Archive for February, 2014
As the effort continues to press the Virginia House of Delegates to jump on board with Medicaid expansion, mental health advocates are warning of what could happen if those who are uninsured remain so. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, one coalition says that while both chambers have made addressing mental health a priority this session, those who suffer from illnesses will still face many challenges if they do not have the means to pay for critical services.
On this edition of Virginia Conversations, gearing up for tax time. It’s our annual income tax preparation program with a panel of experts to tackle your questions. Our guests join host May-Lily Lee to explain what’s new this year on both the Federal and State income tax forms.
Young people under the age of 18 would no longer be permitted to buy electronic cigarettes under legislation that’s in its final stage at the General Assembly. The bill targets the delivery devices—regardless of their shape or size—and the related vapor products that contain nicotine. Anne Marie Morgan reports.
Virginia’s House of Delegates has postponed a vote to confirm one of Governor McAuliffe’s cabinet nominees … following published reports that he may have broken the law. Federal investigators are now looking into allegations that Commerce and Trade Secretary-designee Maurice Jones lobbied Congress while he was Deputy Secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil has more from Richmond.
The Commonwealth’s business leaders held dueling news conferences today [Monday] to express opposing views on enrolling hundreds of thousands of additional low-income residents in Medicaid. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce stressed that it’s against a traditional expansion of Medicaid—but it likes the state Senate’s plan for using private insurance through a new Marketplace Virginia. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the National Federation of Independent Business believes that Medicaid growth will become fiscally unsustainable.
One reason that it’s prudent for lawmakers to review the fine print of amendments offered to the Virginia state budget is because it may contain legislation that might not pass both houses on its own. Such is the case with an amendment approved by the House and attached to its version of the state budget. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, it directs the executive branch on how to proceed in controversial cases, such as the lawsuit challenging Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban.
The state Senate also used this approach by passing a budget amendment to create the “Marketplace Virginia” health insurance exchange that’s not popular with many delegates in the House.
The prayers that open every session of the Virginia House of Delegates are being questioned by some members….and Norfolk has decided it’s best to let nature have its way, at least in some cases. Those stories are among the most read in recent days at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.
On this edition of Virginia Conversations, reforming the state’s Standards of Learning tests. Educators, lawmakers, and parents often have a love-hate relationship with the S-O-Ls, but there seems to be bipartisan agreement in the General Assembly that the exams need to be re-worked.
The Virginia House of Delegates is set to vote on a Senate-approved bill that would give pet lovers more assurances that the puppy they bring home becomes a permanent family member … instead of a tragedy or significant financial burden. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the Senate bill—also known as “Bailey’s Law” in honor of a sick beagle—updates the state’s pet “lemon law” and holds pet stores more accountable.
If Governor McAuliffe agrees, small farmers could operate agritourism activities under less restrictive regulations … thanks to legislation that has now passed both houses of the General Assembly. The new law would prohibit local governments from requiring special-use permits and imposing stringent noise regulations unless there’s a substantial impact on public welfare or safety. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, while small farmers embraced this bill, they did not get everything they wanted during the legislative session.
A bipartisan group of state senators and delegates has formed the General Assembly’s first-ever “Personal, Privacy Protection Caucus” of lawmakers. Their goal is to refine the law to prevent state and local governments from large-scale gathering and storage of personal data—especially if it takes place without individual warrants. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the members say they’re also trying to strike the right balance between public safety and Fourth Amendment protections.
The caucus plans to hold hearings and consult law enforcement this year to craft new legislation.
It’s been over a year since the publication of a new book about Thomas Jefferson and his slaves. It won rave reviews from many parts of the country, but in Charlottesville the author is still attacked in certain circles. Sandy Hausman reports on why Henry Wiencek’s work remains extremely controversial.
A Virginia couple is at risk of losing $150,000 after challenging the state over the value of condemned land….and restaurant owner has run into some complications over a sign in a Norfolk historic district. Those stories are among the most clicked this past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.
Reaction to federal Judge Arenda Wright Allen’s ruling that struck down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban was swift—with fervent discussion among Virginia lawmakers, a news conference from the state Attorney General who rallied against the law, and gay couples who try, but fail, on Valentine’s Day to get marriage licenses. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil has more from the State Capitol.
While not all bills to crack down on human trafficking in Virginia have survived the halfway point in the General Assembly, lawmakers believe they’ve made progress in battling what’s now considered one of the fastest—if not the fastest—growing financial crime worldwide. They have agreed that this is not a partisan issue. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, lawmakers were able to work across both chambers and party lines to develop new guidelines to assist victims and law enforcement officials.
Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell and other GOP members of that chamber are characterizing the first half of the General Assembly session as a success. Howell says many of their key initiatives have passed, and they worked well with Democrats. BUT as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, when asked if the House will work with the Senate on passing Medicaid expansion, GOP leaders still say they just don’t see that happening.
The Virginia Senate has approved legislation to repeal the state law passed two years ago that requires women to have an ultrasound before undergoing an abortion. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the measure was initially defeated—then in a dramatic reversal, was revived.
It’s been nearly three years since the federal government issued legal guidelines for universities facing an epidemic of sexual misconduct on campus. This week, the University of Virginia hosts the first conference of its kind – a two-day program for college presidents and other administrators struggling to understand and manage students in the age of hooking up. Sandy Hausman has that story.
A person in a mental health crisis may be kept in custody for evaluation for up to 24 hours under legislation that has cleared the Virginia Senate. The new, 24-hour limit passed over the objections of some in the law enforcement community, who worried that such a lengthy period may divert deputy sheriffs who are detaining the patient from other public safety priorities. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the bill passed unanimously after an impassioned plea from the Senator who was most recently impacted by flaws in the state’s mental health system.
A new idea for fostering co-operation between Democrats and Republicans in Richmond involves upgrading the liquor selection at the Executive Mansion,,,and the governor pays a visit to the Eastern Shore, but which governor? Those stories have been among the most read this past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.
On this edition “Virginia Conversations” we commemorate Black History Month with a taste of how southern cuisine was influenced by the slave trade. Host May-Lily Lee’s guests include afro-culinary historian Micheal Twitty and Lara Templin, an interpreter from the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. How the slaves from African changed our diet here in Virginia… and throughout the South.
For more information about the guests and information featured in the program:
Visit Michael Twitty’s website here.
Visit “From Africa to Virginia” – the theme of interpretive programs throughout February at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center history museums.
Visit the website of Andi Cumbo-Floyd, author “The Slaves Have Names” here.
The Virginia Senate tackled several bills addressing acts of violence. And, after lengthy debate, Senators likely killed a measure that would have allowed Virginia to use electrocution as a form of execution, if necessary. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the Senate also gave preliminary approval to a measure to penalize so-called “celebratory gunfire.”
Reports that House Republican leaders are dropping efforts to tie legislation to the debt ceiling increase is being met with cheers from lawmakers in the region. Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the story…
Virginia’s General Assembly has been caught in a dispute between Japan and Korea—and it’s all over how students and teachers refer to the body of water between the two nations. Throughout the session, Asian media, emissaries, and other interested parties have crowded committee meetings and Capitol hallways … and some have even met with the Governor. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the dispute is over whether the current name of the “Sea of Japan” in textbooks should be referred to in new versions as the “East Sea.”
The Virginia Senate has passed a series of bills to delay or weaken some of the controversial education accountability measures that were enacted in recent years. One addresses the policy of grading schools using an A through F system that aimed to make school performance more understandable to parents. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, other bills would modify the rules governing when schools would be transferred to oversight of the newly created Opportunity Educational Institute … and cut the number of Standards of Learning assessments.
It’s now up to a U. S. District Court judge to decide if gay and lesbian couples living in Virginia will be able to marry legally. Beverly Amsler reports on a hearing before the court on the marriage equality case of Bostic v. Rainey-a lawsuit that could have far-reaching consequences.
Two major lobbyists – the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Fertilizer Institute — have some new allies in their legal fight against a plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, and environmentalists here are furious. Sandy Hausman reports.
Former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, will be able to talk to family members and friends while they await trial—as long as they don’t discuss any substantive material related to their indictment on federal corruption charges. That’s the ruling of U.S. District Magistrate Judge David Novak, who also said the former first couple will be allowed to discuss the case with each other. Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports that federal prosecutors agreed—although they initially had wanted to allow contacts only with family members.
Virginia is moving closer to implementing changes to its mental health system under legislation that has advanced in the General Assembly. The state Senate approved two bills to help clarify how long a person can be held for treatment under a temporary detention order … and to prevent someone who’s thought to be a danger to himself or others from possessing a gun. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, other legislation is still alive and pending.
A bill that would have Virginia make more frequent use of the electric chair has stalled in the Senate and a Northern Virginia school board member has hit it big on Twitter. Those stories have been among the most read on the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link at VPAP.org. More from Fred Echols.