Virginia Explained: The debate over student expectations

BY: - March 29, 2023

Throughout his tenure, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration has focused on the need to “raise expectations” in Virginia public education. As proof, officials have pointed to drops in proficiency ratings and test scores on both state assessments and the National Assessment of Educational Progress.  The culprit, says the Youngkin administration, are decisions by the previous Virginia […]

Tulips are blooming at the Virginia Capitol, but a budget deal remained elusive Monday. (Photo by Graham Moomaw)

Virginia Explained: How the state got its parents’ rights law

BY: - October 20, 2022

The Virginia law widely cited by Republicans as the foundation for their push to empower parents began with a legal dispute about when sperm donors should and shouldn’t be considered fathers. In 2013, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled that a man whose sperm had been used in an assisted conception process with his long-term […]

Virginia Explained: How can you save on residential solar?

BY: - July 22, 2022

Scammy internet ads and dubious “qualification” surveys about solar installation in Virginia abound online, but it is difficult to find clear, accurate information on what the state and federal government are doing to encourage cleaner energy consumption. With a price tag similar to that of a used car, Virginia homeowners looking to make a financial […]

Same-day voter registration is coming to Virginia. Here’s how it’ll work.

BY: - July 13, 2022

The big change to Virginia’s voting laws in the last two years made casting a ballot easier for people who like to get things done early. A new law taking effect this fall will do the same for procrastinators. Same-day voter registration is taking effect in the state in time for the congressional midterms in […]

Virginia explained: the lawsuit trying to force new House elections

BY: - April 29, 2022

When the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the 2020 U.S. census, Virginia had a uniquely big problem. As the only two states with legislative elections scheduled for 2021, Virginia and New Jersey had a more urgent need to get the new population data and start the redistricting process in order to have new political maps in time […]

In push for school choice, Youngkin’s hope may lie in a lesser-known option

BY: - February 7, 2022

Late last week, Gov. Glenn Youngkin gathered more than two dozen leaders from Virginia colleges and universities to tout an educational initiative that’s largely faded from the state’s lexicon.  The governor was urging General Assembly lawmakers to support his push for “lab schools” — partnerships, he said, between institutions of higher learning and K-12 school […]

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. 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]