Archive for category Daily Capitol News Updates

McDonnell Case Ruling: Reverberations in Washington

Supreme Court

Authority of Law Statue

The reverberations of the Supreme Court throwing out the conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is being felt across the nation.  Matt Laslo has the story from the Capitol.



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Grants Will Help Preserve Richmond Cemeteries

cemetery_photo_01Some listeners may remember that a few months ago, we brought you the story of long-lost African-American cemeteries throughout the state and a couple in Richmond. Now, some of those cemeteries  are getting some much needed attention. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.


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McAuliffe Fights Back Over Voting Rights Errors

FelonVotingDemocratic Governor Terry McAuliffe is fighting back against Republican criticism that his executive order restoring voting rights to former felons. The governor tells Virginia Public Radio’s Michael Pope that the clerical errors were from bad data from the Department of Corrections.


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Study of Bias in Virginia’s Courts

ScalesofJusticeThe justice system is supposed to be impartial, and fair. Many, though, assume justice isn’t blind when it comes to matters of race or income. But now an unlikely pair — a lawyer, and a software engineer — have used data to uncover bias in Virginia’s courts. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Does McAuliffe Investigation Show Feds are Getting More Aggressive?


The news that federal officials are scrutinizing campaign contributions to Governor Terry McAuliffe sets up another potential showdown between federal prosecutors and high-ranking elected officials in Virginia. It’s latest in a series of investigations in recent years. But as Michael Pope tells us, investigations don’t always lead to charges.


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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.

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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.

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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?

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Virginia Gubernatorial Hopefuls Gearing Up For 2017

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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. 


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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.

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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.


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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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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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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


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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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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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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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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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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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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General Assembly Elects McCullough to Virginia Supreme Court


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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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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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 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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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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Poll at the Legislative Crossover: A Divided Virginia

Virginia_State_CapitolAs we pass the halfway point for the state General Assembly, a new poll from Christopher Newport University reveals what many Virginians’ think of this year’s hot topics.  Virginians, like their lawmakers, are divided on issues of gun control, medicaid expansion, and gay rights.Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Teacher Pay Raise May Be Too Little, Too Late

Teacher Gift CC 01According to a new poll from the Virginia Education Association, almost three quarters of Virginians say teachers in the state don’t make enough money. It looks like teachers will be getting a raise in this year’s budget — But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, the question is how much.

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Bill would Give Public Dollars Back to Home and Private School Parents


pencils_main_0If you don’t have kids you still have to pay the taxes that support public schools, just like everyone else. But Republicans in the state legislature are putting weight behind an educational measure that would change that.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports on a bill that would allow parents who send their kids to private school or home-school to get some of their tax money back.


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Proposals to Change VA’s Sex Offender Registry

Sex offender registryState lawmakers will soon consider a bill that could make it easier for convicted sex offenders to find employment when they get out of prison.  It passed easily in the Senate, but Sandy Hausman reports it may fail in the House, and at least one expert thinks it might not make that much difference.

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Bill Creates Tax Exemption for Feminine Hygiene Products

hygieneMedication is exempt from sales tax in Virginia, and one other category could be included in that group if the legislature approves.  As Sandy Hausman reports, lawmakers are considering a bill to stop taxing feminine hygiene products.

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Virginians Want Changes to Juvenile Justice System

VCU JailVirginians are in strong favor of changes to the juvenile justice system, that’s according to a new poll from Virginia Commonwealth University.  As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, it’s good thing — because improving the system is on the agenda for lawmakers this legislative session.


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Attempts to Undo Gun Control Executive Order

Executive Order CCO Public Domain

CCO Public Domain

Opponents of new gun control laws have set their sights on two executive orders issued by the governor – vowing to undo Terry McAuliffe’s limits on those who want to carry concealed weapons in the Commonwealth.  Sandy Hausman has that story.

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GO VIRGINIA State Incentive Plan

GO VAVirginia has a new economic development proposal for regions within the state…it’s an effort to take some of the decision-making out of the hands of lawmakers and place it back into the hands of stakeholders.  But as Tommie McNeil reports, the concept called “Go Virginia” is also getting some mixed reviews.

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VA Legislature Considering Bills That Would Require Search Warrant for Electronic Files

Computer SecurityCalifornia has approved a new set of laws to protect the privacy of data, and with half of all e-mails in this country passing through data centers in Virginia, this could be the next state to take action. The legislature is considering bills that would require police to get a search warrant if they want a look at your electronic files. Sandy Hausman reports.

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Lawmakers Consider Incentives to Help Homeowners Cut Energy Costs

Kilowatt Hours Creative Commons

Creative Commons

Lawmakers in Richmond are reviewing a bill that would help Virginians cut their energy costs, but critics say it could make power more expensive for customers.

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VA Lawmakers Waiting for Key Points in State of the Union

sotu2016_logo_banner_0Tonight, January 12, President Obama will deliver his last State of the Union address at the U-S Capitol. Matt Laslo will be there and he caught up with Virginia lawmakers about what they’re hoping to hear.

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Some Education Proposals Don’t Make the Grade with VA’s Teachers


Governor Terry McAuliffe has proposed a series of changes to public education aimed at preparing students to join the workforce, but Virginia’s  teachers may not like some of his ideas.  Sandy Hausman reports.

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VA Could Build Two New Prisons for Kids


VA Dept of Juvenile Justice

On any given day, the state of Virginia is dealing with about 5,000 kids who’ve broken the law.  Some are on probation or parole.  Others are in community programs, but about 400 are locked up.  Eighty percent of them end up committing new crimes within three years of being released.  Now, lawmakers in Richmond will debate reforming the juvenile justice system by building two new detention centers. Sandy Hausman reports.

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Gov. McAuliffe Visits Cuba, Hoping to Bring Business to VA

Cuba Creative Commons

Creative Commons/Photographer Bud Ellison

Governor Terry McAuliffe is in the midst of a three-day trip to Cuba, hoping to drum up new business for Virginia, but as Sandy Hausman reports, his mission could benefit businesses nationwide.

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