Honoring Civil Rights Lawyers Hill & Robinson

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Gov. Ralph Northam unveils the markers in Richmond. (Credit: Governor’s Office)

Virginia’s Governor honored two powerhouse African-American lawyers… men whose work laid the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement.

Mallory Noe-Payne was at a ceremony in their honor, and has this story.

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Gun Control is Passing, so What About the Assault Weapons Ban?

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Travis Addington drove seven hours from Lee County to be part of the January Lobby Day rally in Richmond. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Universal background checks. A red flag law. One handgun purchase a month.

These gun control measures, and more, are well on their way to becoming law in Virginia.

But there’s one element of the Governor’s gun control package that’s stalled in the statehouse– A ban on assault-style guns.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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“Right to Work” Repeal Still Divides Democrats

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A repeal of Virginia’s “right to work” law has cleared several hurdles in the House of Delegates.

But Michael Pope reports Democrats are still not united on the issue.

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New Local Government Exchange Program Pairs Communities Across the State

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Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, left, chats with Norton Mayor Joseph Fawbush at the Executive Mansion. The two cities have been paired as part of Gov. Ralph Northam’s Local Government Exchange Program. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Governor Ralph Northam is launching an effort aimed at forging new lines of communication across local governments in Virginia. Michael Pope reports.

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One State Lawmaker Wants to Establish an Office of New Americans

general_assembly_2020Lawmakers are considering an effort aimed at helping immigrants who move to Virginia. Michael Pope reports.

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Should Virginia Consider a Regional Minimum Wage?

StateSeal00Lawmakers in Richmond are moving forward with increasing the minimum wage. But, some are pressing for regional variation. Michael Pope reports.

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Accessory Dwelling Units can Help with a Shortage of Affordable Housing But Local Hurdles Remain

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Sonny Fleming, Natalie Snider and Ellen Fleming (Credit: Cat Modlin-Jackson)

With housing costs on the rise and incomes lagging behind, Virginians are getting creative in their search for affordable housing.

As property owners and renters look to get the most bang for their buck, some are finding more economical ways of living and working.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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House of Delegates Poised for Key Vote on Non-Discrimination Policies

general_assembly_2020Lawmakers are about to vote Wednesday on a bill that would create new protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. Michael Pope reports.

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The Push for SLAPP Lawsuit Protections in Virginia

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Lawmakers are considering bills aimed at preventing frivolous lawsuits designed to silence political opponents. Michael Pope reports.

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Governor, Labor Groups Find Compromise on Paid Sick Leave

general_assembly_2020Governor Ralph Northam and advocates for paid sick days have struck a compromise.

Michael Pope reports might determine how many businesses are affected.

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Legislative Panel Backs Local Control Over Monuments

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A group of Charlottesville residents advocate for local control of war memorials, including Confederate monuments, during a Virginia Senate committee meeting. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ)

Localities in Virginia are one step closer to having control over Confederate monuments in their region. A bill ceding that power passed out of a key committee for the first time time Monday. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Shopping Carts Are a Problem in Northern Virginia, and One Lawmaker Wants to Fix That

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Credit: Travis Wise / Flickr

Lawmakers are taking action aimed at removing abandoned shopping carts from creeks in Northern Virginia. Although, it could end up allowing a local government near you to take action. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Montgomery County passes Roanoke in Population, Mr. Peanut may be surviving in Suffolk

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It’s been a week of despair tempered by hope in Mr. Peanut’s hometown of Suffolk…and in a part of the state that’s having trouble holding onto its residents one locality is bucking the trend.

These 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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‘I Survived’ — How Doulas Can Help Save Black Womens’ Lives

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For some women in Virginia accessing a doula can mean the different between life and death. From left to right: Fantasy Lozada-Smith, Kenda Sutton-El, and Vallin Bingley.
(Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

Doulas are not medical professionals. They’re more like birth coaches. In addition to helping women through labor, they also provide support long before, and even after, a baby is born.

For some Virginians, getting help from a doula may mean the difference between life and death.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, that’s why lawmakers are pushing for their services to be covered by Medicaid.

