Archive for January, 2017

Senators Divided About How To Handle Airbnb, And Not Along Party Lines


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The new disruptive economy — Airbnb, Uber — it’s causing disagreements in the General Assembly. And the debate doesn’t fall along party lines. Michael Pope has the story.


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$15 Million Settlement in Tribe-For-Hire Scam

Mark Herring

Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring settled the landmark case this week. (Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP)

More than 15,000 victims of a predatory lending scheme in Virginia are having their loans absolved and receiving cash awards. That’s thanks to a $15 million settlement agreement approved in federal court in Richmond this week, one of the largest of its kind in history. Michael Pope has the story.

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Democrat Hopeful Immigration Ban Can Be Undone


US Democratic Representatives Gerry Connolly (VA), Don Beyer (VA), John Delaney (MD), and Jamie Raskin (MD) question Customs and Border Protection about people being detained at Dulles International Airport on Sunday, January 29th. (Credit: Rep. Don Beyer’s Twitter Account, @RepDonBeyer)

After spending four hours at Dulles Airport Sunday, one Virginia Congressman thinks a ban on refugees from seven mostly Muslim countries can be overturned.  Sandy Hausman spoke with Don Beyer and filed this report.

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Va News Topics: Embracing Change in a Rural County; Portsmouth Emergency Personnel


Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

A Virginia county is taking steps to protect its rural character while still embracing change and Portsmouth is offering a cash incentive to keep emergency personnel from leaving the city. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va News link at

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Virginia’s Students, and Universities, Rally Against Trump’s Travel Ban


Students at the University of Virginia at a protest Sunday, one of many across the state. (Credit: Jordy Yager / WVTF)

Across the state this weekend, people made their voices heard in opposition to President Trump’s actions that take aim at immigrants in the U.S. illegally, while also temporarily halting the arrival of refugees, and issuing a 90-day ban on citizens traveling from seven predominantly Muslim countries

Sunday afternoon, one protest was held on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Kelley Libby reports from Richmond.

In Charlottesville, About 700 people gathered outside the University of Virginia’s Rotunda Sunday to protest the recent series of executive orders.

Jordy Yager reports.

At the same time, Virginia’s universities are reiterating a commitment to their international students.

Mallory Noe-Payne has this statewide perspective.

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State Lawmakers to Consider Options on How to Stop Predatory Lending

Payday Lender

Credit: frankieleon / Creative Commons

Lawmakers in Richmond are taking action that could result in a crackdown on high-interest loans many consider predatory. Michael Pope reports.


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The Debate Over Driver’s License Suspensions is an On-Going One at the General Assembly

Manoli Loupassi

Delegate Manoli Loupassi, R-Richmond, believes that current license suspension practices can hurt those living on the margins. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Should people charged with drug offenses or unpaid court costs have their driver’s license suspended? That’s a question Republicans and Democrats are working together to answer. Michael Pope has the story.


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Uncertainties Abound Over How the State Will Afford Proposed Raises for State Employees

Tommy Norment

Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment is among state Republicans who think Governor Terry McAuliffe’s one-time bonus for state employees is inadequate. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Republican leaders in Richmond are moving forward with a budget agreement that will give state employees a raise. But, as Michael Pope tells us, they’re not yet saying how they’ll pay for it.


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Virginia’s Democratic Lawmakers Look to Co-Exist in GOP-Controlled Washington


After a failed White House-big, Senator Tim Kaine is setting his focus on re-election. (Credit: Win McNamee / AP)

Virginia Democrats are preparing to spend at least the next two years playing defense against the new Republican majorities in Washington. Correspondent Matt Laslo has this story on the new roles some in the party are preparing to play.

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Efforts to Raise Virginia’s Felony Grand Larceny Threshold May Still Fall Short

Chap Petersen

State Senator Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, believes Virginia’s threshold for felony grand larceny is too low, and hopes this is the year that changes. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Should shoplifters be charged with a felony for stealing something as expensive as a pair of designer jeans? That’s one of the issues lawmakers are battling over this year in Richmond. Michael Pope has the story.


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With New Control, Virginia’s Republican Congressmen Look Ahead

Robert Wittman

Representative Robert Wittman, R-Va., has shifted his priorities since Donald Trump was elected. (Credit: Carolyn Kaster / AP)

Republicans now control Washington and that has increased power for some key Virginia lawmakers. Correspondent Matt Laslo caught up with some of them and has this story on what could be in store for the commonwealth this year.

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Virginia Hospitals Want Lawmakers to Crack Down on Medical Hackers


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Hacking is not just a problem in politics and banking. It’s also becoming an increasing worry for hospitals. And now they’re asking lawmakers in Virginia to help them crack down. Michael Pope reports.


