A gun ban on Capitol Square, transportation proposals, no school bus union in Roanoke, and other headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• “Fearing a repeat of the deadly violence that engulfed Charlottesville more than two years ago, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam plans to declare a temporary emergency Wednesday banning all weapons, including guns, from Capitol Square ahead of a massive rally planned next week over gun rights.”—Associated Press

• Gov. Ralph Northam’s package of transportation proposals includes legislation that would make failure to wear a seat belt a primary traffic offense, prohibit hand-held cellphone use by drivers and open containers of alcohol for passengers, and allow electronic speed enforcement.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Sen. Janet Howell, D-Fairfax, pledged to introduce legislation that would ban so-called skill slot machines that have popped up in corner stores around the state, cutting into lottery profits. “Anybody who wants [the machines] needs to make a very serious and more-generous-than-they-have offer,” said Howell, who chairs the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Absentee voting for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary begins this week.—Associated Press

• “Federal officials said a Virginia man arrested Friday is linked to a string of fake bomb threats and ‘swatting’ attacks on journalists, government officials and others as part of an international group sympathetic to neo-Nazi ideology.”—The Washington Post

• “More than 80 percent of new Medicaid members have used their new health insurance. That’s more than 320,000 Virginians who have accessed healthcare.”—WVTF

• Lynchburg City Council voted not to join more than 120 localities around the state that have declared themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” after a five-hour public comment period that stretched until 2 a.m.—The News & Advance

• School leaders in Franklin County voted against banning Confederate flags as part of its new dress code, a step taken by other local governments in the past year. The board’s sole African American member was the only dissenting vote.—The Roanoke Times

• Richmond’s Virginia Union University revoked permission for a group that had planned to honor Trump on Martin Luther King Day to hold an event on the historically black university’s campus.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• School bus drivers in Roanoke voted not to unionize.—The Roanoke Times

• State codes that aim to keep livestock out of streams are butting up against an increasingly popular approach of using herds of goats to clear brush as an alternative to herbicide.—Daily Press

• PolitiFact gave Democratic leadership a false rating for claims that law enforcement recommended they ban guns from the Capitol.—VPM

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