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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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“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

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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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Prison Alternative Teaches New Ways of Thinking

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The Day Reporting Center, operated by a for-profit contractor called GEO Reentry, is designed to keep non-violent criminals from returning to jail. CREDIT GEO REENTRY

Both U.S. Senators from Virginia have now signed onto a bill that would scale back punishments for certain drug offenders, giving  judges more  discretion in sentencing.  The measure could also reduce the number of people going back to jail by promoting community-based programs designed to change the way criminals think.  Sandy Hausman reports on one such program – the first of its kind in Virginia.  The Day Reporting Center in Richmond is located at the end of a long hallway in the city’s old public safety building.

 

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On the Chesapeake Bay, Realities of Climate Change Aren’t Far From Washington

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Earlier this year President Obama traveled to Alaska to highlight what he called the frontline of climate change. Earlier this year President Obama traveled to Alaska to highlight what he called the frontline of climate change. But a report published in Nature, says Virginia’s Tangier Island, just 90 miles southeast of Washington, D.C., on the Chesapeake Bay, may force islanders to leave during the next 25 years. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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VaNews: Most Read Stories

VPAPnewThere’s a petition in Henrico County to remove of the name one of Virginia’s most famous segregationists from a public school…and the Virginia half of the city of Bristol says it can’t afford to help the Tennessee half with some civic promotion efforts. 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 reports.

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Lawmakers Ask Feds to Stop Atlantic Oil Exploration

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Natural Resources Defense Council

Opposition is building to oil exploration off Virginia’s coast, and environmentalists hope a letter sent yesterday will delay noisy testing that could harm marine mammals and fish. Sandy Hausman has that story.

 

 

 

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Why Gov. McAuliffe May Want Corporate Tax Cut

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Professor Ray Scheppach at UVA’s Batten School of Public Leadership and Policy
Credit:University of Virginia

Governor Terry McAuliffe says he’ll call for a cut in corporate taxes in the budget he submits to lawmakers later this month – a move he claims would attract more foreign companies to Virginia.  That sparked criticism from some Democrats who think the state needs that revenue for schools and other social services. At the University of Virginia, one expert says taxes are rarely a big deal for firms choosing a new location.  Sandy Hausman spoke with him and filed this report.

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Memorializing Lumpkin’s Jail in Richmond

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Marked by the Richmond Slave Trail marker, the site is difficult to find and not well-marked otherwise.

In recent months, Richmonders have been deciding how best to memorialize the city’s difficult history with race and slavery. Between state and city funds there are almost 20 million dollars to spend on a slavery museum and improvements to the city’s Slave Trail.

But, as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, the conversation about how best to spend that money hasn’t been easy.

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