Archive for September, 2020

Warner, Gade Spar in First Debate

Health care is poised to be one of the key issues in the presidential race this year.  

And, as Michael Pope reports, it’s also a flashpoint in the race for U.S. Senate. 

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Support from Law Enforcement Groups Could Move Senate Reform Bills Forward

For now, Democrats in the House and Senate are deadlocked over policing reform.

Michael Pope reports on what might break the stalemate.

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House Justice Committee Moves Sentencing Reform Forward

Lawmakers may be on the verge of approving legislation that could transform the criminal justice system in Virginia.

But, as Michael Pope reports, that’s only if lawmakers decide they can afford it.

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69,000 Virginians Come Out to Vote Early in First Couple Days

In the first couple days of early voting, 69,000 Virginians cast their ballots for the November elections. That’s as of Tuesday morning, according to the Department Elections. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Does an Election Equal Civilian Review for Sheriff’s Offices?

House and Senate Democrats are united about civilian oversight of police departments.

But as Michael Pope reports, they’re divided over whether sheriff’s offices should be subjected to new review boards that can subpoena documents and fire deputies engaged in wrongdoing. 

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Va. News: Drops in School Enrollment & Low Cost Opioid Treatments

Signs offering low cost medications for treating opioid addictions raised some questions in Martinsville. And at least one county started the school year with almost a thousand fewer students than expected.

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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MRAPs Have Become a Sticking Point in Military Equipment Use Debate

Lawmakers are debating a ban on some kinds of military equipment for law enforcement agencies across Virginia. As Michael Pope reports, the House and Senate are taking different approaches.

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As Schools Face Outbreaks on Campus, Va’s Community Colleges Will be Virtual All Spring

As residential college campuses become COVID-19 hot spots, Virginia’s community colleges announced Friday they’ll remain mostly online all the way through Spring semester.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Work Share Legislation Aims to give Employment Commission Another Tool to Save Jobs

Friday members of a House committee advanced a bill that would make the state eligible for federal funds to help establish a work-share program.

Experts say the initiative could ultimately help save jobs in Virginia.

Cat Modlin-Jackson explains how.

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With Early Voting Underway, Election 2020 Brings More Planning and More Cost

Virginians can now vote in the 2020 General Election.

Absentee ballots are being sent out and voters can vote in person at their electoral office. Jahd Khalil reports early voting is getting much more attention this cycle due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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Virginia House and Senate at Odds Over Special Session’s Next Steps

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw explaining to his colleagues the situation with the House of Delegates. The House and state Senate are now in a standoff over how to handle bills from the other body, exacerbated by lack of procedural resolution outlining rules for special session.

House Democrats and Senate Democrats are at an impasse, and leaders in both chambers are trying to figure out what to do next in the special session. Michael Pope reports.

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Lessons Learned During the 1986 Special Session

Faced with a global pandemic and undeniable evidence of police brutality, lawmakers are working their way through a hectic special session – but it’s not entirely without precedent. Cat Modlin-Jackson has this look back at a time when the legislature got together to solve a different kind of crisis.

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CDC says Farmville Immigration Center Still at Risk of COVID Outbreak

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

Immigrants detained at a facility in Farmville where there was an outbreak of COVID-19 this summer are still at risk.

That’s according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more. 

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Family of COVID-19 Doctor Calls for Change in Medical Culture

Dr. Lorna Breen ran the emergency department at New York – Presbyterian Allen Hospital during the height of the COVID crisis.
(Credit New York – Presbyterian Allen Hospital)

The family of a Charlottesville woman is speaking out today about a tragic death and the need to change how we view our doctors and nurses.

They may be heroes, but they are also human. 

Sandy Hausman reports on how the suicide of Doctor Lorna Breen could help other healthcare providers.

Click here for the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation

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Virginia Senate Committee Kills Paid Quarantine Leave Bill

Lawmakers are rejecting an effort to require businesses offer paid quarantine leave. Michael Pope reports.

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In 2019, Virginia Led the Nation in Expanding Health Insurance Coverage

New numbers out today from the Census show that in one year Virginia made greater gains in getting people enrolled in health insurance than any other state.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports. 

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State Lawmakers Working to Balance the Budget… Again

Lawmakers are trying to budget the state out of the red ink created by slumping revenues tied to the economic crisis. Michael Pope reports.

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Cost Could Derail Sentencing Reform Effort

Lawmakers are debating a bill that could radically transform the criminal justice system in Virginia.

But Democrats in the House and Senate are divided over how and when to pay for it.

Michael Pope reports.

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COVIDWISE App Hits 500,000 Downloads in Virginia

In the five weeks since Virginia became the first state to launch a COVID-19 exposure app, more than a half-million people have downloaded it.

Those are the latest numbers from the Department of Health.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports. 

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Va. News: Venomous Caterpillars and School Buses

A Virginia woman has gotten a painful introduction to one of the state’s few venomous caterpillars…and school buses are back on the road in one county even though they’re not carrying any students.

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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Senate Democrats Split Over State Inspections of ICE Facilities

Members of the Virginia state Senate are considering a bill that would allow state inspectors access to detention centers holding people accused of violating immigration laws. But, Senate Democrats are divided about how to handle the situation. Michael Pope reports.

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Senate Committee Stops Qualified Immunity Bill

A Senate panel has rejected a bill ending qualified immunity for law-enforcement officials.  The legal precedent shields police officers from being sued for wrongdoing.

Michael Pope reports.

