Archive for April, 2021

Virginia Minimum Wage Increases to $9.50

Virginia’s minimum wage will increase on Saturday to $9.50 an hour.

Economists say the trade off to higher wages could be higher unemployment. But Jahd Khalil reports if that happens it might not be for a while. 

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Delegate Suggests Removing Financial Incentive For Traffic Stops

(Credit: Va Capitol Police Twitter Page; @VaCapitolPolice)

Do local governments have a financial incentive for their police officers to make traffic stops?

Michael Pope reports.

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Does Attack Ad Signal Republican Front-Runner?

For weeks, groups aligned with Republican candidates have been attacking other Republican candidates for governor.

But now, as Michael Pope reports, Democrats are getting involved.

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Next Stop For Passenger Rail: The New River Valley?

An Amtrak passenger train rolls into Roanoke’s new station in 2017. (Credit: David Seidel)

As Amtrak marks its 50th anniversary Friday, Virginia may be on the verge of finally accomplishing a dream that’s been years in the making– expanding passenger rail into the New River Valley.

Michael Pope reports.

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Studies Document Impact Of Continuing School Segregation

Two new reports suggest Virginia schools are increasingly segregated by race and economic status. 

Sandy Hausman reports for many kids that means less access to educational opportunities.

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VDOE: Accelerated Math Not Being Eliminated

Virginia education officials are working to reassure families that they aren’t doing away with accelerated math courses.

Jahd Khalil reports on what is going on. 

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UVA Research May Improve Treatment of Anemia

Dr. Adam Goldfarb, chief of UVA Health’s Division of Experimental Pathology, led the research team studying anemia treatment.
(Credit UVA)

Scientists at the University of Virginia report what may be an important medical breakthrough. 

Laboratory testing shows the use of two cheap oral drugs can treat a common form of anemia that causes fatigue, headaches and dizziness in millions of patients. 

Sandy Hausman has that story.

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State Lab Tracks COVID Variants in Virginia

Virginia’s Consolidated Laboratory does more than 9 million tests per year.
(Credit: Commonwealth of Virginia)

The CDC is keeping a nervous eye on COVID-19 – watching for genetic changes that could mean a more dangerous form of the coronavirus is around. 

The analysis is time-consuming, so scientists in Atlanta can only check a small percentage of the cases being diagnosed, but they’re getting help from Virginia as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Self-Financing In The Race For Governor

Running for office usually requires a lot of fundraising.

But as Michael Pope reports, sometimes it also involves writing a check to finance your own campaign. 

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Va. News: Drug Dogs And Greenhouse Jobs

Virginia will soon be home to one of the largest greenhouses on the east coast. And with changes in marijuana laws this summer many drug sniffing dogs will be headed for retirement.

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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A Look at the Voting Changes That Will Be in Place This Year

Voters will be heading to the polls on June 8th in primary elections across Virginia. And, the voting has already started. Michael Pope reports.

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CNU Poll: McAuliffe Holds Commanding Lead in Democratic Primary

Credit: NPR

With six weeks before the Democratic primary, a new poll shows the race for the party’s gubernatorial nomination is a lopsided one. Michael Pope has details.

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Richmond Artist Up for an Oscar

David Crank is nominated for an Oscar as production designer for the film News of the World. (Credit: David Crank)

The Academy Awards will be broadcast Sunday from Los Angeles, and one Virginia man will be in the audience, hoping for his first Oscar.

Sandy Hausman has his story.

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Republicans to Use Ranked Choice Voting for May 8th Primary

Republicans are preparing to select their statewide candidates in a May 8th convention. And, as Michael Pope reports, they’ll be using a new method of selecting winners.

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School Discipline System Reforms Coming Next Year

The Virginia Board of Education is moving towards reforming its discipline system for students.

Reform has been studied for a while but a presentation to the board of Education Tuesday indicated that changes are coming soon.

Jahd Khalil has this report. 

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Reopening Schools and Curriculum Become Hot Topics Among Republican Candidates

Credit: NPR

On the campaign trail, education is a hot topic. And, the debate doesn’t just revolve around reopening schools. It’s also about what’s being taught. Michael Pope explains.

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Legislation Would Make Silencers Easier To Get

Rep. Bob Good (Credit: House of Representatives)

The debate over curbing gun violence has taken a new urgency in the wake of several recent shootings.

But one Virginia congressman is hoping to make silencers easier to get.

Michael Pope explains.

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Facing Two Primaries, Del. Elizabeth Guzman Drops Campaign For Lt. Governor

Del. Elizabeth Guzman (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

One of the candidates in the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor is dropping out of the race to focus on keeping her current seat in the House of Delegates.

Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Eviction Representation And A Candidate Coincidence

Charlottesville City Council will decide whether the city should provide lawyers for low income tenants facing eviction. And two first-time candidates for the House of Delegates have something very personal in common.

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 Numbers Give Insight Into Nomination Races

Friday we received our last major snapshot of candidate finances before the parties choose their nominees.

Jahd Khalil reports on a few big numbers in the gubernatorial race.

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Lawsuit Filed Against Virginia Employment Commission

Dead last – that’s where the U. S. Department of Labor says Virginia ranks among states when it comes to processing unemployment claims.

Thursday, five Virginians filed a lawsuit because of the issues.

Jahd Khalil spoke to one of their lawyers.

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COVID-19 May Cause Hair Loss

Credit: CDC

People infected with coronavirus usually suffer no long-term effects, but a few months after recovery some patients report significant hair loss. 

Sandy Hausman spoke with a medical expert about that surprising consequence of COVID-19.