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Virginia Monuments Prove to Be a Topic of Debate for Lawmakers in Richmond

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A statue of segregationist Harry Byrd stands at Virginia’s capitol.

Statues of Robert E. Lee and Harry Byrd have become flashpoints for lawmakers this year. Michael Pope reports.

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Should Localities Be Able to Tax Plastic Bags?

general_assembly_2020Local governments across Virginia may be getting the ability to impose taxes on plastic bags. Michael Pope reports.

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Both Sides of the Aisle Back Efforts to Give Inmates More Credit for Good Behavior

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Credit Dave Nakayama / Creative Commons

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have proposed to increase the amount of time inmates can earn for good behavior.

Thursday night a group of citizens sweated their way through a House subcommittee meeting to speak in favor of the legislation.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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An Effort to Bring Ranked Choice Voting to Virginia Elections is Gaining Traction

voting_rights_3002112985_80b5a719b1Lawmakers are considering a number of bills aimed at making Virginia elections more efficient and effective. Michael Pope reports that one of those efforts, ranked choice voting, is moving forward.

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Will Virginia Lawmakers Implement Another Tuition Freeze This Year?

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Credit: Taber Andrew Bain / Creative Commons

For two decades, tuition at Virginia’s universities was on the rise. That ended last year after a massive new investment in higher education was available only to schools who agreed to cap their tuition rates. But, as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, it’s unclear whether lawmakers will make the same move this year.

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What Exactly is “Milk?”

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Credit: Mike Mozart / Flickr

Lawmakers are currently weighing in on a bill that would create a legal definition for milk. Michael Pope reports.

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Workplace Protections Haven’t Always Included Domestic Workers, Some Lawmakers Want to Change That

StateSeal00Democrats in Richmond are pushing a hike in the minimum wage, hoping to make life easier for low-income working Virginians. But without another change in the law, that increase won’t apply to domestic workers. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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As General Assembly Considers Casino Bills, Pamunkey Tribe Jockeys for Position with Two Locations

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An artist’s rendering of the Richmond-area casino-resort. (Credit Pamunkey Indian Tribe)

The General Assembly has until March to decide on a host of bills to allow and regulate casinos.

The Pamunkey Tribe is wasting no time in positioning itself. This month, they signed an agreement with the city of Norfolk to potentially buy property for a commercial casino-resort along the Elizabeth River.  Then they announced plans for another tribal casino-resort in South Richmond near the James River.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Full Virginia House and Senate to Soon Consider Reigning In Car Title and Payday Lenders

virginia_flag_map_0Virginia may be on the verge of losing car-title lenders and payday lenders. But, as Michael Pope reports, several other low-interest lending companies may be moving in to take their place — if lawmakers take action to prevent high-interest lending.

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The Push for Paid Family Leave in Virginia is Drawing Flak From Small Businesses

general_assembly_2020Democrats are pressing for paid family medical leave legislation. But, as Michael Pope reports, business groups are pushing back.

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Lawmakers Push to Impose Stricter Regulations on Student Loan Servicers

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Senator Janet Howell is pushing a bill she calls the Borrowers Bill of Rights, which she says will protect borrowers from shady practices by having state regulators crack down on egregious practices. (Credit: Michael Pope)

From car-title loans to student debt, lawmakers are hoping this will be the year when the General Assembly takes on predatory lenders. Michael Pope has this report on an effort to regulate student loan servicing companies.

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“And We’re Not Paying Them for That” Educators Flock to Richmond Requesting More Funding, Better Pay

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Educators from across Virginia join hands in massive “Red4Ed” rally in Capitol Square, calling on lawmakers to fully fund request from the Virginia Board of Education. They say educators are overworked and short staffed. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Educators from across Virginia are in Richmond today, pressing lawmakers to fully fund education this year. Michael Pope reports from Capitol Square.

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Va. News: Mobile Phones track Bank Robbery suspect, Frederick County’s invite from West Virginia

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A Virginia bank robbery may have a lasting effect on how police can gather and use location information from mobile phones. And the state’s northernmost county is flirting with the idea of joining West Virginia.

