Virginia Crime Commission Recommends Conviction Expungement System

virginia_flag_map_0Virginia is one of the few states where it’s almost impossible for someone to get rid of a conviction. But, that might be about to change. Michael Pope has the story.

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Record Expungement Divides Some Democrats

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Lawmakers in Richmond are debating how much power they want to put in the hands of prosecutors and judges.

And as Michael Pope reports, even Democrats are divided on a few issues.

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Va. News: Keep Off the Grass & School Furloughs

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Complaints about parking are forcing the city of Hampton to try to figure out the difference between driveways and lawns…and the prevalence of online education is putting some school jobs in jeopardy.

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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Bills Requiring Disclosure of Some COVID-19 Outbreaks Advance

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It took months for state officials to begin publishing the names of nursing homes with COVID-19 outbreaks.

Now, an effort to establish mandatory reporting requirements has passed both houses of the General Assembly.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Minimizing the Damage from Pandemic-related Evictions

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Del. Joshua Cole (Credit: House of Delegates)

With thousands of eviction cases sitting in Virginia’s courts and many more likely on the way, lawmakers are attempting to enact a suite of legislation that would prevent evictions or minimize the damage brought on in their wake.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has this report.

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Voting in a Pandemic: Drop Box Funding Passes In Virginia House and Senate

voting_rights_3002112985_80b5a719b1Lawmakers in Richmond are considering a plan to spend $2 million to help voters cast ballots during the pandemic. But, critics say they are opening the door to vote harvesting and election fraud. Michael Pope has details.

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Money for Education, Policing Get Attention in Budget Committee

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Between the coronavirus pandemic and increased attention on police brutality, Virginia lawmakers are trying to figure out how to distribute the state’s available money.

Thursday, a number of Delegates went before a budget committee to make their case for how to spend and save.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has more.

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State Lawmakers Working to Publicize Virginia Parole Board Votes

virginia_flag_map_0Lawmakers in Richmond are debating ways to shed more sunlight on the actions of the Virginia Parole Board. Michael Pope has the story.

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Voting in a Pandemic: Drop Boxes Legislation Moves Forward in Virginia Senate

voting_rights_3002112985_80b5a719b1Lawmakers in Richmond are considering a plan to fund drop boxes for ballots across Virginia. Michael Pope reports.

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What Happens When the Utility Shutoff Moratorium Ends?

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Lawmakers are in Richmond trying to figure out a way to help people caught up in the economic crisis.

Michael Pope reports on a plan to help with utility bills.

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Virginia Senate Moves Forward Bill Removing Mandatory Minimums Related to Police Assault

General Assembly 2020Mandatory minimum sentences have been controversial in Virginia since the 1990s, when many new mandatory minimums were added to the code. Now lawmakers are moving in the other direction. Michael Pope has details.

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Guzman Bill Providing Paid Quarantine Leave Moves to House Appropriations Committee

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Delegate Elizabeth Guzmán

Public health officials have recommended self-isolation for people who’ve come down with or come into contact with COVID-19. For many caregivers and workers, staying home means losing days or weeks of wages. Cat Modlin-Jackson has details.

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Pot Plank Sparks Protest from some Progressives

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Rep. Bobby Scott

Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott helped Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden craft a stance on marijuana.  And it isn’t sitting well with the progressive wing of the party.

Correspondent Matt Laslo reports from Washington.

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Committee Kills Vaccine Opt-Out Legislation

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Credit: CDC

What happens when a vaccine for COVID-19 comes online? Tuesday, Republican lawmakers pushed legislation that would’ve limited mandates on immunizations. Cat Modlin-Jackson has this report.

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Crime Commission to Weigh In on Expungement

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Lawmakers are in Richmond considering a host of criminal justice reform efforts.

As Michael Pope reports, one issue that’s about to be under consideration is allowing people to get old convictions off their records.

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Protesters in Richmond Demand Prison Reform

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Posing across the street from Virginia’s capitol, demonstrators vowed to keep coming back until state prisons are improved, parole restored and good time expanded. (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

About 40 people rallied in Richmond this weekend as part of a national protest against prisons.

Sandy Hausman was there and filed this report.

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COVID-Altered Budget: Can State Lawmakers Squeeze in Funding for Clerk Positions?

StateSeal00Some of Virginia’s understaffed courts won big earlier this year when legislators approved funding for new district clerk positions. But their gain was lost to pandemic budget freezes, leaving court administrators to struggle under the weight of a workload that’s only grown because of COVID-19. Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Voting in a Pandemic: State Lawmakers Working to Establish Protections for November Election

General Assembly 2020With a little more than two months to go before the nation’s first pandemic presidential election, lawmakers in Virginia’s General Assembly are fast tracking a measure to establish socially-distant election protocols. Monday, members of the House of Delegates pushed full speed ahead. Cat Modlin-Jackson reports.

