Lawmakers to Discuss Driver’s Licences for Undocumented Immigrants

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Credit: AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Hundreds of advocates for immigrants will be in Richmond Wednesday for a contentious committee hearing. As Michael Pope reports, the hearing will consider a bill that would provide documents to the undocumented.

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Rural Hospital Gets Caught in Medicaid Fight

Bill Stanley

State Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, proposed a measure to help keep open a hospital in his district. (Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber)

A shuttered hospital in rural Patrick County may have a better shot at reopening, thanks to a bill that passed Virginia’s Senate Tuesday. That’s after the same measure failed last week, getting caught up in the political battle over Medicaid expansion. Mallory Noe-Payne has the story.

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Families, State Agencies Breathe Sigh of Relief as Congress Funds CHIP

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The Children’s Health Insurance Program relies on money from state and federal governments to help subsidize the cost of medical care for some kids not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. Congress had let funding for the program lapse. (Credit: Rebecca Nelson / Getty Images)

After months of uncertainty, Congress has passed long-term funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. For Virginians that means more than 60,000 low-income children will be able to keep their coverage. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Some are Calling for an End to Split Precincts Following Voting Errors in Fredericksburg

Vivian Watts

Delegate Vivian Watts (D-Fairfax) wants to outlaw split precincts in Virginia after a number of voters in Fredericksburg were given the wrong ballot during last November’s election. (Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber)

Confusion over split precincts led to a meltdown in Fredericksburg last year, when dozens of voters were given the wrong ballot. Now some lawmakers are hoping for a fix. Michael Pope has the latest from the Capitol.

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Va News Topics: Internet Gaming Parlors and School Surveys

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Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

An elementary school principal in Rockbridge County has apologized for a survey given to students without parental permission, and local governments in Virginia are still trying to find ways to shut down internet gaming parlors.

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

More now from Fred Echols.

Click here for the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News Link.

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Rate Freeze Debate Includes What to Do With Excessive Utility Profits

Terry Kilgore

Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, wants to lift Virginia’s utility rate freeze and give some of that money back to ratepayers. (Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber, File)

Your power bill may be including a little something extra in the coming weeks. But will it be what you deserve? Lawmakers are dividing, and Michael Pope is at the Capitol with the latest.

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Concern Builds For Culturally And Environmentally Sensitive Fones Cliffs

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Fones Cliffs and the area mistakenly cleared.
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Two years ago Richmond County, in Virginia’s Northern Neck, approved a controversial plan to build a large golf-course resort on a pristine cliff-top perched over the Rapphannock River.

Fones Cliffs is a favorite roosting spot for migrating and local bald eagles. It was also once occupied by the Rappahannock tribe more than 400 years ago. Last year, it was sold to five New York investors for $12 million. The 964-acre site is slated for a championship golf course, restaurant and bar and more than 700 houses.

But developers are off to a bad start after illegally clearing over 13 wooded acres. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Shoot! Cursing is Still a Crime in Virginia

Michael Webert, David Yancey

Del. Michael Webert, R-Culpeper, left, talks with Del. David Yancey, R-Newport News during the House session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Webert’s bill to decriminalize cursing in Virginia failed to advance to the full House of Delegates. (Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber)

Lawmakers in Richmond occasionally curse at each other as debates get heated. And, as Michael Pope explains, they’re breaking the law.

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Virginia Lawmakers Talk Shutdown, Spending And DACA

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Snow falls on the Capitol early Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Credit: AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

The federal government could be lurching towards a partial shutdown this weekend if lawmakers can’t reach a deal on so-called Dreamers and defense spending. Matt Laslo reports.

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Delegate: Strip Searches Needed To Fight Opioids

General Assembly 2018-01Lawmakers in Richmond are considering a number of bills responding to the opioid crisis.

Sheriffs across Virginia are worried that the opioid crisis is coming to a jail near you. That’s why they are asking Delegate Patrick Hope, a Democrat from Arlington, to introduce legislation allowing strip searches of inmates.

Michael Pope reports.

