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A “Gentle” House of Delegates Tradition Gives Way

Danica Roem

Del. Danica Roem, D-Prince William, the first transgender delegate, takes her oath of office during opening ceremonies of the 2018 session of the Virginia House of Delegates at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.
(AP PHOTO/STEVE HELBER)

Lawmakers in Richmond are dealing with a number of firsts walking the hallways, including the first lesbian first Asian-American woman lawmakers.

 

The House of Delegates is a place that loves its traditions. Like referring to the gentleman from Roanoke or the gentlewoman from Prince William. But Republicans are abandoning that tradition now that they are facing the first transgender delegate.

Michael Pope reports.

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Some Republicans And Democrats Find Common Ground In Opposition To Offshore Drilling

California Offshore Oil

This undated photo provided by the California State Lands Commission shows Platform Holly, an oil drilling rig in the Santa Barbara Channel offshore of the city of Goleta, Calif.
Credit (State Lands Commission via AP)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from Virginia are upset over the Interior Department’s plans to open up waters off the east coast to oil and gas drilling.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is under fire from lawmakers up and down the east coast who oppose his plan to allow oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. But the anger turned to outrage last week when Florida was given a waiver that blocks drilling off that states shores.

Correspondent Matt Laslo has the story from Washington.

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Richmond Group Boosts Inclusivity In Arts Community

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BAAAR exhibit at Richmond’s annual 2nd Street Festival
Credit P. Muzi Branch/BAAAR

A Richmond group is working to ensure the contributions of Black artists are included in the city’s thriving cultural scene.

 

The Black American Artists Alliance of Richmond wants to see more Black art in museums, galleries and corporate collections across the city and state. Members include a muralist, a musician, even a quilt maker.

Samantha Willis has the story.

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Western Virginia Lawmakers Pushing Pipeline-related Legislation

Virginia Inauguration

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Lawmakers from southwest Virginia are pushing several bills responding to controversial plans to build natural gas pipelines in Virginia.

Michael Pope has more on their proposals.

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Interview: McAuliffe Reflects on Time as Virginia’s Governor

Terry McAuliffe, Elizabeth Guzman

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, waves to the gallery as he arrives to address a joint session of the the 2018 session in the House chambers at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Terry McAuliffe’s term as Governor of Virginia is coming to an end. McAuliffe’s official portrait was unveiled this week. In it he has his hand on an executive order. The one where he restored voting rights to former felons.

McAuliffe spoke with Virginia Public Radio’s Mallory Noe-Payne.

She began by asking whether that order was one of his proudest moments.

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Democrats Hope New Delegates Improve Medicaid Expansion Odds

Wendy Gooditis, Tia Walbridge

Wendy Gooditis speaks to supporters during her campaign for the House of Delegates.  (AP PHOTO/STEVE HELBER)

After years of pushing for expanding Medicaid, Democrats are hopeful that they’ll be able to use their new members in the House to finally make it happen.

For freshman Delegate Wendy Gooditis, a Democrat from Clarke County, the fight is personal.

Michael Pope explains why.

 

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After Years Of Trying, Congress Approves Recognition Of Virginia Tribes

Washington Weather

(AP PHOTO/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE)

Six Virginia Native American tribes are cheering.

After a twenty-year effort, the United States Senate unanimously approved legislation that recognizes the Commonwealth’s tribes.

Correspondent Matt Laslo reports from Washington.

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Lexington Looks To Avoid Conflicts Over MLK, Lee-Jackson Parades

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The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks April 15,1967 at a peace rally in New York City. January 15th is the birthday of the late civil rights leader. (AP Photo/stf)

In light of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville over the summer, Lexington residents wishing to honor Martin Luther King Jr. have opted for compromise over controversy.

Jessie Knadler has more on the potential conflict with the Lee-Jackson state holiday.

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Governor Terry McAuliffe Delivers Final State of the Commonwealth Address

Terry McAuliffe, Israel O'Quinn

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe , center, shakes the hand of Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, left, after addressing a joint session of the the 2018 Virginia General Assembly for his last State of the Commonwealth address in the House chambers at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Outgoing Governor Terry McAuliffe gave his final State of the Commonwealth speech in Richmond Wednesday night.

He celebrated Virginia’s growing economy and low unemployment, and said his greatest pride while in office was restoring voting rights to former felons.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports on the speech.

