Archive for January, 2020

Could This Be the Year Virginia Lawmakers Crack Down on Predatory Lenders?

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Delegate Lamont Bagby of Henrico County has legislation that would drastically reduce the interest limit on car title and payday loans. (Credit: Creative Commons)

Legislation aimed at reigning in high-interest loans will get attention in the state Senate Monday. Michael Pope reports.

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Legislation Could Create Gender X Driver’s License Option

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Driver’s licenses have become a flashpoint for lawmakers in the General Assembly session, which has seen an extended debate about allowing undocumented immigrants to have Virginia driver’s licenses.

But Michael Pope reports there’s another controversy surrounding licenses.

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Efforts to Ease Access to Abortion Find Success in House and Senate

StateSeal00Now that Democrats have the majority they’re looking to make it easier for women to access abortions. This week, committees in both Virginia’s House and Senate have given their stamp of approval to legislation that would roll back abortion restrictions put in place under Republicans. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Legislation Would Bring Equity to School Dress Codes

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Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (Credit: Virginia General Assembly)

The debate over what students can and cannot wear in school is an ongoing point of contention in Virginia.

This year, Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy has proposed a bill that she says would level the playing field for girls and students of color.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Along Party-Line Vote, Virginia Senate Passes Red Flag Law

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A controversial measure that would make it possible for police to temporarily take guns from someone deemed a danger to themselves or others passed Virginia’s Senate Wednesday. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Governor Northam Weighs In On Paid Sick Days Debate

governor-northam-official-photo_800Lawmakers are debating a proposal to require businesses offer paid sick days to their employees. But, Democrats are divided over which businesses would be required to do that. Michael Pope has details.

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The Effort to Remove Virginia’s Outdated Laws

StateSeal00The Virginia General Assembly is celebrating its 401st year. It has plenty of relics, including many old and outdated laws. As Michael Pope reports, lawmakers are hard at work updating some of them.

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State Republicans Are Now the Ones Seeing Their Gun-Related Legislation Killed

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Firearms are becoming one of the hottest issues of the General Assembly session this year, although Republicans aren’t having much luck with their bills. Michael Pope has more details.

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Advocates Press Lawmakers to Raise the Minimum Wage, Support Home Healthcare Workers

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Labor unions and their supporters rally Tuesday for raising the minimum wage and passing a homecare workers bill of rights. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Labor unions didn’t have much luck when Republicans were in power. But now that Democrats are in control of the legislature, groups that support workers are excited about having their agenda moving through the General Assembly. Michael Pope reports.

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Glowing Oysters may be a New Weapon Against Poaching Around the Chesapeake Bay

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  Rings of fluorescent dye can be seen each time the oyster larvae has been incrementally dipped in the dye to tag them.  (Credit Jason Spires)

Wild oyster sanctuaries are being built all around the Chesapeake Bay. The goal is to give the bivalves a fighting chance since about 99 percent of the population has disappeared over the last century.

To ensure their survival, scientists are devising a very unusual way to track them as Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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“We’re Here to Represent the 2nd Amendment” Pro-Gun Rally in Richmond Ends Without Violence

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Thousands of pro-gun advocates flocked to the streets of Richmond Monday. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Some 22,000 supporters of gun rights voiced their opposition today/Monday to legislation being considered by the General Assembly.

And, though they were less conspicuous, people calling for more restrictions on guns were also there.

Michael Pope and Mallory Noe-Payne share some of the voices around today’s/Monday’s rally at the state capitol.

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Va. News: Medical Marijuana could boost Bristol’s Economy, Louisa County awaiting Broadband benefit

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A Virginia county would like to say how well it’s done in providing broadband but the supervisors don’t know and can’t find out…and medical marijuana production will soon be underway in Southwest Virginia.

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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Legislation Making Menstrual Products Available to Virginia Students Moves on to Full Senate

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Senator Jennifer Boysko has introduced a bill that would require school boards across Virginia to make pads and tampons available at all times at no cost to students. (Credit: Senate of Virginia)

Lawmakers are considering a bill to make menstrual products available at all schools in Virginia. Michael Pope reports.

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Some Groups Will Stay Away, as the Capitol Prepares for a Busy “Lobby Day”

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Richmond, state and capitol police are all preparing for a busy day Monday, as thousands are expected to descend on the state capitol.

Just outside the Capitol building, fencing has already been put in place around a specific area. There will be one point of entry. Anyone who enters this space will have to go through a metal detector, and per an emergency order from the governor, guns will not be allowed.

