Archive for September, 2013
Navigating the New Health Insurance Marketplace
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Daily Capitol News Updates on September 30, 2013
Enrollment is set to begin October 1st for Virginia’s new health insurance marketplace, which will be operated by the federal government. The exchange that opens this week is for individuals, while the small business program—known as “SHOP”—will open on November 1st. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, not every plan will be available everywhere in the Commonwealth.
On the Minds of Middle Schoolers….
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Virginia's News on September 30, 2013
With regular reports these days about school shootings, you might expect kids to be somewhat nervous, but a new survey shows students in 453 middle schools around the state feel safe – and most like school, as we hear from reporter Sandy Hausman.
Field production for this story was provided by Ted Keefe.
VaNews for 09.30.13
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in VaNews from VPAP on September 30, 2013
The drive across Afton Mountain on Interstate-64 can be one of the most dangerous in Virginia when the weather turns nasty. But it may soon become a little less risky. And there’s been a dustup over chickens in Spotsylvania County. Those stories have been among the most read this past week on Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link . Fred Echols talks with David Poole.
VaNews is a free public service of the Virginia Public Access Project and can be found at vpap.org.
Preventing Vehicle Theft
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Daily Capitol News Updates on September 27, 2013
The Virginia State Police and the DMV are highlighting a program that’s been around for some time … but because of a change in state law, it’s being extended to a growing category of motorists. Moped and motorcycle operators are now being offered a FREE accessory that police believe helps deter theft and even lowers some insurance premiums. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil has more from the State Capitol.
Virginia Conversations: Libertarian Gubernatorial Candidate Robert Sarvis
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Virginia Conversations on September 27, 2013
On this edition of “Virginia Conversations”….
We’ve already brought you extended interviews with Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe… and now it’s Robert Sarvis’ turn. Sarvis is the Libertarian candidate running for Governor in Virginia. Learn more about where he stands on the issues, and what he believes sets him apart from the front-runners… plus our political pundits and callers weigh in on the race for Governor. Join host May-Lily Lee.
Richmond Area Pastors on Same-Sex Marriage
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Daily Capitol News Updates on September 26, 2013
A coalition of Richmond-area pastors says Richmond’s City Council is overstepping its authority by considering an ordinance that would grant benefits to spouses of city workers in same-sex marriages. The pastors say the state Constitution is clear in its definition of a marriage being between one man and one woman—which is also as the New Testament defines it. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil has more from the State Capitol.
Immigration Reform: 9500 Liberty
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Virginia's News on September 25, 2013
The United States has been called a ‘land of immigrants” and some say the debate about immigration reflects the very core of our identity as Americans. The immigration reform bill, passed by the US Senate in June, appears stalled in Congress. As Robbie Harris reports, Virginia has played a role in the saga of community conflict over immigration.
Virginia Politics: The Grandees of Government
While it is known as the home of freedom-loving Founding Fathers, Virginia has also had a history of undemocratic institutions and tendencies. That was the controversial topic of a book launch and discussion hosted by the Library of Virginia. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, author and historian Brent Tarter discovered primary sources with those ideas throughout the 400 years of the Commonwealth’s history.
State Agency Under Federal Investigation
The State Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services is officially under investigation by the U.S. Office for Civil Rights over the state’s Auxiliary Grant program, which funds services mostly for people with disabilities and physical or mental impairments. At issue is whether or not the program’s policies are discriminatory and place unnecessary restrictions on where individuals may live in order to receive the grant funds. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports.
Risking a Government Shutdown
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Virginia's News on September 23, 2013
Some Republicans in Virginia are willing to risk a government shutdown in order to defund so-called Obamacare, while others say the strategy will backfire. Matt Laslo has the story on a divided Republican Party.
