Archive for category Virginia’s News

Another Year, Same Results at the General Assembly

Terry McAuliffe, Dorothy McAuliffe, Ralph Northam

Governor Terry McAuliffe, seen here at a news conference last month, has vetoed several measures this year that also made their way to his desk the past two years. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

In Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe is breaking out the veto pen — killing many of the same bills he vetoed last year and the year before that. Michael Pope has this look at the Groundhog Day General Assembly.

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Scientists Build Avian Flu Defense for Chesapeake Farmers

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Georgie Cartanza’s chicken farm. (Credit: Katie Peikes / Delaware Public Media)

The Delmarva Peninsula lies under the Atlantic Migratory flyway, a path waterfowl migrate through. As Europe deals with recent outbreaks of a severe strain of Avian Influenza, some local poultry growers worry that just one infected bird passing through the region could contaminate and kill whole flocks of chickens.

That’s why poultry growers across Delmarva take precautions to avoid the possibility of the virus traveling from outside of the farm to the respiratory systems of their chickens. And research is being done that could help farmers better understand waterfowl patterns so they can prepare for when the virus surfaces.

Delaware Public Media’s Katie Peikes reports on possible repercussions avian flu could have and new research that could help avert that scenario for Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative.

Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative is funded with grant support from the Clayton Baker Trust, The Bancroft Foundation, Michael and Ann Hankin, The Jim and Patty Rouse Foundation, The Rob and Elizabeth Tyler Foundation, and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

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How Should Local and State Law Enforcement Deal With Federal Immigration Laws?

Claire Gastanaga

ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Gastanaga asked Governor Terry McAuliffe to veto bills dealing with immigration issues at a news conference earlier today. (Credit: Steve Helber /AP)

Should local and state law enforcement officials enforce federal immigration laws? That’s a debate that heating up in the final days of the General Assembly session in Richmond this week. Michael Pope has the latest.

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Could Skype Become a Court Testimony Tool?

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Webcams like this one could soon be used for video court testimonies if legislation currently before the General Assembly passes. (Credit: David Burillo / Flickr)

Should court testimony happen in person? Or would a video feed work just as well? As Michael Pope tells us, lawmakers in Richmond say Skype should be coming to a courthouse near you.

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State Democrats Cry Foul at Republican Tactics, But Were They Any Different?

William Howell

Virginia House of Delegates speaker William Howell, front, takes his oath of office along with the other members of the House during opening ceremonies at the start of the 2016 Virginia General Assembly at the Capitol in Richmond. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

As we approach the end of Virginia’s General Assembly, Democrats in Richmond have complained the Republican majority has used underhanded tactics to push their legislative agenda, steam rolling bills by not scheduling hearings, killing proposals in unrecorded votes. But what happened when Democrats were in control? Michael Pope has this look at the way things worked in the era of Democratic rule.

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One of Virginia’s Most Powerful Politicians is Stepping Down

Lee Ware, William Howell

Virginia House of Delegates speaker William Howell, R-Stafford, center, shakes the hand of Delegate Lee Ware, R-Powhatan, right, during opening ceremonies at the start of the 2016 Virginia General Assembly at the Capitol in Richmond. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Virginia’s longstanding Speaker of the House of Delegates is stepping down after 14 years. Michael Pope has the story.

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Virginia Congressman Could be Trump’s Go-To Man on Immigration

Bob Goodlatte

Congressman Bob Goodlatte, R-VA, gestures during a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Roanoke, VA, Saturday, September 24th, 2016. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte represents the western part of the state, and he’s come under recent fire for his involvement in President Trump’s controversial travel ban. Goodlatte had his staff help President Trump craft the executive order. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on Goodlatte’s role in immigration reform going forward.