Michael Pope has reaction from Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

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Cox Elected House Speaker On Traditionally Unanimous Vote

Kirk Cox

House speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, looks to the gallery after being elected speaker during opening ceremonies of the 2018 session of the Virginia House of Delegates at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Despite the drama in the last few weeks about who will control the Virginia House of Delegates, the session kicked off Wednesday with a unanimous vote for speaker.

Delegate Kirk Cox now holds the gavel and the title of Speaker of the House.

Michael Pope reports from the House floor.

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Medicaid, Gun Violence at Top of Incoming Governor’s Agenda

Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam

Virginia Gov.-elect, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, left looks to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, right, as they detail their legislative package at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Democratic Governor-Elect Ralph Northam says expanding medicaid and reducing gun violence are at the top of his legislative agenda. He unveiled his priorities in Richmond Tuesday, along with current Governor Terry McAuliffe.

In a joint press conference, the incoming and outgoing Governors said they’re on the same page about what to throw their weight behind this legislative session. Policy proposals include a carbon trading plan, legislative protection for abortion rights, and no excuse absentee voting.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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Women’s Equity Movement Extends To Hygiene Product Legislation

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CREDIT MBANDMAN / CREATIVE COMMONS

Two female lawmakers are introducing legislation as part of a growing movement to help women achieve equity.

It’s called menstrual equity. It’s a growing movement that’s prompting legislation in Washington and in state capitals across the country, including several this year in Richmond.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Democratic Voters Appeal Judge’s Decision In Fredericksburg Area Race

Session Midway

The Virginia House of Delegates in session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Last week a federal judge in Alexandria denied a request from Fredericksburg voters to throw out the results of an election where dozens of voters were given the wrong ballot.

Now, as Michael Pope reports, those voters are appealing the case.

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Virginia Women’s Coalition Calls for No Cost Birth Control

Virginia Inauguration

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition unveiled its 2018 legislative agenda Monday.

It includes paid family leave, equal pay, and no cost birth control. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Va. News Topics: A Realistic School Lesson And Snow Plow Art

VPAPnewSome recent artwork by students in Craig County is literally hitting the road this winter
and some parents in Fairfax County found an elementary school history lesson to be a
little too realistic.

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

Click here to visit the Virginia Public Access Project

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After Losing Democratic Nomination for Governor, Tom Perriello Starts PAC

tpg-tpsp-socialAfter losing the Democratic primary for governor, former Congressman Tom Perriello is now launching the next chapter in his political career. Michael Pope has the story.

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Mapping a Potential Medicaid Expansion

Donald Trump, Terry McAuliffe

Governor Terry McAuliffe, seen here at a meeting of the National Governors Association last month, is yet again proposing a Medicaid expansion in Virginia; a proposal that is likely to yet again be struck down by state Republicans. (Credit: Evan Vucci / AP)

Throughout Virginia, 400,000 people who live in poverty or with disabilities stand to benefit it Medicaid is expanded. Where are they? Michael Pope is mapping the geography of Virginia’s hottest political debate.

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Healthcare Without the Middleman: The Ups and Downs of Direct Primary Care

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Jill Zackrisson wanted to be able to spend more time with her patients. (Credit: Sandy Hausman / RADIO IQ)

As Republicans search for ways to replace the Affordable Care Act, some doctors in this country are doing something new.  Tired of the expense and time required to process insurance claims, they’re charging patients a modest monthly fee and bypassing insurance entirely.  Sandy Hausman has this two-part look at the model known as Direct Primary Care.

 

 

PART 1:


PART 2:

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One Virginia Lawmaker Has Plan to Increase Oversight of Department of Homeland Security

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Republican Congressman Tom Garrett wants increased oversight of the DHS, but legal experts call his plan another example of “government bureaucracy.”

Is the Department of Homeland Security in danger of waste, fraud and abuse? One Virginia congressman says it is, and he has a plan to do something about it. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia’s Rainy Day Fund Drops by 75% in 11 Years

Numbers And Finance

Credit: Ken Teegardin / Flickr

Virginia lawmakers and the Governor just wrapped up the state’s latest budget — and it was no easy task. Because Virginia had lower than expected tax revenues, they had to find ways to close a $1.5 billion gap. And while they managed to do it, some critics say they didn’t do enough to address the underlying issues.  Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Protestors Flood Representative’s Office for the Second Time in a Week

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About 100 people with the Indivisible Charlottesville group marched on Representative Tom Garrett’s local office on Tuesday, protesting his support of President Trump’s agenda. (Credit: Jordy Yager)

Virginians are making their voices heard. Since the start of the Trump administration, groups across the state have protested executive orders, and rallied in city centers. Jordy Yager reports the latest is at Congressman Tom Garrett’s office in Charlottesville.