Senator Warner Honors the Past, Worries about the Future
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Daily Capitol News Updates on September 23, 2013
U.S. Senator Mark Warner says Congress could learn a thing or two from Phyllis Galanti, the wife of former Vietnam War POW Paul Galanti. She was honored today [Friday] during a Virginia War Memorial ceremony … where she spoke about how she remained steadfast in her resolve while her husband was gone for seven-and-a-half years. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, Warner weighed in on the latest dust-up in Washington.
VaNews for 09.23.13
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in VaNews from VPAP on September 23, 2013
There’s a push to change the way appointments are made to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors….and a new study gives Virginia a less than sparkling grade for making health care readily available to low income residents. Stories about both were among the most clicked this past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link.
VaNews is a free public service of the Virginia Public Access Project and can be found at vpap.org.
Virginia Conversations: Addiction
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Virginia Conversations on September 20, 2013
On this edition of the program, we’re exploring the issue addiction. Host May-Lily Lee talks with two addiction experts from the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Dr. Pearl Chiu and Dr. Warren Bickel.
For information about the International Quit and Recovery Registry sponsored by the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute click here.
Virginia has recently joined other states that want to reduce distracted driving accidents by passing a ban on texting while behind the wheel. But some drivers still don’t get it and perform the act daily. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, how safety advocates can help change that was the focus of the first annual Distracted Driving Summit in Richmond.
Tight Gubernatorial Race
While some political pundits say Democrat Terry McAuliffe has all but won the Virginia Governor’s race, a new Quinnipiac University Poll says Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli should not be counted out of the race yet. In fact, as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, it’s a statistical dead heat between the two.
Sen. Kaine Speaks Out On Govt Access to Contractors, Gun Control
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Virginia's News on September 18, 2013
Following this week’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard some Virginia lawmakers are renewing their push for new gun control measures. While that effort is unlikely to go anywhere, Matt Laslo is finding there seems to be bipartisan agreement the Pentagon needs to review the access it grants contractors.
Doctor Shortage in VA
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Daily Capitol News Updates on September 17, 2013
As the demand for health care services is set to expand under the federal Affordable Care Act, a new report suggests that Virginia is in short supply of those doctors needed to handle the influx of patients. The need for primary care and family practice doctors will be especially great. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the state’s Joint Commission on Health Care is looking for solutions.
Crisis in Correctional Care: 5 Part Series
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Virginia's News on September 16, 2013
There are about 30,000 Virginians in state prisons, and Virginia spends more than $25,000 a year to house each of them, making the Department of Corrections the most expensive agency in Richmond, with a billion dollar annual budget.
It spends $160 million on healthcare, but critics say that care is inadequate, and some inmates could be dying for lack of medical attention. Another 30,000 people are locked up in city or county jails, and as we’ll hear throughout this series, their care is also questionable.
The state of Virginia spends an average of $5,300 a year per inmate for medical care in prisons, and that cost has been rising 5-7 percent per year, taxpayers may not be getting their money’s worth, and people locked up for minor crimes could be paying with their lives. Here’s Part 2 of Sandy Hausman’s 5 part series:
Fifty years ago, this country began closing mental hospitals where people with psychiatric disorders were often warehoused. The idea was to send patients back to their communities, where they would live better lives with help from local mental health programs. Unfortunately, those services were limited, and many people ended up on the streets or behind bars. Today, up to 18% of inmates in Virginia prisons are taking drugs for psychiatric conditions, and critics say some are being punished because they can’t comply with prison rules. Sandy Hausman has Part 3 of her series.
The United States has more people in prisons and jails than any other country in the world — 2.2 million inmates — a 500% increase over the past thirty years. We’re also a graying society, with millions of baby boomers claiming the title of senior citizen. Those two trends spell trouble for Virginia’s prisons. Sandy Hausman reports that caring for a single senior behind bars can cost more than $65,000 a year.
VaNews for 09.16.13
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in VaNews from VPAP on September 16, 2013
Plans for a tract of land near Williamsburg and the Fairfax County Library’s new strategic plan have been causing controversy. Stories about both were among the most clicked this past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.