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Lawmakers Struggle to Find Money for Mental Health Screenings for Inmates

Creigh Deeds, James LeMunyon

Virginia State Senator, Creigh Deeds, speaks to Delegate James LeMunyon, R-Fairfax, left, during the House session at the Capitol in Richmond, VA, in 2014. Deeds is still pushing for mental health legislation, but funding is falling short. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Lawmakers started the session with a resolve to do something about the problem of mental illness in Virginia jails, an effort that has urgency this year because of a tragic death that happened last year. But as Michael Pope reports, now lawmakers are saying they can’t find the money to change the system.

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Push for Easier Access to Mental Health Care Fails in General Assembly

Peter Farrell, Mark Berg

Delegate Peter Farrell, R-Henrico, during a House of Delegates session in 2014. (Credit: STE)

Lawmakers in Richmond are not moving forward with an effort to expand the number of psychiatric beds in Virginia. Michael Pope has the story.

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A Valentine’s Tribute: Looking Back on 79 Years of Marriage

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William, 102, and Bessie, 98 next month, Hudnall have been married for 79 years. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

For most of their lives William and Bessie Hudnall, lived in Northumberland County in the tiny village of Ophelia on the Chesapeake Bay. They’ve been married for 79 years. He’s 102 and next month she’ll be 98. For Valentine’s Day they look back on their lives, beginning with a card sent by William to Bessie’s sister.

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Virginia Senate Considers Stripped-Down Broadband Bill

Kathy Byron

Delegate Kathy Byron, Republican of Campbell County, took heat this year for her proposal to regulate internet access provided by localities. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Lawmakers in Richmond are considering an effort to increase transparency of internet providers. As Michael Pope reports, the effort is what’s left of a bill that would have cracked down on the ability of local governments to provide wireless access.

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Reporting Finger Food: An Ethical Necessity or Obnoxious Hassle?

Todd Gilbert

Delegate Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, is pushing for an exception to lawmaker’s disclosure forms. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

It’s been more than two years since former Republican Governor Bob McDonnell was convicted of corruption, but lawmakers are still reacting to the scandal. As Michael Pope reports, this year’s ethics reform package includes some provisions critics call new loopholes.

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Redistricting Reform Dead for Now

William Howell, David Toscano

House Minority Leader David Toscano, left, speaks with House Speaker William Howell during a House session today. Toscano was hoping this was the year for redistricting reform. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Attempts to change how Virginia lawmakers draw political boundaries died today in the House of Delegates. Advocates of reforming the system watched on this morning in Richmond, as the final three bills to prevent gerrymandering were voted on in a subcommittee.

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Red-Tape Reduction and Welfare Reform Flame Out in Richmond Despite Being Republican Priorities ​

Kirk Cox

Majority Leader Kirk Cox, seen here in a photo from last year’s session, says failed legislation still serves a purpose. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Republican leaders in the House of Delegates have an overwhelming majority — about two thirds of the members. But as Michael Pope reports from the Capitol, that doesn’t always mean that they get their way.

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Va News Topics: Petersburg Baseball Team, New Norfolk Ordinance

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Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

As Petersburg struggles to remain solvent, the city has found a buyer for its summer collegiate league baseball team. And, a first-term city council member in Norfolk was surprised when she wanted to propose a new ordinance and found that no knew exactly how that could be done. 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 has more.

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State Republicans Look to Limit Governor’s Power

Terry McAuliffe

Rules and regulations from Governor Terry McAuliffe have sparked efforts among state Republicans to limit his and future governors’ power. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Republicans in Richmond are trying to crack down on what they call regulation gone wild. Michael Pope reports.

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Funding for Birth Control Dropped from House of Delegates’ Budget

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Credit: Sarah Mirk / Flickr

In Richmond, Democrats and Republicans are divided about what kind of birth control should be available to low-income women. Michael Pope reports.

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Ghost of Carter Glass Haunts Debate About Voting Rights

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Senator Carter Glass in 1920. (Credit: Library of Congress)

Lawmakers in Richmond are not just debating among themselves. They are also debating the ghosts of a state senator from a hundred years ago. Michael Pope has this look at the skeletons in the closet at the Capitol.

