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Northam plans 10% teacher raise in final budget proposal

Governor Ralph Northam speaks to teachers and administrators at Westside Elementary School in Roanoke. (Credit: David Seidel)

Governor Ralph Northam says teachers have endured numerous challenges during the pandemic.

And so he’ll write a big raise into the budget he’ll submit to the General Assembly shortly before he leaves office.

David Seidel explains.

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In the waning days of the Northam administration, a quiet celebration of oyster restoration

Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Ann Jennings and Gov. Northam dump rocks they and others signed onto a newly completed oyster sanctuary in the Piankatank River. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

Restoring the population of native oysters to the Chesapeake Bay began with an executive order by President Obama in 2009.

This week, Governor Ralph Northam gathered with a small group at a rural marina to mark a milestone.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Pope & Schapiro: Abortion, COVID-19 and tax cuts

The abortion case being considered by the U. S. Supreme Court already has some wondering if changes are on the horizon in Virginia.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope recap some of this week’s issues in state government and politics.

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Gun rights advocates hope new Republicans will roll back local authority

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

In the past few years, Democrats have implemented a host of new gun violence prevention measures.

 Now that Republicans are moving into positions of power in Richmond, many of those new laws may be reevaluated.

Michael Pope reports on one top priority of gun-rights enthusiasts.

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Va. News: Flood recovery and flood preparedness

A small community in western Virginia is struggling to recover from a devastating flood while cities in Hampton Roads are trying to be better prepared for their next one.

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 & Schapiro: Why every year is election year in Virginia

There’s an old saying that every year is Election Year in Virginia.  And with state candidates running in odd numbered years and federal offices up in even years, that’s true.

So how did we get here?

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope explore the background of Virginia’s off-year elections.

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Va. News: Sleeping on sidewalks and Delta 8

A substance that provides a marijuana-like high at a much lower price may soon be outlawed in Virginia. And Roanoke is considering a new law that would move campers off the city’s sidewalks.

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 & Schapiro; A victory tour, VMI, and a huge budget surplus

Virginia’s next governor continues his victory tour as the debate over how to spend the state’s enormous budget surplus heats up.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope bring us up to speed on the week in politics and state government.

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Spotsylvania County book controversy gets national attention

Dozens of people spoke at Monday’s school board meeting. (Credit: Spotsylvania County livestream)

The books on the shelves of school libraries have become a new flash point in the culture wars. 

Michael Pope reports on how Spotsylvania County has become the latest example.

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Virginia has a lot of extra cash, but not as much as it seems

The House of Delegates chamber (Credit: Jahd Khalil)

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin will be the one to propose how your tax dollars are spent but he’ll have to go through the Senate and House of Delegates.

Tuesday the House Appropriations Committee met and heard about booming revenues.

Jahd Khalil was there and heard some words of caution, too.

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VCU launches huge new study of genetics and depression

A team at Virginia Commonwealth University is working with scientists at two other medical centers to conduct the world’s largest study of genetic risk factors for depression. 

Sandy Hausman reports on what they hope to learn.

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Va. News: Innovations in food

Virginia is home to a pair of innovative projects that may change the way food is produced and supplied.

That’s been a popular topic over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More on that now from Fred Echols.

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Youngkin promised a new parole board. How quickly can he move on it?

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin is poised to start working toward one of his campaign promises as soon as the General Assembly session starts.

Michael Pope reports on the future of the Parole Board.

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Can AG-elect Miyares follow through with promise to prosecute

Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares (Credit: Virginia General Assembly)

Now that the election is over, lawmakers will be considering a number of bills generated from the campaign trail.

Michael Pope reports on one proposal that was a frequent topic of conversation in the race for attorney general.

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Pope & Schapiro: Transitions and Transparency

We’re learning more about who will be helping Republicans transition into the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope are already seeing some differences in approach.

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Advocates say massive change is needed at Virginia Employment Commission

Virginia’s beleaguered Employment Commission has been struggling to keep up with unemployment claims since the pandemic hit.

Now Michael Pope tells us about a new report calling for changes to the agency.

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What’s the path for legal marijuana sales?

(Credit: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration)

The presumptive new Republican majority in the House of Delegates and Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin will inherit a sticky question.

