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What Passed, and Didn’t, When it Comes to School Safety

 

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Credit: alamosbasement / Flickr

School safety was at the top of everyone’s minds this legislative session.

Mallory Noe-Payne has this roundup of what passed and what didn’t.

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How Northam’s Eastern Shore Contributed to Scandal and Might Provide a Path Forward

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Gov. Ralph Northam

We’ve heard from many voices about the racist photos on Governor Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page and his use of blackface.

Civil Rights advocates on the Eastern Shore, where Northam grew up, say the peninsula’s history and community shed light on what happened and how Northam might move forward.

Pamela D’Angelo talked with several leaders in the African American community there.

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Bipartisan Redistricting Amendment Still has Hurdles to Cross

2339958760_cba3816253_zPartisan gerrymandering in Virginia politics may soon be a thing of the past.

But as Michael Pope reports, the long fight to get there still has at least another year to go.

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Virginia Lawmakers Adjourn Scandal-marked 2019 Session

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It was a quiet end to anything but a quiet 2019 General Assembly session.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Va. News: Survival of Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, Halifax Schools ban cell phone recording

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New research indicates that at least one Chesapeake Bay species could benefit from warmer temperatures… and the school superintendent in Halifax County has seen more than enough student videos on social media.

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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Civil Rights Icons, Richmond 34, Honored at Capitol

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Some of the Richmond 34 are honored on the floor of the House of Delegates.

In 1960 a group of teenagers from Virginia Union University staged a sit-in at a downtown Richmond department store. Thirty-four of them were arrested.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, the group was honored Friday and their records were finally expunged.

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Budget Neogitations could push General Assembly past Saturday Calendar Deadline

general assembly coverage 2019

Lawmakers in Richmond are putting the final touches on a budget deal as the General Assembly session comes to an end this weekend.

Michael Pope reports.

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How a Group of Teens Helped Convince Lawmakers to Close a Youth Prison

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  Kidaya with RISE for Youth speaks with Delegate Aird. (Credit Mallory Noe-Payne)

At Virginia’s state house, lobbyists are everywhere. They meet with lawmakers, help draft bills and testify in committees.

Reporter Mallory Noe-Payne spent one day this week with a surprising group of lobbyists: Teenagers who have successfully convinced lawmakers to close one of the state’s juvenile prisons.

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After Scandal, Virginia’s Maternal Mortality Disparity Gets New Attention

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Credit: Wellness Corporate Solutions / Flickr / wellnesscorporatesolutions.com

The blackface scandal may end up derailing the political career of two statewide elected officials.

But it may also end up changing policy in Virginia.

Michael Pope explains how.

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Confronting Climate Change Through Sound

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  UVA Professor and composer Matthew Burtner is recording the sounds of melting glaciers, then composing memorial music. (Credit: UVA)

When they hear statistics about climate change or see graphs and charts, many people shut down – unwilling to think about one of the most serious issue of our times.

To draw them back into a conversation about our warming planet, two faculty members at UVA are using something called ecoacoustics – sounds that illustrate the relationship between humans and their environment.

Sandy Hausman reports from the Eastern Shore.

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Va. News: Chesapeake’s old Trick or Treating law, costs end Norfolk Recycling program

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Chesapeake is working on changes to law that has made the city a national punch line.  And shrinking profits are making it hard for many cities to keep their recycling programs alive.

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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Virginia Institiute of Marine Science gives Tidewater Neighborhoods a Flood-predicting Tool

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This screenshot from ADAPTVA.org shows area covered by Tidewatch Map Viewer tool.

For neighborhoods along the Atlantic Coast and the Chesapeake Bay, recurrent flooding that comes with climate change makes it hard to navigate, especially during seasonal high tides and more frequent extreme wind events like Nor’easters.

Now, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science has a tool to help people throughout the region prepare for a flood.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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With Time Running Out, ERA Advocates Pull Out All the Stops

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Supporters of the ERA say the effort to get the General Assembly to pass the constitutional amendment are down but not out.