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Getting it Out: Richmonders Scream for Sanity

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The group hopes to gather weekly to vent their frustrations. (Credit: Stacey Mills / The Stories That Connect Us)

The news out of Washington has many in the Commonwealth feeling anxious and despairing. In Richmond, some residents are releasing stress using a time-tested method. Kelley Libby reports.

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Lawmakers Move Toward Keeping Rape Kits Longer

Rape Kits Backlog

Vials of evidence from sexual assault cases, like the ones seen here, are allowed to be thrown out once a child turns 20 under current law. (Credit: Pat Sullivan / AP)

Lawmakers in Richmond aren’t disagreeing on everything. One issue Republicans and Democrats are working together on is helping victims of sexual assault. Michael Pope has more.

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Under Trump Administration, a ‘Chill’ Through Virginia’s Federal Workforce

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Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Virginia is home to more than 170,000 federal employees – a workforce that feels under siege by the new Trump administration. Correspondent Matt Laslo reports from the Capitol on the battle federal workers feel they’re locked in.

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After Failed Attempt, Republican Lawmakers Try Again on “Sexually Explicit” Books

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Credit: Horia Varlan / Creative Commons

Last year, lawmakers passed a measure to keep parents in the loop when their children are reading books at school that reference sex. The governor vetoed that bill, but now members of the General Assembly are trying a different approach. Michael Pope has more.

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In Midst of National Immigration Debate, Virginia Republicans Take Aim at Sanctuary Cities

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If state Republicans have their way, sanctuary cities would have to pay for any property damage caused by undocumented immigrants. (Credit: Taber Andrew Bain / Creative Commons)

As the national conversation on immigration continues, Republicans in Virginia’s General Assembly are hoping to crack down on so called sanctuary cities. Michael Pope has the story.

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Are Schools Doing a Disservice to Students with Excessive Long-Term Suspensions?

schoolhouseAre Virginia schools suspending too many students? Lawmakers in Richmond are debating the issue, and it’s not falling along party lines. Michael Pope has the story.

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House of Delegates Declares Porn a Public Health Hazard

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Credit: Marcie Casas / Creative Commons

One Virginia lawmaker says the rise of online pornography is creating a crisis. Michael Pope has the story.

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Ginsburg Inspires at VMI

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Ginsburg was interviewed by her two biographers and Georgetown Law Professors Mary Hartnett and Wendy Williams. (Credit: Jessie Knadler)

As the nation is consumed with talk over a possible new Supreme Court Justice, a current Justice visited Virginia Wednesday Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave a talk at Virginia Military Institute, a school she helped transform. Jessie Knadler was there and filed this report.

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​Republicans Hope Trump Will Help Them Crack Down on Sanctuary Cities In Virginia ​

Bob Marshall

Republican Delegate Bob Marshall believes local police forces should jail undocumented immigrants an extra two days if asked by federal authorities. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

As President Donald Trump looks to crack down on illegal immigration, Virginia’s lawmakers are debating what state police and jails should do when they arrest an undocumented immigrant. Michael Pope has more from the Capitol.

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Spotting Eagles: Counting Along the Rappahannock

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Bill Crouch (right) and Bill Portlock (left) out on the river counting bald eagles. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

Bald eagles are a more common sight in Virginia, but a decade after being de-listed as endangered, biologists are still keeping a close watch on their numbers and on new threats.

In January, Pamela D’Angelo went on one of several mid-winter eagle counts, this one a 35 mile route along on the Rappahannock River where 192 eagles were logged.

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In One Vote, Lawmaker Strike More Than 20 Constitutional Amendments

Virginia Legislature

Visitors to the State Capitol listen to a tour guide as she talks about the Houdon statue of George Washington in the rotunda at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Jan.26, 2017. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Should Virginia’s gerrymandered districts be redrawn by a nonpartisan commission? Should former felons be able to vote? These are questions that some lawmakers want to put on the ballot for voters to decide, but it looks unlikely they’ll get the chance. As Michael Pope reports from the Capitol, that seems unlikely — at least for now.