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Bill Blocking Police Use of Military Equipment Moves to House of Delegates

The Virginia Senate has approved a landmark bill approving policing reform. The vote came after a debate over the use of military equipment. Michael Pope has details.

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Advocates Say There’s Adequate Funding to Reinstate Healthcare Spending

Credit: Wellness GM / Flickr, Creative Commons: flickr.com/photos/130100316@N04/15728773073/

Faced with uncertainty about the costs of the coronavirus, lawmakers hit pause on plans to spend more money on Medicaid coverage earlier this year. But, in spite of an expected revenue shortfall, policy experts say there’s plenty of money left for healthcare spending. Cat Modlin-Jackson reports.

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Marcus Alert Legislation On its Way to the Virginia Senate

Wednesday, House lawmakers advanced a bill that would establish the Marcus Alert system. Cat Modlin-Jackson has this story about the evolving proposal, named for an unarmed Black man killed by a Richmond police officer in 2018.

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The Shifting Burden of Flood Insurance

Adair Wallerstein’s house in the process of being raised.
(Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

This summer, tornados and intense rains have devastated some of Virginia’s tiny communities from the Atlantic Coast to mountain valleys.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA will be increasing flood insurance premiums next year.

Homeowners are facing emotional decisions, some with hefty price tags, to adapt to the changing climate.

One option is to go high. In this three-part series, Pamela D’Angelo looks at federally-funded solutions.

Virginia’s changing climate has created a flooding problem, and not just on the coast.

In August, homeowners and small businesses in the Shenandoah Valley were hit with not one but two floods. In smaller communities, federal aid is not easy to get.

Throughout Virginia, communities are facing down climate change.

A common symptom – more frequent flooding of their homes. A common fix – state and federal funding.

But it’s not easy to get and the National Flood Insurance Program is shifting the burden to those willing to take the risk of living close to the water.

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Democratic Senators Block Republican Effort to Prevent Police from Unionizing

Members of the General Assembly are about to move forward with landmark legislation to reform policing in Virginia. But, Republican efforts to reduce the influence of police unions have been unsuccessful. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Senate Shelves COVID Workers Comp Bill for Now

Credit: CDC

Should workers who get COVID-19 be eligible for workers’ compensation? As Michael Pope reports, lawmakers aren’t sure.

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Bill Allowing Localities to Immediately Remove War Memorials Moves to State Senate

The city of Richmond removed a statue of Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart earlier this year. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ)

As the nation attempts to reckon with systemic racism, lawmakers in Virginia are moving to speed up the process of taking down Confederate monuments. Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Paid Sick Days Proposal is Dead, but Virginia House Moving Forward With Quarantine Leave

Credit: CDC

Efforts to require paid sick days during the pandemic have already fallen apart in the Senate. But, efforts are moving forward in the House for a quarantine leave. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Change for Change and Bristol vs Its Utility Provider

People in downtown Lynchburg are again being asked to drop coins into meters but this time it’s not for parking… And a complex set of lawsuits in Bristol could be very expensive for either the city or its utilities provider.

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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Bill Adding Civil Penalty for Emergency Order Violations Passes State Senate

Credit: CDC

What happens if someone violates the governor’s executive order on the pandemic? Michael Pope reports.

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Several Measures Move Forward, But Qualified Immunity Bill Dies in House

A suite of policing reform bills moved out of the state House Friday. But, a measure allowing civilians to sue on-duty officers for misconduct wasn’t one of them. Cat Modlin-Jackson reports.

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New Poll: Broad Support for Paid Sick Day Policy Among Virginians

A new poll shows widespread support for paid sick days. Michael Pope reports.

You can find more information on the poll here.

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Criminal Justice Reforms: Just How Much Power Should Civilian Review Boards Have?

Should citizen review boards be able to crack down on bad cops? Michael Pope reports lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow that kind of power.

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State Lawmakers Want to Ensure a Tuition Freeze Still Happens

Credit: CDC

Earlier this year, lawmakers set aside millions of dollars to freeze tuition rates. They shifted course and unallotted that money when COVID-19 cast a shadow of economic doubt, but now, a move to restore those funds has bipartisan support. Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Senate Committee Sidelines School Nurse Legislation

General Assembly 2020

Lawmakers are in Richmond trying to figure out how to navigate their way through the pandemic.

And, as Michael Pope reports, one proposal to put a nurse in every school is now sidelined.

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Virginia Senate Strikes Down COVID-19 Business Immunity Bill

COVID 19

Credit: CDC

Should corporations be immune from lawsuits if customers contract COVID-19? Michael Pope reports.

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Northam Urges Vigilance Ahead of Labor Day Weekend

Northam 9.1

Gov. Ralph Northam speaks at Tuesday’s COVID-19 response briefing. (Credit: Governor’s Office Livestream)

At his first press conference on COVID-19 in weeks, Governor Ralph Northam says he won’t be loosening any restrictions ahead of the holiday weekend.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Some State Lawmakers Worry Pandemic Could Stymie Civic Education Effort

voting_rights_3002112985_80b5a719b1The pandemic has played havoc with many aspects of education. Efforts to get high school students to register to vote are still moving forward, even though many schools are virtual. Michael Pope reports.

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Criminal Justice Reforms: House Committee Revives Effort to End Qualified Immunity

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Delegate Jeff Bourne (D-Richmond)

The state’s special session over police reform took a turn Tuesday after members of the House Appropriations Committee revived a bill allowing citizens to sue law-enforcement officers for misconduct. Cat Modlin-Jackson reports the latest on the controversial move to end qualified immunity.

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