Archive for February, 2019

How a Group of Teens Helped Convince Lawmakers to Close a Youth Prison

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  Kidaya with RISE for Youth speaks with Delegate Aird. (Credit Mallory Noe-Payne)

At Virginia’s state house, lobbyists are everywhere. They meet with lawmakers, help draft bills and testify in committees.

Reporter Mallory Noe-Payne spent one day this week with a surprising group of lobbyists: Teenagers who have successfully convinced lawmakers to close one of the state’s juvenile prisons.

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Legislation That Establishes FOIA Penalties Continues to Move Through the Capitol

foia_stockDo local governments hide public information? One senator is concerned about the possibility they do, and he’s moving forward with a bill to create new penalties to prevent it. Michael Pope reports.

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Gore Lambasts Dominion’s Plans for Union Hill

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Environmental activist Al Gore applauds his opening act, the Reverend William Barber II during an ecological justice tour.

It was a combination protest, spiritual revival and celebration as about 800 people packed the gym at a middle school in Buckingham County last night to hear from environmental activist Al Gore and political activist William Barber. They had come to oppose the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and construction of a massive compressor station in the historic black community called Union Hill. Sandy Hausman was there and filed this report.

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What Should State Lawmakers Do About Fairfax Allegations?

general assembly coverage 2019Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is denying the allegations of two women who accuse him of sexual assault. So what comes next? Michael Pope reports.

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Spanberger Takes Moderate Approach in First Town Hall

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Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger takes questions during her first town hall in Virginia’s 7th District. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ)

New congresswoman Abigail Spanberger kept a campaign promise and met with constituents Tuesday night for a town hall. It’s the first public forum Virginia’s seventh congressional district has had in two years. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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After Scandal, Virginia’s Maternal Mortality Disparity Gets New Attention

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Credit: Wellness Corporate Solutions / Flickr / wellnesscorporatesolutions.com

The blackface scandal may end up derailing the political career of two statewide elected officials.

But it may also end up changing policy in Virginia.

Michael Pope explains how.

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Should Health Insurance Companies Be Able to Prioritize Cheaper Drugs?

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Credit: Brandon Giesbrecht / Flickr

How much influence should health insurance providers have over which drugs you take? That’s an issue lawmakers are debating in Richmond. Michael Pope reports.

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Confronting Climate Change Through Sound

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  UVA Professor and composer Matthew Burtner is recording the sounds of melting glaciers, then composing memorial music. (Credit: UVA)

When they hear statistics about climate change or see graphs and charts, many people shut down – unwilling to think about one of the most serious issue of our times.

To draw them back into a conversation about our warming planet, two faculty members at UVA are using something called ecoacoustics – sounds that illustrate the relationship between humans and their environment.

Sandy Hausman reports from the Eastern Shore.

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Lawmakers Weigh Parental Oversight of Anti-Bullying Material

StateSeal00Should parents to able to veto some materials used in public schools when bullying or suicide prevention is on the agenda? Michael Pope reports.

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Effort to Increase Subcommittee Transparency Moving Through General Assembly

general assembly coverage 2019Lawmakers in Richmond are considering a proposal that would shed greater light on how state government works. Michael Pope has the story.

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Va. News: Chesapeake’s old Trick or Treating law, costs end Norfolk Recycling program

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Chesapeake is working on changes to law that has made the city a national punch line.  And shrinking profits are making it hard for many cities to keep their recycling programs alive.

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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Virginia Institiute of Marine Science gives Tidewater Neighborhoods a Flood-predicting Tool

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This screenshot from ADAPTVA.org shows area covered by Tidewatch Map Viewer tool.

For neighborhoods along the Atlantic Coast and the Chesapeake Bay, recurrent flooding that comes with climate change makes it hard to navigate, especially during seasonal high tides and more frequent extreme wind events like Nor’easters.

Now, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science has a tool to help people throughout the region prepare for a flood.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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With Time Running Out, ERA Advocates Pull Out All the Stops

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Supporters of the ERA say the effort to get the General Assembly to pass the constitutional amendment are down but not out.

