Author

Jackie Llanos Hernandez

Jackie Llanos Hernandez

Virginia Mercury intern Jackie Llanos Hernandez is a junior at the University of Richmond studying journalism and anthropology. Jackie grew up in Colombia before moving to Virginia. Jackie is also the investigative and multimedia editor at the independent student-run newspaper, The Collegian. She can be reached at [email protected]

Northern Virginia Regional Commission pushes for HBCU satellite campus

By: - March 31, 2022

A group representing Northern Virginia municipalities wants to bring a historically Black university to the region through a satellite campus.  Representatives from the Northern Virginia Regional Commission – which includes 13 local governments such as Alexandria, Fairfax and Prince William – have met with administrators at Norfolk State University and Virginia State University who demonstrated […]

Heat-mapping study found major temperature swings within Virginia localities

By: - March 29, 2022

A report by a group that represents Virginia’s independent colleges and universities demonstrates how much hotter paved-over areas lacking green spaces can be than places with tree cover and other cooling features.  The heat-mapping effort, which the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges called the largest study of its kind, aims to give local governments the […]

Legislation to crack down on marijuana products, including synthetics, heads to Youngkin

By: - March 17, 2022

The General Assembly failed at finding a path to starting recreational marijuana sales this year, but a law outlining stricter regulations for retailers selling what one lawmaker called “juiced-up” synthetic products made its way through the legislature last week with bipartisan support. The bill, which is now before Gov. Glenn Youngkin, explicitly bans sales of […]

Conference committee scales back SNAP benefits bill for people leaving prison

By: - March 16, 2022

Disagreements between the House of Delegates and the Senate scaled back the scope of a bill that would have allowed people who are incarcerated to apply for food assistance before being released.  The legislature on Saturday approved conference committee changes made to Del. Mark Sickles’ HB 1270, which means the Department of Social Services will […]

Name, image, likeness legislation on the way to the governor

By: - March 10, 2022

From communication firms to restaurants and cryptocurrency agencies, Virginia’s top college athletes had already started taking advantage of the change in NCAA rules allowing them to profit from their name, image and likeness before the Virginia legislature passed a law last week outlining the process in the commonwealth. Indeed most of the provisions in Senate […]

Legislation lays out a plan for affordable broadband

By: - March 4, 2022

Legislation creating a plan to expand affordable broadband access across the commonwealth is on the way to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s desk with broad bipartisan support.  HB 1265, by Del. Suhas Subramanyam, D-Loudoun, charges the state Department of Housing and Community Development with creating a plan to deliver recommendations to the General Assembly and Youngkin by […]

Bills prohibiting insurer discrimination against organ donors wins bipartisan support

By: - February 28, 2022

Bills that would ban insurance companies from refusing or limiting coverage for living organ donors are advancing through the legislature with broad support.  SB 271, introduced by Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, and HB 421, introduced by Del. Karrie Delaney, D-Centreville, would put Virginia among 20 other states that have anti-insurance discrimination legislation, according to the […]

Senate, House pass bills increasing penalties for catalytic converter thefts

By: - February 18, 2022

Both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly have passed bills aimed at deterring the rise in the theft of automotive catalytic converters, which are made of rare and valuable precious metals, including platinum. SB 729 and HB 740 have slightly different approaches, though. The House bill, which was introduced by Del. Robert Bell, R-Albermarle, would […]

Proposed license plate honoring crusading African American paper clears Senate

By: - February 15, 2022

A new license plate could be added this summer to the more than 250 options Virginians can choose from if the House of Delegates passes and the governor signs a bill to introduce the design commemorating a newspaper founded by emancipated men. The bill to create a license plate in honor of the Richmond Planet […]

After I-95 shutdown, Senate committee approves restrictions on truckers during wintry weather

By: - February 11, 2022

The Senate Transportation Committee advanced a bill Thursday requiring truckers driving in wintry weather to stay in the right lane of any highway and making it illegal to use cruise control or compression release engine brakes.  Senate Bill 706 — which requires that truckers, “if reasonably possible and conditions safely permit, drive the vehicle in […]

Outside firm to investigate Virginia’s I-95 response

By: - February 4, 2022

A month after the shutdown that left hundreds of people stranded on I-95, there’s no timeline yet for the completion of the multi-agency after-action review to examine the state’s widely-criticized response. However, state officials said the review will be conducted by an outside firm under an existing contract with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. […]

State opens up applications for millions in grants to improve math and literacy teaching resources

By: - December 17, 2021

Virginia’s public colleges can apply for $34 million in grants to produce teaching resources and professional development programs for literacy and mathematics teachers.  The Onward and Upward: Supporting Literacy and Mathematics grants are part of the $2.1 billion awarded to the Virginia Department of Education through The American Rescue Plan. Although only public institutions of […]