Information Technology: Securing Privacy
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Daily Capitol News Updates on September 16, 2013
State lawmakers have been learning more about how the Virginia Information Technologies Agency protects and oversees the Commonwealth’s most sensitive databases. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, they’re finding out that while Medicaid expansion is supposed to help benefit those who need services, the state might not be prepared for the influx of data the expansion would bring with it.
Virginia Conversations: Ethics & High Office in the Old Dominion
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Virginia Conversations on September 13, 2013
As Governor Bob McDonnell continues to come under fire for accepting gifts from businessman Jonnie Williams, there are more calls to strengthen Virginia’s ethic laws. That, plus how McDonnell’s woes might affect the race for Governor… as well as his own legacy. Host May-Lily Lee talks with Dr. Robert Roberts, Professor of Political Science at James Madison University, he’s also written and co-authored several books and articles on politics and ethics. We’re also joined by Dr. Bob Holsworth, with Decide Smart. He’s also the Founding Director of the Center for Public Policy and the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Is a Toll a Tax?
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Daily Capitol News Updates on September 11, 2013
State leaders say they do not have a contingency plan if the Virginia Supreme Court upholds a lower court ruling that tolls are taxes and not user fees. A group of Hampton Roads residents won a victory earlier this year over whether or not they are being unfairly tolled to pay for construction of a second Midtown Tunnel and maintenance of other tunnels. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, those who support VDOT’s position say that if residents within that region win this lawsuit, citizens throughout the entire state will lose.
Bringing Back Virginia Scallops
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Virginia's News on September 11, 2013
Virginia was once a big producer of bay scallops, but around 1930 a disease hit the sea grass beds that were home to those shellfish, and in 1933, two big storms wiped them out. Today, scientists report early success in bringing the grass beds back – and with them, the scallops as Sandy Hausman reports.
Visiting Former Governor Doug Wilder’s Classroom
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Daily Capitol News Updates on September 10, 2013
Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates don’t agree on much and when invited to various forums, they speak at different times. But during a candidates’ visit to the Virginia Commonwealth University class of former Governor Douglas Wilder, they both agreed on a matter that has been a sticking point for current Governor Bob McDonnell.
As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, neither GOP Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli nor Democrat Terry McAuliffe would sign off on McDonnell’s education reform package that would allow the state to take over failing schools.
Virginia Not Immune to “Molly”
Police are waiting for results of an autopsy before closing the case of a 19-year-old University of Virginia student who died over the Labor Day weekend after taking a dose of the street drug known as Molly. Sandy Hausman reports on what it is, and why police are warning the public against it.
Methane Gas Royalties in Question
Thousands of property owners in southwestern Virginia say they were cheated out of royalties for methane gas extracted from their land. A federal judge will consider a recommendation this week on whether their cases can move forward as a class action lawsuit. Robbie Harris has more.
Higher Education Cost Drivers
Concerns that skyrocketing costs may be driving many Virginia families away from higher education prompted state lawmakers to mandate a study to discover which factors are making tuition and fees so expensive. In its second in a series of reports, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission broke down the costs of non-academic university services, including athletics, recreation centers, housing, and dining. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, it found that these “auxiliary enterprises” are one of the major cost drivers.
Congress Gets Busy
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Virginia's News on September 9, 2013
As Congress resumes this week after its month long break there are a lot of pressing issues facing lawmakers that have a big impact on the economy in Virginia. Matt Laslo has this preview…
Progress Made in Fighting Human Trafficking
The Polaris Project is an organization active in the fight against human trafficking in the U.S. and globally. Pushing for stronger state laws, they rank states on their efforts fight trafficking. Virginia once had a poor score but, as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, that has changed.