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COVID-19 Clouds Unemployment Data

Virginia’s unemployment rate is 5.2 percent. But what’s behind that number, and how does it vary throughout the commonwealth?

Michael Pope reports.

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Northam Says He’ll Sign Coal Tax Credit Legislation Without UVA Wise Amendment

Two of the largest tax incentives in Virginia are about to end, although members of the General Assembly and the governor are divided about what to do with the money.

Michael Pope reports.

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New Guidance for School ‘Recovery’ Issued

Recovering from the pandemic is going to need thought. Schools and learning are no different.

Jahd Khalil has this report on the Virginia Department of Education’s plan for regaining ground lost during the pandemic.

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Redistricting Commission Develops Outreach Plan

A hybrid commission of citizens and lawmakers are going to draw new voting lines this fall.

In his last dispatch, Jahd Khalil reported they were figuring how to conduct business.

He says in Monday’s meeting, the commissioners were sorting out how to do that transparently. 

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Can PRO Act Get Democratic Support in Senate?

Rep. Bobby Scott

Last month, the House of Representatives passed a bill introduced by Congressman Bobby Scott that hopes to remedy the problem of full-time workers being misclassified as independent contractors.

But now, as Michael Pope reports, the bill is languishing in the Senate.

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Candidate Endorsements Roll In, But Do They Count for Much?

As the spring campaign season heads into the final stretch, candidates are rolling out endorsements.

Michael Pope takes a look whether the endorsements mean anything.

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Va. News: Dark Skies and Disinformation

Virginia Tech researchers are looking for ways to counteract misinformation.  And there’s now another place in Virginia where stargazers can get a clear view of the night sky.

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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Northam Endorses McAuliffe in Democratic Gubernatorial Primary

McAuliffe’s official portrait from his last stint as Virginia’s Governor.

One of the biggest endorsements in Virginia politics came out Thursday. Governor Ralph Northam threw his support behind former Governor Terry McAuliffe who wants his old job back. Jahd Khalil reports on what it could mean.  

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Now That Virginia Has Legalized Marijuana, What’s Happens Next?

Credit: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Now that lawmakers have taken action to legalize marijuana, they still need to make decisions about how the new industry will be regulated. Michael Pope reports.

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Parole Board Controversy Will Get Independent Investigation

Legislators approved a budget amendment funding an independent investigation into the Office of the State Inspector General Wednesday, as Republican lawmakers said the investigation’s scope sidestepped critical issues. Jahd Khalil reports.

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General Assembly Passes Northam Amendment, Marijuana to Be Legalized July 1st

Credit: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

The Democrat-controlled Virginia General Assembly voted Wednesday to accept Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed changes to a marijuana legalization bill that will allow limited possession and cultivation of the drug beginning in July. Michael Pope has details.

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Five Democrats Seeking Nomination for Governor Debate at VSU

Credit: NPR

The Democratic primary for governor is only two months away, and the campaign is heating up. The five candidates seeking the party’s nomination have met for the first televised debate of the primary season. Michael Pope has details.

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A Look at the FOIA-Related Bills That Made Moves in the General Assembly This Year

The General Assembly is full of part-time lawmakers, people who bring their professional experience to the legislature. And that includes former journalists. Michael Pope has more.

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More Virginians Eligible for Child Care Subsidies

Virginia has temporarily expanded eligibility for child care subsidies to include those looking for work and families who make less than 85% of the average income in Virginia. Jahd Khalil reports.

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Lawmakers to Vote on Amendment Allowing Magistrates to Carry Firearms in State Buildings

This week, lawmakers will be considering an amendment to a bill they sent to Governor Ralph Northam earlier this year that bans guns at state buildings. The governor’s amendment creates an exemption for magistrates. Michael Pope reports.

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The State of COVID-19 Vaccinations in Virginia’s Prisons

It’s been more than a year since Virginia prisons locked down to try and stop the spread of COVID-19. The state has offered vaccine to every inmate, but restrictions are still in place and are unlikely to be lifted any time soon. In part one of a series, Sandy Hausman tells why.

Because the risk of a deadly COVID outbreak was especially high in state prisons, and because the disease could easily spread to surrounding communities through staff, inmates and employees were among the first Virginians to get vaccine. However, nearly a third of prisoners and more than 40% of staff have refused it.  That means significant restrictions remain in place, and frustration behind bars is building as Sandy Hausman reports in part two.

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Va. News: Two Virginia Students Make History

Credit: VPAP

A pair of students – one at the University of Virginia, the other at Virginia Military Institute – have made history at their schools this spring. More from Fred Echols.

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

Kasey Meredith (Credit: VMI)
Abel Liu (Credit: Business Wire)

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State Lawmakers to Consider Northam’s Facial Recognition Bill Amendment Next Week

Lawmakers will be reconsidering a bill on facial recognition technology when they meet next week. Michael Pope reports.

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A Silver Lining of Redistricting Census Delays

Population data from the 2020 Census was scheduled to be in the hands of Virginia’s Redistricting Commission in March. Now that it’s expected to arrive in August and September, the commissioners are taking the time to get acquainted with each other, and the processes of government business. Jahd Khalil reports.

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Va. Supreme Court Sides with Charlottesville in Confederate Monuments Case

The Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

The city of Charlottesville is free to remove Confederate monuments that were at the center of violent protests in 2017.

Virginia’s Supreme Court says a state law protecting war memorials does not apply. 

Sandy Hausman has details.

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Sunsetting Coal Tax Credits: Where Will That Money Go Now?

The coal industry in Virginia is shrinking, and coal tax credits are on their way out. Michael Pope has this report on where the money that once helped subsidize the industry will go next.

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