These 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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Could This Be the Year Virginia Lawmakers Crack Down on Predatory Lenders?

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Delegate Lamont Bagby of Henrico County has legislation that would drastically reduce the interest limit on car title and payday loans. (Credit: Creative Commons)

Legislation aimed at reigning in high-interest loans will get attention in the state Senate Monday. Michael Pope reports.

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Legislation Could Create Gender X Driver’s License Option

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Driver’s licenses have become a flashpoint for lawmakers in the General Assembly session, which has seen an extended debate about allowing undocumented immigrants to have Virginia driver’s licenses.

But Michael Pope reports there’s another controversy surrounding licenses.

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Efforts to Ease Access to Abortion Find Success in House and Senate

StateSeal00Now that Democrats have the majority they’re looking to make it easier for women to access abortions. This week, committees in both Virginia’s House and Senate have given their stamp of approval to legislation that would roll back abortion restrictions put in place under Republicans. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Legislation Would Bring Equity to School Dress Codes

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Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (Credit: Virginia General Assembly)

The debate over what students can and cannot wear in school is an ongoing point of contention in Virginia.

This year, Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy has proposed a bill that she says would level the playing field for girls and students of color.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Along Party-Line Vote, Virginia Senate Passes Red Flag Law

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Credit: NPR

A controversial measure that would make it possible for police to temporarily take guns from someone deemed a danger to themselves or others passed Virginia’s Senate Wednesday. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Governor Northam Weighs In On Paid Sick Days Debate

governor-northam-official-photo_800Lawmakers are debating a proposal to require businesses offer paid sick days to their employees. But, Democrats are divided over which businesses would be required to do that. Michael Pope has details.

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The Effort to Remove Virginia’s Outdated Laws

StateSeal00The Virginia General Assembly is celebrating its 401st year. It has plenty of relics, including many old and outdated laws. As Michael Pope reports, lawmakers are hard at work updating some of them.

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State Republicans Are Now the Ones Seeing Their Gun-Related Legislation Killed

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Credit: NPR

Firearms are becoming one of the hottest issues of the General Assembly session this year, although Republicans aren’t having much luck with their bills. Michael Pope has more details.

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Advocates Press Lawmakers to Raise the Minimum Wage, Support Home Healthcare Workers

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Labor unions and their supporters rally Tuesday for raising the minimum wage and passing a homecare workers bill of rights. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Labor unions didn’t have much luck when Republicans were in power. But now that Democrats are in control of the legislature, groups that support workers are excited about having their agenda moving through the General Assembly. Michael Pope reports.

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Glowing Oysters may be a New Weapon Against Poaching Around the Chesapeake Bay

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  Rings of fluorescent dye can be seen each time the oyster larvae has been incrementally dipped in the dye to tag them.  (Credit Jason Spires)

Wild oyster sanctuaries are being built all around the Chesapeake Bay. The goal is to give the bivalves a fighting chance since about 99 percent of the population has disappeared over the last century.

To ensure their survival, scientists are devising a very unusual way to track them as Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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“We’re Here to Represent the 2nd Amendment” Pro-Gun Rally in Richmond Ends Without Violence

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Thousands of pro-gun advocates flocked to the streets of Richmond Monday. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Some 22,000 supporters of gun rights voiced their opposition today/Monday to legislation being considered by the General Assembly.

And, though they were less conspicuous, people calling for more restrictions on guns were also there.

Michael Pope and Mallory Noe-Payne share some of the voices around today’s/Monday’s rally at the state capitol.

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Va. News: Medical Marijuana could boost Bristol’s Economy, Louisa County awaiting Broadband benefit

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A Virginia county would like to say how well it’s done in providing broadband but the supervisors don’t know and can’t find out…and medical marijuana production will soon be underway in Southwest Virginia.

