THE BULLETIN — News to know

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

Correctional officers stand at the entrance to the Greensville Correctional Center on Nov. 10, 2009, near Jarratt, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Legislation to abolish death penalty advances in Virginia Senate

Legislation to abolish the death penalty in Virginia cleared its first legislative hurdle Monday, passing out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on 10-4 vote, with nine Democrats and one Republican supporting the measure.Supporters of the bill, which include Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration and an array of faith leaders, argued the death penalty has been disproportionately used against Black defendants and noted the sentence has repeatedly been handed down in cases where defendants were subsequently exonerated.“Historically the use of capital punishment has been inequitable,” Northam’s chief counsel, Rita Davis, said, citing data that shows prosecutors are more likely to seek...

Virginia hits weekend record of nearly 10,000 new COVID cases, Capitol Square locked down ahead of gun rally, National Guardsmen get cots, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• Virginia recorded nearly 10,000 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, a new record health officials attributed to spread of the disease over the holidays.—InsideNOVA• Capitol Square in downtown Richmond is locked down ahead of a planned pro-gun caravan today. Organizers say they have no idea how many people will show up, but some of the militia groups that attended last year’s rally have said they’re staying away in light of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.—Washington Post, Richmond Times-Dispatch• Federal authorities arrested a fishing charter captain from Virginia Beach they...

Virginia GOP meeting ends with heated outbursts as members reconsider convention

The Virginia GOP’s central committee meeting ended abruptly Saturday as members continued a heated fight over whether they should pick their statewide nominees this year through a convention or an open primary.The committee had agreed in early December to hold a convention, but to adhere to COVID-19 protocols, a second vote was necessary to allow the event to proceed remotely with votes collected at drop off locations around the state.And, on Saturday, that vote failed. Unlike the earlier vote, it required support from three-quarters of members in attendance, whereas only a simple majority had supported the convention.Upon losing the...

Biden pledges massive vaccine surge as states struggle with confusion over dosage numbers

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden on Friday sketched out his proposal for overhauling the country’s slow and uneven effort to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19, pledging to open more centers for administering those shots, boost the public health workforce, and improve the information flow to states so they can better plan.Biden has called for administering 100 million vaccines during his first 100 days in office, a goal that will require a massive uptick in vaccine production, distribution, and injections.A month after the first COVID-19 vaccine was approved, only 30 million doses have been sent to states and fewer than 12 million...

Declaring bankruptcy, NRA says it will explore leaving Virginia

As part of a major restructuring, the National Rifle Association says it will explore moving out of Virginia but for now will continue running its operations from its headquarters in Fairfax.On Friday, the gun-rights group announced it would file for bankruptcy as it works to cut its ties to New York, whose attorney general had probed the misuse of NRA funds and sought to force the organization to dissolve, and reincorporate in Texas. Eventually, the Virginia headquarters might follow."With respect to its headquarters, the NRA has formed a committee to study opportunities for relocating segments of its business operations...
Virginia Mercury

Virginia expands vaccine eligibility, Democrats back censure of Chase, new giraffe calf at the Virginia Zoo, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• Gov. Ralph Northam said that under new vaccination guidelines anyone 65 or older is now eligible to receive a shot, expanding the current phase of the state’s inoculation plan to about half of the population.—Associated Press• “More than 70% of Virginians say they’re likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a 13-point jump from the number who said the same in September, according to a statewide poll from Virginia Commonwealth University.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch• At least 10 Democrats in the state Senate are backing a censure resolution against Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield,...
Virginia Mercury

Rocky Mount police officers arrested, COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise, LaRock defends ‘colored community’ remark, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• Federal authorities arrested the two Rocky Mount police officers who shared selfies of themselves inside the U.S. Capitol during the pro-Trump riot last week. They are charged with entering a restricted building without authority and knowingly engaging in conduct that disrupts government business. At their arraignment, a judge declined a prosecutor’s request that they be subject to GPS tracking, releasing them without bond but requiring them to surrender any guns.—Roanoke Times• “A man who was photographed wearing a sweatshirt that read ‘Camp Auschwitz’ while inside the Capitol last week was...

Sunday hunting bill stopped in its tracks

A bill to allow Sunday hunting on public lands was dealt a swift death on the first day of the 2021 session by the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee. The proposal, which was carried by Del. James Edmunds, R-Halifax, failed 16-6, with both Democratic and Republican committee members split on the issue. This is the second year Edmunds has championed the expansion of Sunday hunting in Virginia to public as well as private lands. He had argued that not allowing hunters to use public lands often paid for using the proceeds from hunting license sales is unfair. The issue has...

GOP delegates stripped of committee assignments over letter casting doubt on election

Democratic leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates have stripped three Republicans of some committee assignments after they signed a letter casting doubt on the results of the presidential election and urging Vice President Mike Pence to block the lopsided Democratic victory in Virginia.House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, stripped Dels. Dave LaRock, R-Loudoun, Ronnie Campbell, R-Rockbridge and Mark Cole, R-Spotsylvania, of one committee assignment each. They were not booted from all their committee seats.LaRock was booted from the Transportation Committee, Cole was removed from the Privileges and Elections Committee and Campbell lost his spot on the Courts of Justice...
Virginia Mercury

Virginia officials ‘on high alert’ until Inauguration Day, a standoff in Rocky Mount over police at Capitol riot, another Republican candidate for governor, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• Officials are planning to close Capitol Square amid tensions over the possibility of more armed right-wing protests. "Frankly, at this point, we’re on high alert from now right up to Inauguration Day."—Richmond Times-Dispatch• The presence of two Rocky Mount police officers at the U.S. Capitol riot led to a standoff outside a town council meeting, with one group condemning the officers and another supporting them.—Roanoke Times• The FBI's Norfolk office issued a stark warning to the bureau prior to last week's violence, pointing to online discussions urging attendees...