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New Rules Proposed for Financial Products Considered Predatory Lending

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Photo: Taber Andrew Bain, Creative Commons

Virginia’s car-title lending industry has exploded in the six years since the General Assembly crafted regulations legalizing loans that have more than 200 percent interest rates. But Virginia is not alone. States across the country are struggling to deal with payday loans and Internet loans and open-ended credit loans – a set of financial products critics call “predatory lending.” As Michael Pope reports, that’s why lawmakers in Washington are hoping to create new rules to crack down on the industry.

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Justices Consider Former VA Governor’s Corruption Case

Bob McDonnell

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell speaks outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the corruption case of McDonnell. The Supreme Court seems likely to overturn the conviction of McDonnell on political corruption charges and place new limits on the reach of federal bribery laws. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Although the line of questioning by jurists in any appeals case does not necessarily indicate how they’re leaning, in the appeal of former Governor McDonnell’s corruption convictions, the U.S. Supreme Court justices did NOT seem comfortable with the broad interpretation of the federal law used to convict him. More from Tommie McNeil.

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VaNews Issues: Symbols of Racial Injustice, Public Transportation & Gas Prices

VPAPnewCheaper gasoline is good for many people but not so good for some of Virginia’s public transportation systems…and some residents in the Williamsburg area want to change the name of a school that commemorates a defender of segregation. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols has more.

 

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Former Gov. McDonnell’s Appeal: What’s at Stake

McDonnell 082114

File Photo by Anne Marie Morgan

Just a few years ago, Bob McDonnell was a rising star in Republican politics. Now his fate is before the United States Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments Wednesday in the case that destroyed his political career and ripped his marriage apart. Michael Pope has this preview.

 

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Ethics Question: Reconsidering Rules on Gifts

Photo: KAZ Vorpal, Creative Commons

Photo: KAZ Vorpal, Creative Commons

The old saying goes there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But what about elected officials? Should they have to track the value of every meal they are given? Michael Pope has this story on the food fight now playing out in Richmond.

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Legislative Tangle Over Car Title Lending

car title loans creative commonsDo state regulators have authority to crack down on car-title lenders? Critics say the industry is predatory and traps consumers in a cycle of debt, and lawmakers asked the State Corporation Commission to take action two months ago. But as Michael Pope reports, regulators are still trying to determine if they have the authority to take action without a new law directing them to do so.

 

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VA Lawmakers Reconvene for Veto Session

VA State CapLawmakers are back in Richmond this week to consider Governor Terry McAuliffe’s vetoes and amendments. So far, Republicans in the House have been able to overturn two of the governor’s amendments but they didn’t have the votes on the Senate side. So all the governor’s vetoes will stand. Michael Pope reports.

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VA Lawmakers Supporting “States Achieve Medicaid Expansion” Legislation

MedicaidLogoIn Washington, Virginia’s two senators are joining forces along with half a dozen other senators to help encourage states to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. As Michael Pope reports, the law is aimed at extending a deadline that’s already passed.

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Lawmakers Hold Stock in Companies that Lobby the General Assembly

photo by Silveira Neto, Creative Commons,

photo by Silveira Neto, Creative Commons,

Many of Virginia’s lawmakers own significant stock in some of the companies that do business with the state — including Dominion Power and Altria.  That information was made accessible by the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonprofit that tracks money in state politics. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Attorneys Prepare for Former Gov. McDonnell’s Supreme Court Hearing

File Photo: Anne Marie Morgan

File Photo: Anne Marie Morgan

Lawyers involved in the corruption conviction of former Governor Bob McDonnell have been busy with a flurry of legal briefs back and forth as the date for oral arguments approaches at the U.S. Supreme Court. Michael Pope has the story.

 

 

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Virginia Relies More Heavily on Income Taxes Than Most States

taxmap

U.S. Census Bureau

It’s tax time. Have you filed your tax return yet? If you have, you’re part of a system that funds most state government functions in Virginia. According to data from the Census Bureau, Virginia relies more on income taxes for its state revenue than almost any other state. 

