Ned Oliver

Ned Oliver

Ned, a Lexington native, has been a fulltime journalist since 2008, beginning at The News-Gazette in Lexington, and including stints at the Berkshire Eagle, in Berkshire County, Mass., and the Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly in Richmond. He is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass. He was named Virginia's outstanding journalist for 2020 by the Virginia Press Association.

Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Virginia’s former secretary of public safety registers as marijuana lobbyist

By: - January 27, 2022

Gov. Ralph Northam’s former secretary of public safety has a new job: lobbying state lawmakers on marijuana. Brian Moran, who helped Northam roll out the initial framework for marijuana legalization last year, registered this week as a representative of Jushi Inc. The company holds one of four active medical marijuana licenses in the state, operating […]

Va. Senate rejects new AG’s proposal to create statewide ‘super prosecutors’

By: - January 26, 2022

Lawmakers in the Virginia Senate rejected legislation requested by the state’s new Republican attorney general that would have allowed him to overrule local prosecutors when police disagreed with their charging decisions. Attorney General Jason Miyares, who ran on a law-and-order platform despite the position’s limited criminal law enforcement powers, made the legislation a centerpiece of […]

House Republicans begin retail marijuana debate with focus on lower taxes and school funding

By: - January 24, 2022

GOP lawmakers in the Virginia House of Delegates are taking their first stab at legislation to open the retail marijuana market, introducing bills that would lower the tax rate on sales and redirect proposed social equity funding to school infrastructure. But leadership in the chamber stressed that the effort remains very much a work in […]

Virginia State Capitol

Bi-partisan bill would make it easier to cancel subscriptions online

By: - January 20, 2022

It’s a tale as old as the free trial subscription. You sign up for an enticing offer online, but when it comes time to cancel, an unsubscribe button is nowhere to be found. No more, say Dels. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, and Sally Hudson, D-Charlottesville. The two lawmakers both introduced legislation that would require companies […]

Senate panel shoots down bill that would make mask and vaccine mandates illegal

By: - January 19, 2022

Democrats in the Virginia Senate voted down GOP legislation Monday that would have classified mask mandates and vaccine requirements as illegal discrimination. The measures, proposed by Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, drew unanimous support from Republicans on the Senate’s General Laws Committee. “It’s time to give people the freedom to breathe and the freedom of choice,” […]

Youngkin’s new parole board includes sheriff who confronted McAuliffe on campaign trail

By: - January 17, 2022

On the campaign trail, Gov. Glenn Youngkin promised to fire his Democratic predecessor’s Parole Board on the first day he took office. And a few hours after he was sworn in on Saturday, that’s exactly what he did. The reconfigured board — a decidedly more conservative group than the body that approved a series of […]

Virginia lawmakers propose decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms

By: - January 14, 2022

Three Virginia lawmakers have introduced legislation that would end felony penalties for possession of psychedelic mushrooms, citing the drug’s growing acceptance in medicinal contexts. “It is increasingly a recognized treatment for refractory depression and PTSD,” said Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond, a nurse practitioner whose legislation would also decriminalize peyote, a cactus that contains the psychedelic […]

AG: Virginia Beach police forged DNA evidence presented in court

By: - January 12, 2022

Police in Virginia Beach forged forensic science reports used in criminal interrogations at least five times, according to Attorney General Mark Herring, who announced Wednesday that the department had agreed to end the practice following an investigation by his Office of Civil Rights. In a news release, Herring’s office said the forgeries were discovered in […]

Virginia lawmakers still at odds over resentencing for people in prison on marijuana charges

By: - January 12, 2022

Nearly a year after Virginia lawmakers voted to legalize possession of marijuana, they remain divided on what — if anything — to do about people currently imprisoned on marijuana charges. The committee of House and Senate lawmakers tasked with making recommendations for the legislative session that begins Wednesday concluded its work this week with a […]

Northam says he won’t rush pardons as term winds down

By: - December 2, 2021

Cynthia Scott started serving a prison sentence on a robbery conviction at age 31. She’s now 52. Her release date won’t come until she’s 70. She doubts she’ll make it. “Not with this medical care,” she says, describing a range of serious conditions she says have gone untreated despite leaving her incontinent and in danger […]

Members of Mattaponi tribe plan protest during annual tax tribute ceremony

By: - November 23, 2021

For 343 years, representatives of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Indian Tribes have been delivering fresh game in lieu of taxes to Virginia governors under the terms of a 1677 peace treaty. This year, some members of the Mattaponi tribe are hoping the pre-Thanksgiving ceremony will deliver something for them: attention to their push for democratic […]

Fight erupts over plan to stop outsourcing prison health care in Virginia

By: - November 18, 2021

When the head of Virginia’s prison system announced to staff members this summer that he planned to end the practice of outsourcing medical care to a private contractor, his memo to employees suggested the decision was final. Armor Health, the Florida-based company that suddenly faced the prospect of losing its $90-million contract to staff prisons […]