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Snow-Related Legislation on the Minds of Lawmakers This Snow Day

Winter Weather Virginia

Snow covers the traffic circle around the monument of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond earlier this month. (Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber)

Many schools and businesses were closed Wednesday because of snow. But lawmakers in Richmond were hard at work. And, as Michael Pope reports, they are considering two snow-related bills.

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A “Gentle” House of Delegates Tradition Gives Way

Danica Roem

Del. Danica Roem, D-Prince William, the first transgender delegate, takes her oath of office during opening ceremonies of the 2018 session of the Virginia House of Delegates at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.
(AP PHOTO/STEVE HELBER)

Lawmakers in Richmond are dealing with a number of firsts walking the hallways, including the first lesbian first Asian-American woman lawmakers.

 

The House of Delegates is a place that loves its traditions. Like referring to the gentleman from Roanoke or the gentlewoman from Prince William. But Republicans are abandoning that tradition now that they are facing the first transgender delegate.

Michael Pope reports.

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With a New Governor at the Helm, Can the General Assembly Work in a Bipartisan Manner?

Ralph Northam, Kirk Cox, Justin Fairfax

Governor Ralph Northam gestures during his first State of the Commonwealth address to a joint session of the General Assembly. (Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber)

The British classic rock band known as the Who famously belted out “Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss.” As Michael Pope reports, Republicans say that sentiment could have been written about the Executive Mansion in Richmond.

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Northam Asks Lawmakers To Pass Progressive Agenda In Address

Ralph Northam, Kirk cox, Justin Fairfax, Stephen Newman

Gov. Ralph Northam, bottom center, waves to the gallery prior to delivering his State of the Commonwealth address as Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, top left, House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, top center, and State Sen. Stephen Newman, R-Bedford, applaud before a joint session of the Virginia General Assembly at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. (Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber)

Virginia’s new governor is at work in Richmond this week, trying to accomplish something that eluded his predecessor. Michael Pope is at the Capitol with the latest.

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Some Republicans And Democrats Find Common Ground In Opposition To Offshore Drilling

California Offshore Oil

This undated photo provided by the California State Lands Commission shows Platform Holly, an oil drilling rig in the Santa Barbara Channel offshore of the city of Goleta, Calif.
Credit (State Lands Commission via AP)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from Virginia are upset over the Interior Department’s plans to open up waters off the east coast to oil and gas drilling.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is under fire from lawmakers up and down the east coast who oppose his plan to allow oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. But the anger turned to outrage last week when Florida was given a waiver that blocks drilling off that states shores.

Correspondent Matt Laslo has the story from Washington.

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Lawmakers Debate Legislation to Remove Utility Rate Freeze

Sam Rasoul

Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-Roaonke) is sponsoring a bill that would lift a utility rate freeze in Virginia — something he calls “the most corrupt utility law ever passed in Virginia history.” (Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber)

Lawmakers are talking energy regulation, although they’re not agreeing on much. Michael Pope is at the Capitol with the latest.

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Virginia Senate Deals Blow to Progressive Gun Agenda

Michelle Person

Michelle Person, of Poquoson Va., holds a shirt along with other demonstrators remembering the victims of the shootings at Virginia Tech during a anti-gun violence rally at the Capitol in Richmond. (Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber)

A progressive agenda on gun control hit a Republican wall at the state capitol Monday. But new Governor Ralph Northam says he won’t stop pushing for laws to prevent gun violence. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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VA News: Vets Clinic Debate, Controversial GOP Meeting Speaker

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Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

Stafford County supervisors were left puzzled when apparent opposition to a plan for a new veterans’ medical clinic seemed to evaporate overnight. And, Amherst County Republicans were barred their usual meeting place in the basement of the Sheriff’s office over a controversial speaker.

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.

Click here for the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News Link.

