GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2021

Amid a crisis at state mental hospitals, calls for private providers to step up

BY: - July 20, 2021

As Virginia’s state-run mental hospitals struggle to navigate a long-brewing crisis in staffing and admissions, lawmakers and advocates are asking private hospitals to relieve more of the burden. For years, officials have warned that Virginia’s beleaguered psychiatric facilities were on the verge of collapse. But the system reached a tipping point earlier this month when […]

Helicopters, cash payments and a new public health lab: How state agencies propose spending Virginia’s rescue fund money

BY: , , and - July 8, 2021

Virginia has $4.3 billion in federal aid to spend and no shortage of ideas. State agencies hoping to tap into American Rescue Plan funds have submitted wish lists that top more than $18 billion, floating proposals ranging from new helicopters for Virginia State Police to $1,000 cash payments for essential workers.  Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration […]

Defying early expectations, Virginia is coming out of the pandemic flush with cash

BY: - June 17, 2021

Fourteen months ago, Virginia policymakers dramatically curtailed their ambitions for the state budget, expecting the COVID-19 pandemic to bring havoc to the economy and, by extension, the tax dollars that fund the government. As the world moves closer to normal, Virginia is flush with cash, with officials expecting a budget surplus that could exceed $1 […]

COMMENTARY

Can Virginia legislate away the NIMBYs?

BY: - May 26, 2021

In less than six weeks, Virginia will become just the third state in the nation to officially go on the books as saying no to NIMBYs. Pro-housing advocates increasingly peg the “Not In My Backyard” naysayers as the main culprit behind America’s historic low of new housing construction over the past decade, since one of […]

Virginia legalized it, but people in prison on marijuana charges will stay there under new law

BY: - April 23, 2021

Marijuana will be legal to possess and grow in Virginia on July 1, but people serving jail and prison sentences related to the drug will remain behind bars under legislation passed by the General Assembly earlier this month. Lawmakers had considered including a provision that would have granted resentencing hearings to people incarcerated on certain […]

FOIA bill allows some access to criminal investigation records

BY: - April 20, 2021

By Anya Sczerzenie/ Capital News Service A bill allowing the public access to limited criminal investigation records will go into effect in July, along with a handful of other bills related to government transparency. Del. Chris Hurst, D-Blacksburg, a former television reporter, introduced House Bill 2004. The bill requires files related to non-ongoing criminal investigations […]

Va. Senate rejects Northam’s push to include part-time workers in retirement savings program

BY: - April 10, 2021

Part-time employees won’t be included in Virginia’s new auto-IRA program after a contingent of Senate Democrats rejected Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposal to broaden an initiative meant to encourage more lower-income workers to save for retirement. The program, set to take effect no sooner than 2023, will require businesses that don’t offer retirement benefits to give […]

Brownies, revenge and a doctor’s touch: inside the close vote to legalize marijuana in Virginia

BY: - April 10, 2021

It was a few hours until the General Assembly would vote on final amendments to legislation that would make Virginia the first state in the South to legalize marijuana and Sen. Adam Ebbin, one of the bill’s Senate patrons, was feeling confident. As a joke, he stopped by a Richmond bakery to pick up a […]

Va. lawmakers approve Parole Board changes, money for investigation of Inspector General’s probe

BY: - April 7, 2021

The Virginia General Assembly voted Wednesday to tighten some Virginia Parole Board procedures at issue in a series of critical watchdog reports last year, while approving funding for an outside investigation into how one of those reports was prepared and edited. Disagreement over the direction of that investigation led to fiery speeches from Republican legislators, […]

Marijuana will be legal in Virginia on July 1. Here’s what is and isn’t permitted under the new law.

BY: - April 7, 2021

This story was originally published on April 7, 2021, and was updated June 24, 2021. On July 1, Virginia becomes the first state in the South to legalize marijuana. “The time has come,” said House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, as the legislation she sponsored passed earlier year. It’s a development that even the most […]

Virginia’s HIV transmission penalty will remain on the books

BY: - April 2, 2021

Many Virginians living with HIV were hoping for a total repeal of the state’s “infected sexual battery” law — a section of code that makes it a felony for someone living with HIV, syphilis or Hepatitis B to engage in sexual activity “with the intent to transmit the infection to another person.” But advocates said […]

With Northam’s endorsement, Virginia is poised to speed marijuana legalization to July 1

BY: - March 31, 2021

Virginians could be harvesting their first legal crops of home-grown marijuana later this year under legislative amendments Gov. Ralph Northam says he’s sending to the General Assembly. Northam said Wednesday he is proposing changes to the marijuana legalization bill passed by the General Assembly last month that would end the state’s prohibition on the drug […]