Tazewell mulls Vexit, notice for public housing demolitions, peanut ‘coffee,’ and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

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• Tazewell County leaders received public comment on a proposal to leave Virginia and join West Virginia, but said they viewed seceding as “highly impractical.” Citizens, nonetheless, sounded enthusiastic. “West Virginia shares our values. …  We the people of the disenfranchised county will be free at last,” said one man.—Bluefield Daily Telegraph

• Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner said they’ll vote to convict Trump on two articles of impeachment. “Unchallenged evil spreads like a virus,” Kaine said.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• The Senate voted to repeal legislation requiring voters to produce photo ID at the polls.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A Senate panel advanced a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would create a bi-partisan redistricting commission. The proposal faces more opposition in the House, where Democrats have questioned whether it does enough to take politics out of the process of redrawing legislative districts.—The Washington Post

• “A surrogate mother could not be forced to abort a fetus with abnormalities or reduce the number of fetuses she is carrying under a bill that won unanimous support Tuesday in the Virginia Senate.”—The Washington Post

• The General Assembly is debating whether and how to tax peer-to-peer car rental services.—The Roanoke Times

• “The Virginia Senate unanimously passed a bill on Tuesday that would require housing authorities to give residents nine months notice if they plan to sell or demolish any properties.”—VPM

• The House and Senate advanced legislation that would allow casinos in five localities: Bristol, Danville, Richmond, Norfolk and Portsmouth.—Associated Press

• A developer who is pushing a second proposal for a casino in Southwest Virginia accused two coal barons and the Bristol city manager of stealing his idea. “I’m no Johnny-come-lately. … I’m no imitator. I’m the originator.”—Bristol Herald Courier

• A former Virginia Tech student suspended after he was accused of overseeing a Corps of Cadets “blood-pinning ceremony” sued the school, alleging the event was traditional and entirely voluntary.—The Roanoke Times

• A former Virginia Military Institute student sued the school, claiming he was waterboarded and forced to wrestle naked as a freshman. The school denies the allegations.—The Washington Post

• VCU Health detailed its proposed involvement in a major downtown redevelopment less than 24 hours before officials were scheduled to appear in court to defend their refusal to turn over related information in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A Suffolk farmer has begun marketing burnt ground peanuts as a coffee substitute. “I was drinking coffee and smelling coffee right before harvest,” he recalls, “and I said, ‘Why can’t you turn peanuts into coffee?’” Opinions are mixed on the resulting product.—The Virginian-Pilot

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