Connie Stevens

This user hasn't shared any biographical information

GOP Files Suit Over Voting Rights Restoration

va-capitol-2 - CopyRepublicans in the General Assembly are not just speaking out against Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe’s plan to restore voting rights to 200,000 former felons. They’re taking their case to court, filing a lawsuit in the Virginia Supreme Court. Michael Pope reports.

Leave a comment

Car-Title Lending Industry: Possible Knockout Punch Coming

Predatory Lending Creative Commons 02 Cory Doctorow

Stock Photo/Cory Doctorow, Creative Commons

Car-title lenders in Virginia may have dodged a bullet earlier this year when the Virginia General Assembly passed on reforming their industry. But the industry now faces a new threat from Washington. Michael Pope continues our coverage, with the latest on the new federal rule that could dramatically undermine predatory lending. 

Leave a comment

Study: Mountain Valley Pipeline Will Cost Billions to Locals

Proposed-Route-10-23-15-7CIn our region, the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline has aroused controversy.  So has another proposed natural gas line through Southwestern Virginia.  A new study takes a look at local costs of the pipeline that would stretch from West Virginia to a compressor station in southern Virginia. 

Leave a comment

Virginia Ranks Tenth For Employment In Political Organizations

Jobs Creative Commons

Image: Creative Commons

Now that the presidential election cycle is heating up, so is the job market for people who work in political organizations. Michael Pope reports.

Leave a comment

Big Craft Beer: Good for the Local Guys?

stone Brewery tasting room

Stone Brewery Tasting Room

Been out to a bar lately? Chances are you had more beer choices than you used to. That’s a sign of the state’s growing craft beer economy. The number of breweries in the Commonwealth has almost tripled in the past three years. Today, a look at that industry, and how it could change, as large out-of-state companies move into the market.  Reporter Mallory Noe-Payne kicksoff with a question: Is big beer actually a boon for the local guys?

Leave a comment

Behind the Scenes: Title Lenders & Campaign Contributions

Tom Woodward/Creative Commons

Tom Woodward/Creative Commons

When members of the General Assembly convened in January, they were considering more than a dozen bills aimed at cracking down on the car-title lending industry. All of those efforts were scrapped, though, when lawmakers decided against passing legislation and instead asked the state regulator to take action. Now new campaign finance numbers that show what was happening behind the scenes. Michael Pope reports.

Leave a comment

Local Governments: Budget Basics

BudgetAcross Virginia, local governments are balancing books any way they can. Some are raising taxes on hotel guests. Others are increasing the cost of street parking.  Michael Pope has the story.

Leave a comment

VaNews: Miscommunication over VT Speaker; VA Beach’s Big Pier

VPAPnewDevelopers are hoping to build a giant pier at Virginia Beach and one city councilman wants the public to have free use of it….Virginia Tech is making plans to host a conservative columnist who said a previous invitation to the university was canceled. 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 from Fred Echols.

Leave a comment

Car Title Lenders & Secret Documents

Confidential Sized

stock photo

Regulators at the State Corporation Commission are siding with car-title lenders against open government, denying a request for information from the Center for Public Integrity. But, as Michael Pope tells us, open government advocates are taking their case all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Leave a comment

Devils Backbone: Maintaining the Craft Image

Devils BackboneDevils Backbone, the eight year old craft brewery headquartered in Nelson County, was recently bought for an undisclosed sum by global beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev. Now, some Virginia fans of the scruffy indie brand are questioning whether the label has sold out. Jessie Knadler sat down with CEO Steve Crandall to find out what’s in store for the Virginia brewery.

Leave a comment

Airbnb: Who Writes the Rules?

Airbnb 02A deadly shooting last month at an Airbnb rental in Virginia Beach is casting a tragic shadow over this week’s meeting of a Virginia Housing Commission work group. As Michael Pope tell us, the commission panel is set to take up a contentious issue that was unresolved from the General Assembly session: How should the state regulate Airbnb?

Leave a comment

Virginia Gubernatorial Hopefuls Gearing Up For 2017

Leave a comment

Cold Brew Coffee is Hot Trend

Cold Brew CoffeeTemperatures are creeping up — with highs hitting the 80s this week. That may mean it’s time to trade in that hot cup of coffee in the morning for something different.  Cold brew coffee is a quickly growing sector of the caffeine marketplace, and a new company here in Virginia is finding a way to cash in. It didn’t take much to convince reporter Mallory Noe-Payne to bring us their story.

Leave a comment

Many Virginia Schools Start Before Recommended Time

School Buses dhendrix73 flickrVirginia’s fifth largest school district is considering a big change — pushing up its start time for high schools by more than 2 hours, from 7:20 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Chesterfield County, just outside of Richmond, represents the latest in an incremental push statewide to get on board with what scientists, psychologists and educators are all saying: students, especially teens, need more sleep. 

 

Leave a comment

VA’s Outmigration Map

Virginia_flag_map.pngNewly released numbers from the Census Bureau show Virginia added more than 160,000 people last year, although that growth wasn’t distributed evenly. As Michael Pope tells us, some of Virginia’s most urban areas lost more people than they gained.

Leave a comment

Segregation Not Just a Problem of the Past, Says VCU Researcher

segregation Ron Cogswell flickr

Ron Cogswell/flickr

For the first time, last fall, more students of color walked into public schools for first grade, than white students. But even as this country gets more diverse, many school systems still remain segregated.

To help understand why, and what can be done, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University compared approaches to integration taken by four southern cities. As Mallory Noe-Payne reports in the first of two reports, the least successful was right here in Virginia.

Desegregation in the South hasn’t always had a lasting impact. Research shows many public schools are more segregated now than ever before — including here in Virginia.

But one researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University took a look at some practices that have worked. Mallory Noe-Payne reports in this second report, the key is regional cooperation.

 

Leave a comment

VaNews: Uncertain Oyster Plans, Fruit Forecasts

VPAPnewAn April cold snap all but wiped out the peach crop in Virginia’s northern Shenandoah Valley…and there’s some confusion about an effort to revive the oyster population off Virginia Beach. Those have been among the most read stories this week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org.

Leave a comment

VA House GOP Weighs in on Gridlock

GridlockFrustration is growing in both parties on Capitol Hill because pressing national issues are going unaddressed, which has led to some questioning whether the gridlock will hurt the Republican Party, which controls both chambers of Congress. Matt Laslo reports. 

Leave a comment

Virginia Supreme Court Weighs in on Divorce Equality

Leave a comment

Virginia Supreme Court Weighs in on Divorce Equality

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

It’s been less than a year since the United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages will be recognized nationally. Now the Virginia Supreme Court is getting into the act. The commonwealth’s highest court is making a move toward divorce equality.  Matt Laslo reports.

Leave a comment

VaNews: Reprinting Ballots in Roanoke City; Drones in Emergency Searches

VPAPnewThe Roanoke City Board of Elections agreed to reprint 15,000 ballots after a candidate for city council said voters might not recognize her name on the originals…and several Virginia law enforcement agencies took part in a demonstration that showed how drones can help in help in emergency searches. 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.

Leave a comment

New Rules Proposed for Financial Products Considered Predatory Lending

524195139_1c8a3ec97c_z

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

 

Leave a comment

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.

 

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

 

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

 

 

Leave a comment

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. 

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

 

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

VA’s Tree Climbers Get View from the Top

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

 

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

 

Leave a comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 318 other followers