Ralph Northam

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's long-running debate over whether to expand Medicaid has new life after a Democratic wave in last year's election. Several successful candidates campaigned directly on the issue and advocates are hopeful that Virginia will join a majority of other states to pass expansion after years of opposition.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A push to bring Virginia in line with almost every other state and ban the personal use of campaign funds has little chance of success this year.

Elected officials in both parties have advocated for a ban, including Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

But a Senate panel voted Tuesday against a bill to prohibit using campaign funds for personal use, instead sending the measure for further study. The move signals that there aren't enough votes in the Senate to pass the measure this year.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A series of bills to facilitate the removal or relocation of Confederate statues has been voted down after top Virginia Democrats called for Confederate statues to be taken down.

A House of Delegates subcommittee overwhelmingly voted down the series of bills.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Wednesday's vote means that the state won't be getting rid of its memorials to the lost cause anytime soon because another panel already voted down a similar bill in the Senate.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A push to bring Virginia in line with almost every other state and ban the personal use of campaign funds has little chance of success this year.

Elected officials in both parties have advocated for a ban, including Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

But a Senate panel voted Tuesday against a bill to prohibit using campaign funds for personal use, instead sending the measure for further study. The move signals that there aren't enough votes in the Senate to pass the measure this year.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Republicans are softening their opposition to expanding the state's Medicaid program.

House Speaker Kirk Cox sent a letter to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday saying his caucus is willing to begin a dialogue on healthcare.

But Cox says Republicans still oppose a "straightforward" expansion of the publicly funded healthcare program for the poor and disabled, and that any discussion must include work requirements and other reforms favored by the GOP.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Ralph Northam has announced $1 million in grant funds is available to law enforcement agencies seeking to upgrade their technology and equipment.

The grants are federal funds awarded to the state by the U.S. Department of Justice from the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program.

In addition to upgrading technology and equipment, law enforcement agencies can also use the funds to enhance officer recruitment efforts and create programs to help officers effectively cope with work-related stress.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - New Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is asking the Republican-backed General Assembly to pass a progressive agenda that includes expanding Medicaid, stricter gun regulations and protecting abortion rights.

The governor made his remarks in a major address to state lawmakers Monday, saying that voters sent a clear message in last November's election when Democrats made major gains.

His remarks came the same day a GOP-led legislative panel defeated a top Northam priority to expand background checks on gun buyers.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia state Senate panel has defeated a Democratic push for stricter gun laws.

A Republican-led panel voted Monday to block legislation that would allow cities and counties to ban firearms at certain public events. The bill came in response to a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville last summer where several participants were heavily armed. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe enacted similar rules on a temporary basis last November.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Democratic Gov.-elect Ralph Northam says curbing gun violence and expanding Medicaid will be two of his top legislative priorities after he takes office Saturday.

Northam spoke with outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe at a press conference Tuesday, one day before the start of the General Assembly session. The two laid out a joint legislative package.

It includes legislation that would implement universal background checks for gun purchases. It also calls for Medicaid expansion to cover more low-income Virginians.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia General Assembly is set to kick off its 2018 session.

Lawmakers will officially convene at noon Wednesday, and a host of new faces will fill the House of Delegates, where Democrats picked up 15 seats in the November elections.

Later in the day, outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe will give his final State of the Commonwealth address.

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