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Study Shows Many Virginia Communities Suffer from Poor Air Quality

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Virginia’s air quality has been a topic of debate in recent years, as environmentalists have clashed with business interests.

Meanwhile, as Michael Pope reports the quality of Virginia’s air has suffered.

 

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Virginia Democrats split on Medicare for All Proposals

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(Credit: Rog Cogswell/Creative Commons)

The Democratic Party seems to be moving to the left with most of its high-profile presidential candidates embracing proposals like Medicare for All.

But Virginia Democrats are resisting the trend, as correspondent Matt Laslo reports from Washington.  

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“I thank God every day” — Exhibit Traces Impact of Immigrants on Virginia

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More than a million Virginians were born in another country.

 

Those immigrants are just the latest in a long line of people who have shaped the state.

 

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, their stories are being highlighted in an exhibit at the Library of Virginia.

 

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How Forests Help Mitigate Flooding

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Trees are big money in Virginia, generating some $21 billion each year, according to the state department of Forestry.

Another $6.6 billion is attributed to forest contribution to air and water quality.

 

Now, the city of Virginia Beach is looking at the value of the city’s forests as one solution to their flooding problems caused by climate change and the region’s sinking lands.

 

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Study: Virginia Bucks National Trend for School Spending

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Credit: dcJohn / Flickr

Many school districts across the country remain largely segregated by race.

Nationally, nonwhite school districts get $23 billion less in funding than white districts do.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne tells us, Virginia actually bucks that trend.

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Public Protest Casts a Shadow on Solar Arrays

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  A Utah company hopes to cover about 3,500 acres in Spotsylvania County with solar panels like these.   (Credit National Renewable Energy Lab)

A group called Conservatives for Clean Energy recently surveyed 500 Virginia voters and found 72% want more emphasis on solar power here.

But as developers share plans with the public, they’re finding plenty of resistance.

Sandy Hausman reports on why some people object to solar arrays and whether their fears are founded.

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VT Biologists Find Cancer Connection to Our Body Clock

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  Carla Finkielstein and Xianlin Zou compare notes in the laboratory.
(Credit Virginia Tech)

A new discovery finds that timing is everything when it comes to preventing and treating cancer.

Scientists at Virginia Tech are the first to confirm the important role our body’s internal clocks play in whether we are more prone to develop the disease.

Robbie Harris reports.

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Va. News: Public investment in privately owned rail, Coal-fired power plants go off line

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Two more coal burning power plants have gone offline in Virginia as producers move toward other fuels…and passenger rail service is growing in the state thanks largely to public investment in private companies. 

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 Lawmakers find Common Ground Fighting Financial Crime

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(Credit: John Brighenti / Flickr)

Washington gets a lot of bad publicity for partisan gridlock, and there’s certainly a lot of that.

But two freshman Virginia lawmakers from different parties are working together to crack down on financial crimes.

Michael Pope reports.

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How Have Local Real Estate Taxes Changed Over the Years?

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Richmond’s Mayor is proposing a hike in the city’s real estate tax. He says the money is needed for schools and infrastructure.

And as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, in recent years real estate taxes have risen across the state.

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Changes in State Law Pave the Way for more Solar Jobs

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  Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church parishioner Luc DeWulf shows Bill Larme how the solar generator meter works.  The church recently installed solar panels on its roof.
(Credit Michael Pope)

Virginia hasn’t traditionally had a great reputation for renewable sources of energy.

But the solar industry is now booming in Virginia.

Michael Pope sheds some light on the numbers.

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Democrats want to send Message with HR 1

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(Credit: Rog Cogswell/CC via flickr.com)

Virginia’s newly elected Democrats in Congress are hoping to re-write the rules for elections and campaign finance.

Michael Pope reports.

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Report Details the Potential Danger of Toxic Floodwaters

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A map of at-risk sites in the James River watershed
(Credit: Center for Progressive Reform)

In Richmond late last month, the James River flooded to more than 16 feet, its highest since 2010.

A new report looks at another danger to communities when the James floods –contaminants from industrial areas along the river.
Pamela D’Angelo reports.

 

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Scott: Raising Minimum Wage would have Postive Local Impact

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Rep. Bobby Scott

Lawmakers in Richmond rejected efforts to raise the minimum wage this year. But now Congress is considering raising the federal minimum wage.

And as Michael Pope, a Virginia congressman is leading the effort.

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Northam Makes First Public Appearances Since Scandal

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Gov. Ralph Northam

Governor Ralph Northam is slowly and quietly getting out and about.

Mallory Noe-Payne was at his latest public appearance in Richmond Tuesday and has this report.

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After 2019 Session, Can Virginia Republicans Maintain the Majority?

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Republicans have controlled Virginia’s House of Delegates for almost two decades.  At the height of their power they outnumbered Democrats two-to-one.

But shifting demographics and a fierce backlash to President Trump has put the party on defense.

Mallory Noe-Payne has this look at what Republicans did with what some predict may be their final year in the majority.

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Virginia AG says he wants to Repair Harm from Blackface

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Attorney General Mark Herring (Credit: Commonwealth of Virginia)

Attorney General Mark Herring says he did not call on Governor Ralph Northam to resign because of blackface, but because the Governor flip-flopped on his story.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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Va. News: Amazon impacts Real Estate cost in Northern VA, More Bears in Southwest Virginia City

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There are two places in Virginia dealing with invasive outsiders this winter. One is being inundated by bears while legions of real estate speculators have come to the other.

Those have been among the most frequently 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 Democrats than Republicans Face Primary Challenges in 2019

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Credit: justgrimes / Creative Commons

Don’t look now but another election is coming in just three months.

Michael Pope has this preview of the primary season.

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Blue Ridge Bucha Wins National Sustainability Award

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Ethan Zuckerman, co-founder of Blue Ridge Bucha, in the brewery’s taproom (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

Virginia is for drinkers – or so it seems with all the wineries, breweries and cideries that have opened here.

And when you’re tired of those beverages, a company in Waynesboro is offering an award-winning alternative.

Sandy Hausman reports on Blue Ridge Bucha.

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Analysts: Republicans Energized at Start of 2019 Campaign

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The end of the General Assembly session last weekend means the beginning of the campaign season.

Michael Pope has this preview.

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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

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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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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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Birth Control Access Continues to Prompt Heavy Debate in Richmond

StateSeal00Lawmakers are in a heated debate over abortion this year. But that’s not the only point of distinction between Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly. Access to birth control is another flashpoint in Richmond. Michael Pope has more.

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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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