Ralph Northam

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a bill requiring jails and prisons to supply feminine health products to inmates for free.

WVIR-TV reported Wednesday that House Bill 83 will go into effect on July 1. State jails and prisons used to decide individually what they would charge for pads and tampons. Incarcerated women sometimes had to pay up to several dollars. This law now requires the Department of Corrections to ensure a free supply at every jail and prison in the state.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The state of Virginia is developing a new data-driven way to prioritize what parcels of land should be a top priority for conservation.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the new strategy Tuesday.

Matt Strickler is the state's secretary of natural resources. He says the new analysis method will weigh factors like biodiversity, water quality protection and high-value forest cores.

Strickler says the system should be up and running in a "matter of months." He says it's too soon to say what parcels of land will be a top priority. 

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has asked the federal government to make more than 200 low-income areas eligible for new tax breaks.

Northam said last week that he'd nominated 212 so-called "opportunity zones" to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

A new tax overhaul passed last year allows for tax breaks for certain kinds of investments in certain designated low-income census tracks.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia lawmakers have rejected a proposal by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to raise taxes to help improve the Washington-area's struggling public transit system.

House Republicans voted Wednesday against small increases on real estate and hotel taxes in Northern Virginia to fund Metro. The new taxes would have raised about $30 million a year.

Instead, the state will rely more on existing funding for road projects to help cover the state's $150 million a year in new Metro spending.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Richmond International Film Festival has named former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe as the recipient of its 2018 Pioneer Award for Excellence in Public Service & Leadership.

Each year, the festival honors state and national leaders who are paving a future path in leadership and evoking change in communities.

This year, McAuliffe was chosen for effectively ending homelessness among the state's military veterans.

The award will be presented to McAuliffe by Gov. Ralph Northam during the festival's Military Spotlight on April 29.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has vetoed legislation that would have limited his authority to institute a carbon cap-and-trade plan.

Northam, a Democrat, announced Monday he had spiked a bill that requires legislative approval before Virginia can participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade program among Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states that mandates emission reductions in the power sector.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has vetoed a bill aimed at preventing so-called "sanctuary cities" in the state.

Northam, a Democrat, said the legislation is an unneeded burden on local law enforcement officials and "sends a chilling message."

The Republican-backed legislation blocks cities and counties from passing laws that "restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws."

A sanctuary city is a term without legal definition but generally means a locality that limits cooperation with federal immigration enforcement activities.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed legislation that will soften the penalties for people caught stealing smaller-dollar items.

The Democratic governor announced Wednesday that he'd approved a bill that raises the state's felony theft threshold from $200 to $500.

Virginia has kept its felony bar at $200 since 1980 and is tied with New Jersey for the lowest in the country. Northam said raising the threshold was a legislative priority, but had previously pushed for it to be set at $1,000.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is set to introduce a new budget for next month's special session.

Northam will discuss his proposal at a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The governor announced last week that he was calling state lawmakers back to work in April after they adjourned the regular 2018 session without passing a state spending plan.

The GOP-led General Assembly is split on whether to expand Medicaid to about 300,000 low-income Virginians. The House supports expansion while the Senate does not.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is calling state lawmakers back to work next month to pass a state budget.

Northam, a Democrat, announced Tuesday that he's calling a special session on April 11. The move comes after lawmakers adjourned the regular 2018 session last week without passing a state spending plan.

The GOP-led General Assembly is split on whether to expand Medicaid to about 300,000 low-income Virginians. The House supports expansion while the Senate does not.

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