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The Doctor is In the House, Ralph Northam Takes Oath of Office

Virginia Inauguration

Governor-elect Ralph Northam and his wife, Pam, arrive at the south portico before Northam took the oath of office during inauguration ceremonies at the Capitol. (Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber)

Doctor Ralph Northam now has a new title, Governor Ralph Northam. In his inaugural speech, he talked about the lessons he learned from his parents on the Eastern Shore as well as his time as a pediatric neurologist. Michael Pope reports.

Among the inaugural parade were staff and patients from the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, where Northam provided care for 25 years. Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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Richmond Group Boosts Inclusivity In Arts Community

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BAAAR exhibit at Richmond’s annual 2nd Street Festival
Credit P. Muzi Branch/BAAAR

A Richmond group is working to ensure the contributions of Black artists are included in the city’s thriving cultural scene.

 

The Black American Artists Alliance of Richmond wants to see more Black art in museums, galleries and corporate collections across the city and state. Members include a muralist, a musician, even a quilt maker.

Samantha Willis has the story.

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Western Virginia Lawmakers Pushing Pipeline-related Legislation

Virginia Inauguration

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Lawmakers from southwest Virginia are pushing several bills responding to controversial plans to build natural gas pipelines in Virginia.

Michael Pope has more on their proposals.

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Interview: McAuliffe Reflects on Time as Virginia’s Governor

Terry McAuliffe, Elizabeth Guzman

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, waves to the gallery as he arrives to address a joint session of the the 2018 session in the House chambers at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Terry McAuliffe’s term as Governor of Virginia is coming to an end. McAuliffe’s official portrait was unveiled this week. In it he has his hand on an executive order. The one where he restored voting rights to former felons.

McAuliffe spoke with Virginia Public Radio’s Mallory Noe-Payne.

She began by asking whether that order was one of his proudest moments.

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Democrats Hope New Delegates Improve Medicaid Expansion Odds

Wendy Gooditis, Tia Walbridge

Wendy Gooditis speaks to supporters during her campaign for the House of Delegates.  (AP PHOTO/STEVE HELBER)

After years of pushing for expanding Medicaid, Democrats are hopeful that they’ll be able to use their new members in the House to finally make it happen.

For freshman Delegate Wendy Gooditis, a Democrat from Clarke County, the fight is personal.

Michael Pope explains why.

 

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After Years Of Trying, Congress Approves Recognition Of Virginia Tribes

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(AP PHOTO/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE)

Six Virginia Native American tribes are cheering.

After a twenty-year effort, the United States Senate unanimously approved legislation that recognizes the Commonwealth’s tribes.

Correspondent Matt Laslo reports from Washington.

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Lexington Looks To Avoid Conflicts Over MLK, Lee-Jackson Parades

MARTIN LUTHER KING

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks April 15,1967 at a peace rally in New York City. January 15th is the birthday of the late civil rights leader. (AP Photo/stf)

In light of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville over the summer, Lexington residents wishing to honor Martin Luther King Jr. have opted for compromise over controversy.

Jessie Knadler has more on the potential conflict with the Lee-Jackson state holiday.

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Governor Terry McAuliffe Delivers Final State of the Commonwealth Address

Terry McAuliffe, Israel O'Quinn

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe , center, shakes the hand of Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, left, after addressing a joint session of the the 2018 Virginia General Assembly for his last State of the Commonwealth address in the House chambers at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Outgoing Governor Terry McAuliffe gave his final State of the Commonwealth speech in Richmond Wednesday night.

He celebrated Virginia’s growing economy and low unemployment, and said his greatest pride while in office was restoring voting rights to former felons.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports on the speech.

Michael Pope has reaction from Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

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Cox Elected House Speaker On Traditionally Unanimous Vote

Kirk Cox

House speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, looks to the gallery after being elected speaker during opening ceremonies of the 2018 session of the Virginia House of Delegates at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Despite the drama in the last few weeks about who will control the Virginia House of Delegates, the session kicked off Wednesday with a unanimous vote for speaker.

Delegate Kirk Cox now holds the gavel and the title of Speaker of the House.

Michael Pope reports from the House floor.