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Legislating in the Era of COVID: Zoom Meetings and Electronic Votes

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Republican Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment says the Senate has never voted on anything virtually, and he warns it will be a “dangerous precedent” to start voting via Zoom during Monday’s Senate Finance & Appropriations Committee meeting.

Members of the Virginia Senate are joining the era of Zoom, voting electronically during a special session. Michael Pope reports.

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Sentence Credits Debated in Special Session

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Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow some prisoners to be released early if they can demonstrate good behavior.

Michael Pope reports.

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Judge Rules No Witness Signature Needed for Absentee Ballots

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Normally Virginia voters need to cast an absentee ballot in the presence of a witness.

But a partial settlement will allow Virginians to vote absentee without a witness signature in the upcoming November election due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Jahd Khalil has more.

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Va. News: Henry Clay Park and Who’s a Front-line Worker

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There’s a movement underway to strike the name of a slaveholder from another public place in Virginia.  But this time the man in question was not a Virginian.

And the issue of which workers deserve bonus pay during the pandemic has gone public in Virginia Beach.

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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ICE Facilities Could Be Subject to Virginia Regulators Under Boysko Legislation

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State Senator Jennifer Boysko (Credit: Senate of Virginia)

State regulators may be on their way to inspect detention centers holding people accused of violating immigration laws.

Michael Pope reports.

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Civilian Review Board Legislation Advances in Senate

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Police departments across Virginia may be on the verge of getting new oversight.

Michael Pope reports.

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Criminal Justice Reforms: Should Juries Still Hand Down Sentences in Virginia?

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Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) arguing in favor of the bill ahead of a long weekend break of the special session.

The state Senate is breaking from the Special Session for a long weekend. But, before they left Richmond, they moved a sentencing reform effort forward. Michael Pope reports.

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State Lawmakers Weigh Options to Help Relieve Eviction Crisis

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Credit: NPR

The economic fallout of COVID-19 has amplified Virginia’s eviction crisis, leaving lawmakers to negotiate a solution that would keep both tenants and landlords from going under. Members of the House and Senate have proposed rules mandating payment agreements, but they’re not entirely on the same page. Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Senate Kills Paid Sick Days Bill But House Version Still Alive

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Sen. Barbara Favola (Credit: Virginia Senate Livestream)

Lawmakers are back in Richmond considering how they should handle the pandemic.

And as Michael Pope reports, one thing they’re not doing is requiring businesses to offer paid sick days, at least not yet.

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A New Funding Stream for Historic African American Cemeteries

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The graves of Joshua and Nannie Forbes in Richmond’s Evergreen Cemetery. (Credit: Cat Modlin-Jackson)

While many are focused on removing relics of the Confederacy, people across Virginia have been working for years to memorialize volumes of history hidden under sacred ground.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has this look at what increased funds for historic African American cemeteries means to descendants.

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Several Criminal Justice Reform Bills Quickly Pass Through Senate Panel

StateSeal00Lawmakers are back in Richmond, and they’re already taking action on reforming policing. Michael Pope reports.

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COVID-19 Prompts Cuts to Education in Revised Northam Budget

governor-northam-official-photo_800Governor Northam’s revised budget bill proposes cuts for education and a boost to Medicaid spending. But, the loss for schools isn’t necessarily a gain for healthcare. Cat Modlin-Jackson reports.

Here’s the full report from the Commonwealth Institute.

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Senate Begins Work on Criminal Justice and Policing Legislation

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With coronavirus spreading a concern in prisons across the country, lawmakers in Virginia are considering a plan that would allow for early release of geriatric prisoners.

Michael Pope reports.

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Special Session Starts with Fight Over Virtual Meetings

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Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center set up to host the House of Delegates. (Credit: Cat Modlin-Jackson)

In a year of historic firsts, members of the state legislature gathered in Richmond Tuesday, with senators meeting in a science museum and delegates conducting business in a basketball arena.

Months into a global epidemic and national unrest, the General Assembly’s special session kicked off with a rocky start in the House…or rather, in the arena.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has this report.

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Lucas Charges Had Lawmakers Buzzing on First Day of Special Session

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President Pro Tempore of the Senate Louise Lucas
moves that the Senate adjourn until, ending the chamber’s first day of special session. Lucas has been the center of attention this week because the Portsmouth Police Department
is charging her with “injury” to a Confederate monument (Credit: Michael Pope)

As lawmakers arrived in Richmond for a special session to rewrite the budget and adopt criminal justice reform, lawmakers are buzzing about one of their own members charged with a felony. Michael Pope has the story.

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Northam Outlines Budget Revisions to deal with Shortfall

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Gov. Ralph Northam

As workers, parents and students are dealing with a world of uncertainty, the costs of the coronavirus pandemic are becoming clearer in Virginia.

