Norment will lead Senate Republicans; Newport News will test shipping container homes; Meet the First Puppy of Virginia and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• “Senate Republicans on Thursday re-elected Sen. Tommy Norment, R-James City, to lead the party as it prepares to operate in the minority.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• The House and Senate are starting budget discussions this week with very different ideas about how much they have to spend on high priority items, likely a preview of the inter-chamber conflict to come.—Daily Press

• Saying they’re “in dire need of radical change,” Richmond Public Schools is moving forward with plans to develop theme-based middle and high schools that focused on topics like science, technology, engineering and math, visual and performing arts, language and international affairs.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, the first Jewish congresswoman from the Deep South, says her faith inspired her to speak out on impeachment.—The Washington Post

• “The daughter of a slain Sheriff’s Deputy has joined a growing number of Virginians calling on state lawmakers to abolish the death penalty. Groups opposed to capital punishment are hopeful Virginia’s Democratically-controlled legislature will end the practice.”—VPM

• A newly elected Christiansburg town council member is refusing to take part in the board’s executive sessions. She criticized the board for holding private meetings and refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement.—The Roanoke Times

• Pittsylvania County is dropping out of the big class action opioid lawsuit to pursue its own case. “By opting out of the negotiation class, we feel like Pittsylvania County’s chances of a larger recovery will be maximized.”—The Danville Register & Bee

• A second Metro bus strike is brewing in Northern Virginia.—WAMU

• Are shipping container homes, which manufacturers say are a lot nicer than they sound, the future of affordable housing in Virginia? The public housing authority in Newport News says it’s buying two to check it out.—Daily Press

• Facing criticism for not considering the impact of gambling addiction in a study of potential revenue from a new casino in Danville, consultants who conducted the research said the potential negative impacts weren’t part of their study.—The Danville Register & Bee

• The Virginia Farm Bureau annual survey of grocery prices found the average cost of Thanksgiving for 10 rose to $64.24 this year, up from $52.30 last year.—Associated Press

• “The Thanksgiving forecast looks agreeable for central Virginia, though rain chances are lining up on some of the surrounding travel days.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Gov. Ralph Northam got a new dog, Pearl, who he is referring to as the “First Puppy of Virginia.”—WTKR

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