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15 Apr 2015

Pipeline Protesters Disrupt Governor’s Talk

A trio of environmental activists who oppose the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in western Virginia confronted Gov. Terry McAuliffe during his appearance Wednesday at a public forum on climate change.

13 Apr 2015

Assembly Extends Coal Tax Credit

To the delight of lawmakers from Southwest Virginia, the General Assembly has passed legislation to extend a tax credit that encourages electric companies to use coal mined in the state.

27 Mar 2015

Gov. McAuliffe Signs 733 Bills, Vetoes 17

With two days left to act on legislation passed by this year’s General Assembly, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Friday that he has signed 733 bills, vetoed 17 and amended 50 others, including tightening ethics reforms.

26 Mar 2015

Richmond Growing Faster Than Suburbs

The city of Richmond is growing in population faster than its suburban neighbors, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

16 Feb 2015

Bill Would Help Taxpayers, Habitat for Humanity

Delinquent property owners could settle their tax bills by donating their property to Habitat for Humanity or a similar nonprofit, under legislation moving through the General Assembly.

13 Feb 2015

Dominion Bill Wins Final Passage

The House gave final approval Thursday to a bill that freezes Dominion Virginia Power’s base rate for five years but prevents the state from forcing the company to reimburse customers if the utility earns excessive profits.

13 Feb 2015

Bill Seeks to Tamp Down Cigarette Trafficking

Sen. Bryce E. Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, urged the General Assembly on Friday to pass a bill that would crack down on cigarette trafficking and, by extension, the funding of terrorist groups.

31 Jan 2015

Protect Us Against Floods, Coastal Officials Say

Local, state and military officials from Tidewater want Virginia to participate in a market-based initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which they said would general $200 million to combat coastal flooding.

20 Jan 2015

Committee Rejects Minimum Wage Hike

RICHMOND – Voting along party lines, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Monday killed a bill to raise Virginia’s minimum wage to $8 an hour and then gradually to $10.10 an hour.

08 Jan 2015

Women’s Equality Coalition Announces Agenda

ProgressVA, the Virginia Latina Advocacy Network and other women’s rights and health advocacy groups launched the Women’s Equality Coalition on Thursday, announcing their legislative agenda for the 2015 General Assembly session.

06 Feb 2014

Bill Seeks to Restrict Local Agritourism Regulation

By Kate Miller Capital News Service RICHMOND — An agritourism bill that would restrict local regulation of customary agricultural and farm activities has passed the Senate. Senate Bill 51 would prohibit Virginia counties from regulating the management of agritourism for-profit events; the sale of agricultural or silvicultural (forest) products or related items; the preparation or […]

21 Jan 2014

Kilgore, Carrico Poll Constituent Priorities

By Liz Butterfield Capital News Service RICHMOND, Va. — Southwest Virginians asked for more coal mining jobs, hospitals and drug testing of welfare recipients, and less gun control, in an hour-long telephone town hall conducted this past week by Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, and Sen. Charles Carrico, R-Galax. Other topics discussed included same-sex marriage […]

14 May 2013

Students Waste Money on Textbooks, Poll Says

Students at VCU and other institutions of higher education in Virginia often end up buying textbooks they never use, according to a survey by Virginia21, an advocacy group for college students and other young adults.

14 May 2013

Students Worry about College Loan Debts

Nearly 75 percent of Virginia Commonwealth University students are unsure of their student loan debt payments upon graduation, according to a survey by Virginia21, an advocacy group for college students.

23 Apr 2013

Poor Pay More to Fund Roads, Report Says

Virginia’s multibillion-dollar transportation funding package will put a heavier burden on lower-income households than on more affluent families, according to a Richmond-based think tank.

03 Apr 2013

Tourist Train Stopped Dead in its Tracks

The Senate on Wednesday upheld Gov. Bob McDonnell’s veto of legislation to boost efforts to establish a tourist train between Tazewell County and Bramwell, W.Va.

11 Mar 2013

Tourist Train May Roll in Tazewell

A tourist train soon could be chugging its way through historic and scenic Tazewell County and across the state line to Bramwell, W.Va.

24 Feb 2013

Senate Approves Transportation Compromise

A divided Virginia Senate on Saturday passed Gov. Bob McDonnell’s signature issue of the 2013 legislative session – a bill to overhaul the state’s system for funding transportation.

21 Feb 2013

Drivers, Kids Rally for ‘Love the Bus’ Month

School bus drivers and schoolchildren from across Virginia gathered at the state Capitol on Thursday for the second annual “Love the Bus” rally.

