Pope & Schapiro: Looking Ahead To The Special Session

Lawmakers return to the Capitol next week for a special session to spend federal stimulus money and appoint judges to an expanded appeals court.

Richmond Times Dispatch columnist Jeff Schapiro and Michael Pope break it all down for us in a new weekly conversation about Virginia politics and government.

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Legislators Look To Add Diversity To Appeals Court

Lawmakers are about to appoint a half dozen new appeals court judges.

Michael Pope reports many legislators want to add some diversity to the bench.

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Redistricting Commission Holding Public Hearings

Virginia’s Redistricting Commission during a meeting in July. (Credit: Jahd Khalil)

The Virginia Redistricting Commission is about to start drawing new political boundaries for the Commonwealth.

And Michael Pope reports they’re getting an earful.

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Kaine: Virginia Leads in Rent Disbursements

Almost 50,000 families have gotten rent relief since July of last year.

Jahd Khalil reports that even though Virginia may be doing better than other states, many families are still at risk.

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Virginia Republicans Say They’re Shut Out Of Relief Money Negotiations

Lawmakers are getting ready for a special session to determine how to spend more than four billion dollars of federal stimulus money.

But as Michael Pope reports, some lawmakers are worried they won’t be able to offer much input.

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Special Session Will Remake Virginia Court Of Appeals

Judges of the Virginia Court of Appeals (Credit: Court of Appeals of Virginia Website)

Lawmakers will be back in Richmond next week to figure out how to spend more than four billion dollars of federal stimulus money.

As Michael Pope reports, they’ll also elect several new judges.

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Governor Proposes $250 million for School HVAC Systems

(Credit: Jahd Khalil)

The air children breathe in schools has always been important, but during COVID-19 that importance is especially obvious.

With billions of Federal money coming into Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam proposed a good chunk of that to improve ventilation systems in schools.

Jahd Khalil was in Hopewell for the announcement.

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Va. News: New Names And New Rockets

Rockets have been launched from Virginia’s Wallop’s Island for years. Now they may also be made in Virginia.  And five Virginia community colleges are changing their names.

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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Governor Avoids Mandates Despite Rising New Cases

Governor Ralph Northam on a tour of Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Health Professions on July 22, 2021 (Credit: Jahd Khalil / RADIO IQ)

Governor Ralph Northam said he was going to stick with encouraging vaccination and other safeguards rather than mandating them in a variety of contexts Thursday, despite accelerating new cases. Jahd Khalil reports.

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Federal Pandemic Aid: Advocates Call for More Affordable Housing

Lawmakers will be back in Richmond next week to figure out how to spend $4 billion of federal stimulus money. One agenda item they’ll be debating is affordable housing. Michael Pope reports.

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With Monday Vote, SW Virginia Stays Unrepresented on Redistricting Commission

Members of the Virginia Redistricting Commission meet in Richmond on July 19, 2021. (Credit: Jahd Khalil / RADIO IQ)

Virginia’s Redistricting Commission chose a new member Monday, leaving the commission without a member from Southwest Virginia. Jahd Khalil reports.

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Federal Pandemic Aid: Advocates Push for Eviction Protections

Lawmakers are about to return to Richmond for a special session to determine how to spend more than four billion dollars of federal stimulus money. Some advocates want them to take action to protect people against evictions. Michael Pope reports.

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McAuliffe Promises Ban On Sale Of Assault-style Weapons, High Capacity Magazines

Terry McAuliffe and Gabby Giffords speak during a campaign event Wednesday. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Preventing gun violence is near the top of the agenda for many voters. 

And as Michael Pope explains, it’s already becoming a hot topic in the campaign for governor.

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Interest Groups Lining Up Proposals on How to Spend Federal Funding

Lawmakers are returning to Richmond to figure out how to spend more than four billion dollars of federal stimulus money. Michael Pope has this preview.

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UVA’s Innocence Project Calls on FBI to Take Another Look at 25-Year-Old Cold Case

Julie Williams and Lollie Winans (Credit: FBI)

It’s been 25 years since two women were found dead at their Shenandoah National Park campsite. Now, the FBI has put up posters, hoping to generate new leads, but the Innocence Project in Charlottesville has another idea. Sandy Hausman reports.

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Another Virginia Locality Implements Collective Bargaining Agreements Under New Law

Credit: Arlington County Virginia – Government Facebook Page

Local governments across Virginia are considering entering into collective bargaining agreements with their employees. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: New Police Data And New COVID-19 Treatment Options

A group that provides free medical services in far Southwestern Virginia has brought advanced COVID-19 treatments to the region. And a Virginia law that requires police to compile data on traffic stops has produced some enlightening information.