Michael Pope explains.

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The Politics of Alpacas at the General Assembly

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Alpacas were not included in the Code of Virginia’s listing of livestock. (Credit: James Preston via flickr.com / Creative Commons)

Alpacas are becoming increasingly popular across Virginia, although state laws have not kept up with the trend.

Now, as Michael Pope reports, one lawmaker has a bill to do just that.

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Bill to Require ICE Notifications Headed to Senate Floor

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(Credit: ICE)

How closely should local jails work with federal immigration officials?

That’s an issue that lawmakers are debating in Richmond.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Virginia Legislature Formally Apologizes for Violent Racist Past

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  The 1893 public lynching of black teenager Henry Smith in Texas.
(Credit Wikimedia)

Virginia lawmakers are expressing profound regret for lynching, the brutal murders of black men and women by white mobs in the decades after the Civil War.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, a joint resolution passed by the General Assembly comes amidst a messy and public debate about racism in Virginia.

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African-American Lawmakers Decry $21 Million Cut to Education

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The blackface scandals have caused lawmakers to approach a number of policy issues in new ways.

As Michael Pope tells us, that includes the budget.

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UVA Expert Says Plenty of Physicians Harbor Racist Attitudes

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Dr. Irene Mathieu chairs the Equity and Inclusion Committee at UVA’s Department of Pediatrics. (Credit Irene Mathieu)

During his campaign for governor, Ralph Northam appeared in a TV ad, holding an African-American baby.

The message was that Doctor Northam – a pediatric neurologist – cares deeply for kids, regardless of race.

That made the picture in his medical school yearbook doubly shocking.

But a fellow doctor told Radio IQ’s Sandy Hausman that racism is not uncommon in the medical profession.

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Party-line Votes Clear the Way for Legislation Keeping Virginia Out of RGGI

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Should Virginia join a regional effort to cut back on carbon emissions?

Party affiliation likely shows where your lawmakers stands on this issue.

Michael Pope reports.

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Could a “Special Committee” Investigate Claims Against Fairfax?

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Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (Credit: Lburke007 / Creative Commons via flickr

Lawmakers in Richmond are trying to figure out a way to handle the sexual assault allegations against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, although at this point there are more questions than answers.

Michael Pope explains.

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Legislation Would Regulate Student Loan Servicers in Virginia

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Credit: 401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Some lawmakers are concerned that the student loan industry has spiraled out of control, and they’re hoping to make state regulators crack down.

Michael Pope reports.

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If Fairfax Resigns, What Happens to the Lt. Governor Post?

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Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax talks to reporters inside the state capitol. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

So far, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is resisting calls for him to step down. But what happens if he resigns?

Michael Pope has this look at what happens next.

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Budget Deal Means Refund Checks This Fall

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Credit: 401(K) 2012 / Flickr

As voters are considering their options later this year, many of the wealthiest in Virginia will be getting a check in the mail, thanks to the budget that lawmakers are moving forward with in Richmond.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Analysts: Additional Scandals May Help Northam

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Credit: sabreguy29 / Flickr

Now that every statewide elected official in Virginia is fighting to stay in office, many people are wondering about Virginia’s line of succession.

Michael Pope breaks it down.

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Reaction to President Trump’s State of the Union Address

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Credit: John Brighenti / Flickr

President Trump and his administration are hailing his state of the union address for its calls for unity. But Virginia Democrats aren’t buying those overtures because the president also seemed to warn House Democrats to back off the very investigations that many freshmen lawmakers feel they were sent to Washington to conduct.

Freshman Northern Virginia Democrat Jennifer Wexton says she’s open to working with the president on items like combating AIDS, childhood cancer and even infrastructure, but she’s skeptical the president meant it.

Meanwhile, freshman Virginia Republican Denver Riggleman says he’s not sure if the speech will heal the divide on Capitol Hill, but he says the president struck the right tone.

He just fears Democrats will never agree to fund the wall or fencing the president is demanding.