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VA’s Governor: Keep Lethal Injection Suppliers Secret

Lethal Injection Drug 02Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is rejecting a bid to bring back the electric chair as the default method of executing criminals on Death Row. Instead, he’s proposing a plan that would allow the state to get lethal drugs from secret providers. Michael Pope reports.

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VaNews Topics: Building a Mosque, Passenger Rail Improvements

VPAPnewA group that wants to build a mosque in Culpeper County suspects a religious motive in the county’s denial of a permit…and Hanover County residents are hoping to stop plans for passenger rail improvements. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. More now from Fred Echols.

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Deadline Looms for VA Legislation

GovMansionIt’s It’s crunch time for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who is facing a deadline this weekend. By Monday morning, he’ll have to have finished considering all the laws passed by the General Assembly this year.  Michael Pope reports.

 

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VA State Senators in Contempt in Redistricting Case

gavelA Richmond judge has ruled a group of Virginia state senators in contempt of court — for failing to turn over documents that could be helpful in an ongoing lawsuit.

In question in the suit is whether lawmakers, of both parties, have unconstitutionally drawn up district lines purposefully lumping together certain areas to make reelection easier.

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United Offers Direct Flights from Richmond to Denver

Flying out west got a little easier for Virginians. For the first time, Richmond’s airport has launched daily non-stop flights to Denver, Colorado through United Airlines. They’re now the longest and farthest flights out of the international airport. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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VA’s Tree Climbers Get View from the Top

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James Earhart scaling a tree, photo by Pamela D’Angelo

You may not know it but climbing trees is a competitive sport among certified arborists and three of Virginia’s top professional tree climbers headed to Texas this past weekend to the International Tree Climbing Championship. One, defending his title as world champion. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

 

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Gov. McAuliffe Vetoes Trio of Education Bills

Teachers Desk Angie Garrett Creative Commons

Photo: Angie Garrett, Creative Commons

Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe has vetoed three more bills sent to him by Virginia’s Republican legislature — this time, all dealing with choice in public education. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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50 Years After the Poll Tax

Poll Tax CartoonThis month marks the 50th anniversary of a key United States Supreme Court case that outlawed the poll tax. And as Michael Pope tell us, it’s a case that had its origins in a Fairfax County case that went all the way to the high court.

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Raising VA’s Minimum Wage? Not Anytime Soon.

Minimum Wage Paul Sableman creative commons

Paul Sableman/Creative Commons

California made headlines this week as lawmakers there announced a deal to slowly raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
But here in Virginia, that number is still $7.25, tied to the federal level.  As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

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NCAA 2016: Virginia Loses to Syracuse

Mar 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Trevor Cooney (10) shoots between Virginia Cavaliers guard London Perrantes (32) and forward Anthony Gill (13) during the first half in the championship game of the midwest regional of the NCAA Tournament at United Center. Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Trevor Cooney (10) shoots between Virginia Cavaliers guard London Perrantes (32) and forward Anthony Gill (13) during the first half in the championship game of the midwest regional of the NCAA Tournament at United Center. Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest  Regional, were trying to clinch their first appearance in the Final Four since 1984.  But tenth-seeded Syracuse prevented  that from happening as Greg Echlin reports.

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VaNews: Thoroughbreds Run Again, Urban Gardening Controversy

VPAPnewOne city in Virginia is taking a fresh look at how it regulates gardens…and the Commonwealth will soon have a thoroughbred racing season again, something it hasn’t had since 2013. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols has more.

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Virginia Lawmakers Split on New Trade Deals

capitol_dome__washington_dc_0There are isolationist sentiments sweeping the nation right now, and Virginia lawmakers are feeling the pressure to oppose new trade deals. Matt Laslo has more.

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Virginia Sets Minimum Exercise Time for Elementary Children

A new Virginia General Assembly measure mandates elementary schoolers get out from the behind the desk, and move. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Virginia Cavaliers Basketball Team Has Hopes of First Elite Eight Since 1995

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Hampton vs Virginia

Mar 17, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Virginia Cavaliers forward Anthony Gill (13) dribbles the ball as Hampton Pirates forward Dionte Adams (32) defends during the first half at PNC Arena.  Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers basketball team, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest, will tip off at 7:10 tonight  against Iowa State at Chicago’s United Center.  The UVA basketball hopes to follow the footsteps of other successful programs at school. Greg Echlin reports.