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Medicaid, Gun Violence at Top of Incoming Governor’s Agenda

Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam

Virginia Gov.-elect, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, left looks to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, right, as they detail their legislative package at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Democratic Governor-Elect Ralph Northam says expanding medicaid and reducing gun violence are at the top of his legislative agenda. He unveiled his priorities in Richmond Tuesday, along with current Governor Terry McAuliffe.

In a joint press conference, the incoming and outgoing Governors said they’re on the same page about what to throw their weight behind this legislative session. Policy proposals include a carbon trading plan, legislative protection for abortion rights, and no excuse absentee voting.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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Women’s Equity Movement Extends To Hygiene Product Legislation

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Two female lawmakers are introducing legislation as part of a growing movement to help women achieve equity.

It’s called menstrual equity. It’s a growing movement that’s prompting legislation in Washington and in state capitals across the country, including several this year in Richmond.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Democratic Voters Appeal Judge’s Decision In Fredericksburg Area Race

Session Midway

The Virginia House of Delegates in session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Last week a federal judge in Alexandria denied a request from Fredericksburg voters to throw out the results of an election where dozens of voters were given the wrong ballot.

Now, as Michael Pope reports, those voters are appealing the case.

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Virginia Women’s Coalition Calls for No Cost Birth Control

Virginia Inauguration

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition unveiled its 2018 legislative agenda Monday.

It includes paid family leave, equal pay, and no cost birth control. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Va. News Topics: A Realistic School Lesson And Snow Plow Art

VPAPnewSome recent artwork by students in Craig County is literally hitting the road this winter
and some parents in Fairfax County found an elementary school history lesson to be a
little too realistic.

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

Click here to visit the Virginia Public Access Project

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People Protected Under DACA Have Big Impact on Virginia Economy

Immigration

Demonstrators hold up balloons during an immigration rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and Temporary Protected Status (TPS), programs, near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Credit: AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)

Congress is in the midst of a heated discussion about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an immigration policy that will have important consequences for families across the country. But, as Michael Pope reports, it will also have dramatic consequences for Virginia’s economy.

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Why Medicaid Expansion Could Hinge On A Drawing By Lot

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Governor Terry McAuliffe

Four years ago, Terry McAuliffe was elected on, partly, a platform of expanding Medicaid. So far, he has been unable to deliver on that promise. But Democrats are hoping his last budget will plant the seeds for that to happen after he’s no longer in office. Michael Pope reports.

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A More Diverse Virginia Includes an Aging Population

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Virginia is becoming more diverse, and the birth rate is declining. But one demographic trend stands out as the most prominent change. Michael Pope has the story.

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Virginia Beer Boom Tries To Break Through With Virginia Barley

craftbeerVirginia’s beer industry is booming and more farmers are delving into the raw ingredients needed to meet the high demand. So why is finding a beer brewed from all-Virginia ingredients still tough? Jessie Knadler reports.

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Unless Court Intervenes, House of Delegates Control to Be Determined Next Week

Virginia Inauguration

Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber

Last week, election officials called off a random drawing to determine the winner of a House race in Newport News. Now, as Michael Pope reports, the tie-breaker is back on.

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The On-Going Debate Over Standardized Testing in Virginia

College Test Prep

Credit: AP Photo / Alex Brandon, File

As lawmakers return to Richmond this year, many of them will be focused on reforming Virginia’s system of standardized testing. Michael Pope has the story.

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Bird Count Brings Old Friends And New Scientists Together

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At dawn along the Potomac River at the George Washington’s Birthplace National Monument from left Kent Ihrman, Bill Portlock and Chuck Gibson count birds. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

Every year from December 14 through January 5, bird enthusiasts and citizen scientists throughout North America spend a day counting species. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

Click here for more about the Audubon Society’s bird count.

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Young People Put Off Joining Workforce in Virginia

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Young people are increasingly delaying their entry into the workforce, a trend that could have drastic consequences for what happens when they do finally get that first job. Michael Pope is digging into the numbers.