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Va News Topics: Supreme Court Sign Ruling, Male Students at Mary Baldwin University

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Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

A Supreme Court ruling that says signs cannot be treated differently based on content no longer allows local governments to give political signs extra leeway. That’s caused some inconvenience for a Virginia county. And, not everyone is happy that Mary Baldwin University in Staunton will soon have male students living on campus for the first time. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va News link at vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.

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Senators Divided About How To Handle Airbnb, And Not Along Party Lines

Airbnb

Credit: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Scheduler / Creative Commons

The new disruptive economy — Airbnb, Uber — it’s causing disagreements in the General Assembly. And the debate doesn’t fall along party lines. Michael Pope has the story.

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Uncertainties Abound Over How the State Will Afford Proposed Raises for State Employees

Tommy Norment

Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment is among state Republicans who think Governor Terry McAuliffe’s one-time bonus for state employees is inadequate. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Republican leaders in Richmond are moving forward with a budget agreement that will give state employees a raise. But, as Michael Pope tells us, they’re not yet saying how they’ll pay for it.

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Virginians Who Marched Share Their Thoughts on Trump, Future Plans and Favorite Signs

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Albemarle County residents Angela Lynn and Jean Wheeler march in Washington. 

Thousands of Virginians spent their weekend traveling to Washington, marching and recovering.  Sandy Hausman caught up with some of them as they rode a bus back to Charlottesville.

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Va News Topics: Hunting Prize, Illegal Confederate Flag

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Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

300 hunters from across the Eastern United States spent a recent weekend shooting predatory animals in hope of winning a cash prize offered in Virginia, and the latest oversized Confederate flag to go up in the state has been ruled illegal. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va News link at vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.

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Lawmakers Want to Limit Fees From Payday Advance Companies

Payday Lender

Lawmakers want to limit the amount of fees a company like Advance Till Payday can impose on people who take out a loan. (Credit: frankieleon / Creative Commons)

Lawmakers in Richmond are considering a bill that would crack down on fees attached to loans that critics call predatory. Michael Pope has the story.

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Several Inmate Deaths Across the State Spark Cries for More Accountability

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Senator John Cosgrove is proposing legislation that would require a Department of Corrections investigation following the death of an inmate.

In the wake of several controversial deaths in Virginia jails, members of the General Assembly are taking action to make sure the cases are thoroughly investigated. Michael Pope has the story.

 

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Drones Are a Public Safety Issue, Says One Lawmaker

baby-drone

Credit: Andrew Turner / Flickr

Privately operated drones are quickly becoming more commonplace, as hobbyists use them to take photos and videos. But they’re also posing a public safety hazard, one that one Virginia lawmaker says he has a solution for. Michael Pope has the story.

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Republican Leaders Want to Limit Welfare in Areas With High Unemployment

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Credit: gop.com/Wikimedia Commons

Looking ahead to the General Assembly session next month, Republicans are hoping to crack down on welfare abuse. As Michael Pope reports, one of the items on their agenda is increasing work requirements for people receiving public assistance.

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A Tale of Two Voters: Looking At How Rich and Poor People Voted This Year

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A breakdown of voters across the state by income. (Credit: Virginia Public Access Project)

Rich people and poor people often end up voting the same way, depending on where they live. But a new analysis of voter data from the election shows some parts of Virginia are divided along class lines. Michael Pope looks at the numbers.

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McAuliffe to Introduce Legislation for Reform of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership

Governor-McAuliffe.jpgVirginia’s governor is suggesting changes to how the state doles out economic development money. The proposals come after investigators blasted the Economic Development Partnership for mismanagement. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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In Annual Tradition Virginia Tribes Give Tribute to the State

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Virginia’s governor admires the deer that are given as a tribute from Virginia’s native tribes. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / WVTF / RADIO IQ)

In 1677, the King of England signed a treaty with some of Virginia’s native tribes. It exempted the tribes from taxes on their reservation land, but required an annual symbolic payment of three arrows, and 20 beaver skins.