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Virginians Who Marched Share Their Thoughts on Trump, Future Plans and Favorite Signs


Albemarle County residents Angela Lynn and Jean Wheeler march in Washington. 

Thousands of Virginians spent their weekend traveling to Washington, marching and recovering.  Sandy Hausman caught up with some of them as they rode a bus back to Charlottesville.

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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Purchases Romare Bearden’s ‘Three Folk Musicians


The VMFA recently acquired this life-size collage that will be part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Virginia’s Museum of Fine Arts will soon be home to a new masterpiece, one that exemplifies African-American art. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Va News Topics: Hunting Prize, Illegal Confederate Flag


Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

300 hunters from across the Eastern United States spent a recent weekend shooting predatory animals in hope of winning a cash prize offered in Virginia, and the latest oversized Confederate flag to go up in the state has been ruled illegal. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va News link at Fred Echols reports.

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Week One at the General Assembly: Lobbying, Lawmaking and Legacy


This is Governor Terry McAuliffe’s final legislative session. He’ll walk away having made big gains in economic development, but failing to deliver on his promised Medicaid expansion. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Virginia’s General Assembly is wrapping up its first full-week of lawmaking in Richmond. To get a quick debrief of the action, RadioIQ host Luke Church spoke with reporter Michael Pope. They talked about the lawmaking process, the role of lobbyists, and the legacy of outgoing Governor Terry McAuliffe.

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Lawmakers Want to Limit Fees From Payday Advance Companies

Payday Lender

Lawmakers want to limit the amount of fees a company like Advance Till Payday can impose on people who take out a loan. (Credit: frankieleon / Creative Commons)

Lawmakers in Richmond are considering a bill that would crack down on fees attached to loans that critics call predatory. Michael Pope has the story.


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Proposed Broadband Bill Would Bring About More Transparency from Municipal Providers


Credit: Sean MacEntee / Flickr

Last year, a government-owned broadband network in Bristol Virginia was plagued in scandal — as executives jacked up internet prices on customers who had no other options but to pay or lose service, all while treating themselves to limo rides and skybox seats.

That’s led lawmakers in Richmond to ask: What role should local governments play when it comes to expanding internet access in poor, rural areas? Michael Pope has more from Richmond.


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Jamycheal Mitchell’s Death is Sparking Discussions Over Mental Health Reform at the General Assembly


Senator Barbara Favola is pushing legislation that would require mental health training for all correctional officers in the state. (Credit: Cliff / Creative Commons)

The death of a mentally ill man at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail is prompting lawmakers to take action in Richmond. Michael Pope has the story.

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Searching for Ghost Pots in the Chesapeake


A ghost pot sits in the sand on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

Every year, Chesapeake Bay watermen toss about 600,000 traps overboard to catch one of our favorite delicacies – the blue crab. But inevitably, some of those traps called crab pots disappear. They become “ghost pots” that kill millions of crabs and other marine species trapped inside. Watermen used to spend winters searching for those pots, but federal funds to pay for the project dried up. So, scientists are looking at other ways to deal with the problem.

Pamela D’Angelo reports for Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative.

Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative is funded with grant support from the Clayton Baker Trust, The Bancroft Foundation, Michael and Ann Hankin, The Jim and Patty Rouse Foundation, The Rob and Elizabeth Tyler Foundation, and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation


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Could 2017 Be the Year Former Felons Get Their Voting Rights Back?


Two proposals for the restoration of felon voting rights in the state are currently on the table. (Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons)

This just might be the year that Virginia’s constitution starts to change: to allow people convicted of a felony to more easily get their voting rights back. But there are multiple proposals on the table, and advocates for former felons are pushing hard. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.


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Senate Panel Votes to Crack Down on Internet Loans


Senator Scott Surovell presents the bill to members of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. (Credit: Michael Pope)

In Richmond, lawmakers are cracking down on internet loans. Michael Pope has the story.


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Proposed Legislation Would Make January 22nd a “Day of Tears” in Virginia


Anne Fitzgerald (right) of the Day of Tears nonprofit says she would like to see other state take action similar to the one Virginia is considering. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Members of the Virginia House of Delegates are about to consider an effort to create a Day of Tears in Virginia. As Michael Pope tells us from the Capitol, the idea is to mourn the loss of unborn children to abortion.


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Virginia Democrats Rally for Healthcare


Richmond was the scene of two rallies over the weekend, one of which dealt with Republican’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Credit: Creative Commons)

Democrats rallied in Richmond Sunday – urging Congress to fulfill President-Elect Trump’s promise of better healthcare for the nation.  Senator Tim Kaine says he’s hopeful lawmakers will not repeal the Affordable Care Act without providing an acceptable replacement. Sandy Hausman spoke with him and filed this report.