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$15 Million Settlement in Tribe-For-Hire Scam

Mark Herring

Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring settled the landmark case this week. (Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP)

More than 15,000 victims of a predatory lending scheme in Virginia are having their loans absolved and receiving cash awards. That’s thanks to a $15 million settlement agreement approved in federal court in Richmond this week, one of the largest of its kind in history. Michael Pope has the story.

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Democrat Hopeful Immigration Ban Can Be Undone

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US Democratic Representatives Gerry Connolly (VA), Don Beyer (VA), John Delaney (MD), and Jamie Raskin (MD) question Customs and Border Protection about people being detained at Dulles International Airport on Sunday, January 29th. (Credit: Rep. Don Beyer’s Twitter Account, @RepDonBeyer)

After spending four hours at Dulles Airport Sunday, one Virginia Congressman thinks a ban on refugees from seven mostly Muslim countries can be overturned.  Sandy Hausman spoke with Don Beyer and filed this report.

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Va News Topics: Embracing Change in a Rural County; Portsmouth Emergency Personnel

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Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

A Virginia county is taking steps to protect its rural character while still embracing change and Portsmouth is offering a cash incentive to keep emergency personnel from leaving the city. 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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Virginia’s Students, and Universities, Rally Against Trump’s Travel Ban

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Students at the University of Virginia at a protest Sunday, one of many across the state. (Credit: Jordy Yager / WVTF)

Across the state this weekend, people made their voices heard in opposition to President Trump’s actions that take aim at immigrants in the U.S. illegally, while also temporarily halting the arrival of refugees, and issuing a 90-day ban on citizens traveling from seven predominantly Muslim countries

Sunday afternoon, one protest was held on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Kelley Libby reports from Richmond.


In Charlottesville, About 700 people gathered outside the University of Virginia’s Rotunda Sunday to protest the recent series of executive orders.

Jordy Yager reports.


At the same time, Virginia’s universities are reiterating a commitment to their international students.

Mallory Noe-Payne has this statewide perspective.

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State Lawmakers to Consider Options on How to Stop Predatory Lending

Payday Lender

Credit: frankieleon / Creative Commons

Lawmakers in Richmond are taking action that could result in a crackdown on high-interest loans many consider predatory. Michael Pope reports.

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The Debate Over Driver’s License Suspensions is an On-Going One at the General Assembly

Manoli Loupassi

Delegate Manoli Loupassi, R-Richmond, believes that current license suspension practices can hurt those living on the margins. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Should people charged with drug offenses or unpaid court costs have their driver’s license suspended? That’s a question Republicans and Democrats are working together to answer. 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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Virginia’s Democratic Lawmakers Look to Co-Exist in GOP-Controlled Washington

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After a failed White House-big, Senator Tim Kaine is setting his focus on re-election. (Credit: Win McNamee / AP)

Virginia Democrats are preparing to spend at least the next two years playing defense against the new Republican majorities in Washington. Correspondent Matt Laslo has this story on the new roles some in the party are preparing to play.

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Efforts to Raise Virginia’s Felony Grand Larceny Threshold May Still Fall Short

Chap Petersen

State Senator Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, believes Virginia’s threshold for felony grand larceny is too low, and hopes this is the year that changes. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Should shoplifters be charged with a felony for stealing something as expensive as a pair of designer jeans? That’s one of the issues lawmakers are battling over this year in Richmond. Michael Pope has the story.

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With New Control, Virginia’s Republican Congressmen Look Ahead

Robert Wittman

Representative Robert Wittman, R-Va., has shifted his priorities since Donald Trump was elected. (Credit: Carolyn Kaster / AP)

Republicans now control Washington and that has increased power for some key Virginia lawmakers. Correspondent Matt Laslo caught up with some of them and has this story on what could be in store for the commonwealth this year.