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Debt Settlement Legislation Runs Out of Time

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Tuesday is the final deadline for all legislation to pass at least one house of the legislature.

And, as Michael Pope reports, the cloud hanging over the General Assembly means many bills won’t make the cut.

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Effort to Address Wage Theft Gets Bipartisan Support

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Credit: 401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Republicans and Democrats are striking a deal to crack down on wage theft.

Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Late-term Abortion Debate Erupts Over Viral Video

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  House Speaker Kirk Cox took the rare measure of leaving the dais to speak from his old seat on the floor of the House of Delegates.
(Credit Michael Pope)

Abortion remains one of the hottest issues in the General Assembly, and it blew up on the floor of the House of Delegates and social media today/Wednesday.

Michael Pope has the story.

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When Lawmakers Promise a Raise for Teachers, It Doesn’t Always Happen

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Credit: alamosbasement / Flickr

Republicans and Democrats in Virginia are both on board with a five-percent teacher pay raise. That news comes after thousands of educators marched to the capitol Monday.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to raising teacher salaries.

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Tax Certainty Could Come with Strings Attached

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(Credit: 401kcalculator.org / Flickr)

Each year, the state adjusts the tax code to reflect changes in federal law. But this year the routine process has been tangled up in a debate on tax policy.

If lawmakers don’t act immediately it could impact your return.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more from the capitol.

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Virginia Teachers Protest Low Pay at Capitol Rally

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  Thousands of teachers and education advocates marched to the state capitol Monday to rally for more education funding.
(Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

Virginia teachers turned out in the thousands Monday to march on the state capitol – demanding higher pay and increases in school funding.

Mallory Noe-Payne was there and has this report.

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Widow of Firefighter Advocates for “Move Over” Legislation

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The death of a firefighter on the side of an interstate is prompting action in Richmond, where lawmakers are considering legislation to toughen the penalties on drivers who don’t move over when approaching emergency vehicles.

Melanie Clark, the widow of that firefighter, is promoting the bill. Monday morning, she asked lawmakers to take action this year to keep first responders safe.

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Va. News: Using Trains to relieve I-81 congestion, Twitter account critical of Norfolk Schools

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There’s a new idea for using trains to reduce congestion on Interstate 81. And members of Norfolk’s school board want to know who’s been criticizing them using a government Twitter account.

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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More than a Thousand Teachers Expected to March on Richmond

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(Credit: Virginia Educators United)

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of teachers are expected to show up in Richmond Monday to show support for public education.

Mallory Noe-Payne has details on the march and rally.

 

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Herring Bill Targeting Paramilitary Groups Still Moving in State Senate

general assembly coverage 2019

Lawmakers in Richmond are considering a proposal that would crack down on the kind of paramilitary groups that marched on Charlottesville.

Michael Pope reports.

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Luria Offers Shutdown Solution, Riggleman Expects Progress Soon

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(Credit Rog Cogswell via flickr.com / CC)

Virginia’s new Congressional members are becoming increasingly active in efforts to end a partial government shutdown.

Jeff Bossert reports.

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Oyster Restoration Project See Successes and Challenges

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Wild oysters from Tangier Sound (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

It’s been ten years since Maryland and Virginia were ordered to restore oyster populations to tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay by 2025.

To meet that goal scientists have banked on building oyster sanctuaries. But reviving a species decimated by disease, over-harvesting and pollution hasn’t proved easy.

Maryland, Virginia and federal recently scientists met at the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News to assess progress.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Va. News: Indian Tribes at odds over Casino Land, Portsmouth’s ‘Sailing’ Sculpture

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Two Virginia Indian tribes are at odds over a casino in Norfolk…and the City of Portsmouth was surprised to learn that a gift will cost it quite a bit of money. 

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

More from Fred Echols.

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The Hands-on Effort to Save Richmond’s Evergreen Cemetery

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Downtown Richmond comes into view as overgrown areas of Evergreen Cemetery are cleared. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

Martin Luther King Day is a national day of service and for the past few years volunteers have worked alongside the descendants of those buried in a neglected historical African American Cemetery in Richmond to restore it to its former glory.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Science Faces Shutdown as Impasse Drags on in DC

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(Credit: Jeff Atkins)

As of a week ago, Virginia has received almost 500 claims for unemployment benefits from furloughed federal workers.

