GOVERNMENT + POLITICS

In push for a new mental hospital, Northam banks on keeping patients away in the first place

BY: - March 25, 2019

Like each of Virginia’s psychiatric hospitals, Central State Hospital in Petersburg is almost always near capacity. But thanks to a broad effort to rightsize Virginia’s entire behavioral health system, Gov. Ralph Northam’s new plan to replace the outdated facility might actually cut the total number of beds. Following a brief tour of one of the […]

Both sides seek political leverage from Mueller’s findings; Virginia Democrats call for report’s release

BY: - March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON — The conclusions of the long-awaited report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller have Republicans declaring victory for President Trump, as Democrats demand more answers and pledge further investigations. The four-page summary of Mueller’s report into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was submitted to lawmakers Sunday by Attorney General William Barr. According […]

A historic sign over State Street in Bristol, which serves as the Tennessee-Virginia border through downtown. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Desperate for jobs, one of Virginia’s most conservative cities turns to marijuana and casinos

BY: - March 25, 2019

BRISTOL — There are two big projects slated for a vacant shopping mall here. One, a medical marijuana production center and dispensary, has been utterly uncontroversial. The second, a destination casino resort, has divided the city. “This is an attack on the Bible Belt,” says Dewey Williams, an evangelical Baptist preacher who leads a congregation […]

Bill establishes Virginia African-American Advisory Board

BY: - March 22, 2019

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 has signed legislation creating a 21-member African-American advisory board aimed at building a “more accessible, inclusive and equitable commonwealth.” The bill, sponsored by Del. Lamont Bagby, a Henrico Democrat and chairman […]

COMMENTARY

Can we make our politics less vicious and dumb? Or has the horse left the barn?

BY: - March 22, 2019

What’s even a low blow or cheap shot anymore in this begrimed age of Trump? Have we all sunken permanently into the mud of a new, no-holds-barred normal, where apologizing is anathema, facts are irrelevant and trying to score points is all that matters? Politics has always been vicious, angry and often dumb, but spend […]

Hospitals could take financial hit under Medicaid work requirements, study found

BY: - March 22, 2019

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary. A new study from the Commonwealth Fund found that Medicaid work requirements not only will cause more people to lose insurance, but could also increase uncompensated care and hurt hospitals’ bottom line as well. […]

Governor signs coal ash cleanup bill

BY: - March 22, 2019

By Adrian Teran-Tapia/ Capital News Service Environmental and consumer groups applauded Gov. Ralph Northam after he signed legislation this week that aims to protect water quality by cleaning up more than 27 million cubic yards of coal ash from unlined ponds in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Northam signed into law SB 1355, sponsored by Sen. Frank […]

Virginia transit officials drove through Elon Musk’s tunnel. They say they’ll stick with railways and roads

BY: - March 21, 2019

Virginia transit officials flew out to California earlier this year to check out a tunnel dug by Elon Musk’s Boring Company and, well, they think the state should stick with traditional railways and roads for now. “It’s a car in a very small tunnel,” Michael McLaughlin, Virginia’s chief of rail transportation, told members of the […]

In Richmond, former New Orleans mayor calls for honest dialogue on race

BY: - March 20, 2019

By Katja Timm/ Capital News Service If Civil War history is to be displayed across the American South, it must be portrayed fairly and accurately with an open dialogue about racial disparities in the region, the former mayor of New Orleans told Richmond’s mayor Tuesday. Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Richmond Mayor Levar […]

Delegate pushes for an explanation from DEQ on Mountain Valley Pipeline

BY: - March 18, 2019

Del. Chris Hurst, D-Montgomery, has asked the Department of Environmental Quality to issue a stop work order on the Mountain Valley Pipeline until a lawsuit filed by the state over hundreds of construction violations is resolved. “The destruction of our clean water in Virginia caused by the Mountain Valley Pipeline has gone on for long […]

U.S. Supreme Court weighs arguments in Virginia’s redistricting case

BY: - March 18, 2019

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided over a high-stakes political gerrymandering case that could affect control of Virginia’s legislature. The justices heard oral arguments Monday in the case of Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, in which the House of Delegates is appealing a lower court’s ruling that 11 districts in Virginia had […]

Four years ago, a woman was left stranded in her independent living apartment for days. Should the state provide more oversight?

BY: - March 18, 2019

More than four years later, Diane Franklin’s children still choke up when they describe what happened to their mother. It was Dec. 13, 2015, and as she approached Franklin’s apartment in a Charlottesville independent living community, Jackie Carney could already smell urine. Franklin had been trapped there for four days, her broken clavicle preventing her […]