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Virginia Hospitals Want Lawmakers to Crack Down on Medical Hackers

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Credit: Marcie Casas / Creative Commons

Hacking is not just a problem in politics and banking. It’s also becoming an increasing worry for hospitals. And now they’re asking lawmakers in Virginia to help them crack down. Michael Pope reports.

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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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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Purchases Romare Bearden’s ‘Three Folk Musicians

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The VMFA recently acquired this life-size collage that will be part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Virginia’s Museum of Fine Arts will soon be home to a new masterpiece, one that exemplifies African-American art. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Week One at the General Assembly: Lobbying, Lawmaking and Legacy

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This is Governor Terry McAuliffe’s final legislative session. He’ll walk away having made big gains in economic development, but failing to deliver on his promised Medicaid expansion. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Virginia’s General Assembly is wrapping up its first full-week of lawmaking in Richmond. To get a quick debrief of the action, RadioIQ host Luke Church spoke with reporter Michael Pope. They talked about the lawmaking process, the role of lobbyists, and the legacy of outgoing Governor Terry McAuliffe.

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Proposed Broadband Bill Would Bring About More Transparency from Municipal Providers

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Credit: Sean MacEntee / Flickr

Last year, a government-owned broadband network in Bristol Virginia was plagued in scandal — as executives jacked up internet prices on customers who had no other options but to pay or lose service, all while treating themselves to limo rides and skybox seats.

That’s led lawmakers in Richmond to ask: What role should local governments play when it comes to expanding internet access in poor, rural areas? Michael Pope has more from Richmond.

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Jamycheal Mitchell’s Death is Sparking Discussions Over Mental Health Reform at the General Assembly

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Senator Barbara Favola is pushing legislation that would require mental health training for all correctional officers in the state. (Credit: Cliff / Creative Commons)

The death of a mentally ill man at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail is prompting lawmakers to take action in Richmond. Michael Pope has the story.

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Searching for Ghost Pots in the Chesapeake

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A ghost pot sits in the sand on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

Every year, Chesapeake Bay watermen toss about 600,000 traps overboard to catch one of our favorite delicacies – the blue crab. But inevitably, some of those traps called crab pots disappear. They become “ghost pots” that kill millions of crabs and other marine species trapped inside. Watermen used to spend winters searching for those pots, but federal funds to pay for the project dried up. So, scientists are looking at other ways to deal with the problem.

Pamela D’Angelo reports for Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative.

Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative is funded with grant support from the Clayton Baker Trust, The Bancroft Foundation, Michael and Ann Hankin, The Jim and Patty Rouse Foundation, The Rob and Elizabeth Tyler Foundation, and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation

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Could 2017 Be the Year Former Felons Get Their Voting Rights Back?

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Two proposals for the restoration of felon voting rights in the state are currently on the table. (Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons)

This just might be the year that Virginia’s constitution starts to change: to allow people convicted of a felony to more easily get their voting rights back. But there are multiple proposals on the table, and advocates for former felons are pushing hard. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Senate Panel Votes to Crack Down on Internet Loans

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Senator Scott Surovell presents the bill to members of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. (Credit: Michael Pope)

In Richmond, lawmakers are cracking down on internet loans. Michael Pope has the story.

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Proposed Legislation Would Make January 22nd a “Day of Tears” in Virginia

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Anne Fitzgerald (right) of the Day of Tears nonprofit says she would like to see other state take action similar to the one Virginia is considering. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Members of the Virginia House of Delegates are about to consider an effort to create a Day of Tears in Virginia. As Michael Pope tells us from the Capitol, the idea is to mourn the loss of unborn children to abortion.

 

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Virginia Democrats Rally for Healthcare

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Richmond was the scene of two rallies over the weekend, one of which dealt with Republican’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Credit: Creative Commons)

Democrats rallied in Richmond Sunday – urging Congress to fulfill President-Elect Trump’s promise of better healthcare for the nation.  Senator Tim Kaine says he’s hopeful lawmakers will not repeal the Affordable Care Act without providing an acceptable replacement. Sandy Hausman spoke with him and filed this report.

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