20 Feb 2013

House, Senate Reach Transportation Compromise

Negotiators from both the House and Senate came to an agreement Wednesday on a transportation plan that, if passed, would be the first transportation funding overhaul in Virginia since 1986.

20 Feb 2013

Much at Stake in Virginia as Federal Cuts Loom

If Congress fails to meet its March 1 deadline on reducing the budget deficit, federal spending cuts will automatically take effect. That means Virginia could lose more than 207,000 jobs.

20 Feb 2013

Governor Signs Bill to Extend Peanut Tax

Gov. Bob McDonnell on Wednesday approved a bill to extend the 30-cents-per-100-pound excise tax on peanuts until July 1, 2016.

11 Feb 2013

Governor Touts Research on Clinical Trials

Gov. Bob McDonnell on Monday praised the findings of a new study that says clinical trials of new drugs and other medical treatments in Virginia have boosted the state’s economy and created 76,000 jobs over the past 13 years.

11 Feb 2013

‘Boneta Bill’ Killed in Senate Committee

A Senate committee on Thursday killed the “Boneta bill,” which championed farmers’ rights and would have expanded the definition of agricultural operations.

05 Feb 2013

Bill Would Crack Down on Unethical Bar Owners

The Senate is poised to pass a bill to revoke the liquor licenses of bars and restaurants that file false tax returns or other financial information with government regulators.

04 Feb 2013

Budget Would Boost Teacher Pay, Medicaid Waivers

The Virginia House of Delegates released its proposed amendments to the 2012-2014 state budget Sunday, seeking to pump more money into the commonwealth’s “rainy day” fund, education and Medicaid.

01 Feb 2013

Crab Survey Shows Good, Bad Trends

There’s bittersweet news for the Chesapeake Bay blue crab. The general crab and young blue crab populations are very healthy, the head of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission said. But the population of adult female blue crabs – which the crabbing industry relies upon for the next generation of stock – is low.

29 Jan 2013

NOVA May Get More Road Maintenance Funds

Northern Virginia would get a bigger share of the state’s highway maintenance funds under legislation being sponsored by Delegate Jim LeMunyon, R-Oak Hill. House Bill 1884 would allocate the funds “on the basis of vehicle miles traveled in each highway construction district compared to vehicle miles traveled in the Commonwealth as a whole.”

27 Jan 2013

Panel Nixes Tax Credits for Hiring Va. Graduates

Students receiving degrees from Virginia’s public colleges and universities may struggle to find employment, after a House subcommittee killed legislation that would have given small businesses a $2,500 tax credit for hiring such graduates.

17 Jan 2013

A Toast to Virginia’s Record Wine Sales

Gov. Bob McDonnell has good reason to break open a bottle of Virginia wine and celebrate: Wine produced by the state’s vineyards posted record sales last year.

16 Jan 2013

Shakespeare Festival May Get Boost from State

A bill introduced by Sen. Thomas Norment, R-Williamsburg, would designate the Virginia Shakespeare Festival in Williamsburg as the official Shakespeare Festival of Virginia, in hopes of increasing tourism to the area.

10 Jan 2013

Legislators Give Gov. McDonnell Mixed Reviews

Gov. Bob McDonnell’s goals for his last year in office drew mixed reactions among legislators representing the Williamsburg area.

16 May 2012

State to Publish College Employment Rates

Under a new law, state officials will publish online the employment rates and average salaries for graduates from each institution of higher education in Virginia. Prospective students and their parents will be able to see the statistics for each program and type of degree at each school.

02 May 2012

A Faith Community on the Margins of Society

Even for an immigrant community, the Richmond Mixtecs face many significant cultural obstacles. In the mostly Hispanic Sacred Heart congregation, Mixtecs are still a minority of sorts, considering many are fluent in neither English nor Spanish. Like many immigrant communities, religion plays a major role in the lives and culture of the Mixtecs.

02 May 2012

Mixtec Artisan Co-op Debuts in Richmond

Is the indigenous Mexican culture of La Mixteca marketable? A group of Mixtec women in the city’s Manchester district, seeking to assert themselves and make money for their families, is banking on it.

19 Apr 2012

Child Care Can Cost More Than College

Think tuition is high at VCU? The cost of putting a child in the university’s day care center can be even higher. The VCU Child Development Center charges $820 a month for children 3 and under, and $700 a month for older children. In contrast, tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduate students total $9,517 this year – which works out to about $793 a month.

17 Apr 2012

Virginia’s Economy Ranks 3rd in the U.S.

