Virginia doesn’t have licensed poker rooms. A state gambling board chairman opened one anyway.

BY: - September 28, 2021

When a new Virginia law took effect last year letting charities run Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournaments, the charitable gaming industry, usually associated with fading bingo halls, was eager to get going.  Maybe a little too eager, according to lobbyist Matt Benka, who warned state officials on behalf of the now-dissolved Virginia Charitable Poker Association […]

Senate GOP torpedoes U.S. government funding bill, raising odds of federal fiscal crises

BY: - September 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Republicans blocked an attempt by Democrats on Monday evening to begin debate on a broad bill that would avert multiple looming fiscal crises for the federal government. The measure to briefly keep the government operating past the end of the fiscal year on Thursday, as well as to increase the borrowing […]

Biden administration rolls out new rule to bolster DACA as lawsuit continues

BY: - September 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday unveiled a proposed new rule that would strengthen the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to protect undocumented people in the program from legal challenges. The proposed rule, announced by the Department of Homeland Security, would “preserve and fortify” the DACA program, an Obama administration-era initiative that protects […]

Under expanded federal guidance, booster shots are now widely available to Virginians

BY: - September 27, 2021

After a slew of rapid-fire — and sometimes contradictory — federal recommendations last week, hundreds of thousands of Virginians are now eligible for COVID-19 booster shots.  And while state health officials are still awaiting clarification on some of the criteria, they say the doses are now widely available to anybody who wants one. Unlike the […]

VCU students indicted in fraternity hazing death and more Virginia headlines

BY: - September 27, 2021

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • “As COVID-19 cases rise among children and almost 8,000 students and staff members in Fredericksburg-area schools have been quarantined from possible exposure, pediatricians across Virginia (who) are dealing with the virus and various other sicknesses among their patients describe conditions as ‘the worst […]

Republican official attacked by Trump decries ‘huge disinformation campaign’

BY: - September 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who took the brunt of former President Donald Trump’s attacks over Georgia’s 2020 election results, said during a Friday virtual panel that he hopes election disinformation starts to dissipate. “People weren’t questioning the (election) process before, but there was a huge disinformation campaign which really destabilized […]

Vaccine mandates don’t appear to be driving the current nursing shortage in Virginia

BY: - September 27, 2021

Last week, the Virginia Nurses Association held a virtual news conference to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike in the summer, the tone wasn’t optimistic. This time, nurses across the state had gathered to share the growing toll of providing intensive care amid worsening staffing shortages. “Our nurses are mentally depleted, exhausted and traumatized,” said association […]

Antibody treatment is rising in Virginia, raising hopes — and concerns — from providers

BY: - September 27, 2021

For the last nine months, Augusta Health has been mounting an intensive immunization campaign, administering more than 85,000 doses across its small community in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. “Given that we don’t have unlimited resources, we’ve chosen to focus most recently on the vaccination efforts,” said John Mack, chief operating officer of the hospital system. But faced […]

ICYMI: Top stories and commentary from the past week

BY: - September 25, 2021

The best of the Mercury’s news coverage and commentary from the week that was NEWS •  ‘Resilience in the face of horror and pain’: Emancipation and Freedom Monument unveiled in Richmond •  Can Southwest Virginia remake itself as a laboratory for renewables? • In numbers: Virginia’s struggle to distribute unemployment benefits • Many state employees remain unvaccinated […]

Virginia Mercury

Majority of voters support vaccine mandates in schools and more Virginia headlines

BY: - September 24, 2021

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • “About a month into the school year, a clear majority of Virginia voters support coronavirus vaccine mandates in schools, while a smaller majority supports such requirements for in-person workers in the state, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll.”—Washington Post • Donald Trump said […]

Who will get a booster shot? A Q-and-A about what the feds are saying

BY: - September 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — Booster shots soon will begin rolling out to some Americans who received the two-shot vaccine made by Pfizer—after a contentious and confusing federal approval process that isn’t over yet. Determining who exactly should be rolling up their sleeves for an additional dose was tricky. The Biden administration had leapfrogged federal regulatory panels in […]

Led by Roanoke, Virginia cities and counties begin taxing plastic bags 

BY: - September 24, 2021

Less than a year after a 2020 Virginia law allowed local governments to impose a five-cent tax on certain disposable plastic bags, cities and counties are opting in to cut down on plastic waste.  “We’ve had a longstanding commitment to get rid of the bags,” said Nell Boyle, the sustainability outreach coordinator for the city […]