VIRGINIA EXPLAINED

Shedding light on the state’s policy debates

For the first time in six years, Virginia's largest utility, which serves two-thirds of Virginia's residential customers, will submit to a review of its base rates. Dominion Energy's "triennial review," coming after years of regulators reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in company overearnings, will likely be the powerful...
Makya Little was helping her fourth-grade daughter review for the Virginia Studies SOL, a standardized test on state history, when she found herself taken aback by one of the questions on the study guide.“She gets to this one question that says ‘What’s the status of the early African?’” said...
When Virginia's General Assembly first took up legislation billed as a major step toward giving regular people more control over their data in an increasingly online world, some of the first testimony lawmakers heard came from tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon.Both companies said they were in full support...
Every year over the past three years, lawmakers in Virginia’s General Assembly have introduced legislation that would require railroads moving freight through the commonwealth “to operate with a crew of at least two individuals.” This year, it's being pushed by Del. Jeion Ward, D-Hampton, in a bill that's been referred...
Timing wasn’t the only thing that set Gov. Ralph Northam’s new mask mandate apart.When he announced the emergency order on Tuesday, more than a month later than nearby counterparts including Maryland and New Jersey, Northam repeatedly emphasized that enforcement would be different than similar requirements in other areas. While states...
Virginia is poised to become the 14th state to create its own health insurance exchange via two bills working their way through both chambers of the General Assembly.Filed on behalf of Gov. Ralph Northam, who endorsed new health care initiatives in a column last October, the legislation aims to...
Q: What do 5,000 megawatts of solar and wind energy,1 the building of a new coal-fired power plant in Southwest Virginia,2 the creation of the Fort Monroe Authority3 and the development of intercity passenger rail4 have in common?A: All of them have at one time or another been found to...
On July 8, as rush hour clogged the roads of Alexandria, a slow-moving southbound storm caused a deluge of rain to fall over the city.And fall. And fall. And fall.All throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, precipitation and flood records were shattered.By the end of a single hour, 3.44...
Virginia's new Democratic majorities will have at least three different redistricting reform proposals to choose from in the 2020 session. But only one would take away the General Assembly's constitutional power to redraw the state's political maps next year.For years, Democrats have called for the creation of an independent...
Incoming Democratic majorities in Virginia agree on a lot when it comes to labor policy. They’ve pledged to raise the minimum wage, address paid family leave and ban employment discrimination against LGBT people.But one question has sharply divided the party and even drawn the attention of two leading Democratic...