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Charlottesville Consider Removing Confederate Statue

lee_park__charlottesville__vaIn the past year, officials in New Orleans, Birmingham, and Baltimore have all voted to remove some of the Confederate monuments in their locales. Now, a couple of city councilors in Charlottesville are mobilizing to have their city join that list. Tony Field reports.

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New Laws: Changes to VA’s Sex Offender Registry

Sex offender registryWith the General Assembly session now wrapped up, Virginia has more than 300 new laws on the books. This week we’ll take a look at a handful of those laws — which all go into effect July first.  We start off today with changes to Virginia’s sex offender registry. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Regulating Fantasy Sports in VA

Fantasy FootballVirginia has become the first state to legalize daily fantasy sports — the flipside? The state will also now regulate the quickly growing business. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Ten Leading Trends in Higher Education

Crisis Book 01The Chronicle of Higher Education is out with its second annual assessment of trends on campus.  Sandy Hausman reports on what the Chronicle found in studying colleges and universities in 2016.

 

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Richmond School Confronts Past, Changes Name

Harry Byrd.pngA middle school outside Richmond is seeking suggestions for a new name. The change comes after almost a year long fight to get rid of the old one — the school? Byrd Middle School in Henrico County. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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How a Rural Black Community is Using a Museum and Discussion of White Privilege to Grow

Holley Graded School

The western shores of the Chesapeake Bay have a deep history of slavery. One black community is memorializing its past and engaging its white community in moving forward. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Ten Leading Trends in Higher Education

Crisis Book 01The Chronicle of Higher Education is out with its second annual assessment of trends on campus.  Sandy Hausman reports on what the Chronicle found in studying colleges and universities in 2016. Sandy Hausman reports.

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Virginia Community Living Diversity

Achmed Osman Sudanese refugee teaches computer classes at Arlington Mill Center,  off Columbia Pike, Arlington VA Columbia Pike Documentary Project

Achmed Osman, Sudanese refugee
teaches computer classes at Arlington Mill Center, off Columbia Pike, Arlington VA
Columbia Pike Documentary Project

During the current presidential campaign, the nation seems more divided than ever, but a team of photographers from Virginia has set out to show how one community – home to dozens of different ethnic groups – is making diversity work.  Sandy Hausman reports.

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VaNews: The Most-Read Stories

VPAPnewA request from a student has led to a significant policy change by a Virginia school division…and two firefighters are back at work thanks in part to a show of support from the public.  Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org.https://virginiapublicradio.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/vpr-vanews-03-14-16.mp3

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General Assembly Elects McCullough to Virginia Supreme Court

McCullough

It’s over. Court of Appeals Judge Stephen McCullough has been elected to the Virginia Supreme Court-with lots of dissent from mostly Democrats, including Governor McAuliffe. Tommie McNeil has coverage from the State Capitol.

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Forsaken: A Black Child Executed in Virginia

Forsaken 02The Black Lives Matter movement has revived discussion of a problem that has persisted in this nation’s history since the time of slavery – the unequal treatment of African-Americans by police and the justice system. It’s a subject that distresses Ross Howell, author of a new book about a black teenager who was executed in Virginia more than a hundred years ago. Sandy Hausman has details.

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VaNews: Candidate Security, Habitual Drunkenness Considered

VPAPnewIn theory, presidential campaigns pay for security when a candidate holds a public rally. But in fact, you may be covering that expense…

And Virginia may soon be defending it’s law against habitual drunkenness in court. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.

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Challenging a Law that Jails Alcoholics

NPR alcoholicsVirginia’s Legal Aid Justice Center is suing the state in federal court to get rid of an old law that allows courts to label people as habitual drunkards and to lock them up for a year if they’re found in possession of alcohol.  Sandy Hausman has that story.