Virginia Conversations on E3: Elevate Early Education
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Virginia Conversations on September 6, 2013
On this edition of “Virginia Conversations” , we’re heading into the classroom for a lesson on “E-3”. That stands for “Elevate Early Education”. The organization was started last year by a group of business, civic, and philanthropic leaders, with the goal of making early education a top priority for state leaders. So, how’s E-3 working so far? Find out with guests Gary McCollum and Lisa Howard as they talk with Virginia Conversations host May-Lily Lee.
Fast Facts from E3
- 90% of a child’s brain is developed by the age of 5.
- 1 in 7 kindergartners arrives without basic reading skills. That’s 13% of our children that need additional help in reading.
- By kindergarten entry, many children are so far behind that they may never catch up.
- Children not reading proficiently in third grade are four times more likely not to graduate from high school.
- 61% of Virginia’s incoming 4th graders score below proficient reading levels.
- Holding back a child in kindergarten adds nearly $11,000 to the public cost of that child’s education.
- Children who repeat grades K-3 cost our taxpayers nearly $80m annually.
- For every $1 we invest in school-age children, only 23 cents is spent on preschool-aged children, birth to age 5.
For more information, visit the E3 website.
Fairness Urged in Death Penalty Cases
Virginia’s laws and processes in administering the death penalty can and should be improved. That’s according to a report unveiled through a project sponsored by the American Bar Association. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the goal of the Death Penalty Assessment Team’s findings is to reduce the risk of wrongful conviction or execution.
Immigration Reform Rally Calls on Rep. Cantor
U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is being heavily lobbied by two sets of constituents who are at opposite ends of a polarizing debate. One wants him to push for a vote next month on comprehensive immigration reform, while the other wants him to be steadfast, refuse to capitulate, and push to reinforce U.S. borders. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports on a visit to the Congressman’s Richmond office by two competing groups.
Sen. Kaine Speaks Out on Syria
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Virginia's News on September 5, 2013
Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine has cast a vote supporting President Obama’s request to use military force in Syria. Matt Laslo has the story from Washington.
Fake ID Ring Busted
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Virginia's News on September 4, 2013
Federal investigators have closed the book on what could be the nation’s largest maker of fake identification – a Virginia company that made millions without advertising or even creating a website. Three people plead guilty to supplying up to 25,000 high-quality drivers’ licenses to customers around the world who learned about their services by word of mouth. Sandy Hausman has details.
Law Professor On Criminal Prosecutions Gone Bad
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Daily Capitol News Updates on September 4, 2013
When DNA evidence began springing people from prison, prosecutors discovered just how unreliable eyewitnesses can be. Here in Virginia, 13 out of 16 cases of wrongful convictions involved inaccurate identifications. That led the state to issue model procedures for dealing with witnesses, but after nearly two years, Sandy Hausman reports that very few have put those recommendations into practice.
Sex Offense Cases & Prior Convictions
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Daily Capitol News Updates on September 3, 2013
A defendant who’s charged with committing a sex offense against a child may have his previous convictions used against him in court under legislation that’s being considered by the Virginia State Crime Commission. The bill’s opponents say that acknowledging prior convictions or negative character traits during a trial has the potential to prejudice a jury against a defendant. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, some lawmakers believe current state law does not strike the right balance to secure justice for victimized children.
VaNews for 09.02.13
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in VaNews from VPAP on September 3, 2013
It turned out the bulls weren’t the most dangerous things at Virginia’s first Great Bull Run….and the state is issuing specialty license plates that show support for Governor McDonnell, but they’re not easy to get. Those stories were among the most frequently clicked this past week at Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link. Fred Echols reports.
VaNews is a free public service of the Virginia Public Access Project and can be found at vpap.org.
Modeling & Simulation: Emerging Industry
Posted by Virginia Public Radio in Daily Capitol News Updates on September 2, 2013
Many pilots learned how to fly and surgeons how to make incisions by engaging in some type of “modeling and simulation” program developed by a group of engineers. But while “modeling and simulation” is now becoming its own profession, in Virginia few schools provide a course of study needed to train and retain these specialized engineers. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the current administration and General Assembly are trying to change that.