virginia

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the state's economy is improving and he won't have to cut as much from the state budget as previously thought.
    
McAuliffe told reporters that he and other state officials are "cautiously optimistic" about the direction of the state's economy, in part because of an increase in state payroll tax revenues in recent months.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia state lawmakers are forming a new panel to monitor changes in federal health care policy under President-elect Donald Trump.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that House Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones and Senate Finance Co-Chairman Emmett W. Hanger Jr. are creating the panel to help lawmakers prepare for the changes to, or the repeal of, the Affordable Care Act.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - AAA is projecting that 1.3 million Virginians will travel 50 miles or more from home for the Thanksgiving holiday, the most travelers in Virginia since 2007.

AAA said in a statement Tuesday that its projected number is an increase of nearly 50,000 since last year.

AAA defines the Thanksgiving holiday travel period as Nov. 23 to Nov. 27. AAA says about 90 percent of Virginians are expected to travel by automobile, 7 percent by air and 2 percent by other means.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Department of Elections says nearly 28,000 people registered to vote during a brief extension of the state's voter-registration deadline.

A federal judge granted the deadline's extension Thursday after heavy demand prevented some voters from registering online. U.S. Senior Judge Claude Hilton had ordered officials to reopen voter registration in the commonwealth and keep it open until 11:59 p.m. Friday.

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McLEAN, Va. (AP) - Republican congressional candidates in Virginia are trying to mollify the pro-Trump and anti-Trump wings in their party as political pundits say Democrats' chances of picking up multiple seats in the commonwealth are increasing.

The GOP currently controls eight of Virginia's 11 House seats. Handicappers say Democrats' prospects are increasing as Hillary Clinton has built a wide lead over Donald Trump in Virginia.

Women in Politics

Jul 25, 2016
Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland has been among leading states in electing women to political offices for decades, but the state could have its first all-male congressional delegation in more than 40 years unless at least one of two Republicans or a third-party candidate wins in November in the heavily Democratic state.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The drug fentanyl caused more deaths in Virginia last year than any other prescription painkiller.

The Richmond Times Dispatch reports that the number of deaths caused by fentanyl rose from 48 in 2007 to 134 in 2014. Last year, the death was linked to an estimated 221 deaths in the state.

That's more than any other opioid besides heroin.

Fentanyl is prescribed by doctors and comes in a patch that's placed on the skin. Addicts have learned to isolate the drug from the patch and snort or inject the drug.

Virginia State Police

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A new report says violent crime was up slightly and property crime decreased in Virginia in 2015.

According to the Virginia State Police report released Thursday, violent crime increased by less than 1 percent from the previous year. Violent crime includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Homicides alone increased from 337 to 382, an increase of 13.4 percent.

The property crime category includes burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. Those crimes were down a little more than 2 percent. 

Drug offenses were virtually unchanged.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe says Virginia tourism revenues increased more than 2 percent last year over 2014.

McAuliffe says tourism generated $23 billion in revenues in 2015. That's up 2.3 percent from the previous year.

The Democratic governor says the tourism industry supported 222,600 jobs in Virginia last year, which is an increase of 5,700 jobs from the previous year.

McAuliffe says 41 million people from across the country visited Virginia last year. Domestic travelers spent $63 million per day in the state.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's lagging revenues could delay a 3 percent pay raise scheduled for state employees and college faculty.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the pay raises could be affected if the state's revenues don't catch up to projections by the end of June.

Secretary of Finance Richard D. "Ric" Brown said Monday that revenue collections through April were trailing projections by 1.9 percent. The collections had also declined by 6.7 percent from the previous April.

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) - Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says he won't run for governor in 2017.

Cuccinelli told The Associated Press on Saturday at a state GOP convention that he had decided not to run.

The outspoken conservative who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2013 said another gubernatorial campaign would be too taxing on his family life.

If he'd decided to run, Cuccinelli could have been a formidable challenge to other 2017 GOP gubernatorial hopefuls - former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie and U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman.

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Smaller companies in the exploding fantasy sports industry say they could be shut out of doing business in some states by legislation that is actually intended to recognize the games' legality.

Their concern is the ability to pay fees states are charging for the right to offer the games. Virginia's governor signed a bill this month that authorizes fantasy contests but requires operators to pay a $50,000 annual registration fee to the state.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia state senators are pushing to keep secret any communications they had with outside consultants as part of an ongoing legal battle over redistricting.
 
The Daily Press reports that a bipartisan group of senators want the Virginia Supreme Court to rule on whether lawmakers have to disclose communications with consultants.
 

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gas prices in Virginia are continuing to rise.

AAA Mid-Atlantic reports that the average price of regular unleaded fuel in the state increased by 15 cents a gallon to $1.75 last week. That's still better than the $2.28 per-gallon cost at this time last year. It also beats the current national average of $1.93 a gallon, which is up 12 cents from a week ago.

The Roanoke area had the lowest average price of $1.71. The Richmond area was the highest at $1.75.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Leaders in the Virginia General Assembly have reached a compromise on a $100 billion state budget proposal that includes no new taxes or fee increases and raises state worker pay by 3 percent.

Republican leaders in both the House and Senate announced Wednesday they have agreed on a two-year state spending plan.