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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Environmentalists Still Battling Fossil Fuels Despite Clean Economy Act

The Virginia Clean Economy Act has been law in Virginia for a year now. However, many environmental groups are still fighting against natural gas projects. Michael Pope reports.

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Northam Proposal Would See All Virginia Households Connected to Broadband by 2024

Governor Ralph Northam proposed a historic investment in the state’s continued efforts to get Virginians connected to broadband Friday. Nick Gilmore has details.

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Resignations, Injuries at State Hospitals Increasing

The Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents is one of several state hospitals facing a staffing shortage. (Credit: DBHDS)

A state health official updated lawmakers on the dire situation at Virginia’s mental hospitals Thursday, after she she told five of eight state-run hospitals to stop admitting new patients last week. Jahd Khalil reports.

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New Book Explores Why Lack of Broadband Access Has Been a Struggle in Virginia

Credit: MBandman / Flickr, Creative Commons: flickr.com/photos/mbandman/23033039562

The lack of broadband connection across parts of Virginia has been a source of concern for years. Now, a new book explores why. Michael Pope reports.

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Marijuana and Firearms Updates at the Board of Forensic Science

In a Wednesday meeting the Board of Forensic Science made regulatory changes in light of Marijuana legalization and was briefed on a backlog of firearms and toxicology cases. Jahd Khalil reprots.

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Glenn Youngkin Still Not Ready to Answer Questions About Abortion

Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley campaigns with Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin in McLean. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin is on the campaign trail talking to voters. But, he’s not answering questions about one hot-button issue. Michael Pope reports.

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Fourth Circuit Says People Under 21 But Older Than 18 Can Buy Handguns

In a win for Second Amendment advocates, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals sided this week with two Central Virginians in their quest to purchase a handgun despite being under the federally required age limit. Brad Kutner reports.

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Will SW Virginia Still be Represented on the Redistricting Commission?

Virginia’s Redistricting Commission meets July 6th, 2021 (Credit: Jahd Khalil / RADIO IQ)

As Virginia’s redistricting commission prepares for its first public hearings, one the commission’s most pressing issues is replacing one of its members and considering geographic representation on the body in the process. Jahd Khalil reports.

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Rebuild VA Program Aims to Get Small Businesses Back on Their Feet

Governor Ralph Northam presents small business owners with checks from Rebuild Virginia, a grant program that has awarded $120 million to 3,000 small businesses across Virginia. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Governor Ralph Northam is hoping a grant program for small businesses will help them stay open and reorient themselves coming out of the pandemic. Michael Pope reports.

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Spanberger Talks Up Expanded Child Tax Credit, But Some Say More is Needed

Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger

Central Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger held a round table in her district office Tuesday to discuss a new expanded child tax credit championed by the Biden administration. The mothers and child care providers in attendance were excited about the new benefit, but after a year and a half in a pandemic some are hoping for more support. Brad Kutner has more.

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Northam Announces First Proposal for ARPA Funds

Governor Ralph Northam makes an announcement of his proposal for ARPA funds on Monday July 12, 2021. (Credit: Facebook / Governor Ralph Northam)

Governor Ralph Northam announced Monday that he wanted $353 million in American Rescue Plan funding to go towards small business recovery, in the first look into the budget proposal that will set the debate over how billions will be spent. Jahd Khalil reports.

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New Book Examines Virginia’s Urban-Rural Divide

The divide between urban and rural parts of Virginia is a frequent source of tension at the General Assembly. Now, a group of academics and business leaders is taking a look at that divide and what we can learn from it. Michael Pope reports.

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VA News: Flooding Could Impact Child Asthma in Portsmouth, Fort Lee Barbers Go On Strike

Credit: VPAP

Two Virginia researchers say they’ve found evidence that associates frequent flooding with a higher incidence of asthma. And barbers at Fort Lee have walked off the job claiming their pay has been reduced. 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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New VCU Poll: Black Virginians Twice as Likely to Face Economic Hardship During Recovery

Credit: wilder.vcu.edu

The pandemic is hitting racial and ethnic minorities harder in Virginia, according to a new poll. Michael Pope reports.

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Unemployment Claims Down Slightly

Credit: Jahd Khalil / RADIO IQ

37,790 Virginians applied for unemployment again in a continuing claim, and 6,825 made an initial claim in the week ending July 3rd, according to numbers released by the Virginia Employment Commission Thursday. Jahd Khalil has details.

