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14 Jan 2015

Governor, Delegate Tout Bipartisan Transportation Bills

RICHMOND – Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Delegate Chris Jones of Suffolk, have joined forces to push for two bills aimed at reforming the state’s transportation system.

07 Jan 2015

Parents Seek Funding for Mental Health Services

Central Virginia residents packed a legislative committee hearing Wednesday to call for more funding for child mental health services, more help for individuals with intellectual disabilities and tighter regulations of private homes providing day care.

31 Jan 2014

Tunnel Construction Relief Bills Killed

By Lauren McClellan Capital News Service RICHMOND — Two bills that would have provided monetary relief to Hampton Roads area businesses affected by construction on the Downtown Tunnel have been killed in the General Assembly. Senate Bill 292, introduced by Sen. Louise Lucas, D- Portsmouth, would have established the Downtown Tunnel Construction Relief Grant Fund. […]

13 May 2013

Like its Clients, Drug Center Is Recovering

Rubicon Inc., a substance abuse and mental health treatment center that has served the Richmond community for more than 40 years, is trying to regain its financial footing after nearly having to close its doors last fall.

03 May 2013

Virginia Lottery Hits Its Own Jackpot

Lottery winners aren’t the only ones with any luck: The Virginia Lottery saw record ticket sales in the past year, as the economy continued its recovery and several big-name retailers began selling tickets.

03 May 2013

Lottery Sales Keep Rising in Virginia

Sales of Virginia Lottery tickets have risen steadily — and last year, they jumped by 9 percent.

03 May 2013

Lottery Has Produced Billions for Schools

Since 1999, the Virginia Lottery has generated more than $5 billion for public education.

03 May 2013

Top 25 Virginia Lottery Retailers

Here is a map of the 25 outlets that sold the most Virginia Lottery tickets in fiscal year 2012.

17 Mar 2013

New Law Will Help Kids Learn to Read

Virginia schools must provide extra help to students in kindergarten and first and second grades who do poorly on diagnostic reading tests, under legislation that Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law in recent weeks.

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.

23 Feb 2013

General Assembly OKs Budget Amendments

The Virginia General Assembly approved amendments to the state’s two-year budget Saturday that included education initiatives and Medicaid reforms.

22 Feb 2013

Opposition Grows to Transportation Compromise

Critics of the transportation funding compromise reached by legislative negotiators say the plan would place a huge burden on Virginia taxpayers.

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.

14 Feb 2013

Conference Panel Will Seek Transportation Compromise

A conference committee of 10 legislators has less than a week and a half to hammer out a compromise between the House and Senate versions of a bill to increase transportation funding in Virginia.

09 Feb 2013

Governor Urges Democrats to OK Roads Bill

Three days after Senate Democrats derailed his transportation funding plan, Gov. Bob McDonnell urged two key Democratic senators to support the House version of his proposal.

07 Feb 2013

Coalition Pushes for Medicaid Expansion

State budget language adopted by the House Appropriations Committee would delay the expansion of Medicaid and other benefits of the new federal health-care law in Virginia, a statewide group said Wednesday.

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.

03 Feb 2013

House, Senate Disagree on ‘King’s Dominion Law’

The House and Senate are headed in different directions when it comes to repealing Virginia’s “King’s Dominion law,” which generally prevents public schools from opening before Labor Day.

02 Feb 2013

Jeb Bush Touts McDonnell’s School Grading Plan

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is helping promote Gov. Bob McDonnell’s plan to rate Virginia’s schools on an A-through-F grading scale. Bush joined McDonnell in a conference call on Friday to praise the Virginia chief executive’s K-12 education reform agenda.

31 Jan 2013

Senate Bans Smoking in Cars with Kids

The Senate today passed a bill to prohibit smoking in a vehicle when a child under 15 is present.

31 Jan 2013

Governor Rejoices as Transportation Plan Moves Forward

Gov. Bob McDonnell has reason to celebrate after the House Finance Committee on Wednesday approved a key part of the transportation plan that he hopes will define his term.

31 Jan 2013

College Students Lobby for Education Funding

Nearly 100 college students gathered at the state Capitol on Wednesday to advocate for affordable, quality education.

30 Jan 2013

VCU Students Lobby During Rams Day on the Hill

VCU students urged state legislators Wednesday to invest in higher education during Rams Day on the Hill, an annual lobbying event at Capitol Square.

30 Jan 2013

Committee Sends ‘Boneta Bill’ to Full House

The grassroots-supported “Boneta Bill,” meant to protect farmers’ rights, won overwhelming approval from a House committee on Wednesday and moves on to its first reading in the full House of Delegates on Thursday.

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.”

29 Jan 2013

Panel Amends, OKs ‘Boneta Bill’

Supporters of the so-called Boneta Bill, aimed at protecting the rights of farmers, came to Capitol Square wearing pitchfork buttons with stickers that said, “Stay out of grandma’s kitchen.” They lined the wall of a conference room where the House Agriculture Subcommittee met Monday to decide whether to recommend approval of the measure. Virginians in support of the bill and lobbyists against it came from all over the state to share their perspective. After an hour of debate, the subcommittee voted 6-1 in support of the legislation.

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.

19 Jan 2013

Caroline Delegate Supports Transportation Plan

Delegate Bobby Orrock, R-Caroline, has announced his support for Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation plan.

15 Jan 2013

Gov. McDonnell’s Roads Plan Evokes Mixed Responses

Legislators representing the city of Franklin have mixed feelings over Gov. Bob McDonnell’s plan to boost funding for transportation in Virginia by replacing the long-standing gas tax with an increase in the state’s sales tax designated for transportation.