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Virginians Take to the Streets in March on Monument


Marchers this weekend took to Monument Avenue in Richmond. (Credit: Kelley Libby / WVTF / RADIO IQ)

This past Saturday, over 1,000 Richmonders streamed down Monument Avenue in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, planned for this weekend. The March on Monument drew a crowd of advocates from all corners of the Richmond social justice community. Nicki Stein was there and filed this report.


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Va News Topics: Local DMV Inconvenienced, Charges Dropped Against Prince William Teenager


Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

When a southwest Virginia man considered himself inconvenienced by the DMV he decided to pay his car tax the hard way, and charges have been dropped against a Prince William teenager accused of stealing a carton of milk at school. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va News link at Fred Echols reports.


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Several Inmate Deaths Across the State Spark Cries for More Accountability


Senator John Cosgrove is proposing legislation that would require a Department of Corrections investigation following the death of an inmate.

In the wake of several controversial deaths in Virginia jails, members of the General Assembly are taking action to make sure the cases are thoroughly investigated. Michael Pope has the story.



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Little Known Rule Could Have Chilling Effect on Virginia’s Federal Workforce

Virginia_flag_mapA newly reinstated rule in Congress has Democrats worried that Republicans are going to try to fire a large swath of federal workers, which could hurt the economy across the commonwealth. Matt Laslo has the story from the Capitol.

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Changes in Richmond May Mean Freedom for Some Prisoners


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In 1995, Virginia abolished parole — a change that led to crowding of state prisons and longer stays behind bars.  Now, small cracks have developed in the legal wall that keeps about 30,000 people locked up.  Sandy Hausman reports on changes that could free some inmates.

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Governor McAuliffe Kicks Off His Last Legislative Session


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Lawmakers from across Virginia are in Richmond this week for the opening of the General Assembly session, which will last through the end of next month. This year will be the last year for Governor Terry McAuliffe — the only governor in the country subject to one term. Michael Pope has this preview of his last session as governor.

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Following Two Special Elections, Republicans Retain Control of Virginia’s Lawmaking Bodies


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Heading into the legislative session, both of Virginia’s lawmaking bodies remain controlled by Republicans. Two special elections in the state senate yesterday could have possibly flipped that control. Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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This Year’s General Assembly Session Officially Began Today


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Lawmakers from across Virginia are in Richmond this week for the opening of the General Assembly session, which will last through the end of next month. Michael Pope has this preview.

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School Discipline Reform Will Be On General Assembly Docket


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When students misbehave, how much discipline is too much? Lawmakers will be tackling that issue when they convene in Richmond for this year’s session. Michael Pope has this preview.

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Va News Topics: Chesterfield County Developer Applications, State Flooding Cabinet Position


Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

Since Chesterfield County supervisors made it cheaper for developers to launch new projects they’ve been overwhelmed with applications, and as flooding gets worse in Hampton Roads there’s a call for a new state cabinet position to manage response efforts. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va News link at Fred Echols reports.

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There’s No Such Think As Free Beer — Somebody’s Paying For It


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As the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But what about a free beer? Michael Pope has the story.


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Could the State Get Into the Student Loan Business?


Credit: Inove Manore / Flickr

According to the state, more than half of Virginia college students graduate in debt, half of whom owe more than $25,000. Democratic state lawmakers are now proposing the state step in directly: by getting into the student loan business. Mallory Noe-Payne has more.


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This “Everyday Joe” is Running for Office So Virginians Have a Choice

bhm_pics_1_50mm_32Corey Fauconier is likely not a name you’ve heard before. And that’s because he’s a self proclaimed “everyday joe” — who just also happens to be running for Virginia’s State Senate.

Fauconier is the libertarian candidate for the 9th Senate District in Tuesday’s special election. That district includes much of Richmond City, and parts of Henrico, Hanover, and Charles City counties.

Fauconier — though — has a message he thinks all Virginians should hear:  that in 2015, more than half of state lawmakers ran for their seats unopposed.

He sat down with Richmond reporter Mallory Noe-Payne.

Fauconier is running against Democrat Jennifer McClellan. There is no Republican on the ticket. Learn more about Tuesday’s election and if you’re eligible to vote for either of the two open seats here

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An Interview with Representative Jennifer McClellan as She Looks to Move to the State Senate



Democrat Jennifer McClellan has represented Richmond in Virginia’s House of Delegates for 11 years, but now she’s looking for a change. She’s running for an open seat in Virginia’s State Senate. That district includes much of Richmond City, and parts of Henrico, Hanover, and Charles City counties.

