Pretext Stops to get Scrutiny in Special Session

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Under current law, a parking pass hanging on your rear view mirror could be enough to get pulled over. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Do you have rosary beads dangling from your rear view mirror? Maybe a parking pass?

Police officers can use that as a pretext to stop you and ask to search your vehicle.

Michael Pope reports lawmakers may be about to change that.

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Wastewater, Runoff from Stormwater, Agriculture Slow Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

ChartVirginians are heading to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries for a break from the COVID-19 pandemic – fishing, kayaking, and swimming. Throughout the summer pollution closes access to some of those waters. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation took a critical look at whether Virginia is meeting pollution reduction goals. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

Here is the full CBF report.

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COVID, Couples and Kids: A Psychologist’s Advice

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Psychology Professor Bob Emery offers advice to couples on surviving and thriving during a pandemic. (Credit UVA)

The pandemic poses unique challenges to each of us – whether we’re single, part of a couple or family.

At the University of Virginia’s Center for Children, Families and the Law, psychologist Bob Emery is taking notes and offering advice.

Sandy Hausman spoke with him and filed this report.

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Should Defendants be Sentenced by Judges or Juries?

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Lawmakers are headed to Richmond to consider a long list of proposed criminal justice reforms.

As Michael Pope reports, one of those proposals would change how defendants are sentenced.

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COVID-19 Prompting At Least One State Lawmaker to Rethink License Ceremonies

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The pandemic has upended many aspects of day to day life, including teenagers who get their first driver’s license. And as Michael Pope tells us, lawmakers are considering upending a long-standing tradition.

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Susan Bro Reflects on Progress Since Her Daughter’s Death

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Susan Bro, director of the Heather Heyer Foundation, continues her fight against racism and violence in America. (Credit: RADIO IQ)

As the nation marks the third anniversary of a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, the mother of a woman killed during Unite the Right is reflecting on small steps forward and work that still needs to be done. Sandy Hausman reports.

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Criminal Justice Reforms: Should Lawmakers Implement a Court Fee Moratorium?

finesLawmakers are about to arrive in Richmond to start considering a number of criminal justice reforms. One issue that might be on the agenda is a moratorium on court fines and fees. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Renting Space in Schools and Limiting College Gatherings

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As some Virginia school districts prepare to re-open without students in the classroom at least one county is looking at renting out unused school buildings. And the city of Radford will limit gatherings as college students return for the fall semester.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

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Police Chief: Limiting Warrants Will Help Criminals

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Lawmakers are about to consider a proposal that would limit when police officers can serve warrants.

Michael Pope reports.

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Senate Democrats Unveil Policing Reform Proposals Ahead of Special Session

StateSeal00As a special session approaches later this month, Senate Democrats are preparing their proposal to reform police agencies across Virginia. Michael Pope reports.

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Promoting Productivity with Workers at Home

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As a professor at UVA’s Darden School of Business, Roshni Raveendhran has studied productivity and working at home. (Credit: UVA)

With many of us now working from home, managers face a challenge – how to promote productivity when people aren’t in the office.

Some are turning to sophisticated software to track workers’ every move online.  But a business professor at the University of Virginia says that’s the wrong way to go.

Sandy Hausman spoke with her and filed this report.

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Comparing Virginia’s Unemployment with Other Localities Across the Country

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Credit: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unemployment in Virginia is currently at 8.4%. That’s a dramatic increase since the pandemic hit. But, metropolitan areas in Virginia are actually doing significantly better than many other cities across the country. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia First State to Try Pandemic App from Apple, Google

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Virginia is rolling out a coronavirus exposure app, the first of its kind in the country.

David Seidel explains how it works.

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Balancing the Budget: How Should Virginia Handle Economic Situation Amid the Pandemic?

StateSeal00Lawmakers are headed back to Richmond this month to put together a new budget, one that takes into account the new economic situation presented by the pandemic. And, they’ll be considering a number of proposals for raising new revenue. Michael Pope reports.

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Lawmakers Face Even More Calls to Transform Police Ahead of Special Session

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Lawmakers are headed to Richmond later this month to consider a host of criminal justice reform efforts. And, they’ll be under intense pressure to take action. Michael Pope reports.

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Judge Starts New Injunction Barring Lee Statue Removal

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Protesters gather around the Lee Monument earlier this summer. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

A judge in Richmond has given state officials a victory and a blow in two court cases over the Lee statue on Monument Avenue.

