virginia

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - For the better part of three decades, Virginia operated one of the busiest execution chambers in the nation. Not anymore.

Statistics compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center show that Virginia has sent only six people to death row in the last nine years after sending 40 over the previous eight years. As a result, the state only has eight inmates awaiting execution - down from a high of 57 in 1995.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Newly filed finance reports show Virginia Republican state lawmakers have a large cash advantage over their Democratic counterparts going into this year's campaign season.

But Democrats say they don't have as much in the bank because they're already spending it on efforts similar to what helped their candidates, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe, sweep all three statewide offices in 2013.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's state revenues are higher than previously projected with March collections up nearly 12 percent higher than a year ago.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe's office released figures Monday showing that total revenue collections are up 7.1 percent so far this fiscal year. That's more than 2 percentage points higher than the growth projected in a budget lawmakers approved in the 2015 legislative session.

McAuliffe said the strong revenues are a sign that Virginia's economy is improving.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed a new state budget that includes a pay increases for state employees, boosts cash benefits for welfare recipients and has more money for the governor to spend on economic development.

The Democratic governor signed the budget Thursday at the Capitol while touting his good working relationship with Republican leaders on the state's spending plan.

McAuliffe did not try and amend the budget that state lawmakers approved last month.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - The governor of Virginia is calling for an investigation into the arrest of a college student who was shown in a photo with his face bloody as he was held down by an officer.

Charlottesville General District Court records show that Martese Johnson is charged with obstruction of justice without force and public swearing or intoxication. The Alcoholic Beverage Control agent who made the arrest, listed in court records as J. Miller, said in the arrest report that Johnson "was very agitated and belligerent."

from Maureen McDonnell

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - If prosecutors get their way, former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell could become the first modern-day governor's spouse sent to prison for felonies she was convicted of committing while she held the mostly ceremonial position.

McDonnell will be sentenced for public corruption Friday in federal court in Richmond. Prosecutors have recommended an 18-month sentence - six months less than former Gov. Bob McDonnell got last month when he was convicted. Maureen McDonnell's attorneys requested probation and 4,000 hours of community service.

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Signups for Maryland's Health connection are down by 10.4 percent so far.

That's despite efforts to increase the enrollment numbers, including a larger call center staff and a streamlined website.

February 15th was the enrollment deadline.

And, only 264,245 people have signed up.

That's compared to 295,077 during last year's longer open enrollment period.

But, the numbers are not final yet.

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LOTTSBURG, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Farm Bureau says the state's oyster harvest rose 25 percent last year, passing the 500,000-bushel mark.

Officials say more than 504,000 bushels of oysters were harvested during the 2013-2014 season, up from almost 409,000 bushels in the previous season. The latest harvest is the largest since 1987.

The dockside value of that harvest increased to $22.2 million, with an estimated economic impact of more than $58 million.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - State employees and public school teachers would get a small pay increase under new budget proposals.

Both chambers of the GOP-controlled General Assembly unveiled proposed budgets Sunday that include varying levels of raises for state workers between 1.5 percent and 3 percent.

The Senate is proposing slightly higher pay increases for state employees than the House.

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe did not include across-the-board pay increases for state employees in the budget he proposed in December, but has said he supports them.

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Maryland and Delaware will not be participating in oil exploration off the Atlantic Coast.

But the state of Virginia will.

The Obama Administration recently announced that it is opening up the Atlantic Coast for off shore drilling – something that former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley came out against in a New York Times Op-Ed.

He said that the lessons of oil spills like the BP incident in the Gulf have been forgotten.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Republican-controlled state Senate committee has defeated an attempt to repeal a 2012 law requiring a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound procedure first.
 
The Education and Health Committee rejected Sen. Mamie Locke's repeal bill Thursday on an 8-7 party-line vote.
 
Locke, a Hampton Democrat, called the ultrasound requirement an invasive, medically unnecessary impediment to women seeking a legal medical procedure.
 
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Medical Society of Virginia support repeal of the law.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A series of gun control measures has been defeated by a Republican-controlled Virginia Senate committee.
 
The Senate Courts of Justice panel voted Monday against bills aimed at beefing up Virginia's gun control laws. The proposals include limiting handgun purchases to one a month and closing the so-called "gun show loophole" that allows sales by private sellers without a criminal background check.
 

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Average gas prices in several Virginia cities are down more than a dollar a gallon from a year ago.
 
AAA Mid-Atlantic says average prices in Roanoke and Richmond have fallen below $2 per gallon.

Univerity of Virginia Website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A new report shows enrollment is down at more than half of Virginia's public colleges and universities in the current academic year.

The report by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia says fall enrollment declined at eight of the state's 15 four-year schools, compared to fall 2013.

Total head count dropped from 214,667 students to 213,718. It's the first year-to-year decline in enrollment since 1994.

During the same period, enrollment at private, nonprofit four-year institutions rose from 131,910 students to 135,910.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - AAA Mid-Atlantic says Virginia gas prices have fallen more than $1 since the April 2014 spring peak of $3.52 per gallon.

And the auto group says that some areas of the state could see prices fall to less than $2 per gallon around the end of the year.

Gas prices historically declines from fall into winter due to a number of factors including decreased demand.

Prices in Virginia have dropped about 20 cents per month on average, bringing them to the lowest levels in four years.