If she wins Tuesday’s special election, McClellan will go from the 100-member House to the 40-member Senate. She sat down with Richmond reporter Mallory Noe-Payne to talk about what switching could mean for her priorities as a lawmaker.

McClellan is running against Libertarian Corey Fauconier. There is no Republican on the ticket. Learn more about Tuesday’s election and if you’re eligible to vote for either of the two open seats here

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Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam Wants Free Access to IUD’s for Women in Virginia


Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam with Governor Terry McAuliffe (Credit: Creative Commons)

Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam says too many teenagers become pregnant or have abortions, and he has a plan to address it. Michael Pope has the story.

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About the Candidates: State Senate Election Could Determine Party Control


Candidates for the 22nd District from left to right: Independent Joe Hines, Republican Mark Peakes and Democrat Ryant Washington

On Tuesday, residents of the state’s 22nd district will elect a new senator, and Democrats are watching closely – noting a victory for one candidate could end GOP domination in that branch of the General Assembly. Sandy Hausman reports on who’s running, and why Democrats could win in a largely Republican district.

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Health of Chesapeake Bay Graded at All-Time High, C-


Credit: Creative Commons

About 18 million people live along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The economic value of keeping waters pollution-free ranges from the fish and blue crabs we eat to the summer swims we take.

Every two years the Chesapeake Bay Foundation gives the bay a physical, checking into habitat, fisheries and pollution. This year the bay went from a D+ to a C-.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Former US Congressman Tom Perriello Makes Surprise Bid for Governor of Virginia


Credit: US Congress

The race for governor was unexpectedly scrambled on the Democratic side this week, as former Congressman Tom Perriello unexpectedly jumped in the race to challenge Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam. The primary challenge means Northam won’t be able to focus his attention and campaign cash toward the general election like he planned on doing since Attorney General Mark Herring announced he would not challenge Northam for the race last year. Michael Pope caught up with the lieutenant governor during an event in Alexandria and asked him about his reaction to Perriello announcing his candidacy.


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Governor Orders New Protection for LGBTs, Warns Lawmakers Against Divisive Legislation


Credit: Sandy Hausman / WVTF / RADIO IQ

As Virginia’s General Assembly prepares to do business later this month, Governor McAuliffe is warning members not to introduce controversial bills that involve social policy.  He urged them to be tolerant and to focus on jobs, transportation and education. Sandy Hausman has more on that story.


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Virginia Lawmaker’s “Physical Privacy Act” Would Regulate Transgender Bathroom Use


Credit: / Luke Fontana

A Virginia lawmaker says he wants to protect the physical privacy of people using bathrooms and locker rooms. Bob Marshall, a Republican from Northern Virginia, has proposed legislation that would regulate transgender facilities use in public buildings, including schools. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Lawmakers Want More Transparency from State University Presidents


Senator Chap Petersen points to the recent controversy over the University of Virginia’s so-called “slush fund” as evidence for the need for more transparency by the state’s university presidents. (Credit: P. Morrissey / Flickr)

Digging into the inner workings of a college or university can be difficult, even when records are requested through a Freedom of Information Act request. As Michael Pope tells us, that’s because university presidents enjoy a license to operate outside of the scope of public scrutiny.


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Lawmakers to Consider Extra Funding For Historically Black Cemeteries


The four cemeteries include East End Cemetery, a children’s cemetery and what may be a cemetery for black Confederate soldiers. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / WVTF / RADIO IQ)

After integration, historically black cemeteries around the state fell to the wayside, often unkempt, uncared for, and forgotten. Now a state lawmaker is hoping to bring them some much-needed attention. Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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Virginia Obtains Execution Drugs in Secret, Death Row Inmate Appeals

Virginia_flag_mapA man who murdered a Richmond couple and their young daughters in 2006 is set to be executed by the state in just a couple of weeks. In a courtroom in Richmond Tuesday, lawyers asked a federal judge to step in. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.


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Virginia Congressman Takes Center Stage On First Day


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Washington was buzzing Tuesday about a potential change to the rules that was hotly debated and then scrapped. And a powerful Virginia congressman was at the center of the firestorm. Michael Pope has the story.

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Virginia’s Direct Food Economy More Than $215 Million


Virginia’s farmers markets are an important part of the local food economy. (Credit: Stephen Little / Flickr)

Virginia has one of the largest local food economies in the country. That’s according to new data released by the USDA. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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In Virginia, Women Make 78 Percent of What Men Make


Data shows Falls Church, Virginia has the greatest pay gap — women there make 53% less than their male counterparts. (Credit: photosteve101 / Flickr CC)

Women are still earning less than men. That’s true across Virginia. But as Michael Pope tells us, the disparity of income is greater in some areas than in others.

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