Michael Pope explains.

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The Politics of Alpacas at the General Assembly

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Alpacas were not included in the Code of Virginia’s listing of livestock. (Credit: James Preston via flickr.com / Creative Commons)

Alpacas are becoming increasingly popular across Virginia, although state laws have not kept up with the trend.

Now, as Michael Pope reports, one lawmaker has a bill to do just that.

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Bill to Require ICE Notifications Headed to Senate Floor

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(Credit: ICE)

How closely should local jails work with federal immigration officials?

That’s an issue that lawmakers are debating in Richmond.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Virginia Legislature Formally Apologizes for Violent Racist Past

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  The 1893 public lynching of black teenager Henry Smith in Texas.
(Credit Wikimedia)

Virginia lawmakers are expressing profound regret for lynching, the brutal murders of black men and women by white mobs in the decades after the Civil War.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, a joint resolution passed by the General Assembly comes amidst a messy and public debate about racism in Virginia.

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African-American Lawmakers Decry $21 Million Cut to Education

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The blackface scandals have caused lawmakers to approach a number of policy issues in new ways.

As Michael Pope tells us, that includes the budget.

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UVA Expert Says Plenty of Physicians Harbor Racist Attitudes

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Dr. Irene Mathieu chairs the Equity and Inclusion Committee at UVA’s Department of Pediatrics. (Credit Irene Mathieu)

During his campaign for governor, Ralph Northam appeared in a TV ad, holding an African-American baby.

The message was that Doctor Northam – a pediatric neurologist – cares deeply for kids, regardless of race.

That made the picture in his medical school yearbook doubly shocking.

But a fellow doctor told Radio IQ’s Sandy Hausman that racism is not uncommon in the medical profession.

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Party-line Votes Clear the Way for Legislation Keeping Virginia Out of RGGI

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Should Virginia join a regional effort to cut back on carbon emissions?

Party affiliation likely shows where your lawmakers stands on this issue.

Michael Pope reports.

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State Leaders Weigh Equity Policies Amid Political Scandals

general assembly coverage 2019In the wake of the blackface scandal, Governor Ralph Northam is asking Cabinet members to come up with ways to address inequality. Michael Pope has the latest.

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Could a “Special Committee” Investigate Claims Against Fairfax?

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Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (Credit: Lburke007 / Creative Commons via flickr

Lawmakers in Richmond are trying to figure out a way to handle the sexual assault allegations against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, although at this point there are more questions than answers.

Michael Pope explains.

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Creating an Opportunity for HBCU Students out of Yearbook Scandal

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A GoFundMe campaign is aimed at helping students research Virginia’s politicians.

It took decades for a racist photo on Governor Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page to come to light. Now one group wants to find out what else could be lurking out there, and they’re relying on a particular group of people to do the research. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

 

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Virginia’s Schools May Soon Be Able to Decide Whether to Open Before Labor Day

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King Dominion’s “Dominator” roller coaster. The Richmond-area amusement park has long been opposed to efforts to reverse a law requiring public schools to open after Labor Day weekend. (Credit: daveynin / Flickr)

School divisions across Virginia may be on the verge of starting classes before Labor Day, or least having that option. Michael Pope reports.

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Legislation Would Regulate Student Loan Servicers in Virginia

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Credit: 401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Some lawmakers are concerned that the student loan industry has spiraled out of control, and they’re hoping to make state regulators crack down.

Michael Pope reports.

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Tax Deal Almost Derails Over Question About Who Gets Left Out

general assembly coverage 2019A handful of Democrats in the statehouse briefly blocked a tax relief package after progressive groups said it disproportionately hurt low-income African-Americans. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Fairfax Impeachment Talk On Hold… For Now

StateSeal00Embattled Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is back at work this week, presiding over the Senate and resisting calls for his resignation. Michael Pope has details.

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If Fairfax Resigns, What Happens to the Lt. Governor Post?

