Archive for March, 2017
Republican lawmakers and Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe are at odds over the best way to help Virginia’s struggling coal country. That issue is likely to be a sticking point when members of the General Assembly return to Richmond for the upcoming veto session. Michael Pope reports.
Throughout Virginia, 400,000 people who live in poverty or with disabilities stand to benefit it Medicaid is expanded. Where are they? Michael Pope is mapping the geography of Virginia’s hottest political debate.
As Republicans search for ways to replace the Affordable Care Act, some doctors in this country are doing something new. Tired of the expense and time required to process insurance claims, they’re charging patients a modest monthly fee and bypassing insurance entirely. Sandy Hausman has this two-part look at the model known as Direct Primary Care.
New Census numbers show an alarming trend in Virginia. More people are leaving the commonwealth to go to other states than people are arriving here from other states. As Michael Pope reports, it’s a phenomenon known as outmigration.
The Chesapeake Bay was once a world center for oyster production, but those beloved bi-valves have fallen on hard times. Pollution took a toll, and baby oysters missed their favorite places to grow. Now, an army of volunteers has teamed up with about a hundred restaurants and grocery stores to boost the population of Virginia oysters. Sandy Hausman has more.
President Trump is calling to increase defense spending by $54 billion, which could mean a big boost for Virginia’s economy. But, Matt Laslo reports from Washington that not all of the state’s lawmakers are on board.
Virginia’s Republican lawmakers and Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe have finally reached a middle ground on how to handle one part of the new disruptive economy. As Michael Pope reports, local governments across Virginia are about to start cracking down on Airbnb.
Republicans say the Affordable Care Act is in a “death spiral,” and President Trump is expecting the system to “explode.” But what is the state of the newly created health-insurance exchanges in Virginia? Michael Pope takes a look.
Tolls, late charges and administrative fees for using the Elizabeth River tunnels in Hampton Roads are adding up to bills that some people in Portsmouth and Norfolk say they will never be able to pay. This story has been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va News link at vpap.org.
Commercial watermen who fish the Potomac River were dealt a blow this week when the Maryland-Virginia authority that regulates them did nothing to protect their fishing rights from federal plans for a Mallows Bay Marine Sanctuary. Pamela D’Angelo reports.
With the Trump Administration threatening big cuts in State Department spending, and the world still puzzling over who’s allowed to visit this country, some families are wondering if it’s a good idea for their kids to study at American universities. The President of the University of Virginia thinks it is, and she will travel to India next week to make that point. Sandy Hausman reports.
When it comes to military veterans, Virginia is number one with more vets per capita than any other state. Because most qualify for educational benefits under the GI bill, many end up in college, but the transition isn’t always easy. Sandy Hausman reports on a program designed to ease former and reserve soldiers into life on campus.
Environmental groups are praising Governor Terry McAuliffe for his action on the controversial issue of coal ash. This week, the governor amended a Senate bill to make sure the public has information about polluted groundwater BEFORE Dominion moves forward with a plan to clean it up. Michael Pope reports.
It’s that time of year again. Property tax bills are arriving in mailboxes across Virginia. And, as Michael Pope reports, the value of homes in Virginia is going up this year — although some more than others.
Two years ago, a 64-year-old woman was killed when a car speeding along Richmond’s Grove Avenue crashed into her silver sports car. Historian Elizabeth Pryor was known for books about Robert E. Lee and Clara Barton – works she published before and after a 20-year career with the foreign service. Shortly before her death she had finished another book, seven years in the making. Sandy Hausman spoke with her sister about that controversial new study of Abraham Lincoln.
It’s been a long, strange trip for marijuana reform, once the province of liberals and Democrats. But now, as Michael Pope reports, Republicans are getting into the act.
Now that state lawmakers have wrapped up their business in Richmond, two dozen students at Virginia Commonwealth University are breathing a sigh of relief. VCU is one of a handful of schools filling a huge gap created by shrinking budgets for state news coverage. Sandy Hausman reports on this eager army of junior journalists.
In this time of mounting hostility toward immigrants, economic uncertainty and massive women’s marches, a surprising new play premiered at the American Shakespeare Center’s theater in Staunton. Sandy Hausman reports on the original production of Shakespeare’s Sister.
It’s budget time across Virginia. That means that city councils and boards of supervisors are trying to balance the books for fiscal year 2018. And, as Michael Pope reports, many of them are struggling with the same problem.
Hearings begin today on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, and the University of Virginia is doing its part to inform lawmakers and the public as Sandy Hausman reports.
Virginia Republicans are proving to be a thorn in the party establishment’s side when it comes to overhauling the Affordable Care Act. Three of the Commonwealth’s seven-member Republican delegation have already come out opposed to their party’s own health care measure, which, as Correspondent Matt Laslo explains, makes Virginia Republicans an obstacle for party leaders.
President Trump’s budget blueprint to “Make American Great Again” would cut EPA funding for the Chesapeake Bay by $73 million, ultimately killing federal programs to eliminate pollution that’s been plan plaguing the bay for decades. Pamela D’Angelo reports.
This year all of Virginia’s state lawmakers are up for re-election. And those House of Delegates races don’t always get the kind of publicity as higher profile elections. But, as Michael Pope reports, this year might be different.