Tuesday, Governor Northam met virtually with leaders of the General Assembly’s money committees to discuss how to revise the budget in the face of an estimated $2.7 billion  revenue shortfall.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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State Lawmakers to Take Another Crack at Paid Sick Days Proposal

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Credit: NPR

Earlier this year, lawmakers considered and rejected a proposal to require employers offer paid sick days. Lawmakers will be considering it again during a special session this week. Michael Pope reports.

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In the Age of COVID-19, Should Every Virginia School Have a Nurse?

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Credit: Wellness GM / Flickr, Creative Commons: flickr.com/photos/130100316@N04/15728773073/

School systems across Virginia are trying to figure out how they can reopen for face-to-face classes. And, they might be getting some help from lawmakers. Michael Pope reports.

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Pretext Stops to get Scrutiny in Special Session

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Under current law, a parking pass hanging on your rear view mirror could be enough to get pulled over. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Do you have rosary beads dangling from your rear view mirror? Maybe a parking pass?

Police officers can use that as a pretext to stop you and ask to search your vehicle.

Michael Pope reports lawmakers may be about to change that.

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Wastewater, Runoff from Stormwater, Agriculture Slow Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

ChartVirginians are heading to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries for a break from the COVID-19 pandemic – fishing, kayaking, and swimming. Throughout the summer pollution closes access to some of those waters. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation took a critical look at whether Virginia is meeting pollution reduction goals. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

Here is the full CBF report.

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COVID, Couples and Kids: A Psychologist’s Advice

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Psychology Professor Bob Emery offers advice to couples on surviving and thriving during a pandemic. (Credit UVA)

The pandemic poses unique challenges to each of us – whether we’re single, part of a couple or family.

At the University of Virginia’s Center for Children, Families and the Law, psychologist Bob Emery is taking notes and offering advice.

Sandy Hausman spoke with him and filed this report.

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Should Defendants be Sentenced by Judges or Juries?

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Lawmakers are headed to Richmond to consider a long list of proposed criminal justice reforms.

As Michael Pope reports, one of those proposals would change how defendants are sentenced.

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COVID-19 Prompting At Least One State Lawmaker to Rethink License Ceremonies

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Credit: NPR

The pandemic has upended many aspects of day to day life, including teenagers who get their first driver’s license. And as Michael Pope tells us, lawmakers are considering upending a long-standing tradition.

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Susan Bro Reflects on Progress Since Her Daughter’s Death

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Susan Bro, director of the Heather Heyer Foundation, continues her fight against racism and violence in America. (Credit: RADIO IQ)

As the nation marks the third anniversary of a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, the mother of a woman killed during Unite the Right is reflecting on small steps forward and work that still needs to be done. Sandy Hausman reports.

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Criminal Justice Reforms: Should Lawmakers Implement a Court Fee Moratorium?

finesLawmakers are about to arrive in Richmond to start considering a number of criminal justice reforms. One issue that might be on the agenda is a moratorium on court fines and fees. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Renting Space in Schools and Limiting College Gatherings

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As some Virginia school districts prepare to re-open without students in the classroom at least one county is looking at renting out unused school buildings. And the city of Radford will limit gatherings as college students return for the fall semester.

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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Police Chief: Limiting Warrants Will Help Criminals

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(Credit: Herndon Police Dept.)

Lawmakers are about to consider a proposal that would limit when police officers can serve warrants.

Michael Pope reports.

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Senate Democrats Unveil Policing Reform Proposals Ahead of Special Session

StateSeal00As a special session approaches later this month, Senate Democrats are preparing their proposal to reform police agencies across Virginia. Michael Pope reports.

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Promoting Productivity with Workers at Home

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As a professor at UVA’s Darden School of Business, Roshni Raveendhran has studied productivity and working at home. (Credit: UVA)

With many of us now working from home, managers face a challenge – how to promote productivity when people aren’t in the office.

Some are turning to sophisticated software to track workers’ every move online.  But a business professor at the University of Virginia says that’s the wrong way to go.

Sandy Hausman spoke with her and filed this report.

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Comparing Virginia’s Unemployment with Other Localities Across the Country

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Credit: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unemployment in Virginia is currently at 8.4%. That’s a dramatic increase since the pandemic hit. But, metropolitan areas in Virginia are actually doing significantly better than many other cities across the country. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia First State to Try Pandemic App from Apple, Google

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Virginia is rolling out a coronavirus exposure app, the first of its kind in the country.

David Seidel explains how it works.

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Balancing the Budget: How Should Virginia Handle Economic Situation Amid the Pandemic?

StateSeal00Lawmakers are headed back to Richmond this month to put together a new budget, one that takes into account the new economic situation presented by the pandemic. And, they’ll be considering a number of proposals for raising new revenue. Michael Pope reports.

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