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Virginia Mercury

COVID shots at colleges, NRA skips Youngkin for endorsement, ‘Roller Dude’ is back, and more headlines

BY: - July 23, 2021

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • Gov. Ralph Northam said he’s leaving the decision to mandate COVID-19 vaccination up to colleges and universities.—VPM • The National Rifle Association skipped over GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, even as it endorsed other Republican candidates on the ticket.—Richmond Times-Dispatch • Police […]

Feds: Florida, Missouri, Texas account for 40 percent of all COVID-19 cases this week

BY: - July 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — Amid a rise in infections and hospitalizations from the surging delta variant of COVID-19, the Biden administration is boosting money and other assistance to the hardest-hit areas of the country. This week, just three states with lower vaccination rates — Florida, Texas and Missouri — accounted for 40 percent of all cases nationwide.  […]

Lobbyists load Va. lawmakers onto private jet to kick off push to loosen slots laws

BY: - July 22, 2021

A coalition of gambling companies hoping to get slot machines back into Virginia convenience stores and bars kicked off its legislative push this week with a private flight for four lawmakers to Chicago. While the plush jet raised some eyebrows — Virginia politicians have generally eschewed gifts of private air travel after scandal consumed former […]

Virginia Mercury

Youngkin’s property taxes, McAuliffe’s first TV spot, gun violence in Portsmouth and more headlines

BY: - July 22, 2021

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin got the property taxes on his Fairfax County horse farm reduced by 95 percent last year after petitioning local leaders to have the land designated as an agricultural district. The move lowered the amount he owed from […]

U.S. Senate Republicans block advance of bipartisan infrastructure plan, but talks continue

BY: - July 22, 2021

WASHINGTON —  Senate Democrats’ attempt to start debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan was blocked by Republicans on a party-line vote Wednesday, as lawmakers hustle to wrap up negotiations over drafting that legislation. In the 49-51 test vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.), switched his vote to “no,” a procedural move that […]

Virginia’s new school COVID-19 guidance keeps most safety decisions in the hands of local districts

BY: - July 21, 2021

Masks, social distancing and screening should continue to play an outsized role in the upcoming school year, according to new safety guidelines released Wednesday by the Virginia Departments of Education and Health.  This year, though, state lawmakers have given local divisions much less leeway to go fully remote, citing growing mental health concerns among children […]

Virginia’s COVID-19 decline is officially over

BY: - July 21, 2021

After six months of sharp decline, COVID-19 cases in Virginia are again on the rise, spurred by the spread of more infectious variants and a plateau in new vaccinations. With just over 53 percent of the population fully vaccinated (and more than 64 percent of adults), the case burden is still far below states like […]

Canadian and western wildfires bring hazardous smoke to Virginia

BY: - July 21, 2021

Massive wildfires near the Ontario-Minnesota border as well as blazes farther west in Canada and the United States are bringing smoke throughout Virginia, causing state officials to issue a health alert Wednesday morning due to high levels of particulate matter.  “It’s basically all over the state at this point,” said Virginia Department of Environmental Quality […]

Virginia Mercury

Liberty sexual assault suit; ‘Inequitable’ college funding; Tourism and more headlines

BY: - July 21, 2021

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • “Twelve women filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Liberty University, accusing the Christian institution of a pattern of mishandling cases of sexual assault and harassment, and fostering an unsafe campus environment.”—Associated Press • Gov. Ralph Northam granted an absolute pardon to a Norfolk man […]

Some water systems push back on treatment costs for ‘forever chemicals’ regulation

BY: - July 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — Local water utilities worried about getting hit with lawsuits and high cleanup costs are stepping up their lobbying of Congress as lawmakers move to regulate toxic chemicals found in drinking water. The bill, the PFAS Action Act of 2021, has garnered bipartisan support and two Michigan lawmakers, Reps. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat, and Fred Upton, a […]

Virginia attorney general announces plan to hire state’s first cannabis lawyer

BY: - July 20, 2021

Attorney General Mark Herring says he plans to hire a lawyer dedicated to marijuana law now that the state has legalized the drug. The new addition to his staff would serve as a subject-matter expert as the state’s new Cannabis Control Authority, which Gov. Ralph Northam appointed Monday, begins work developing regulations that will govern […]

New coalition calls for statewide board to control prescription drug costs

BY: - July 20, 2021

A new coalition is calling on Virginia legislators to create an oversight board aimed at lowering the cost of pharmaceuticals across the commonwealth. “We have formed because the problem is clear and it is grave,” said Addison Hunter, a spokesperson for Freedom Virginia, one of several advocacy groups — including Doctors for America and Virginia […]