But the effects of the government shutdown don’t stop there. As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, there’s also been an impact on science.

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The Future of Virginia Fisheries: The Consumer Connection

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The Sensible Seafood program advises consumers to try invasive species such as lionfish, snakehead and blue catfish. (Credit: Virginia Aquarium)

It’s a dangerous world for fish and other marine life.  Populations are coping with climate change, pollution and fishermen armed with high-tech devices that make it easier than ever to harvest the sea.

In the final part of our series, Sandy Hausman reports on what you – as a consumer – can do to help assure sustainable fisheries.

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State Corporation Commission Sends Grid Modernization Plan Back to Dominion

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State regulators are rejecting major elements in Dominion Energy’s 6-billion dollar plan to modernize the grid.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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In an Election Year, Republicans Welcome Debate on Right to Work Law

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Since the 1940s, Virginia has imposed strong restrictions on labor unions.

Now those restrictions are at the center of a political debate in Richmond. Michael Pope reports.

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Call for Reconciliation Comes With 400th Anniversary of Slavery in Virginia

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  Former Governor Bob McDonnell and other supporters of Virginians for Reconciliation speak at the capitol. (Credit Michael Pope)

Virginia has a very long history, a history that has several dark chapters.

Now, as Michael Pope reports, a group of prominent state leaders are hoping for reconciliation.

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The Future of Virginia Fisheries: Enforcing Catch Limits in the Atlantic and Chesapeake Bay

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David Drummond and Marshall Reedy are two of the state’s 78 marine police officers. (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

Virginia’s seafood industry is one of the oldest and most valuable in the nation.

We’re the fourth largest producer of finfish and shellfish – behind Alaska, Louisiana and Washington State.

The Commonwealth keeps an eye on watermen to prevent over-fishing and assure food safety for consumers.  On the front lines– a force founded in 1875 as the Oyster Navy.

Sandy Hausman rode along to see how these specially trained sea-cops work.

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The Future of Virginia Fisheries: Growing Our Own in the Blue Ridge

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  Blue Ridge Aquaculture raises about two million tilapia at a time — calm fish that like swimming in large schools. (Credit Sandy Hausman)

Like many cities in southside Virginia, Martinsville lost thousands of jobs as tobacco, furniture-making and textiles left for places where labor was cheaper.

But as those industries went away, a new one grew up thanks to one man with an idea.

Sandy Hausman met him and toured what is now the largest indoor fish farm in the world.

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The Future of Virginia Fisheries: Marine Life at Risk

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Blue crabs harvested by waterman James Eskridge (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

Virginia is the top supplier of seafood on the east coast.  Our watermen harvest more than four dozen species – scallops and oysters, blue crabs, clams, flounder and other fin fish worth over $200 million.

The creatures that live off our coast face some big problems, but as Sandy Hausman reports, scientists here are hoping to find solutions that make sustainable fishing possible.

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Former Journalists Push Press Freedom in House of Delegates

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The Virginia General Assembly now has two former journalists as members, and they are hoping to move forward with bills to increase press freedom.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Va. News: Bristol offers Medical Cannabis classes, Norfolk stops prosecuting Marijuana Possession

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Marijuana users in Norfolk will no longer be prosecuted for misdemeanor possession and the City of Bristol is gearing up to take full advantage of job opportunities in the medical marijuana field.

 

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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Tiny Fish Causes Big Controversy in Richmond

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  Menhaden are nutritious fish enjoyed by marine mammals, sea birds and bigger fish.
(Credit: VIMS)

Virginia’s legislature is back in session, and lawmakers may again be talking about a tiny fish called the menhaden.

It’s the only fish regulated by the General Assembly, and proposed catch limits are proving controversial as Sandy Hausman reports.

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