virginia

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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.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia and West Virginia each are receiving $1 million in federal funding for their roles in restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

The funding from the U.S. Department of Education is intended to help farmland owners plant trees along rivers and streams to reduce runoff into waters that feed the bay.

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FARMVILLE, Va. (AP) - Virginia's Longwood University will host the 2016 vice-presidential debate.

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Wednesday that the sole vice-presidential debate will be held Oct. 4, 2016, at the small public school in Farmville, which is in central Virginia.

School president W. Taylor Reveley IV said Longwood's selection was a "proud juncture" for the university, which was founded in 1839.

The school said its efforts to host the debate received strong support from Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Virginia's congressional delegation.

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Around 40 people including students gathered outside Christiansburg high school this morning to protest the ban on Confederate flags being displayed on clothing and cars at the school.   

This follows the suspension of 20 students who refused to remove Confederate gear, which the school decided to ban because of incidents of racial tension.

Houston Miller, a senior who has been leading the effort and was one of those suspended, said the protests will continue until the school backs down or he'll take legal action.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia officials are reporting the state's first 2015 case of West Nile virus in a horse.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the 5-year-old Choctaw mare from Orange County had not been vaccinated for the mosquito-borne disease.

Mosquitoes can pick up the virus from infected birds and transfer it to humans, horses and other mammals. No drugs exist for treatment, and the mortality rate in horses is about 30 percent.

Continuous mosquito control can minimize risk of exposure.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Lawyers and Democratic elected officials are asking Virginia's legislative Republican leaders to reconsider plans to replace a newly seated Virginia Supreme Court justice.
 
But GOP leaders say they're unmoved by those pleas. They say they still plan to replace Justice Jane Marum Roush with Rossie D. Alston Jr. during a special session that starts Aug. 17.
 
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe appointed Roush late last month, to the displeasure of GOP leaders who said they were not properly consulted about the pick.
 

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - State Republican lawmakers say they want oversight of how Virginia implements a federal plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

Republicans said Monday they will introduce legislation in the 2016 legislative session requiring General Assembly approval of a state plan to abide by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan.

government.maryland.gov

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is scheduled to discuss plans for redistricting reform.

Hogan has scheduled a news conference for Thursday.

The governor announced in his first State of the State speech in February that he planned to form a bipartisan commission to explore reforming Maryland's legislative redistricting process.

At the time, he expressed interest in giving the authority of redrawing the state's legislative districts to an independent bipartisan commission.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia is backing the international accord with Iran.

The former Democratic Party chairman made the announcement on Tuesday in a speech on the Senate floor. He says the deal takes Iran's nuclear program that was on the verge of success and disables it for many years through peaceful diplomatic means.

He said the pact reached by the United States, Western powers and Tehran is a "dramatic improvement over the status quo" in boosting global security.

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ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - The U.S. Forest Service has hundreds of concerns and comments on the prospect of a pipeline carrying natural gas through national forests in Virginia and West Virginia.

The comments by Forest Supervisor H. Thomas Speaks Jr. are addressed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in response to filings by the builders of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The pipeline would transport fracked natural gas from West Virginia, through Virginia and into North Carolina.

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DANVILLE, Va. (AP) - Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says it's up to Danville City Council to decide whether a Confederate flag should be removed from the grounds of a city-owned mansion.
 
Herring tells media outlets that the flag shouldn't be on public property. He says he supports its removal.
 
The council has said it doesn't have the authority under Virginia law to remove the flag from the Sutherlin Mansion. The law forbids removal of a war monument or memorial.
 

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A craft brewery in Richmond is expanding, creating 56 jobs in the process.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday the $28 million expansion of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Goochland County.

The investment over the next five years involves a new brewery complex to complement its Richmond location. The 60,000-square-foot brewery will include a taproom, an amphitheater and more.

Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore says the expansion creates a "huge opportunity" to expand the craft beer supply chain in Virginia.

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