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A Hot Mic Could Have Lasting Impacts on the Gubernatorial Race

The politics of abortion are taking center stage in the race for governor. Michael Pope reports.

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Declining Birth Rates May Transform Virginia Schools

The declining birth rate is having an influence over planning in school divisions across Virginia. It’s a discussion that’s playing out while lawmakers are trying to figure out what to do with stimulus money. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Redistricting Commissioner Resigns

The Virginia Redistricting Commission Meets in Richmond on July 6, 2021

A resignation from the Virginia Redistricting Commission announced at a meeting Tuesday will upset the partisan balance of the body until a replacement is voted on. Jahd Khalil reports.

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New Data Shows More and More of Virginia’s Population is in Deportation Proceedings

Across Virginia, a rapidly growing number of people are in deportation proceedings. Michael Pope looks at the numbers.

You can find the new data here.

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New Overtime Law is Confusing Some, But Improvement Could Be on the Horizon

Delegate Mike Mullin (Credit: virginiageneralassembly.gov)

Employers in Virginia now have new requirements for paying overtime. And, lawmakers are already considering ways to improve the new law. Michael Pope reports.

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Redistricting Commission Prepares to Meet In-Person for the First Time

Credit: NPR

Virginia’s redistricting commission will meet in person for the first time Tuesday. The meeting in Richmond comes after months of virtual meetings. Jahd Khalil reports on how the commissioners and the public will be learning about the process.

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VA News: 3D House Printing in Richmond, New Rules limit keeping Reptiles as Pets

Credit: VPAP

Virginia has taken steps to help wild reptiles and amphibians remain wild in the state.  And a new way of making housing more affordable is getting a trial run in Richmond.

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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Plaintiffs: VEC Processing Claims Too Slowly

Credit: Jahd Khalil / RADIO IQ

A court filing provided insight into the Virginia Employment Commission’s progress towards resolving tens of thousands of backlogged cases. In a status report released Thursday, legal groups said the pace is not quick enough. Jahd Khalil reports.

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Data Appears to Show Racial Disparities in Traffic Stops

Credit: VSP Twitter page; @VSPPIO

Data released by the Virginia State Police shows a wide disparity in the rate at which Black drivers are involved in traffic stops when compared to their share of Virginia’s population, while data analysts with VSP and the Department of Criminal Justice Services say there may be other benchmarks to compare the data with. Jahd Khalil reports.

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New Poll: Unvaccinated Black Virginians More Likely to Get a Shot Than White Virginians

Credit: wilder.vcu.edu

A new poll reveals racial disparity among people who are reluctant to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Michael Pope has details.

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Water Crossings Next Hurdle for MVP Approval

Credit: mountainvalleypipeline.info

Time was about to run out for Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality to gauge the impact of the Mountain Valley Pipeline on sensitive wetlands in its path. Now, that deadline is being extended until next year. Robbie Harris has details.

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Interest Groups Have Many Ideas About How Virginia Should Spend Pandemic Aid

Credit: whitehouse.gov

Lawmakers are about to return to Richmond to figure out how to spend billions of dollars in stimulus cash from the federal government. Michael Pope reports every interest group in Virginia is making a case for a piece of the pie.

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Robbery Definition Changing in Virginia

Robbery will have a more nuanced definition after a bill reforming the state’s definition becomes law on July 1st. Jahd Khalil reports.

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Advocates Rejoice as Marijuana Becomes Legal in Virginia

Credit: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

The prohibition against marijuana is drawing to a close. As of Thursday, pot will be legal in Virginia. Michael Pope reports.

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Online Governing to End, For The Most Part

Members of the Richmond City Council meet virtually on June 28, 2021.

After going online because of the pandemic, zoning decisions and regulatory hearings on Zoom are coming to an end, for the most part. Boards and commissions across the state are having to adjust how they do business. Jahd Khalil reports.

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Congressman Connolly Wants to Be Ready for the Next Pandemic

Congressman Gerry Connolly

One member of Virginia’s congressional delegation is working across party lines to help head off the next pandemic. Michael Pope reports.

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Wild Oysters Overcoming 35-Year Struggle with Deadly Parasite

Virginia Institute of Marine Science scientists Ryan Carnegie and Lúcia Safi harvest oysters for research. (Credit: Paul Richardson of VIMS)

Virginia’s thriving oyster farming industry means the shellfish can be eaten year-round. But wild oysters in the Chesapeake Bay region remain in a struggle to survive. Now, scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have discovered the oysters are evolving to resist a deadly parasite variant outbreak that began 35 years ago. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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