Despite a long recession, Virginia ranks among the top five states with the best economic climates, according to a national lobbying organization. Virginia placed third in the 2012 “Rich States, Poor States” report – a survey conducted annually by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

13 Apr 2012

McDonnell Visits Canada to Promote Virginia

Gov. Bob McDonnell ventured to Quebec, Canada, this week to promote Virginia’s wine, tourism and film industries. The governor and first lady Maureen McDonnell held a reception for journalists and Canadian business leaders Thursday night in Montreal to showcase wines and foods produced in Virginia, including pork, oysters and cookies.

10 Apr 2012

Beekeepers Buzzing About New Grant Program

Beekeepers across Virginia soon will be able to get government money for creating new beehives – a move legislators hope will resurrect the state’s dying bee population. During this year’s regular session, the General Assembly passed legislation to establish a $175,000 fund and award beekeepers as much as $200 for every new beehive, up to $2,400. Gov. Bob McDonnell recently signed the two bills, SB 354 and HB 300, into law.

31 Mar 2012

Teachers Urge Governor to Veto VRS Overhaul

Virginia teachers and firefighters are urging Gov. Bob McDonnell to veto legislation overhauling the retirement plan for the state’s public employees. They said the General Assembly acted hastily on the last day of its regular session when it approved bills to reduce the benefits that employees would receive under the Virginia Retirement System.

28 Mar 2012

Virginia OKs Offshore Wind Energy Turbine

Gov. Bob McDonnell’s goal to install America’s first offshore wind energy turbine got a jolt of momentum this week from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. The commission voted unanimously Tuesday to approve construction of a 479-foot-tall, five-megawatt wind turbine generator in the lower Chesapeake Bay, three miles off the Eastern Shore town of Cape Charles.

11 Mar 2012

Parties Have Different Views on Legislative Session

House Speaker William Howell on Sunday hailed the General Assembly’s just-concluded regular session as a success, citing the passage of legislation to create jobs, improve public education and reform public employees’ pension plan.

05 Mar 2012

Amazon to Charge Virginians Sales Tax in 2013

Bid farewell to tax-free buys from the world’s most popular online store. Amazon.com, the Seattle-based e-tailer of books and other products, next year will begin collecting and paying Virginia state sales tax under an agreement announced by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

05 Mar 2012

Bars Aren’t Happy over Social Media Ad Ban

Why are bar and restaurant owners frowning when it comes to advertising “happy hour” specials? Because in the age of Twitter and Facebook, Virginia law prohibits advertising drink specials using social media. Drinking establishments can legally sell alcohol at lower prices until 9 p.m. The problem is, they aren’t allowed to advertise that fact in the media – not even on the Internet or with social media.

26 Feb 2012

Bills Boost Job Prospects for Veterans

Efforts to expand job opportunities for veterans are receiving overwhelming support in the General Assembly this session, but veterans’ requests for tax exemptions and easier access to retail discounts have gained little traction. Virginia’s moves to expand education and employment opportunities for veterans come on the heels of high veteran unemployment figures. The national unemployment rate for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan topped 12 percent late last year.

14 Feb 2012

House OK’s Bill to Boost Craft Breweries

Here’s something to toast: A bill approved by the Virginia House of Delegates and sent to the state Senate may cut the steep cost of starting up a brewery for craft beer.

12 Feb 2012

License Plate Would Boost Tourism on Eastern Shore

The Eastern Shore of Virginia soon could get money to rev up its tourism promotion efforts whenever motorists buy or renew a specialty license plate depicting that scenic region off Virginia’s mainland. The Senate has passed a bill to channel proceeds from the specialty plates’ sales into a fund to promote tourism on the Eastern Shore.

08 Feb 2012

Volunteer Fire Departments Soon May Bill Insurers

Two bills moving through the General Assembly would authorize volunteer fire departments to charge homeowners’ insurance policies after responding to fire-related emergencies. One measure is House Bill 1202, sponsored by Delegate Joseph Johnson, D-Abingdon. It unanimously passed the House on Wednesday. Sen. Phillip Puckett, D-Tazewell, is sponsoring an identical proposal – Senate Bill 140. It unanimously passed the Senate on Friday.

28 Jan 2012

Bills Would Mandate Drug Tests for Aid Recipients

If some state lawmakers have their way, Virginians seeking social service benefits may have to submit to mandatory drug tests before receiving public assistance. It would allow local social services departments to conduct drug tests if they have “probable cause” before allowing an applicant to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

22 Jan 2012

Delegates See Budget, Jobs as Key Issues

The General Assembly is well on its way into the 2012 session. Hopewell-area Delegates Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, and Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg, discussed some of their legislative goals. Cox, the majority leader in the House of Delegates, said his major focus is simple: passing a state budget for the next two years. But he has other goals, such as ensuring adequate funding for programs such as the Virginia Retirement System.