Archive for September, 2015
Virginia’s governor, attorney general, and public safety secretary marked the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month by focusing on the number of homicides committed with guns. As Tommie McNeil reports, their message is that many of the Commonwealth’s domestic violence deaths last year—and many other fatalities—could have been prevented with several key gun control laws.
It’s rare these days for Republicans and Democrats in Congress to agree on anything, so it may come as a surprise to learn there is bi-partisan support for a bill to reclassify marijuana. Matt Laslo explains why a Virginia Republican is leading that effort.
Attorney General Mark Herring has launched a new initiative to train law enforcement officers in “impartial policing” and how to deescalate dangerous situations. The idea was prompted by recent incidents of citizen fatalities and neighborhood protests against police across the U.S. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the program also aims to enhance cooperation between police and citizens —and help ensure that communities have trust and confidence that they’re being treated fairly.
A new, permanent panel formed to advise state and local officials about their conflict-of-interest questions and whether gifts of travel, lodging, or meals are permissible has held its inaugural meeting.
The Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council is composed of state lawmakers, former judges, and citizens appointed by the House, Senate, and Governor McAuliffe. But, as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, developing the practical rules for carrying out the updated state ethics laws is still a work in progress.
Four Virginia colleges have hopped on board to try to streamline the college admissions process. University of Virginia, James Madison University, Virginia Tech and William & Mary will provide a new set of online application tools to high school students.
A Northern Virginia lingerie shop has upset some residents who don’t believe its window displays make a proper impression….and bicycle riders will no longer get a free pass when they run stop signs in one Virginia city. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link at vpap.org.
This morning Governor McAuliffe, his chief of Environmental Quality, and the Secretary of Natural Resources traveled from Richmond to the northern tip of Virginia’s Eastern Shore to personally deliver a very special document, the first of its kind in the state. Pamela D’Angelo reports.
The world road biking championships wrapped up in Richmond this weekend… Initial fears about slow-to-appear crowds disappeared by the time the largest race happened Sunday. Preliminary numbers show more than 600-thousand spectators showed up for the event. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.
State officials are looking for ways to sustain a program aimed at improving the quality of life for Virginians who suffer from chronic diseases, including COPD, hypertension, and diabetes. The state had funded this Chronic Disease Self-Management Education Program with a federal grant since 2010, but was recently turned down for another grant. And as Tommie McNeil reports, without program funding, costs associated with these diseases could rise significantly.
Richmond is in the spotlight this week, hosting the world championships for road biking. As out of towners flock to the city, and spectators stroll the streets — community developers have seized the unique opportunity to do something new with old spaces.
A recent state report revealed that more than 23-hundred Personal Evidence Recovery Kits in police departments throughout Virginia have not been tested. The evidence could potentially identify and lead to the prosecution of sex offenders. But as Tommie McNeil reports, a task force is now determining why these kits were not tested and whether they should be-along with guidance on how to proceed.
Anyone working or living around Richmond can attest to the sizable impact of the UCI World Cycling Championships. But, beyond the road closures and massive crowds, some believe the race’s presence could leave a lasting impression on the region.
State spending on public education in Virginia has declined by 7 percent in the last decade… according to a new report by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission. When adjusted for inflation, spending fell from $10,927 per pupil in 2005 to $10,148 last year. But as Anne Marie Morgan reports, the state’s school divisions say their resources were stretched—while under a mandate to increase student achievement.
Children subjected to repeated trauma are significantly more likely to have high levels of chronic disease. That’s according to research findings presented to the Joint Commission on Health Care yesterday, which also looked at the effects of trauma on the young brain. The findings could result in a paradigm shift toward early diagnosis and treatment.
While millions of TV viewers watch and thousands converge on the capital city of Richmond for the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, right in the heart of the area is a museum that could blunt some of the negative publicity the city received over its Confederate monuments. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the Valentine Museum gives visitors an opportunity to experience history from the local perspective—including how bicycles and their related cultures changed over the centuries.
