but nothing credible. While the news media are NOT in the business of creating panic, we are raising awareness as it’s passed on to us. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, a recent FBI bulletin sent to media outlets warns that the terror organization is trying to persuade noncombatant sympathizers to execute or kidnap specific groups of American citizens.
Posted in Virginia's News on October 22, 2014
For nearly five years, a rock band t-shirt that mysteriously appeared near the University of Virginia has been one of the most connective yet perplexing clues in the death of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington. Hawes Spencer reports.
With charges starting to pile up against the man blamed for one woman’s rape and another’s disappearance, who decides where to prosecute first? Hawes Spencer has this report.
Halloween reminds us that it can sometimes be fun to explore the dark side. And the rise in popularity of horror movies of the last couple of decades seems to confirm that. A Virginia Tech Professor of pop culture is taking a closer look at scary movies to see what they tell us about the stereotypes that drive them. Robbie Harris has more.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on October 20, 2014
The Virginia Commission on Youth is scrutinizing the practice of finding new homes and transferring custody of adopted children—while bypassing state oversight and safeguards. The practice—known as “re-homing”—was uncovered through last year’s Reuters and NBC News investigation, which found an underground market for adoptive parents who no longer wish to care for their adopted child. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the panel’s focus is on mitigating the reasons that some adoptive parents change their minds.
Jesse Matthew, the suspect in custody for the abduction of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, has been indicted on charges related to a 2005 rape in Fairfax.
Forensic evidence links Jesse Matthew to the 2009 disappearance of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington in Charlottesville, which had previously been linked to the Fairfax rape, officials said.
Meantime, the man who called in a tip that led to the discovery of human remains behind an empty house in southern Albemarle, says that it was the sheer number of vultures that caught his eye. Hawes Spencer reports.
A vaccine aimed at helping cigarette smokers quit, is entering the next phase in testing. A Virginia Tech professor who’s been working to develop the vaccine got a $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to test the vaccine. Robbie Harris has more.
Posted in VaNews from VPAP on October 20, 2014
A Virginia family wants the state look more closely at older drivers after a fatal highway accident…and the issue of loss of farmland in the Commonwealth is at the center of a debate in York County. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.
Posted in Virginia's News on October 19, 2014
Police in Albemarle County are waiting for results from the state’s crime lab – hoping to learn whether remains found over the weekend are those of missing UVA student Hannah Graham. Sandy Hausman reports on the discovery and what it may mean for the only suspect in the case – Jesse Matthew, Jr.
With the disappearance of Hannah Graham, Morgan Harrington, Alexis Murphy, Dashad Smith and other young adults, some people wonder if a serial killer is at work in and around Charlottesville. Sandy Hausman talked with law enforcement experts who say that’s possible – but other factors may account for these tragic cases, Central Virginia isn’t the only place reporting missing people, and such things have occurred in the past.
While state officials express confidence, health care professionals are preparing on the front lines. Sandy Hausman paid a visit to the University of Virginia Medical Center where staff was invited to a lunch-time discussion of ebola. That presentation suggests one of Virginia’s premiere teaching hospitals could handle a couple of cases but maybe not a major outbreak. Sandy Hausman has the story.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on October 16, 2014
The possibility that a now-deceased Ebola patient could have spread the virus to fellow travelers as he waited in a Virginia airport has prompted several state lawmakers to ask Governor McAuliffe to use his authority to impose travel restrictions on Dulles Airport. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the state’s Health Commissioner cautions against overkill … and says Virginia’s health professionals are doing everything they can to keep the situation under control.
Posted in Virginia's News on October 15, 2014
Police have a suspect in the disappearance of Hannah Graham, but their investigation continues. They’re not saying much, but in the first of a two-part series, Sandy Hausman looks at what may be going on behind the scenes and why.