The judge dismissed an earlier lawsuit Monday, while at the same time extended an injunction on a second suit.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Va. News: School Reopening Intimidation and a Flood of Early Voting

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Election officials in Virginia are working to prepare for a flood of early voting. And there are accusations in one Virginia county of intimidation and harassment against teachers who want students back in the classroom.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

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Black Virginians Are Facing a New Onslaught of Job Losses

shareAs the economy opens back up in Virginia, some groups are faring better than others. Michael Pope reports.

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UVA Professor on Flu Prevention Drug

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UVA Professor Emeritus Frederick Hayden and colleagues in Japan say a drug used to treat flu can also prevent it. (Credit: UVA)

Some public health experts worry that the arrival of flu season could be disastrous for hospitals already coping with COVID-19, but a professor at UVA’s School of Medicine says there’s reason to be hopeful.

Sandy Hausman tells why.

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Northam Puts More Restrictions on Hampton Roads

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Governor Northam during his Tuesday, July 28th COVID-19 press conference.

State officials are taking additional steps to combat a surge of COVID-19 in Hampton Roads. Nick Gilmore has details.

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Chiseled in Stone: Exploring Meanings of Confederate Statues in Virginia

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(Credit: Alan Graf)

Statues set in stone signify a sense of eternity.  But that view is changing rapidly as recent events demonstrate.

A Virginia Tech sociologist has been exploring how people in communities with Confederate statues relate to them today.

Robbie Harris spoke to her.

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An Eastern Shore Community and Its Confederate Monument

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The Confederate monument in Parksley was installed in 1899.

Local governments across Virginia are taking steps to bring down Confederate statues. But, one community on the Eastern Shore is taking a different approach. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Gun Law put to use for First Time, Chesterfield County benefits from Economic Downturn

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One of Virginia’s new gun laws has seen its first real world application. And a Virginia locality has found at least one benefit to the economic slowdown.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

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Criminal Justice Reforms: Should Lawmakers Ban Nighttime Warrants?

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Lawmakers are about to return to Richmond and consider a host of criminal justice reforms. As Michael Pope reports, one of those would prohibit law enforcement officers from executing warrants at night.

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Panel Recommends Removing Virginia’s Lee Statue from U. S. Capitol

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In Virginia’s statehouse in Richmond,  a statue of Robert E. Lee was removed Thursday night.

And as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, a state panel voted unanimously Friday to recommend removal of a different statue of Lee, this one in the U.S. Capitol.

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COVID-19 and Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles

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The Virginia DMV is encouraging citizens to conduct as much business as they can online. (Credit: Virginia DMV)

Before the pandemic, the Department of Motor Vehicles was the poster child for a slow-moving bureaucracy. Now, as Michael Pope reports frustrations are mounting.

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Lawmakers Hold Criminal Justice Reform Public Hearings

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Virginia lawmakers are preparing to tackle criminal justice reform in an upcoming special session.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports they heard hours of testimony Wednesday from law enforcement, activists, and the public.

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As the Pandemic Continues, Should Next Month’s Special Session Go Virtual?

virginia_flag_map_0Lawmakers are about to return to Richmond for a special session to reconsider the budget and take up criminal-justice reform efforts. They’ll probably be there in-person, although Michael Pope reports some House members are pushing for a virtual session.

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Mandatory Minimum Sentences Could Be on the Chopping Block Next Month

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Lawmakers will consider a number of criminal justice reforms during a special session next month. As Michael Pope reports, one will be getting rid of mandatory minimums.

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State Lawmakers Could Weigh How Much Power Prosecutors Have Next Month

virginia_flag_map_0As lawmakers consider criminal justice reform during the special session next month, not all the changes will be directed at police. Some important changes may also be on the horizon for the courts. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Bus Drivers Discuss Schools Re-Opening, Albemarle County slows replies to FOIA requests

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There are many unanswered questions about when and how Virginia schools will reopen and how students will get there. And at least two local governments have declared that the pandemic relieves them of certain requirements under the Freedom of Information Act.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

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State Lawmakers Must Balance Budget Amidst COVID: What Does that Mean for Legislative Priorities?

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As lawmakers prepare to go back to Richmond and put together a revised budget, they’ll be confronting a number of difficult decisions. Michael Pope has this report about one of those decisions involving maternal mortality.

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The Paradox of a Rural County: Few Cases of COVID but a Big Economic Impact

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The Omni Homestead employs 700 people in Bath County. It closed for three months due to COVID, reopening in late June. (Credit: Omni Homestead)

While the COVID-19 pandemic has largely spared rural Virginia, the economies of many communities have taken a big hit. That’s clearly the case in Bath County – a tourist mecca on the West Virginia border where meal and lodging taxes dropped dramatically and unemployment rose to more than 20%. Sandy Hausman paid a visit and filed this report.