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - Dominion Transmission is seeking the dismissal of a federal lawsuit challenging the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

A lawyer for the company, John D. Wilburn, says in a court filing that the lawsuit is premature and unfounded.

Five Nelson County residents filed the lawsuit in late September. They say a Virginia law relevant to the pipeline project is unconstitutional.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia roads could be a little more crowded this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

AAA Mid-Atlantic projects that 1.3 million Virginians will travel 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The auto club says that's an increase of 3.4 percent from last year.

The holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, Nov. 30.

Nationally, AAA projects 46.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2007.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Fifteen climate scientists from five Virginia universities are offering to help Gov. Terry McAuliffe develop the state's plan for meeting federal carbon reduction goals.

In a letter Monday, the scientists also told McAuliffe that Virginia is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change.

They offered to help the governor draft Virginia's response to the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, which sets state-specific goals for carbon reductions from existing power plants.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - New federal data shows that reports of forcible sex offenses at the flagship public universities of Maryland and Virginia doubled last year.

The data shows that there were 19 reports at the University of Maryland in 2013, up nine from the year before. At the University of Virginia, there were 27 reports in 2013, compared to 11 the year before.

School officials and victim advocates say the numbers reflect a growing awareness of sexual assault on campuses across the country, rather than more dangerous campus environments.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland officials will require anyone considered to have high-risk exposure to the Ebola virus to stay home until it's confirmed they're Ebola-free.

That's one of the precautionary measures that state officials outlined Monday in their plan to monitor the potential for Ebola from people who come from three West African countries.

People considered to have high-risk exposure are those who've had known, unprotected contact with bodily fluids from someone infected with Ebola. They also would be required to have daily contact with health officials.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's practice of automatically holding death row inmates in solitary confinement will be reviewed by a federal appeals court.

Experts say that if the court upholds a ruling in favor of condemned inmate Alfredo Prieto, prisoners in other death penalty states could be encouraged to file similar challenges.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe is stressing energy efficiency throughout Virginia state government.

The Democrat signed an executive order on Thursday to reduce the energy footprint of state government, and named a chief energy officer to oversee the effort.

McAuliffe has made energy efficiency a cornerstone of his four-year energy plan released this month. The executive order instructs executive branch agencies, authorities and departments to actively pursue energy efficiencies. The order extends to higher education, as well.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is planning to lay off 565 state workers and raise the prices of distilled spirits at state-owned liquor stores as he aims to close a state budget shortfall.

McAuliffe detailed his plans Wednesday as part of an effort by state officials to bridge a $2.4 billion budget gap.

McAuliffe said most of the layoffs would come from the Department of Corrections, which will close multiple facilities. It also will delay the opening of a women's correctional center.

Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Virginia

Oct 7, 2014

In Virginia same-sex couples will be celebrating their nuptials with a state sanctioned marriage license.

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear appeals to enforce a ban on same-sex marriage by five states including Virginia.

That action immediately legalized same-sex marriage in the state.

In Northampton County, the court clerk Traci Johnson said she and her counterparts in the rest of the state will begin receiving instructions and revised forms via email for issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

Virginia Board of Elections

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia State Board of Elections says about 450,000 voters in Virginia may lack the proper identification needed to cast a ballot in the November midterm elections.

A state law that took effect this year requires Virginia voters to some have form of photo identification at their polling stations before they cast a vote.

The Washington Post reports that driver's licenses are the most common form of ID in the state. And according to data from the state board, 457,931 voters in Virginia are without those.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's attorney says his client didn't get a fair trial and will appeal his convictions on public corruption charges.

McDonnell was convicted Thursday on 11 of 13 counts in a case that derailed the career of the onetime rising Republican star. His wife, Maureen, was convicted of nine of 13 charges.

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Delaware and Virginia along with 19 other states have failed to meet national emergency plan requirements for schools and childcare providers.

That’s the conclusion of the of Save the Children’s 2014 Disaster Report Card.

But the report found that 69 percent of parents in those 21 states mistakenly believe there are plans in place.

Virginia and Delaware failed to have a plan for children with disabilities.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Maryland court has weighed in on a dispute over the state boundaries of Virginia and Maryland along the Potomac River.

At issue was whether the state line between the states moved over time as the profile of the shoreline changed through natural erosion and growth.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals court ruled Friday that the low-water-mark boundary in the Potomac River moves and isn't fixed where the mark was when the boundary was established in 1877.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The public corruption case against former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, is in the hands of a federal jury.

The seven-man, five-woman jury left the courtroom to begin deliberations Tuesday after hearing nearly two hours of instructions from U.S. District Judge James Spencer. The jury heard from dozens of witnesses over a five-week trial.

The McDonnells are charged with doing special favors for Jonnie Williams, the former CEO of dietary supplements maker Star Scientific Inc., in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans.

Don Rush

BALTIMORE (AP) - Advocacy groups say hundreds of Maryland and Virginia voters may have cast two ballots, one in each state.

The Maryland State Prosecutor's Office is investigating an allegation made by two groups, Virginia Voters Alliance and Election Integrity Maryland. Those groups say there is evidence of double voting among some Maryland and Virginia residents.

Virginia Voters Alliance says it found that 164 people cast ballots in 2012 in both Maryland and Virginia, which is illegal under federal law.

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