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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Legislation Making Menstrual Products Available to Virginia Students Moves on to Full Senate

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Senator Jennifer Boysko has introduced a bill that would require school boards across Virginia to make pads and tampons available at all times at no cost to students. (Credit: Senate of Virginia)

Lawmakers are considering a bill to make menstrual products available at all schools in Virginia. Michael Pope reports.

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Some Groups Will Stay Away, as the Capitol Prepares for a Busy “Lobby Day”

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Credit: NPR

Richmond, state and capitol police are all preparing for a busy day Monday, as thousands are expected to descend on the state capitol.

Just outside the Capitol building, fencing has already been put in place around a specific area. There will be one point of entry. Anyone who enters this space will have to go through a metal detector, and per an emergency order from the governor, guns will not be allowed.

But step outside Capitol Square and anything goes because the city of Richmond isn’t allowed to ban guns. Several roads will be blocked from traffic and a heavy police presence is to be expected.

In addition to the gun rallies, Monday is expected to be business as usual for the legislature. Both the House and the Senate will be gaveling in and meeting.

Dueling gun control rallies in Virginia’s capitol Monday are garnering national attention, but there are plenty of other groups that normally lobby Monday and now have to rethink their plans. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has announced they will be cancelling their planned rally on Monday. In a statement, the group’s state director Lori Haas says they refuses to engage with those who would harm them.

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Some Former Journalists in the General Assembly Are Working to Protect Freedom of Press

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Chris Hurst, a former anchor at WDBJ, has a bill that would give new protections to student journalists to protect them from administrators who want to suppress reporting. (Credit: Virginia General Assembly)

Press freedom and access to information are issues that might get more traction this year now that Democrats have taken control of the General Assembly. Michael Pope reports.

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This Year’s Lee-Jackson Day Might Be the Last

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Friday is a state holiday, Lee-Jackson Day, honoring Confederate leaders. But, this year may be the last one it’s on the calendar. Michael Pope reports.

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“Credible Threats” Lead to Emergency Declaration, Weapons Ban Ahead of Rally

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Governor Ralph Northam, along with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and other state officials, announce security the security plans. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Governor Ralph Northam is declaring a state of emergency in advance of rallies planned for the state capitol Monday.

Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia General Assembly Ratifies Equal Rights Amendment

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Advocates and lawmakers celebrate passage of the ERA outside the House of Delegates Chamber. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ)

In a series of votes Wednesday, Virginia approved resolutions to become the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

That means enough states have now approved the measure guaranteeing gender equality to enshrine it in the U. S. Constitution. But more legal battles are likely ahead. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Business Groups Are Lining Up Against Democratic Efforts to Help Virginia Workers

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Business leaders from across Virginia appear at a press conference announcing united opposition to raising the minimum wage, mandating paid family leave and overturning the right-to-work law. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Democrats in the General Assembly are planning to move forward with a number of bills designed to help workers. But, those efforts will have serious opposition. Michael Pope reports.

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Redistricting Reform May Divide Virginia’s New Democratic Majority

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Democrats may have taken control of the General Assembly, but that doesn’t mean they are all in agreement about how to handle several of the most-pressing issues. Michael Pope reports one of those disagreements is over gerrymandering.

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Coleman’s Effort to Correct the Narrative Moves to Earlier Time Period

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Christy Coleman (Credit: Kim Brundage/Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)

Christy Coleman steps down as CEO of the American Civil War Museum this week, but she’s not closing the book on Virginia’s history.

In Richmond, Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

 

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Should All Virginia Workers Be Entitled to Paid Sick Days?

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Democrats are hoping to make workers a centerpiece of their first term in power. Michael Pope has this report about one bill that would help low-wage workers.

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State Democrats Waste No Time; Move Ahead Several Gun-Control Proposals

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It was a busy day at the Capitol for people on both sides of the gun debate. D.J. Spiker, head of the Virginia NRA, appeared at a press conference with Republican lawmakers opposed to restrictions on firearms. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Visitors, legislators and staff all faced long lines this morning because of new security measures to keep guns out of the state capitol. And Democrats took quick action on other measures to restrict access to guns. Michael Pope reports.

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