Archive for January, 2019

Should Virginia Impose a Tax on Plastic Bags?

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Credit: velkr0 / Flickr

Are plastic bags a problem in Virginia? Lawmakers in Richmond are divided. Michael Pope has details.

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The Future of Virginia Fisheries: Growing Our Own in the Blue Ridge

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  Blue Ridge Aquaculture raises about two million tilapia at a time — calm fish that like swimming in large schools. (Credit Sandy Hausman)

Like many cities in southside Virginia, Martinsville lost thousands of jobs as tobacco, furniture-making and textiles left for places where labor was cheaper.

But as those industries went away, a new one grew up thanks to one man with an idea.

Sandy Hausman met him and toured what is now the largest indoor fish farm in the world.

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Republicans Hope to Lift Age Cap on Autism Health Insurance Coverage

general assembly coverage 2019Lawmakers in Richmond are hoping to expand health insurance coverage to children with autism. Michael Pope has more.

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ERA Clears State Senate, But Future Remains Unclear

ERA YEsLawmakers in Virginia are moving forward with an old idea: the Equal Rights Amendment. Michael Pope has the story.

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Lawmakers On Both Sides of the Aisle Finding Middle Ground on Foster Care System Reform

StateSeal00Lawmakers are often divided along party lines on the hottest issues of the day. But, Republicans and Democrats are coming together on at least one issue. Michael Pope has details.

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The Future of Virginia Fisheries: Marine Life at Risk

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Blue crabs harvested by waterman James Eskridge (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

Virginia is the top supplier of seafood on the east coast.  Our watermen harvest more than four dozen species – scallops and oysters, blue crabs, clams, flounder and other fin fish worth over $200 million.

The creatures that live off our coast face some big problems, but as Sandy Hausman reports, scientists here are hoping to find solutions that make sustainable fishing possible.

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Former Journalists Push Press Freedom in House of Delegates

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The Virginia General Assembly now has two former journalists as members, and they are hoping to move forward with bills to increase press freedom.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Virginia Inches Closer to Raising the Minimum Wage

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

The minimum wage in Virginia is $7.25 an hour, among the lowest in the nation. But, that might be changing soon. Michael Pope reports.

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New Democrats Say They Want to Rein in Dominion

general assembly coverage 2019As winter weather sets in, you may be looking at higher energy bills. But some state lawmakers say rates from Dominion are higher than they should be. Mallory Noe-Payne has more from the Capitol.

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A Casino Push in Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth

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Credit: TaxRebate.org.uk / Flickr

Could casinos be the key to bringing jobs and revenue to some parts of the state? A bipartisan group of lawmakers thinks so. The effort is targeted to three Virginia localities. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Va. News: Bristol offers Medical Cannabis classes, Norfolk stops prosecuting Marijuana Possession

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Marijuana users in Norfolk will no longer be prosecuted for misdemeanor possession and the City of Bristol is gearing up to take full advantage of job opportunities in the medical marijuana field.

 

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

 

More now from Fred Echols.

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Some Lawmakers Want to Require Minimum Wage for Piecework Laborers in Virginia

StateSeal00The minimum wage does not apply to all workers, and Virginia law has several categories of workers who are exempt. Although, some lawmakers want to change that. Michael Pope reports.

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Tiny Fish Causes Big Controversy in Richmond

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  Menhaden are nutritious fish enjoyed by marine mammals, sea birds and bigger fish.
(Credit: VIMS)

Virginia’s legislature is back in session, and lawmakers may again be talking about a tiny fish called the menhaden.

It’s the only fish regulated by the General Assembly, and proposed catch limits are proving controversial as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Pope, Church & State: A Weekly Look at the 2019 General Assembly Session

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Throughout Virginia’s 2019 General Assembly session, All Things Considered host Luke Church and reporter Michael Pope will break down the highlights from the Capitol each week.

Week 1:

The 2019 General Assembly session got started this week with a little more bipartisanship than in years past.

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Equal Rights Amendment Clears One Early Hurdle But Debate Continues

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It’s been decades since lawmakers first started debating the Equal Rights Amendment.

And, as Michael Pope reports it’s a debate that’s still going strong.