18 Apr 2012

Senate Joins House in Passing State Budget

On the fourth try, the Senate joined the House on Wednesday in approving an $85 billion state budget for the next two years. One Democrat, Sen. Charles Colgan of Manassas, joined all 20 Senate Republicans in voting for the budget bill, HB 1301. The House had approved the measure, 77-19, on Tuesday.

17 Apr 2012

Senate Blocks Approval of State Budget

For the third time, the Virginia Senate has refused to compromise on a new state budget, preventing the General Assembly from approving a spending plan for the next two years. The House voted 77-19 on Tuesday in favor of an amended budget bill, HB 1301. But Senate Democrats rejected the measure because it lacks funding for the second phase of the Dulles Rail extension to Loudoun County.

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.

30 Mar 2012

‘This Road Brought to You by …’

As the state budget inches closer to passage by the General Assembly, the Virginia Department of Transportation is hoping to raise money by selling the naming rights for roads, bridges and highway stretches.

28 Mar 2012

Committee Will Craft State Budget Compromise

A legislative conference committee soon will begin deliberations to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the state budget, which would take effect July 1. “We are cautiously optimistic that a solid, fiscally prudent budget will emerge from conference and be voted into law within the next few weeks,” House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, said Tuesday.

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.

27 Feb 2012

House Restores Funding for Alicia’s Law

The House of Delegates has restored funding for Alicia’s Law, a two-year-old effort targeting sexual abuse of children, after Democrats said Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposed state budget shortchanged the program. McDonnell planned to transfer $1.3 million from the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, a police unit created by Alicia’s Law, to the state’s general fund. But in a unanimous vote Thursday, the House approved restoration of the ICAC funding.

20 Feb 2012

Senate Offers Relief on Machinery Tax

The House and Senate seem headed in different directions on whether to give businesses relief from the machinery and tools tax levied by local governments. The Senate has passed a bill to give businesses grants to offset the tax on newly purchased equipment for the first two years. Under the latest version of Senate Bill 549, businesses would pay the tax to their city, county or town but then get reimbursed by a state grant. The bill passed last week, 28-12.

18 Feb 2012

Divided Senate OKs Help for Private Schools

In yet another bill that divided Republicans and Democrats, the Virginia Senate on Friday passed legislation to provide tax credits for individuals and businesses that fund scholarships for low- and middle-income students to attend parochial and private schools.

05 Feb 2012

Tax Exemption May Aid Businesses, Stress Localities

Virginia’s machinery and tools tax, which some businesses see as a burden but local governments view as a critical revenue source, would be slashed under legislation before the General Assembly.

03 Feb 2012

House Votes to Freeze BPOL Tax

The House this week approved a bill that would freeze localities’ Business, Professional and Occupational Licenses tax rates at their 2011 levels. The measure also would prevent localities that don’t currently levy the tax from imposing it.

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.

21 Jan 2012

One Bill’s Aim: Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Stardust

For the average person, the sky is no longer the limit, but you just might have to be dead first.
Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, is proposing legislation to provide tax breaks to Virginia residents who send their cremated remains into outer space.

18 Jan 2012

Legislators Offer Outlook on 2012 Session

Legislators from communities in Prince William County and along the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers will play key roles in determining how the General Assembly crafts a state budget and addresses transportation and other issues during its 2012 session.

13 May 2011

Are Cell Phones Wasted On State Employees?

Virginia’s state government spends more than $6 million a year on the more than 11,000 cellphones it provides to public employees. But a chunk of that money may be wasted: During a recent six-month period, the state spent almost $1 million on 4,500 unused cellphones – phones that recorded zero minutes.

09 May 2011

Hair Cutters Face Higher Licensing Fees

Virginia officials want a bigger cut when barbers, hair stylists and other beauty professionals get their state licenses. Barbers, cosmetologists and nail technicians now pay $55 for a cosmetology license, which is valid for two years. The state wants to raise that to $140.

25 Apr 2011

Movies Bring Boffo Benefits to Virginia

For Clint Eastwood fans in Virginia, it was a thrill to hear that his latest film, “J. Edgar,” is set in parts of Fauquier and Fairfax counties. But for those communities, there’s a tangible benefit to playing such a supporting role: They’ll enjoy a financial boost from tourism and other economic spinoffs.

07 Mar 2011

CNS Stories for Week 8 (Feb. 28-March 7)

Here are the stories we distributed over the past week. Headlines include: “Bicycle Safety Bill to Come ‘Round Again” … “Embrace Multitasking, Journalist Tells Students” … “Nat Turner Trail Hits Roadblock” … “HOV Ramps Relieve Traffic Congestion.”

19 Feb 2011

Brunswick Prison May Remain Vacant

It looks like the Brunswick Correctional Center will remain empty for a while longer. A budget amendment proposed by Gov. Bob McDonnell to repurpose the prison has stalled in the General Assembly.

12 Jan 2011

Governor: ‘Bob’s Still for Jobs’

During his State of the Commonwealth Address tonight, Gov. Bob McDonnell said job creation is his top priority for the General Assembly’s 2011 session. “Ensuring that good-paying and rewarding jobs are available for our citizens in every community in this commonwealth is the foremost priority of our administration,” McDonnell told legislators.

12 Jan 2011

Republicans Outline Agenda for Legislative Session

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and other Republican leaders want the General Assembly to cut government spending and foster economic development during the legislative session that begins Wednesday.