Archive for May, 2019

Beyer Calls for Impeachment Inquiry Against Trump; Will Others Join Him?

Don_Beyer,_official_114th_Congress_photo_portrait.jpegDemocrats in Virginia are divided about whether to impeach President Trump. Michael Pope reports.

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Helping the Disabled Out of Their Homes

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Notes written for the Martin family became a part of their ramp. (Credit: SAW Virginia)

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed almost 30 years ago. And since then public spaces and businesses have become much more accessible. But that doesn’t mean anything to someone who can’t make it out of their home. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Congresswoman Wexton Working to Protect Obama-Era HUD Regulation

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Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton

Should transgender youth be turned away from homeless shelters? One Virginia member of Congress is taking issue with the Trump administration’s position on that question. Michael Pope reports.

Wexton also had this to say on Twitter:

She also posted details related to her bill:

 

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Probe Inconclusive Regarding Racist Photo on Governor Ralph Northam’s Yearbook Page

governor-northam-official-photo_800We just don’t know. That’s the result of a months-long investigation into a racist photo found on Governor Ralph Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook page. Mallory Noe-Payne has the latest from a press conference today.

Virginia’s political world was waiting for big news from the investigation of the Eastern Virginia Medical School into the blackface photo that appeared on Governor Ralph Northam’s yearbook page. But, as Michael Pope reports, reaction to the investigation was muted.

You can find the full report here.

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Parole, Pardons and the Fight for Reform

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Credit: David Nakayama / Creative Commons

Since Virginia abolished parole in 1995 there’s been just one way for most inmates to win an early release from state prisons – asking for a pardon from the governor.

Sandy Hausman examines the backlog and a new public outreach effort by Virginia officials.

Part 1:

Since Virginia abolished parole in 1995 there’s been just one way for most inmates to win an early release from state prisons – asking for a pardon from the governor.

As a result, Ralph Northam’s team may be overwhelmed by a backlog of cases, and some pleas have languished for years.

Part 2:

Officials have designated this May as “Second Chance Month” for about 37,000 state prisoners.

Those who committed their crimes before 1995 are eligible for parole, and Virginia has been freeing about 12% of them each year, but one high profile prisoner says he hasn’t even gotten a first chance.

Part 3:

Virginia’s Department of Corrections spends over a billion dollars a year to operate 41 prisons where it holds about 30-thousand inmates.  Another seven-thousand are kept in regional jails.

13,000 of them are freed annually after serving their sentence, but nearly one in four will be back after committing new crimes.

Part 4:

This year, Congress approved a series of reforms to the criminal justice system – changes that should reduce the number of people in federal prisons.

In Virginia’s General Assembly, several proposed reforms failed, but Democrats say that could change if they get control of the legislature in November.

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Incumbents in some Key Races Trail in Fundraising

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Credit: NPR

Campaign-finance numbers show several members of the General Assembly need to play catch up now that the session has ended. Michael Pope has details.

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Virginia’s Congressional Delegation Goes on Record with Climate Change Vote

StateSeal00The politics of climate change are dividing members of Virginia’s Congressional delegation. Michael Pope reports from Capitol Hill.

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Congressman Scott Wants to Eliminate Age Discrimination in the Workplace

BobbyScottShould older workers have a higher burden to prove age discrimination? One Virginia congressman says no, and he’s moving forward with a bill to do something about it. Michael Pope reports.

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Lawmakers Urged to Plan Now, In Case Trade War Hurts Virginia

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Virginia state revenues are looking strong.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, a trade war and heavy debt at the federal level could threaten that.

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State Targets Spanish Speakers for Medicaid Expansion

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

New data from the state shows enrollment in the expanded Medicaid program is on target. And now there’s a new campaign to target Spanish speakers. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Virginia’s Talent Pipeline May Soon See a Big Shift

StateSeal00For many years, young people in Southside and Southwest Virginia have been leaving the area after graduating from college. But, that may not be the case for much longer. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Republicans Back Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration, With Some Reservations

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(Credit: Rog Cogswell via flickr.com / CC)

The Trump administration has sent conflicting messages on its plan for oil and gas drilling off Virginia’s coast.

But it now seems to be moving ahead with plans to explore the reserves sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic.

As correspondent Matt Laslo reports, that’s music to the ears of the state’s four Republicans in Congress.

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Governor Signs Tobacco Free Schools Legislation

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Many of Virginia’s school buildings are tobacco free – but some aren’t.