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ACLU Joins Call for More Information on How Virginia Handles Solitary Confinement

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Credit: David Nakayama / Creative Commons

Democratic lawmakers and the ACLU of Virginia are pushing for more information on how the state uses solitary confinement. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Republicans Skeptical of Some of Northam’s Progressive Proposals

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Reaction to the governor’s state of the commonwealth address was mixed, mostly falling along partisan lines.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Northam Stresses Cooperation in Address to Lawmakers

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Gov. Ralph Northam

Virginia’s Governor delivered the State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, he got consistent applause from lawmakers in both parties by focusing on bipartisan successes from last year, like expanding Medicaid and rolling back regulations.

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Republicans Outline Legislative Priorities for 2019 Session

general assembly coverage 2019Even though Democrats may have won every statewide election since 2009, Republicans are in control of the House and the Senate. Michael Pope has this preview of their priorities for this year’s General Assembly session.

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Examining General Assembly Politics in an Election Year

StateSeal00Lawmakers are assembling in Richmond for this year’s General Assembly session. The session is expected to last about two months, but many lawmakers are already looking ahead to November. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Board Approves Compressor Station for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

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Opponents of the compressor station express their disagreement by turning their backs to the Air Pollution Control Board. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ)

A state board gave unanimous approval today to a controversial compressor station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Dominion Energy plans to build the station in a historically African-American community in Buckingham County. Mallory Noe-Payne was there as the board voted, and has this report.

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State Lawmaker Wants to Reconsider Virginia’s Ban on Guns in Churches

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Credit: Steven Coutts / Flickr

Do guns belong in churches and synagogues? Lawmakers are about to take up that issue in Richmond. Michael Pope reports.

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Port of Virginia Invests to Land Bigger Ships and More Business

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Virginia has the nation’s number five port – serving an average of 40 ships a week – connecting more than 200 countries.

And despite talk of trade wars in Washington, Sandy Hausman reports that the place is poised to grow.

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Dems Say Gun Regulations Could Save Lives

general assembly coverage 2019On Monday, House Democrats outlined a set of legislative proposals dealing with gun safety. They say the measures are focused on saving lives. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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At Least One Virginia Lawmaker Wants to Criminalize 3D-Printed Firearms

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Credit: Justin Pickard / Flickr

The rise of 3D printing is creating a whole new world for manufacturing all kinds of items. But it’s also created new concerns about security at courthouses and airports. Michael Pope reports one Virginia lawmaker is hoping to update the code.

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Va. News: Cville Police Hiring Woes, Pet Owners Seeking Vets who Prescribe Opioids

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Like many cities, Charlottesville is struggling to keep its police officers, but its problem is more complicated than in most places…and veterinarians are being drawn into Virginia’s opioid crisis.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

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Republicans Look to Derail “Hidden” Tax Hike

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Federal lawmakers are wrestling with how to handle a budget standoff over a wall at the southern border.

But as Michael Pope reports, state lawmakers may soon be in the midst of their own budget standoff.

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Fixing Virginia’s School Counselor Ratio May Be Easier Said Than Done

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

After several high-profile school shootings, lawmakers are trying to figure out how to make the classroom safer. But, they may be at odds over how much money to spend. Michael Pope reports.

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Nursing Professor Looks for Links Between Domestic Violence, Strangulation and Damage to the Brain

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  A forensic exam kit used by nurses like Kathryn Laughon.
(Credit UVA School of Nursing)

The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports a decrease in calls over the holidays, but when January rolls around those numbers rise again.

In many cases, women report being choked – an assault that may not look as serious as it is.

Sandy Hausman explains.   And this report, while clinical, may be a sensitive topic for some listeners.

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General Assembly to Consider Giving Teachers a Raise

teachersalaryHow much money should Virginia teachers be paid? That’s an issue that’s about to take center stage in Richmond when the General Assembly meets next week. Michael Pope reports.

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In Lee County, Arming Teachers Seems Like the Only Option Left

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Students at St. Charles Elementary in Lee, Virginia go to school in a building constructed in the 1930’s and don’t have a school resource officer. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ)

Since the Parkland shooting in Florida lawmakers, teachers and parents are thinking more about school security. But as officials in one Virginia county know, keeping kids safe in remote rural schools can be more difficult than protecting city and suburban schools.

Lee County has 11 schools, but can only afford four resource officers. To help fill the gap they’re turning to teachers and administrators — training them and hoping they’ll get permission from the state to let them carry guns in the classroom.

Mallory Noe-Payne traveled to the far southwestern corner of the state, and has this report.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more on Lee County’s plan to arm teachers.

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