But step outside Capitol Square and anything goes because the city of Richmond isn’t allowed to ban guns. Several roads will be blocked from traffic and a heavy police presence is to be expected.

In addition to the gun rallies, Monday is expected to be business as usual for the legislature. Both the House and the Senate will be gaveling in and meeting.

Dueling gun control rallies in Virginia’s capitol Monday are garnering national attention, but there are plenty of other groups that normally lobby Monday and now have to rethink their plans. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has announced they will be cancelling their planned rally on Monday. In a statement, the group’s state director Lori Haas says they refuses to engage with those who would harm them.

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Some Former Journalists in the General Assembly Are Working to Protect Freedom of Press

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Chris Hurst, a former anchor at WDBJ, has a bill that would give new protections to student journalists to protect them from administrators who want to suppress reporting. (Credit: Virginia General Assembly)

Press freedom and access to information are issues that might get more traction this year now that Democrats have taken control of the General Assembly. Michael Pope reports.

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This Year’s Lee-Jackson Day Might Be the Last

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Friday is a state holiday, Lee-Jackson Day, honoring Confederate leaders. But, this year may be the last one it’s on the calendar. Michael Pope reports.

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“Credible Threats” Lead to Emergency Declaration, Weapons Ban Ahead of Rally

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Governor Ralph Northam, along with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and other state officials, announce security the security plans. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Governor Ralph Northam is declaring a state of emergency in advance of rallies planned for the state capitol Monday.

Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia General Assembly Ratifies Equal Rights Amendment

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Advocates and lawmakers celebrate passage of the ERA outside the House of Delegates Chamber. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ)

In a series of votes Wednesday, Virginia approved resolutions to become the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

That means enough states have now approved the measure guaranteeing gender equality to enshrine it in the U. S. Constitution. But more legal battles are likely ahead. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Business Groups Are Lining Up Against Democratic Efforts to Help Virginia Workers

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Business leaders from across Virginia appear at a press conference announcing united opposition to raising the minimum wage, mandating paid family leave and overturning the right-to-work law. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Democrats in the General Assembly are planning to move forward with a number of bills designed to help workers. But, those efforts will have serious opposition. Michael Pope reports.

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Redistricting Reform May Divide Virginia’s New Democratic Majority

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Democrats may have taken control of the General Assembly, but that doesn’t mean they are all in agreement about how to handle several of the most-pressing issues. Michael Pope reports one of those disagreements is over gerrymandering.

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Coleman’s Effort to Correct the Narrative Moves to Earlier Time Period

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Christy Coleman (Credit: Kim Brundage/Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)

Christy Coleman steps down as CEO of the American Civil War Museum this week, but she’s not closing the book on Virginia’s history.

In Richmond, Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

 

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Should All Virginia Workers Be Entitled to Paid Sick Days?

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Democrats are hoping to make workers a centerpiece of their first term in power. Michael Pope has this report about one bill that would help low-wage workers.

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State Democrats Waste No Time; Move Ahead Several Gun-Control Proposals

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It was a busy day at the Capitol for people on both sides of the gun debate. D.J. Spiker, head of the Virginia NRA, appeared at a press conference with Republican lawmakers opposed to restrictions on firearms. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Visitors, legislators and staff all faced long lines this morning because of new security measures to keep guns out of the state capitol. And Democrats took quick action on other measures to restrict access to guns. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Safety Service Patrol taking risks, Virginia Beach’s at-risk properties

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Virginia Beach is ready to commit more money t to mitigate the effects of a rising sea level…And the Interstate-81 Safety Patrol is getting some additional resources to help keep traffic moving.

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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Pope, Church & State: A weekly look at the General Assembly’s 2020 Session

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Credit: Michael Pope

A weekly conversation about what’s happened at the General Assembly with Michael Pope and Luke Church.

Week Three:

Virginia’s General Assembly session often seems like a weeks-long sprint. And some believe this year’s action is moving even faster.

Week Two:

Much of the drama at the General Assembly this week has been about what might go on outside the capitol building.

Week One:

Lawmakers are wrapping up the first few history-making days at the General Assembly.

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Virginia Lawmakers Ban Guns at State Capitol

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Senators and Delegates discuss the ban during a Joint Rules Committee meeting Friday. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Virginia lawmakers have voted to ban firearms at the state Capitol, the first in what’s expected to be many contentious gun votes in coming weeks. Michael Pope has more.