New legislation signed by the Governor Tuesday will change that. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Riggleman Wants to Track Down Bad Actors in Banking

400px-Denver_Riggleman,_official_116th_Congress_photo_portraitCongress is expected to vote this afternoon on a bill introduced by a freshman Virginia congressman that could provide a much better window into the intersection between banking and terrorism. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Climate Change’s impact on Hampton Roads, Signs banning cursing down in Virginia Beach

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Realization of the potential cost of climate change is hitting home in Hampton Roads. And one of Virginia’s prime vacation spots may soon stop reminding you that it’s illegal to swear in public. 

 

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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Fundraising Moratorium Sets Off Scramble Around General Assembly Session

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Lawmakers are forbidden from raising money during the General Assembly session, but their opponents are not.

Michael Pope reports that might not make for an early advantage.

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Analyzing What Turnout May Look Like for This Year’s Primary Elections

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Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

The primary is only one month away, but most voters don’t even know — or care — about the election. Michael Pope reports.

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Tackling the Growing Demand for Psychiatric Services in Virginia’s Hospitals

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Across Virginia there’s been an uptick in psychiatric admissions to hospitals, to the point where beds are filling up. Thursday a group from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association rolled out some ideas on what can be done. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Petersburg’s Fortunes Are Now Looking Up

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Downtown Petersburg (Credit: Ken Lund / Creative Commons)

A city once on the verge of economic collapse may be on the verge of making a dramatic comeback. Michael Pope reports.

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Building a Better Seatbelt

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  Research engineers Brian Overby and Patrick Foltz run crash tests to help design a better seatbelt. (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

More than 50 years ago the federal government ordered car makers to install seat belts.

Originally designed for an average American man – 5 feet, 9 inches tall and 170 pounds – they have saved millions of lives, but one third of adults in this country are now obese, and seatbelts aren’t working so well for them.

That’s why engineers at the University of Virginia are studying the science of seatbelts, hoping to create safer restraints.

Sandy Hausman has details.

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Scandals Shake Up Political Fundraising and Spending

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Republicans are outpacing Democrats in the race for campaign cash this year.

Michael Pope has more on the money.

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New Coalition Advocates for a Shakeup of Virginia’s Energy Utilities

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An unlikely coalition of conservative and progressive groups announced an effort to take on Dominion, along with Virginia’s entire energy market.

Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Casinos May Be on the Way to Some Economically Struggling Communities in Virginia

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Credit: Images Money / taxrebate.org.uk / Flickr

Will Virginia voters press their luck with casinos? Michael Pope has details.

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Governor Northam’s Mandatory Minimums Decision Continues to Spark Controversy

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Credit: NPR

Governor Ralph Northam made headlines last week when he vetoed a bill that would have established a minimum two month prison sentence for third-time domestic abusers.

In a statement sent out Monday, Republicans say the governor’s veto undercuts protections for people trapped in abusive relationships. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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New T-Rex Relative Discovered Thanks to Virginia Tech Researcher

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The Suskityrannus hazelae is believed to be a relative of the more ferocious T-Rex. (Credit: Virginia Tech)

The dinosaur world is getting a new addition thanks to a Virginia Tech paleontologist. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: A Confederate Flag legal fight, Telecomm tower in Rappahannock County

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Telecommunications towers keep people connected but often annoy those who live within sight of them. One Virginia community tries to deal with the issue. And a huge flagpole east of Charlottesville has run afoul of a county ordinance but can it be removed?

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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After Medicaid Expansion, Republicans Face Attacks from Their Own

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Party control of Virginia’s state house is up for grabs this November — and Republicans are hoping they can keep the majority.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, first some of them have to survive attacks from within their own party.

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A Breakdown of New Crime Statistics from the Virginia State Police, FBI

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Crime is down across Virginia.

Michael Pope reports that new data offers insights on where it’s happening.

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New American Civil War Museum Explores the ‘Fullness of the Past’

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(Credit Penelope M. Carrington / The American Civil War Museum)

This weekend, the American Civil War Museum opens in Richmond for the first time.

The institution is six years in the making… the result of a merger between the American Civil War Center and the Museum of the Confederacy.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, it’s a timely look at history that’s loomed large in recent years.

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East Coast States Act to Stop Overfishing of Striped Bass

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(Credit: Biodiversity Heritage Library via flicr.com / CC)

A dwindling population of striped bass, better known on restaurant menus as rockfish, has alarmed states from Florida to Maine.

This week, Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commissioners drew up a plan to cut back landings by the commercial and recreational fisheries, including in the Chesapeake Bay.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Virginia Representatives have Roles in Climate Committee

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(Credit: John Brighenti via flickr.com / CC)

One of the first things Democrats did after taking control of the House of Representatives was to create a new Select Committee on Climate Crisis.

As Michael Pope reports, the committee has Virginia congressmen on opposite sides of a debate over coal.

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