As expected, the budget does not include provisions related to expanding Medicaid. Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, has pushed for expanding the publicly funded health care program for the poor, but Republicans have rejected the idea.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe says Virginia remains the second-largest exporter of agricultural goods on the East Coast.

The governor says agricultural exports, which include forestry products, declined by 4.7 percent to $3.19 billion in 2015. The previous year's $3.35 billion was an all-time high.

McAuliffe says that despite the decline, Virginia is still solidly in second place in the East behind Georgia, which saw a 15 percent decrease in 2015.

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FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate John Kasich (KAY'-sihk) is planning a swing through Virginia ahead of the state's March 1 primary.

Kasich will hold a town hall at George Mason University in Fairfax at 10 a.m. Monday. The Ohio governor will then head to Charlottesville, where he'll host a 2 p.m. event at the Miller Center.

Kasich will end the day in Richmond with a town hall at 6:30 p.m. at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request from Virginia's congressional Republicans to put a new congressional map on hold and allow the 2016 elections to proceed under the old boundaries.

The high court issued its denial Monday.

Republicans are also asking the court to reverse a decision by a three-judge panel that said lawmakers in 2012 illegally packed too many black voters into the 3rd Congressional District. The court is set to hear arguments March 21.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Democrats challenging Virginia's voter ID law say they have so many witnesses lined up they need the trial extended by another week.

The plaintiffs filed a motion Thursday asking a federal judge in Richmond to schedule two weeks for the trial. A one-week trial is currently set to begin Feb. 22.

Virginia law requires voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Democrats claim the law is unconstitutional because it suppresses voting rights, especially for young and minority voters.

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With the oncoming snow storm Maryland and Virginia have declared a state of emergency as Delaware Governor Jack Markell urges residents to prepare for the winter blast.

Delaware is expected to be hit the hardest on Delmarva with up to 8 inches in Sussex County while in Salisbury the snow is expected to be 2 to 4 inches deep.

Delaware

The National Weather Service has declared a blizzard watch for New Castle and Kent counties, while Sussex County is under a winter storm watch.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia legislative panel has rejected a bill to allow early voting by everyone up to three weeks before a general election.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that the proposal by Del. Rip Sullivan of Arlington County was one of four Democrat-backed voting measures killed by a House subcommittee's Republican majority Tuesday. Two similar bills also were rejected, along with one to expedite getting 18-year-olds added to the voter rolls.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Supporters of presidential candidate Donald Trump are suing Virginia election officials over a state GOP requirement that 2016 primary voters sign a statement affirming they are Republicans.

In a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, three black pastors said such a "loyalty oath" would violate their civil rights and would discriminate against African-American and Hispanic voters.

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FINCASTLE, Va. (AP) - A Botetourt County judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by five county residents against what a developer hopes will be Virginia's first commercial wind farm.

The Roanoke Times reports Circuit Judge Paul Sheridan dismissed a lawsuit that, at the least, had threatened to slow down plans to build up to 25 giant turbines on top of North Mountain. Officials hope to have the turbines begin converting wind to electricity by the end of 2017.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe plans to detail how he wants the state's $109 billion budget spent over the next two years.

McAuliffe is set to outline his budget plan to state lawmakers Thursday at the Capitol.

The Democratic governor has already outlined some of his budget priorities, which include cutting the corporate tax rate and giving state employees a 2 percent raise.

Higher-than-predicted tax revenues have given McAuliffe more leeway in crafting his budget. 

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's legislative money committees have announced a slate of public hearings on the next state budget.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe introduces his proposed two-year, approximately $100 billion spending plan on Dec. 17. That will be the starting point for the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees, which are tasked with presenting a budget before the end of the 2016 General Assembly session.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Seventeen groups in Virginia and West Virginia are seeking a say on a 301-mile natural gas pipeline that would carve a path through both states.

The groups are seeking so-called intervenor status with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in its review of the Mountain Valley pipeline.

The groups are opposed to the energy project, contending it would cause irreparable harm to the environment and private property. The groups include the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices and Chesapeake Climate Action, among others.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Demographers say Virginia will likely pick up another U.S. House seat after the 2020 caucus.

An analysis by Carolina Demography, part of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, projects that Virginia, North Carolina and Florida will each gain one congressional seat.

Larry Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, tells the Richmond Times Dispatch that Virginia would then have its largest congressional delegation since the 1850s.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - AAA Mid-Atlantic says Virginia motorists will pay the lowest Thanksgiving week gasoline prices since 2008.
 
The auto club says the average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Virginia on Sunday was $1.92. That's down seven cents from last week and significantly below the $2.66 that state drivers were paying a year ago.
 
The Richmond and Norfolk areas are tied for the lowest average price at $1.88, while the Charlottesville area is the highest at $1.95.
 

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The makeup of Virginia's General Assembly remained virtually unchanged following an election that set spending records.

Republicans were able to hold off Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe Tuesday and keep control of the state Senate.

Political analysts say Republicans' victory will make it almost impossible for McAuliffe to achieve any significant legislative legacy in his remaining two years in office.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Federal officials say the cost of a benchmark plan on the health care exchange will go up 4 percent for Virginia residents.

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