Posts Tagged 2017 General Assembly

School Divisions Face Cash Crunch As State Lawmakers Pull Back Funding

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Credit: The Commonwealth Institute

It’s budget time across Virginia. That means that city councils and boards of supervisors are trying to balance the books for fiscal year 2018. And, as Michael Pope reports, many of them are struggling with the same problem.

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Governor Set to Break Record Number of Vetoes, Here’s Whose Record He’s Breaking

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Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore gestures as he addresses the Virginia State Republican Convention in Harrisonburg. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

In the next few weeks, Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe is about to break a record — he’ll be vetoing more bills than any other governor in Virginia history. Michael Pope has this look at the governor who held the record until now.

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Will Democratic Energy Translate into Local Elections?

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A constituent of congressman Dave Brat, R-Va., gestures as she responded to the congressman during a town hall meeting with the congressman in Blackstone, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Across Virginia, an unprecedented wave of candidates is emerging to take on Republicans this fall in elections for the state legislature. Those elections could be an early test on whether Democrats can harness the energy building against the Trump administration and focus it locally. Michael Pope has more.

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2017 Legislative Session Wraps Up, Lawmakers Look Ahead to Elections

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House Speaker William Howell , R-Stafford, right, accepts a few gifts from Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, center, and Delegate Steven Landes, R-Augusta, during House session at the Capitol in Richmond last Friday. (Credit: Steve Helber / AP)

Lawmakers are back in their districts this morning after a breakneck General Assembly session in Richmond. What did they accomplish? Michael Pope takes this look at the 2017 session.

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Another Year, Same Results at the General Assembly

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

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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?

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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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Lawmakers Struggle to Find Money for Mental Health Screenings for Inmates

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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

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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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Virginia Senate Considers Stripped-Down Broadband Bill

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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?

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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

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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 ​

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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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State Republicans Look to Limit Governor’s Power

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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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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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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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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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Senators Divided About How To Handle Airbnb, And Not Along Party Lines

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The new disruptive economy — Airbnb, Uber — it’s causing disagreements in the General Assembly. And the debate doesn’t fall along party lines. Michael Pope has the story.

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State Lawmakers to Consider Options on How to Stop Predatory Lending

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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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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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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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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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Lawmakers Want to Limit Fees From Payday Advance Companies

Payday Lender

Lawmakers want to limit the amount of fees a company like Advance Till Payday can impose on people who take out a loan. (Credit: frankieleon / Creative Commons)

Lawmakers in Richmond are considering a bill that would crack down on fees attached to loans that critics call predatory. Michael Pope has the story.

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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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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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Several Inmate Deaths Across the State Spark Cries for More Accountability

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Senator John Cosgrove is proposing legislation that would require a Department of Corrections investigation following the death of an inmate.

In the wake of several controversial deaths in Virginia jails, members of the General Assembly are taking action to make sure the cases are thoroughly investigated. Michael Pope has the story.

 

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Governor McAuliffe Kicks Off His Last Legislative Session

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Credit: Kate Wellington / Flickr

Lawmakers from across Virginia are in Richmond this week for the opening of the General Assembly session, which will last through the end of next month. This year will be the last year for Governor Terry McAuliffe — the only governor in the country subject to one term. Michael Pope has this preview of his last session as governor.

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Following Two Special Elections, Republicans Retain Control of Virginia’s Lawmaking Bodies

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Credit: NPR

Heading into the legislative session, both of Virginia’s lawmaking bodies remain controlled by Republicans. Two special elections in the state senate yesterday could have possibly flipped that control. Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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This Year’s General Assembly Session Officially Began Today

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Credit: Doug Francis / Flickr

Lawmakers from across Virginia are in Richmond this week for the opening of the General Assembly session, which will last through the end of next month. Michael Pope has this preview.

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There’s No Such Think As Free Beer — Somebody’s Paying For It

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Credit: Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

As the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But what about a free beer? Michael Pope has the story.

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Could the State Get Into the Student Loan Business?