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Random Draw Put on Hold as Democrats File Challenge to Recount

Virginia Election Recount

The contested ballot at the heart of a dramatic recount in Virginia’s 94th House of Delegates race. (Credit: City of Newport News / The Virginian Pilot via AP)

Plans to break a tie in a Virginia House of Delegates race with a random drawing have been put on hold. Democrat Shelly Simonds is challenging the recount results that gave her opponent, Republican David Yancey, one extra vote. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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A Look Back at the Last Time Virginia’s House of Delegates Was Tied

Session Midway

Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber

Election officials had planned to break a tie in a Virginia House race by choosing a winner at random today. But, it’s been postponed after the Democrat announced plans to challenge results in court. That means control of the House of Delegates is still up in the air, with one potential outcome being a 50-50 tie. If that result comes to pass, Michael Pope reports that it wouldn’t be a first for Virginia.

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Gilmore Pondering Run For Senate

Jim Gilmore

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore gestures as he addresses the Virginia State Republican Convention in Harrisonburg, Va., Saturday, April 30, 2016. (Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber)

Election 2017 is not quite over yet as recounts and legal challenges move forward. But the politics of 2018 are already getting hot and heavy. Michael Pope has details.

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Power Sharing In The General Assembly? It’s Happened Before

Virginia Inauguration

Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber

With Democrats and Republicans so evenly split in the House of Delegates, members may be forced into a power-sharing agreement. Virginia’s previous experience with power sharing had mixed results. Michael Pope reports.

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Northam Taps Northern Virginia Middle School Teacher for Education Secretary

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Governor-elect Ralph Northam names Beville Middle School teacher Atif Qarni as the next secretary of education. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Governor-elect Ralph Northam is filling out key Cabinet posts in the run-up to his inauguration next month, and this week he’s outlining his new education team. Michael Pope has the story.

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Chris Hurst Goes to Richmond

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Chris Hurst thanks supporters for his election to the Virginia House of Delegates representing the New River Valley.

When the Virginia General Assembly convenes next month, there’ll be a lot of new faces. Among them, New River Valley Democrat Chris Hurst.  His race turned out to be most expensive in state history and part of the blue wave that rafted more Democrats into the house, than we’ve seen in a generation. Robbie Harris reports.

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A Monumental Recount in the 94th District Has Taken Another Turn

Virginia Election Recount

Election officials in Newport News, Va., examine ballots that a computer failed to scan during a recount for a House of Delegates race on Tuesday. The recount initially gave the race to Democrat Shelly Simonds by a one-vote margin, but a three judge panel certified a ballot in favor of Republican incumbent David Yancey that had been thrown out. The race is now tied. (Credit: AP Photo / Ben Finley)

All eyes are on the 94th District in Newport News, where a roller-coaster recount has wound up as a tied race. At stake is control of Virginia’s legislature. Mallory Noe-Payne has an earlier response from Governor-Elect Ralph Northam.

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The Political Toll of Dynamic Tolling

Capital Beltway Expansion

Credit: AP Photo / Cliff Owen

Drivers in Northern Virginia are still being hit with record-high tolls, some as much as $40 for a one-way trip in express lanes during some rush hours. Michael Pope has this look at the politics of dynamic tolling.

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House of Delegates Control Up for Grabs, Three Recounts Scheduled For This Week

Session Midway

Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber

Election officials are combing through a handful of recounts this week while control of the House of Delegates hangs in the balance. Michael Pope has the story.

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Governor McAuliffe Unveils Budget, Push for Medicaid

Ralph Northam, Terry McAuliffe, Pam Northam

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, right, listens to Gov.-elect, Ralph Northam, center, as Pam Northam, left, looks on during a news conference in the Governors mansion. (Credit: AP Photo / Steve Helber)

Lawmakers in Richmond today they got their first glimpse of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session when the outgoing Governor unveiled his final budget proposal for the state. Mallory Noe-Payne was there and has this report.

Governor McAuliffe also wants to give health insurance to Virginia’s poor. The Governor has unsuccessfully pushed to expand Medicaid for four years, but is hoping this year will be different.

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