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Effort to Implement Transgender Student Policies for Virginia Schools Moves On

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Democratic Senator Jennifer Boysko of Herndon has a bill that would require the Department of Education to come up with a model policy. It passed in a subcommittee Friday. (Credit: Senate of Virginia)

Schools across Virginia may soon have a standard set of rules for how to deal with transgender students. Michael Pope reports.

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Governor Allots Funds to Preserve and Tell Black History

governor-northam-official-photo_800The Governor wants to make sure Virginians are learning a complete version of the state’s history. His budget includes money to support an emphasis on black history at several sites across the state. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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In Light of Recent Texas Shooting, One Virginia Lawmaker Wants to Allow Guns in Churches

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Delegate John McGuire has proposed legislation that would lift Virginia’s ban on guns in churches. (Credit: Virginia House GOP)

Democrats have a long list of gun control measures that they are hoping to pass this year. But Republicans have their own ideas about laws the General Assembly should enact. Michael Pope reports.

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Governor Northam Delivers State of the Commonwealth to Democratic Legislature

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Governor Ralph Northam delivers his 2020 State of the Commonwealth address.                    (Credit: Michael Pope)

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam gave the annual State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, he spoke of both fiscal responsibility and progressive goals.

Reaction to the governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address fell along party lines.
Michael Pope has that part of the story.

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This Year’s General Assembly Session is Already Historic

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Eileen Filler-Corn takes her oath of office, becoming the first woman and first Jewish speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Members of the Virginia General Assembly are back in Richmond this week, gaveling in an historic session. Michael Pope has this report from the House floor.

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Debate Over Gun Control Will Likely Dominate This Year’s General Assembly Session

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Democrats won control of the General Assembly after a campaign that prominently featured a debate over gun control. Now, that issue could end up being the defining issue of this year’s General Assembly session. Michael Pope reports.

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New General Assembly Session Brings New, Diverse Leadership

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Virginia’s General Assembly is gaveling back in Wednesday.

And as Mallory Noe-Payne reports it’s with a diverse slate of new leadership.

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‘I Lost Hope’ A Look Inside the ICE Detention Center in Farmville

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  An empty dorm at the ICE Farmville Detention Center.
(Credit: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

In Farmville, about an hour south of Charlottesville, there’s an immigration detention facility. It holds men who officials allege are in the country illegally.

Earlier this summer Virginia Public Radio requested a tour of the privately-owned facility.

It took months to arrange, but reporter Mallory Noe-Payne was finally granted access and has this report.

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Task Force Plans to Mark Centennial of 19th Amendment

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A suffrage parade in New York City in 1912. (Credit: Library of Congress)

2020 marks 100 years since the federal government legalized women’s right to vote.

As plans to observe the anniversary get underway, other historic moments for women are on the horizon in Virginia.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Could Virginia’s Right-to-Work Law Split Democrats in Richmond?

StateSeal00Democrats have a long list of labor issues to tackle after they take control of the General Assembly later this week. But, one of labor’s top issues is dividing Democrats. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Working to preserve UVA’s Library Card system, Roanoke Courthouse cell phone solution

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Books in libraries these days are almost always cataloged on computers.  But the traditional card system still has admirers who are working to preserve it.  And there’s at least a partial solution to the problem of what to do with the forbidden mobile phone at the courthouse door.

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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Delegate Sam Rasoul: It’s Time for Ranked Choice Voting in Virginia

voting_rights_3002112985_80b5a719b1Do Virginia elections need a shot in the arm? Michael Pope has this report on one proposal that would upend Virginia politics.

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There’s No Way to Expunge a Conviction in Virginia, And One Lawmaker Wants to Change That

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When defendants are convicted of crimes, that court record is permanent in Virginia. But, one lawmaker is suggesting the General Assembly consider the possibility of expunging the record for some of those convicted. Michael Pope reports.

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It’s Looking Like Virginia Will Decriminalize Marijuana Possession This Year

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A few years ago, decriminalization of marijuana possession seemed out of reach in Virginia. Now, as Michael Pope reports, it’s very likely to happen this year.

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What Would Happen if Virginia Joined the Transportation and Climate Initiative?

StateSeal00Virginia is about to join a new initiative to cut down on pollution associated with transportation, although critics say the cost is too much. Michael Pope reports.

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Congressman Connolly Wants to Use An Old Tool to Enforce Congressional Subpoenas

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Congressman Gerry Connolly

Even though the impeachment debate has now moved from the House to the Senate, a powerful Virginia Democrat is still calling on his party leaders to do more to force administration officials to work with House investigators. Matt Laslo has the story from the Capitol.

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