Do election officials have the equipment they need to prevent voters waiting in line for hours on end? One Virginia congressman says no, and he has a plan to fix it. But as Michael Pope reports, that plan may be headed for the same gridlock that confronts other changes to voting systems.
Is the Department of Homeland Security in danger of waste, fraud and abuse? One Virginia congressman says it is, and he has a plan to do something about it. Michael Pope reports.
As the debate about health care takes center stage, what kind of impact could the Republican plan have in Virginia? Michael Pope is digging into the numbers.
Threatened historic structures owned by local governments can be tough sells when it comes to persuading private developers to buy and preserve them, as the City of Roanoke is learning. And, the Chesapeake Bay is among the places where whales are most at risk of being struck by ships. The Navy has been leading the effort to document that danger. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va News link at vpap.org.
Part of this year’s state budget includes much needed support for school districts who are rapidly losing students. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.
Each spring, thousands of young Loggerhead turtles migrate to the Chesapeake Bay for the summer — but the journey is dangerous for these protected species, some are struck by boats. Last summer, researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science set out to identify the deadliest areas and to figure out what might be done. Pamela D’Angelo reports.
Lawmakers in Virginia remain divided over how former felons should get the right to vote back. It’s a debate that has deep roots in Virginia history, not all of it pleasant. Michael Pope has this look into the bad old days.
In the next few weeks, Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe is about to break a record — he’ll be vetoing more bills than any other governor in Virginia history. Michael Pope has this look at the governor who held the record until now.
Virginia lawmakers and the Governor just wrapped up the state’s latest budget — and it was no easy task. Because Virginia had lower than expected tax revenues, they had to find ways to close a $1.5 billion gap. And while they managed to do it, some critics say they didn’t do enough to address the underlying issues. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.
A Gold star father who scolded candidate Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention for failing to read the constitution may now be in trouble with the federal government. Sandy Hausman has that story.
Advocates for women’s rights rallied Republican Delegate Ben Cline’s law office in Lexington on Friday. They were protesting bills he introduced, to defund Planned Parenthood and to designate January 22 a “Day of Tears” to encourage Virginians to mourn abortion. Three Rockbridge County High School girls organized the action; One of them, a rising country music star who plays in the heart of Trump country. Jessie Knadler reports.
Across Virginia, an unprecedented wave of candidates is emerging to take on Republicans this fall in elections for the state legislature. Those elections could be an early test on whether Democrats can harness the energy building against the Trump administration and focus it locally. Michael Pope has more.
Today kicks off Black Restaurant Week in Richmond. The city’s Office of Minority Business Development is encouraging the public to support the event, which promotes Richmond tourism and the city’s diverse food culture. Kelley Libby reports.
The company that provides airline service between the Shenandoah Valley and Charlotte is at risk of losing its federal subsidy because of performance issues. And, some members of Bristol City Council are upset about people who criticize them anonymously on the internet. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va News link at vpap.org.
The conversation about how best to memorialize Virginia’s history of slavery has been going on for years. But Richmond took a big step last fall when they announced a contract with a DC based architecture firm to build a memorial. Now that firm is ready to get to work. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.
Virginians have enjoyed an unusually warm winter, with temperatures rising into the 70’s and 80’s in some places, but for the state’s fruit farmers it’s been a nightmare – raising fears of crop damage in the weeks to come. Sandy Hausman has that story.
For 50 years, Virginia’s Legal Aid Justice Center has been working to assure that poor people get a fair shake under the law. Now, the organization says it’s launching a new program to identify the biggest problems with this state’s legal system. Sandy Hausman has details.
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court said a lower court should re-examine the redistricting efforts of Virginia’s Republican-led legislature. That prompted Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe to ask Republicans give up the fight and work together on nonpartisan redistricting. Michael Pope has the latest.
Virginia Democrats are raising concerns that the GOP effort to unwind regulations could have consequences for Virginia’s environment. Matt Laslo has the story from the Capitol.
Henry “Box” Brown was a born into slavery in Louisa County. At 15, he was sent to Richmond.
Today, a group of musicians has chosen to honor Brown’s story with a song about his escape. They performed recently during a Black History Celebration on Virginia’s Northern Neck.
In front of an audience, many of whom were descendants of slaves, Glenn Birch told the story of Brown’s unusual and daring journey.
Accompanying Glenn Birch were fellow musicians Ellen Birch and Frank Coleman. This story was produced by Pamela D’Angelo. You can read Henry Box Brown’s narrative of his own life here.
With sea levels rising along Virginia’s coast and its forests threatened by a warming climate, Governor McAuliffe appointed a work group to suggest executive actions he could take to reduce carbon pollution. That group met for the last time yesterday, and got some advice from environmentalists. Sandy Hausman reports on what they suggest.
So what kinds of reactions are Virginians having to the president’s first speech to Congress? Michael Pope is at the Capitol with the latest.
A lawsuit against Virginia’s House of Delegates for how they drew district lines back in 2011 will be moving forward. A judge in Richmond ruled today to not dismiss the case. Mallory Noe-Payne reports from the courthouse.
Virginia Democrats are planning to make a show of force during President Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress tonight. As Michael Pope reports, both Virginia senators are bringing politically charged guests.