Raising the minimum tobacco-buying age to 21; legislation to prohibit the death penalty for seriously mentally ill passes; a surprise casualty of the government shutdown and other headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

♦ A new bi-partisan effort has launched in the General Assembly to raise the minimum age required to purchase tobacco and nicotine products from 18 to 21. – The Daily Press

♦ Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe started using his state PAC in the second half of 2018 to raise more than $300,000, part of which was donated to Democratic parties in Iowa and New Hampshire. – Associated Press

♦ The Senate passed legislation that will prohibit the death penalty for the seriously mentally ill after the same bill was tabled last year. ­— Richmond Times-Dispatch

♦ A bill that would allow those who have applied for permanent residency, including DACA recipients, to pay in-station tuition squeezed past a Senate committee on Thursday. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

♦ Several bills filed this year are aimed at making it easier to evacuate Hampton Roads. – The Daily Press

♦ New assessments show that Southwest Virginia needs improved access to certain types of care, particularly mental health and addiction services. – WVTF

♦ U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia Beach) criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel a trip to Afghanistan that she was set to go on, calling it “inappropriate.” – The Virginian Pilot

♦ An Irish-based producer of distribution and protection equipment for data centers is expanding its operations in Henrico County and adding 51 jobs. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

♦ One surprising loser in the federal government shutdown: science. – WVTF

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Katie O'Connor
Katie, a Manassas native, has covered health care, commercial real estate, law, agriculture and tourism for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond BizSense and the Northern Virginia Daily. Last year, she was named an Association of Health Care Journalists Regional Health Journalism Fellow, a program to aid journalists in making national health stories local and using data in their reporting. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, where she was executive editor of The Flat Hat, the college paper, and editor-in-chief of The Gallery, the college’s literary magazine.