Now almost 350 years later, that treaty still plays out every year just before Thanksgiving, with a slightly different ceremonial gift to Virginia’s Governor. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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New Poll Shows Clinton Leads Among Virginia Voters

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Credit: The Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy / Christopher Newport University

Hillary Clinton continues to lead Donald Trump here in Virginia, according to a new poll from Christopher Newport University. Michael Pope reports.

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Va News Topics: Outdated Zoning Regulations, Annoying Drones

VPAPnew

Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

Outdated zoning and use regulations can hinder development as Henrico County has learned, and a Virginia woman has brought down a drone she thought was intruding over her property. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va News link at vpap.org.

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Will Don Beyer’s Fundraising Ability Land Him a Senate Seat?

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Credit: United States Congress / Wikimedia Commons

For political candidates, raising money isn’t always just about the next election. Sometimes running up a large campaign war chest is about thinking ahead beyond Election Day. Michael Pope reports.

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Third-Party Presidential Candidates Face Friday Deadline in Virginia

Gary Johnson

Credit: Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

When voters head to the polls this November, they’ll be facing more choices for president than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Who else will be on the ballot, and what kind of influence might that have on the election? Michael Pope has the story.

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Critics of Predatory Lending Divided Over Best Way to Help Borrowers

Payday Lending (2)

Credit: Taber Andrew Bain / Creative Commons

What’s the best way to protect people from predatory lending? One federal agency has a new proposal, but it’s getting mixed reviews — even among people who agree that something needs to be done. Michael Pope has the story.

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Kroger Workers Avoid Strike

Kroger CC Mike Kalasnik

Photo: Creative Commons/Mike Kalasnik

There won’t be any picket lines later this month outside Kroger stores in Southwest and Central Virginia, West Virginia and Eastern Tennessee.

The union representing thousands of Kroger employees approved a new contract today—avoiding a potential strike. A lot of workers, though, weren’t too happy with the decision. Joe Staniunas has the story.

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Truthful History Heals

RebelCause

“Rebel Cause” by Spencer Turner

Throughout Virginia, the conversation about confederate monuments is a sticky one. So a new art exhibition in Richmond is making the conversation visual. It’s an effort to have more voices heard in the debate about the future of confederate statues on Monument Avenue. Kelley Libby reports.

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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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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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Distracted Driving is Number One Cause of Accidents, but Texting isn’t Entirely to Blame

11070978946_35f40a6b70_oA new study confirms that the number one cause of traffic accidents is distracted drivers.  But as Robbie Harris reports, it’s not only texting behind the wheel that’s to blame. 

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Tangier Island Residents Fight for Jetty

Tangier Jetty 03After years of waiting for a jetty to protect their harbor, residents of Tangier Island thought the deal was done. Then came a rumor that Virginia’s share of the cost was removed from the governor’s budget. It turned out to be true. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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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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Congress Passes Omnibus Budget Bill

Congress04Virginia lawmakers were divided on the legislation to fund the government. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that the legislation has a lot in it for the commonwealth.

 

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VaNews: Residency Requirements, Presidential Primary

VPAPnewPetersburg City Council has overwhelmingly approved a new residency requirement despite having been told the policy is illegal…and the Virginia GOP is considering whether to ask voters for their phone numbers and email addresses when they cast ballots in the party’s presidential primary. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link at vpap.org. https://virginiapublicradio.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/vpr-va-news-1222-web.mp3

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Governor Pushes for Medicaid Expansion Again

GovMedicaid ProposalVirginia is one of 20 states that have opted to not expand Medicaid using money the federal government is providing through the Affordable Care Act. It’s been the source of deep discord between Virginia’s Democratic Governor and its Republican legislature, for a couple of years.  But as part of a big budget proposal, Governor McAuliffe threw his hat into the ring for one more Medicaid fight. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Gov. McAuliffe Unveils Budget Plan for VA

Gov Budget 01Governor Terry McAuliffe has presented his full two-year budget proposal to a select group of finance leaders from Virginia’s legislature at the state capitol. Following a surplus last year, the governor’s budget is the most expensive in Virginia history – topping $100 billion. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Gov. Proposes Funding Increase to Hire More K-12 Teachers

Teacher Creative Commons

Photo: Creative Commons

Part of Governor McAuliffe’s overall proposed budget includes more than $1 billion dollars allotted for education. Kelsea Pieters has reaction from John O’Neil, with the Virginia Education Association.

 

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