Possession of small amounts of pot is legal, but marijuana sales aren’t.

Reporter Jahd Khalil says a vote Wednesday told us Republicans are still figuring out their stance on the issue. 

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As Attention Turns To Richmond, Hope For A Big Education Budget

As lawmakers plan to return to Richmond in a new era of Republican control, one issue that will be a heavy focus is education.

Michael Pope reports on a big budget promise.

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Va. News: Yes to Higher Taxes and No to High Rollers

Voters in two Virginia cities surprised some people last week by approving higher taxes and rejecting a casino.

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 & Schapiro: Turnout, Fallout And Looking Forward From Tuesday’s Election

It’s been a huge week in Virginia politics.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope look to the future of a Glenn Youngkin administration and the Democratic Party’s future in Virginia.

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Youngkin, Republicans Sweep Virginia Election

Glenn Youngkin speaks to reporters a few days before the election. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Glenn Youngkin will be the next governor of Virginia.

In a stunning upset, Republicans retook the Governor’s Mansion after more than a decade.

Reporter Jahd Khalil was in Chantilly for Youngkin’s Victory Party. 

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McAuliffe Concedes While Democrats Try To Figure Out What Went Wrong

Terry McAuliffe speaks to supporters on Election Night. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Democrats are pointing fingers after losing all three statewide races to Republicans.

Michael Pope reports.

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Lots of Early Voting And Heavy Election Day Turnout

About 1.1 million people voted early in this election, 20 percent of all registered voters.

Joe Staniunas talked to some in southwest Virginia who waited until election day to cast their ballots.

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Va. News: Foot Traffic Jams And Citizen Engagement

One of Virginia’s favorite hiking trails has gotten a little too popular during the pandemic.  And Arlington County wants more of its residents involved in local government planning.

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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Holton Rembered As Groundbreaking Governor

Former Governor Linwood Holton speaks at the dedication of Holton Plaza in Roanoke in
October, 2017. (Credit: David Seidel)

Virginians are remembering Linwood Holton as someone who chose principle over party.

The former governor died Thursday.

David Seidel has more on his impact.

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Pope & Schapiro: Closing The 2021 Campaign And Opening The 2021 Transition

There’s been plenty of buildup.  And now Election Day is almost here.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope discuss the closing days of the race for governor and what we might see in the first days of the transition to a new administration.

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Another Poll Shows A Neck And Neck Race For Governor

New polling in the race for governor shows the election tightening with early voting wrapping up.

Michael Pope explains the results.

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Biden Headlines Rally for McAuliffe

President Joe Biden speaks at the rally for Terry McAuliffe in Arlington. (Credit: Michael Pope)

President Joe Biden is urging voters in Virginia to reject the Republican ticket and return former Governor Terry McAuliffe to the Executive Mansion.

Michael Pope reports.

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Is Virginia’s Habit Of Ticket Splitting A Thing Of The Past?

Voters in Virginia will choose three statewide offices next month.

As Michael Pope reports, they could end up splitting the ticket.

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Leading, Trailing, or Tied: Turnout and Enthusiasm the “Name of the Game” in 2021 Elections

We’re a week out from the last day of voting in Virginia’s election.

Polls show a tight race, despite Virginia looking bluer and bluer over the past few election cycles.

Jahd Khalil reports that’s got both campaigns focused on turnout, but for different reasons. 

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ARPA Funds Not Addressing Recruitment at State Hospital for Children

Commonwealth Center for Children & Adolescents (Credit: Dept. of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services)

This summer, five state hospitals that serve Virginians with mental illness had to pause admissions due to staffing shortages

American Rescue Plan funding was supposed to help address that, but as Jahd Khalil reports, the situation has continued to worsen at the hospital that treats children.

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Va. News: Vaccination Mandates And Mental Health Days

The University of Virginia will soon require employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19.  And public school staff in Richmond will be getting a break from pandemic stress.

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 & Schapiro: The New Impact Of Early Voting

Virginia’s fall election is breaking new ground.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope discuss new voting rules and their impact.

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State Psychiatric Hospitals Reopened During The Pandemic But Are Still Full

Catawba Hospital in Roanoke County (Credit: Virginia Dept. of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services)

Across Virginia, mental health services are stretched beyond the breaking point.

