THE BULLETIN — News to know

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

Virginia Mercury

Opponents of Lee statue removal ask for all monuments to be put back, a Portsmouth schools reopening vote, Barbara Johns statue, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• Gov. Ralph Northam endorsed Del. Jay Jones, D-Norfolk, in his bid to become the next attorney general, snubbing sitting Democratic AG Mark Herring, who is seeking re-election. “It is time for a new generation of leaders to take the reins,” Northam said in a statement.—Washington Post• The plaintiffs fighting the removal of the Lee statue in Richmond are asking the Supreme Court of Virginia to order city leaders to put back Confederate monuments taken down over the summer.—Richmond Times-Dispatch• With a vote by leaders in Portsmouth to reopen schools in mid-April,...

Virginia reports first coronavirus death of a child under 10

The Virginia Department of Health announced Thursday that a child in central Virginia died from COVID-19-related complications.It's the state's first COVID-19 death of a child under the age of 10.In September, the department reported that "an adolescent resident in the Southside Health District” — which includes Boydton, Lawrenceville, and Halifax — died after testing positive for the virus. VDH listed that patient’s age as between 10 and 19.At the time, it was the state's youngest COVID-19 death.The department declined to provide additional information about the death reported Thursday "to protect privacy and out of respect for the patient’s family,"...
Virginia Mercury

Flags flown at half mast to honor slain Stanley police officer, lawmakers approve affordable housing tax credits, one really big fish, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere• Gov. Ralph Northam ordered state flags to fly at half mast in honor of Stanley police officer Dominic Winum, who was shot and killed during a traffic stop last week.—WDBJ• The General Assembly approved a new tax-credit program to incentivize affordable housing development.—VPM• Former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder said the controversy around the investigation of wrongdoing by Virginia's Parole Board has become an embarrassment. "Northam owes the people of Virginia a better explanation than he's given," he said.—WTVR• "Of all the things the Virginia General Assembly accomplished in...

Proposals for additional prison oversight fail in Virginia

Two bills that aimed to restore independent oversight to Virginia’s prison system failed this year, but lawmakers agreed to study the ideas and their potential cost before they reconvene in 2022.“This really is a blind spot for our prisons,” said Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington. “We have oversight for our local and regional jails, but not our prisons, and we need to figure out a way to deal with that blind spot.”Hope had proposed legislation that would have created an independent ombudsman to investigate complaints and conduct regular inspections of state facilities. In the Senate, Sen. Dave Marsden, D-Fairfax, had...

House per diems during a remote session, VCU launches Greek life review in wake of student death, Virginia monument removal, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• Lawmakers in the House of Delegates collected more than $800,000 in travel expenses this year despite meeting remotely. Only three refused the payments; delegates have long used the $211 per diem to supplement their $17,640 annual salaries.—Virginian-Pilot• Bitter disagreement between Democratic leaders in the House and Senate has left lawmakers unable to appoint a new director to the agency that drafts legislation for the two chambers.—Richmond Times-Dispatch• A second member of the embattled Virginia Parole Board stepped down to accept a judicial appointment.—Richmond Times-Dispatch• Virginia Commonwealth University says it’s launching a comprehensive...

Five Virginia colleges and reparations, Virginians wager $59 million in first 11 days of sports betting, some good news for dairy farms, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• The General Assembly could be required to reconvene later this year for a special session to act on federal COVID-19 relief funds and appoint new judges to an expanded court of appeals.—Richmond Times-Dispatch• “Five Virginia colleges would be required to make reparations for using enslaved people’s labor to build their institutions under a bill currently awaiting Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature.”—VPM• Virginia reported nearly 1,600 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 10 days, most of which occurred during the surge in December and January.—Richmond Times-Dispatch• “Nearly everyone in Virginia who lives or works...

Police reforms go into effect in Virginia

A slew of new laws aimed at reining in police abuses following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis went into effect in Virginia Monday. The legislation --- which lawmakers passed during a special legislative session last year following nationwide protests --- bar no-knock warrants, limit use of chokeholds and authorize the attorney general to investigate local departments.From our story about the reforms after they were signed by the governor in November:Banning police from executing no-knock search warrants Called Breonna’s Law after Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed during a late-night raid in Louisville, the legislation makes Virginia just the third state...

After nearly three years living in Richmond church to avoid deportation, an immigrant leaves sanctuary

A Honduran woman who sheltered in the basement of a Richmond church for nearly three years to avoid deportation by ICE has moved back in with her family in Henrico.Abbie Arevalo and her lawyer cited new guidelines issued by President Joe Biden’s administration, which allowed her to obtain a one-year stay of removal while her asylum case works its way through immigration courts.“When I came here, I knew no one and I was afraid,” Arevalo, 33, said in a statement thanking the congregation for taking her in. “Today I am happy to have my freedom but am reminded I...

General Assembly wraps up work, ongoing struggles at Employment Commission, newly approved vaccine doses headed to Virginia, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• The General Assembly wrapped up its work for the year Saturday, but for procedural reasons will reconvene today for a pro forma session to formally gavel out.—Associated Press, Washington Post, VPM• Almost a year since the pandemic led to an unprecedented surge of unemployment insurance claims, the state agency that administers the benefits continues to struggle to complete basic tasks like processing applications and answering phones.—Richmond Times-Dispatch• Slightly loosened coronavirus restrictions go into effect today. A cap on outdoor social gatherings increases from 10 to 25, and restaurants will be able to continue...

General Assembly passes three-month extension of Dominion electric bill relief

As the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic continue, the Virginia General Assembly has approved an extension of relief to customers of Dominion Energy, Virginia's largest utility, who are behind on their electric bills. Under a provision of the compromise budget released by the House of Delegates and Senate earlier this week and passed by both chambers Saturday, Dominion will be directed to forgive customers’ unpaid balances that were more than 30 days in arrears as of Dec. 31, 2020. The move builds on earlier action by the General Assembly during its special session to address COVID-19 and criminal justice issues...