VIRGINIA EXPLAINED

Two Hampton Roads health systems’ legal battle reignites old debate over state’s medical facility policy

BY: - May 18, 2021

For years, a battle between two competing hospital systems in Hampton Roads has spilled into the halls of the Virginia Capitol and the hands of sometimes reluctant legislators. Now, it’s spilled into the court system. In late April, Chesapeake Regional Medical Center sued Sentara, the region’s dominant health system, claiming Sentara worked deliberately to “cripple” […]

Virginia isn’t eliminating accelerated math courses. But it’s one of many states rethinking math education.

BY: - April 26, 2021

A minor political furor erupted in Virginia last week — over math. It started with a Fox News story declaring that the state Department of Education was moving to eliminate all accelerated math classes before 11th grade, “effectively keeping higher-achieving students from advancing as they usually would in the school system.” Republican leaders soon joined […]

The State Corporation Commission

Virginia explained: What’s a triennial review and why should you care?

BY: - April 9, 2021

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 utility’s biggest battle of the year. […]

Virginia teachers are going to be assessed on ‘cultural competency.’ What does that mean?

BY: - April 1, 2021

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 Little, who lives in Prince […]

Virginia’s new big tech-backed data privacy law is the nation’s second. Critics say it doesn’t go far enough.

BY: - March 30, 2021

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 of Virginia’s effort to become […]

Two per train? Why legislation mandating train crew size keeps getting filed.

BY: - February 4, 2021

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 to the House Labor and […]

Yes, disobeying Virginia’s mask order could carry a criminal charge. But Northam appears to be counting on compliance.

BY: - May 28, 2020

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 like Maryland and Michigan […]

The State Corporation Commission

Virginia is poised to create its own health insurance marketplace. Here’s what you need to know.

BY: - February 17, 2020

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 stabilize the often-volatile health plan […]

Virginia Explained: What does it mean to be ‘in the public interest’? And what does that have to do with offshore wind?

BY: - February 3, 2020

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 be in the public interest […]

Why stormwater poses an increasing challenge for Virginia

BY: - January 22, 2020

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 inches of rain […]

Va. Democrats face a growing menu of redistricting reform options. Only one binds them for 2021.

BY: - January 15, 2020

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 redistricting commission that would reduce […]

Virginia Explained: The growing debate (and divide) on right to work

BY: - December 11, 2019

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 presidential contenders: whether they should […]