Michael Pope reports advocates want changes.

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Congressional Map Gets Chilly Reception

A draft map of Congressional districts (Credit: Virginia Redistricting Commission)

After the process for redrawing new state legislative districts broke down, Virginia’s redistricting commission has moved onto drawing congressional districts.

Jahd Khalil reports the commission avoided a major pitfall of the last process but may have exacerbated another.

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New Report: English Language Learners in Virginia’s Schools Don’t Have Sufficient Support

Virginia ranks among the worst states in the country for graduation rates of students who do not speak English as their native language, a group that is more likely to drop out than go to college.

Michael Pope tells us about a new report identifying some potential solutions.

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Va. News: Cops in Schools and COVID-19 Vaccinations

One Virginia community has changed its mind about removing armed police from schools while another will require its employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

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 & Schapiro: Former Presidents Lend Weight And Controversy In Governor’s Race

Former presidents are bringing new attention to the race for governor.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope catch us up on those details and some other closely watched House of Delegates races.

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Draft Congressional Maps Include Big Changes For Central And Western Virginia

One of the draft maps reviewed Thursday (Credit: Virginia Redistricting Commission)

After failing to agree on new maps for state legislative districts, Virginia’s Redistricting Commission is moving on to federal Congressional districts.

David Seidel reports the drafts reviewed Thursday included some big changes for southwest and central Virginia.

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Trump Phone Call Roils Race For Virginia Governor

The fallout from the January insurrection at the Capitol isn’t just at the center of Washington politics. It’s also become a flashpoint in the election for governor of Virginia.

Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Roaming Pigs And Resort Renovations

People in a rural eastern Virginia community say they’re being overrun by roaming animals… And an iconic Virginia mountain resort is getting a massive makeover.

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 & Schapiro: Campaigns Focus On Parents And Vaccinations

As the fall campaign moves into the final weeks, the candidates are trying to capitalize on potential missteps by their opponents.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope talk about how that’s playing out.

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Virginia Indictments Send Message About Worker Misclassification

The labor practices of construction companies across Virginia are in the spotlight because of a new case brought by Virginia’s attorney general.

Michael Pope explains. 

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Watermen in Broadband, Cell Service Deserts Struggle with State’s Mandatory Move Online

Ida Hall displays her flip phone as she talks to the VMRC board. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has been slowly moving fishermen, the oyster industry and now commercial crabbers to mandatory online reporting of their daily catch.

But in rural Tidewater, where many go without good cell coverage or internet, that’s a problem.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Demographers: Census Data Shows Virginia’s Urban-Rural Divide Is Growing

Virginia is increasingly becoming a commonwealth of urban and rural.

And, as Michael Pope reports, those two worlds are growing farther apart.

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How Can COVID-19 Patients Regain Their Sense of Smell?

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found that having a brain injury made it more likely a COVID-19 infection would take your sense of smell or taste.

But is there anything that can help survivors get their senses back?

Jahd Khalil spoke to one of the researchers on that question.

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Va. News: Connecting With City Government And Free Community College

Interacting with city government will soon be less challenging for non-English speakers in one city. And virtually every student currently enrolled in schools in Martinsville and Henry County will have a chance to attend community college at no cost.

These 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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Redistricting Commission Fails to Agree on Consensus Map Ahead of Public Comment Period

This week the public can comment on the work of the Virginia Redistricting Commission.

It was widely understood that the Commission would submit two maps to the public – one for the house and one for the senate.

Jahd Khalil reports they failed to do that.

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Pope & Schapiro: Did Debates Drag Down Either Candidate?

Did the two televised debates between Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin change the trajectory of the governor’s race?

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope consider what helped and what hurt the two major party candidates.

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At Inaugural Conference, Virginia’s Indigenous Nations Begin Drafting A Sovereignty Accord

Native American Women Warriors Renee Gaines and Mitchelene BigMan, who founded the organization of women veterans, prepare flags for presentation. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

The leaders of federally recognized tribal nations in Virginia held their first-ever Sovereignty Conference last week.

Pamela D’Angelo reports on what they hope to achieve.

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