And in this report, Sandy Hausman details how locals in Bath County are still hopeful, and how a creative spirit is spreading as they find ways to survive the economic downturn.

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Checking in With Virginia’s Latinx Community Following Passage of Workplace Safety Rules

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Liz Zavala at her job in Harrisonburg. (Credit: Cat Modlin-Jackson)

In May, we brought you the story of a Mexican-American woman whose family was deeply impacted by the spread of COVID-19 in poultry plants. Cat Modlin-Jackson checked in with Liz Zavala after Virginia became the first state to pass mandatory workplace safety rules amidst the pandemic.

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Senator Warner Wants to Protect Workers of Big Businesses

428px-Mark_Warner_113th_Congress_photoAlmost a million jobs in Virginia were preserved by the Paycheck Protection Program, according to new data from the Small Business Administration. But, that doesn’t help people who work for big businesses. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Reaches Grim Milestone: One Million Unemployment Claims in 2020

vecUnemployment claims in Virginia have surpassed an unprecedented milestone: one million claims this year. Now state and federal lawmakers are raising the alarm about a backlog of Virginians still waiting on money. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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State Democrats Split Over Paid Sick Days

virginia_flag_map_0As members of the General Assembly prepare to return to Richmond next month, many of them are looking for a way to make sure workers in Virginia get sick days. Michael Pope reports.

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Congressional Delegation Weighs In: Should Deregulation Efforts Remain Post-Pandemic?

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The Trump administration has aggressively moved to unwind an array of federal regulations since the coronavirus pandemic hit America, and to Virginia lawmakers it’s not as cut and dry – even across party lines. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Becomes First State to Pass Coronavirus Workplace Rules

virginia_flag_map_0Virginia has become the first state to pass mandated health and safety standards for workplaces, amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Labor activists are celebrating the new enforceable standards. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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A Look at the Virginia Cultural Institutions that Received PPP Help

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The Montpelier Foundation was among several Virginia non-profits to receive loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. (Credit: Montpelier Facebook Page / facebook.com/JMMontpelier/photos)

More than 130 museums, performing arts institutions and historical sites in Virginia received a boost from Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to data released this month by the U.S. Treasury Department. Cat Modlin-Jackson took a look at how that money helped salvage a pandemic summer.

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COVID-19 Hit Vulnerable Communities Hard: What Happens When You’re In More Than One?

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The pandemic has exposed how some communities are more vulnerable than others. But what happens when people are in more than one vulnerable group? Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Faces Hefty Price Tag to Send Kids Back to School

chart(1)The question about when and how to reopen schools isn’t just a question about health and safety. As Michael Pope reports, it’s also a matter of dollars and cents.

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Advocates Hope to “Ban the Box” For All Virginia Employers

virginia_flag_map_0When lawmakers return to Richmond next month, they’ll consider a bill to limit when employers can ask prospective hires about their criminal histories. Michael Pope reports.

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PPP Money and Accountability

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More than 973,000 jobs in Virginia were spared through the Paycheck Protection Program, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury Department this week.

So what happens if businesses still cut their staff?

Cat Modlin-Jackson has this report.

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Requirement or Recommendation: How Should Virginia Guide Businesses Reopening Amid COVID-19?

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Businesses across Virginia are reopening, although state leaders are at odds over what kind of requirements they should be facing. Michael Pope reports.

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Advocates Worried About COVID-19 Outbreak at Immigration Detention Facility

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An outbreak of COVID-19 at an ICE detention facility in Central Virginia has advocates worried.

More than 100 people detained there have now tested positive for the virus.

Officials say it’s the result of transferring COVID-positive people from other facilities. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Packing on Pandemic Pounds: Expert Advice on Avoiding Stress Eating

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Melanie Brede counsels UVA students about nutrition. (Credit: UVA)

College students sometimes joke about the “freshman 15” – the weight they gain from eating more high-calorie food at the campus cafeteria. These days, nutritionists are also talking about the COVID-19 – pounds added during a pandemic. Sandy Hausman spoke with an expert on stress eating and filed this report.

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Housing Commission Gets Update on COVID-19’s Impact on Virginia

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Housing markets in Virginia are on the mend, but the road ahead is still unclear for renters struggling to recover from the economic devastation of COVID-19.

That’s one takeaway lawmakers heard at a Virginia Housing Commission meeting Wednesday.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has this report.

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School Reopening Efforts are Becoming Increasingly Political

StateSeal00School is out for summer. But what happens when classes start again this fall?

Michael Pope has this preview of the coming political debate over the fall semester.

 

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COVID-19 and the 2020 Census

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The count of Virginia’s population this year during the Census is likely to be clouded because of the pandemic. Michael Pope reports.

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