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Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax talks to reporters inside the state capitol. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

So far, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is resisting calls for him to step down. But what happens if he resigns?

Michael Pope has this look at what happens next.

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Budget Deal Means Refund Checks This Fall

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Credit: 401(K) 2012 / Flickr

As voters are considering their options later this year, many of the wealthiest in Virginia will be getting a check in the mail, thanks to the budget that lawmakers are moving forward with in Richmond.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Governor Agrees to Sign Republican Tax Proposal

general assembly coverage 2019Governor Ralph Northam is agreeing to sign off on a Republican tax proposal, returning about half a billion dollars to taxpayers rather than investing the money in education and infrastructure. Mallory Noe-Payne has the latest from the Capitol.

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Analysts: Additional Scandals May Help Northam

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Credit: sabreguy29 / Flickr

Now that every statewide elected official in Virginia is fighting to stay in office, many people are wondering about Virginia’s line of succession.

Michael Pope breaks it down.

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Virginia AG says he Wore Blackface at College Party

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Credit: Creative Commons

The political crisis in Virginia escalated dramatically Wednesday when another top Democrat — Attorney General Mark Herring — admitted putting on blackface in the 1980s, when he was in college. Michael Pope has more reaction.

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Reaction to President Trump’s State of the Union Address

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Credit: John Brighenti / Flickr

President Trump and his administration are hailing his state of the union address for its calls for unity. But Virginia Democrats aren’t buying those overtures because the president also seemed to warn House Democrats to back off the very investigations that many freshmen lawmakers feel they were sent to Washington to conduct.

Freshman Northern Virginia Democrat Jennifer Wexton says she’s open to working with the president on items like combating AIDS, childhood cancer and even infrastructure, but she’s skeptical the president meant it.

Meanwhile, freshman Virginia Republican Denver Riggleman says he’s not sure if the speech will heal the divide on Capitol Hill, but he says the president struck the right tone.

He just fears Democrats will never agree to fund the wall or fencing the president is demanding.

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On Busiest Day of the Year, General Assembly Feeling Effects of Northam Controversy

general assembly coverage 2019The General Assembly is in a state of limbo. Lawmakers are trying to get work done on the busiest day of the year while people are wondering when — or if — the governor will resign. Michael Pope is at the Capitol with the latest.

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Lawmakers Agree on Redistricting Commission, But Differ on Execution

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Credit: sabreguy29 / Flickr

The process of drawing maps for House and Senate districts in Virginia has been a source of frustration — for voters and for members of the General Assembly. That process may be on the verge of dramatic change, although not without a knock-down-drag-out fight. Michael Pope reports.

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Debt Settlement Legislation Runs Out of Time

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Tuesday is the final deadline for all legislation to pass at least one house of the legislature.

And, as Michael Pope reports, the cloud hanging over the General Assembly means many bills won’t make the cut.

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Calls for Northam to Resign Continue in Richmond

StateSeal00Protests continue today outside the executive mansion in Richmond. As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, the Governor’s former allies and supporters continue to turn their backs.

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Lawmaking Goes on in Richmond Despite Northam Controversy

general assembly coverage 2019Lawmakers in Richmond are back at work this week, despite the swirling controversy surrounding Governor Ralph Northam. Michael Pope is at the Capitol with the latest.

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Who Exactly Is Justin Fairfax?

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Credit: Lee District Democratic Committee / Creative Commons

The events in Richmond have created a new focus on the lieutenant governor, typically a low-profile job that has suddenly been cast into the spotlight. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Post Office Relocation, Virginia Beach Mystery Photos

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Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

A small Virginia town has been wondering why its post office is being moved. It seems they may now have the answer. And, the surprise appearance of some 70-year old photos has created a mystery in Virginia Beach.

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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Birth Control Access Continues to Prompt Heavy Debate in Richmond

StateSeal00Lawmakers are in a heated debate over abortion this year. But that’s not the only point of distinction between Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly. Access to birth control is another flashpoint in Richmond. Michael Pope has more.

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