THE BULLETIN — News to know

Quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.

Virginia Mercury

State eases restrictions on opioid addiction treatment

This month, Virginia's Medicaid program has stopped requiring clinicians to obtain prior authorization before prescribing a medication used to treat opioid addiction in a move to increase access to treatment.The change in policy applies to Suboxone films, a form of buprenorphine and naloxone that is applied to the tongue. The medication is used to help people reduce or quit their use of opioids — including prescription painkillers ss well as illicit drugs like heroin.Virginia continues to see staggering numbers of people die due to opioid addiction.In the past, providers have needed prior authorization from the Department of Medical Assistance...

Corey Stewart gets a new gig; Concerns about Amazon FOIA provision; Advocates challenge ICE policy and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • A Portsmouth judge ruled that the media can attend the trial of a 14-year-old boy charged in the shooting death of a 12-year-old boy last December. – The Virginian-Pilot• Corey Stewart will chair a Trump-boosting super PAC called The Keeping America Great PAC. – The Washington Post• Arlington County officials say language in their proposed agreement with Amazon giving the company two days to contest public record requests is standard contract language. Open government advocates say it’s not. – The Washington Post• A poll found broad support for the Amazon deal among Arlington residents. The Board...

How the session turned out for our furry and feathered friends

Adrian Teran-Tapia/ Capital News ServiceAnimal welfare advocates cheered legislation passed during the 2019 General Assembly session which increased penalties for animal cruelty and mandated that pets receive more room to roam if tethered outside.“Overall, this year’s General Assembly brought significant victories for Virginia’s dogs and cats,” said Matthew Gray of the Virginia Humane Society. One of the standout bills was SB 1604, also known as “Tommie’s Bill,” which increases the penalty for animal abuse from a misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Bill DeSteph, R-Virginia Beach, gained local and national attention and support after a pit bull was...

Inadequate medical care at a women’s prison; Shaun Brown sentenced in federal fraud case; Roanoke getting mitigation money from pipeline and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • Inmates at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland County said they are not getting adequate medical care and fear getting sick will kill them after an inmate died last year because of the flu and MRSA. - The Virginian-Pilot• Shaun Brown, a two-time congressional candidate, was sentenced to three years in prison and one year of home confinement in a federal fraud case. - Daily Press• Pharell Williams’ Something in the Water festival has nearly sold out hotels and Airbnbs at Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront. "I don't think we...

Governor signs medical ‘fail first’ reform legislation

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.Past efforts to reform step therapy in Virginia have been met with resistance from health insurance companies. But this year's bipartisan push to reform the practice — which can force patients to take medicines their doctors don't think will be effective before they get clearance from insurers for pricier drugs — was unanimously approved by both chambers in the General Assembly.Gov. Ralph Northam signed the new legislation Tuesday.Step therapy, also known as "fail first" protocols, require patients to try and...

Northam’s first veto of the year; Redistricting case will start in U.S. Supreme Court; Capitol Police search for man who sent obscene pictures and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• Gov. Ralph Northam issued his first veto of the session, striking down a bill that would require state police to automatically issue concealed weapon permits to non-residents if background checks and other administrative reviews aren’t completed within 90 days. He said the measure “would create public safety concerns.” – Daily Press• A Chesterfield County judge accused administrators of a regional jail in Prince William County of telling her a “bunch of lies” about their treatment of a mentally ill inmate who was never transferred to a psychiatric hospital despite an order to...
Virginia Mercury

Newsboys, shoe-shiners and doormen will now have to be paid at least minimum wage

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.Starting July 1, newsboys, people who shine shoes, babysitters, ushers, doormen, concession attendants and theater cashiers will be required to be paid minimum wage.Gov. Ralph Northam signed the legislation into law Friday. Del. Cia Price, D-Newport News, and Sen. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, carried identical bills in their respective chambers this session.The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy said the positions named in the legislation have historically been held by black people and called the law exempting them from minimum...

Asbestos in cosmetics: ‘a tragic case study’

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary. WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-11th, on Tuesday called the presence of asbestos in cosmetic products an important lesson in the value of government regulation. Connolly, a member of the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee, spoke on Capitol Hill at a hearing focused on allegations that asbestos in products like baby powder and makeup poses a cancer risk to consumers. “I think this is a tragic case study that gives the lie to those who want to propound that...

Virginia hospitals among those penalized by Medicare

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.Medicare reduced payments to 800 hospitals across the country this year, penalizing them for high numbers of injuries and infections among patients, according to Kaiser Health News. Eighteen of those hospitals were in Virginia.The penalties are part of a program set up under the Affordable Care Act designed to improve quality of care through pay-for-performance incentives. A quarter of hospitals with the highest rates of infections or patient injuries lose 1 percent of their Medicare payments.The sanctions come on...

Gov. Northam appoints a new Board of Elections while considering bill to change its composition

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.Gov. Ralph Northam appointed a new state Board of Elections while a bill that would change the makeup and responsibilities of the board is on his desk for consideration.Last week, the governor named former Democratic Del. Bob Brink from Arlington, former Republican Del. John O’Bannon of Henrico County and Norfolk attorney Jamilah LeCruise to the Board of Elections.The trio will serve four-year terms, taking over months after a report from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission found major...