A challenge to geofencing, vaccinating island ponies, the death of Mr. Peanut, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• “Virginia Democrats on Wednesday began to dismantle abortion restrictions erected by Republicans over the past decade, pushing an omnibus bill to the House floor on a 12-to-9 party-line vote.”—The Washington Post

• Republican leaders in the House of Delegates are pushing for $200 million in discretionary funding allocated by Gov. Ralph Northam in his annual budget to go toward helping localities repair school buildings and giving pay raises to state employees. “It’s the play money they got from the governor,” said House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A bill aimed at addressing overcrowding in state mental hospitals proposes requiring intoxicated people be given time to sober up before a magistrate considers a request to temporarily hospitalize them.—Daily Press

• A man accused of robbing a Chesterfield bank is challenging authorities’ use of Google location data listing everyone whose phones pinged nearby to identify him as a suspect. Law enforcement agencies around the country are rapidly adopting the “geofence” technique, a departure from traditional warrants that seek data on a specific person. The federal case is viewed as having national implications.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• “A Charlottesville Circuit Court judge wrote this week that he will award more than $300,000 in attorneys’ fees to the plaintiffs in a lawsuit over Charlottesville City Council’s 2016 and 2017 votes to remove two downtown statues of Confederate generals.”—The Daily Progress

• Fairfax County Public Schools cancelled a seven-day visit by 21 Chinese students over fears of a new coronavirus circulating in China.—The Washington Post

• “The wife of a former inmate at Riverside Regional Jail who died while in custody in 2017 has filed a $2.7 million wrongful death suit against the facility in a case that the Virginia Board of Corrections concluded involved policy violations that may have contributed to the man’s death.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Louis Cousins, one of the first black students to attend Norfolk Public Schools and whose photo sitting alone in an auditorium came to define the battle over desegregation in the city, died at age 76.—The Virginian-Pilot

• A federal appeals court ruled against an Augusta County police officer who shot and killed a woman’s leashed dog, finding the animal did not pose a threat.—Courthouse News Service

• “A vaccination program to protect a Virginia island’s wild horses from a swamp disease that killed seven ponies in 2018 is showing encouraging results.”—Associated Press

• Planters killed off Mr. Peanut, its monocled mascot of 104 years who was first drawn by a 14-year-old from Suffolk as part of an advertising contest.—The Virginian Pilot

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