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Credit: Inove Manore / Flickr

According to the state, more than half of Virginia college students graduate in debt, half of whom owe more than $25,000. Democratic state lawmakers are now proposing the state step in directly: by getting into the student loan business. Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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This “Everyday Joe” is Running for Office So Virginians Have a Choice

bhm_pics_1_50mm_32Corey Fauconier is likely not a name you’ve heard before. And that’s because he’s a self proclaimed “everyday joe” — who just also happens to be running for Virginia’s State Senate.

Fauconier is the libertarian candidate for the 9th Senate District in Tuesday’s special election. That district includes much of Richmond City, and parts of Henrico, Hanover, and Charles City counties.

Fauconier — though — has a message he thinks all Virginians should hear:  that in 2015, more than half of state lawmakers ran for their seats unopposed.

He sat down with Richmond reporter Mallory Noe-Payne.

Fauconier is running against Democrat Jennifer McClellan. There is no Republican on the ticket. Learn more about Tuesday’s election and if you’re eligible to vote for either of the two open seats here

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An Interview with Representative Jennifer McClellan as She Looks to Move to the State Senate

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Democrat Jennifer McClellan has represented Richmond in Virginia’s House of Delegates for 11 years, but now she’s looking for a change. She’s running for an open seat in Virginia’s State Senate. That district includes much of Richmond City, and parts of Henrico, Hanover, and Charles City counties.

If she wins Tuesday’s special election, McClellan will go from the 100-member House to the 40-member Senate. She sat down with Richmond reporter Mallory Noe-Payne to talk about what switching could mean for her priorities as a lawmaker.

McClellan is running against Libertarian Corey Fauconier. There is no Republican on the ticket. Learn more about Tuesday’s election and if you’re eligible to vote for either of the two open seats here

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About the Candidates: State Senate Election Could Determine Party Control

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Candidates for the 22nd District from left to right: Independent Joe Hines, Republican Mark Peakes and Democrat Ryant Washington

On Tuesday, residents of the state’s 22nd district will elect a new senator, and Democrats are watching closely – noting a victory for one candidate could end GOP domination in that branch of the General Assembly. Sandy Hausman reports on who’s running, and why Democrats could win in a largely Republican district.

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Governor Orders New Protection for LGBTs, Warns Lawmakers Against Divisive Legislation

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Credit: Sandy Hausman / WVTF / RADIO IQ

As Virginia’s General Assembly prepares to do business later this month, Governor McAuliffe is warning members not to introduce controversial bills that involve social policy.  He urged them to be tolerant and to focus on jobs, transportation and education. Sandy Hausman has more on that story.

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Virginia Lawmaker’s “Physical Privacy Act” Would Regulate Transgender Bathroom Use

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Credit: delegatebob.com / Luke Fontana

A Virginia lawmaker says he wants to protect the physical privacy of people using bathrooms and locker rooms. Bob Marshall, a Republican from Northern Virginia, has proposed legislation that would regulate transgender facilities use in public buildings, including schools. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Lawmakers to Consider Extra Funding For Historically Black Cemeteries

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The four cemeteries include East End Cemetery, a children’s cemetery and what may be a cemetery for black Confederate soldiers. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / WVTF / RADIO IQ)

After integration, historically black cemeteries around the state fell to the wayside, often unkempt, uncared for, and forgotten. Now a state lawmaker is hoping to bring them some much-needed attention. Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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Drones Are a Public Safety Issue, Says One Lawmaker

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Credit: Andrew Turner / Flickr

Privately operated drones are quickly becoming more commonplace, as hobbyists use them to take photos and videos. But they’re also posing a public safety hazard, one that one Virginia lawmaker says he has a solution for. Michael Pope has the story.

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Special Elections: Could Virginia’s Senate Flip?

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Credit: NPR

Think the election season is over? Think again. Voters in central Virginia are about to head to the polls for two special elections. And, as Michael Pope reports, control of the state Senate is at stake.

Are you eligible to vote in the special elections? Click here to find out if you live in the State Senate’s 22nd or 9th Districts. 

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