Christiansburg High School has handed out suspensions to students who challenged a policy prohibiting the confederate flag on school grounds…and former Virginia Lieutenant Governor turned Congressman Don Beyer wants 16-year-olds to have the right to pre-register to vote. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.
For the most part, the public knows the positions of each side in the battle over Medicaid expansion in Virginia—but what about the stakeholder organizations that provide services? They say they’re caught in the middle and would like to see some legislative movement before key services—and even hospitals themselves—become casualties in the battle over how to fund healthcare.
Although two federal cases have been on the front burner, the nonprofit organization, OneVirginia2021, has filed a lawsuit in STATE court that challenges 11 House of Delegates and state Senate districts as unconstitutionally gerrymandered. Since the boundaries were drawn by the Democrat-led Senate and the GOP-dominated House, the group says both parties need to go back to the drawing board.
Some Virginia localities already use police body cameras at their own discretion. But as more consider utilizing the tool, the state’s Secure Commonwealth Panel is drafting recommendations to establish specific guidelines. However, the state ACLU has a little bit of a problem with how they’re going about it.
More than 500 people in Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina will be losing their jobs next September when MillerCoors Brewing shuts down beer production in Eden, North Carolina. In an announcement the company blamed loss of sales to craft brewers among other factors. Fred Echols reports.
The courts will soon decide whether a Virginia law that prohibits objects that might block a driver’s view of the road to be attached to rear view mirrors is constitutional…..and paramedics in Alexandria are unhappy at being asked to cross train as firefighters. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. More now from Fred Echols.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is announcing a new effort to crack down on predatory lending. But, as Michael Pope tells us, his office is limited by existing law. Car-title lenders are allowed to charge interest rates that are higher than 200%.
Have you ever questioned what qualifies a person to be selected as a judge who’s responsible for many life-altering decisions? Ever wondered how detailed and transparent the vetting process is—and whether the jurist is invested in the overall well-being of the community which he or she serves? A new proposal by a gubernatorial commission would guide how state lawmakers go about making their selections, while getting input from their local communities. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil explains.
Over the past several years, Virginia has seen its share of mass shootings, targeted killings, high-profile suicides, and a growing number of crimes all associated with both mental health and criminal justice.
To address what some have labeled an epidemic, the state has created a new Center for Behavioral Health and Justice. And as Tommie McNeil reports, it’s a means to streamline and coordinate resources and services.
Lawmakers were away from Washington all of August, but there was little reason for them to take that extended vacation. Matt Laslo reports they only have until the end of September to fund the government or else the government will shut down.
Arlington County has been a magnet for millennials. But now they’re starting families and that makes Arlington less attractive for many of them…and Virginia Commonwealth University’s new policy on student-faculty romance is being questioned by some in the university community. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VA News link on vpap.org. Fred Echols has more.
A group of local candidates and the Commonwealth are battling it out in federal court over whether a Virginia election law violates the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. At issue is a statute that requires the political party affiliations of federal and state candidates to be listed next to their names on election ballots—while omitting the same for candidates who run for local offices. The candidates are asking the court to temporarily block November’s ballots from being printed until the law’s constitutionality is decided.
Taking a page from the McDonnell-Bolling book of party unification, Attorney General Mark Herring now says–midway into his term–that he is backing Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam for Governor, while Herring will run for a second term.
Ever have a problem with the federal government? Like the IRS is hounding you for money that you don’t owe, or say a missing Social Security check? You should go directly to Virginia’s representatives Washington for assistance.
A state task force of local general registrars has crunched the numbers and discovered what they already suspected: Their workload has grown significantly over the past two decades. The trend has occurred, in part, due to a substantially greater number of voters, elections, and even new laws in the Commonwealth.
Virginia needs to take stronger, proactive steps to mitigate the negative effects of climate change, bolster the Commonwealth’s resilience, and reduce the state’s carbon footprint. That’s the conclusion of an expert panel established by Governor McAuliffe to formulate recommendations that could be quickly enacted. The strategies begin with concerted efforts to educate both citizens and public officials — and raise the capital that’s needed to fund improvements.