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VA is 1st in the Nation When it Comes to Website

websiteWith just one week left in Virginia’s General Assembly, the state already has 135 new laws on the books — and will be adding many more before it’s over. Luckily, you’ll easily be able to browse all of Virginia’s laws on it’s legal website, which is considered one of the best in the country. Mallory Noe Payne reports.

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At the Polls

Gov Votes 01Voting is underway in 12 states today for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, including Virginia. Governor Terry McAuliffe cast his vote in Richmond, first thing this morning. Mallory Noe-Payne was there.

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Super Tuesday: What’s At Stake

NPR Elections 2016Super Tuesday IS a big deal, but it’s not necessarily the be-all-end-all for presidential contenders. While this may explain why some candidates have not dropped out of the race, determining how delegates are tallied is complex—with 595 delegates at stake for Republicans and 1,004 for Democrats in a single day.    And as Tommie McNeil reports, the Super Tuesday states and territory include Virginia—for both political parties. 

 

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Super Tuesday: How to Vote

VoteHereTuesday is an election day — Virginians’ turn to get their say in who should be the Republican or Democratic nominee for President. For those who still have basic questions, Mallory Noe-Payne lays out how to vote.

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VaNews: Airport Parking, Fantasy Sports

VPAPnewNorfolk’s airport is among the largest in the country to have no access by public transportation…and Virginia is on the brink of becoming the first state to license online fantasy sports games.  Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews on vpap.org. Fred Echols has more.

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Super Tuesday in Virginia

SuperTuesdayVirginia is one of a dozen ‘Super Tuesday’ states voting in their Republican contests tomorrow.  One the Democratic side, we’re one of eleven. And if you’re wondering if your vote counts in such a big election, here’s why it does.  Robbie Harris reports.

 

 

 

 

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State Snake Sliding Through General Assembly

Virginia has a state bird… a state tree… but what about a state snake? Lawmakers this year have made a bit of a surprising pick — the Eastern Garter Snake.  As Mallory Noe-Payne reports the choice might have more to do with the snake’s main proponent, than the animal itself.

 

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Lawmakers on Court, the Basketball Court

Cap Classic 02In a break from legislative action, Virginia’s lawmakers took to the court Tuesday night — the basketball court. An annual fundraiser for Virginia Commonwealth University’s cancer center, the Capitol Classic throws together politicians, lobbyists, and the Governor’s staff in friendly competition. Mallory Noe-Payne was there and filed this report.

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Counting Eagles

Eagle Den Smith Creative Commons

Creative Commons/Den Smith

A yearly consensus is about to begin in waterways leading to the Chesapeake Bay.. a count of nesting bald eagle pairs. There was a time when their very survival in Virginia was in doubt, but as Evan Jones reports, their numbers now may be nearing the saturation point.

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Multiple Tornadoes Confirmed in Virginia

NWS logoThe day after Virginia was battered by at least three confirmed tornadoes, Governor Terry McAuliffe visited the hardest-hit regions of the state to assess the damage.

The governor visited Appomattox—where one of the state’s four tornado deaths was recorded as a funnel cloud left an 8-to-10 mile path of debris, and injured seven. About 100 structures were damaged– 20 severely– including some that were flattened.

Governor McAuliffe also visited Waverly, where three people were killed as a confirmed tornado carved a five mile path of destruction there. And he toured the damage in Essex County, where at least 15 structures were destroyed and 25 people were injured, in a confirmed tornado.

The National Weather Service continues surveying several areas to confirm whether tornadoes touched down. Crews are fanning out in the Richmond area, Southside, and the Northern Neck, looking for signs of tornadoes.

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Determining the Fate of the Cownose Ray

Cownose Rays 02Oyster restoration efforts around the Chesapeake Bay come with a variety of concerns including one that returns every spring with the annual migration of the cownose ray. A new Florida State University report published by Nature is using new data to refute claims that cownose rays are responsible for the collapse of the oyster industry. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

 

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Dancing the Budget Tango

tango shoesEven before the fight erupted over whether to replace deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama and Republicans in Congress were squaring off on the nation’s spending priorities. Republicans from the region are proving a thorn in the president’s side on the final budget he sent to Congress, as our correspondent, Matt Laslo, reports from Washington.

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