Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, 2019

September 30 thru October 6, 2019
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The first day of the new school year at Westover Hills Elementary School. The school received a visit from Richmond school superintendent Jason Kamras and Mayor Levar Stoney, who held a press conference to talk about school priorities and the progress made over the previous year. Afterwards, they visited several classrooms at the school. Principal Allison El Koubi greeted Tracy Epp as she arrived for the press conference.JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH

Summary

Federal: Virginia Department of Corrections weighs prison nursery for new mothers

State Executive: Attorney General Mark Herring supports legalizing recreational marijuana

State Legislature: Chesterfield GOP kicks Sen. Amanda Chase out of the county party

Civil Rights: Judge upholds Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound, waiting period for abortions

Environment: Virginia’s Dominion Energy to Invest $594 Million in Clean Energy

Education: School accreditation stagnant across state, but Richmond sees some improvement

Federal

Virginia Department of Corrections weighs prison nursery for new mothers

By Ned Oliver

Virginia Mercury-October 3, 2019

Virginia prison officials say they want to stop separating mothers who give birth while incarcerated from their newborns by opening a nursery in one of their women’s prisons.

The proposal is part of what the Department of Corrections is billing as a “gender responsivity plan” they’ll begin rolling out next month, when they’ll move 300 inmates across the state to consolidate operations and management of the four facilities that currently house women.

State Executive

Attorney General Herring supports legalizing recreational marijuana

By Jeff Raines

Loudon Times-Mirror-October 3, 2019

Attorney General Mark Herring tweeted his support for the legalization of recreational marijuana in Virginia Tuesday night.

“Virginians know we can do better. It’s time to move toward legal, regulated adult use,” Herring said in his retweet of a study that revealed more than half of Virginians agree with him.

The study, published by the University of Mary Washington last month, showed that 61% of Virginians support legalization of recreational marijuana, while 34% oppose legalization. The remaining respondents said they were uncertain.

 

State Legislature

Chesterfield GOP kicks Sen. Amanda Chase out of the county party

By Patrick Wilson

Richmond Times-Dispatch- September 30, 2019

The Chesterfield County GOP notified hometown state Sen. Amanda Chase on Monday that she was being kicked out of the local party following a series of controversies that upset other Republicans, including public attacks by Chase on Republican Sheriff Karl Leonard.

Chesterfield GOP Chairwoman Tara Carroll sent a letter to Chase on Monday saying that her refusal to adhere to requests the party made in a letter on Friday triggered Chase’s automatic removal. The action is mostly symbolic. Chase remains the Republican nominee on the Nov. 5 ballot against Democrat Amanda Pohl, but can no longer be a voting member of her local Republican unit.

 

Issues

Civil Rights

Judge upholds Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound, waiting period for abortions

By Ned Oliver

Virginia Mercury-September 30, 2019

A U.S. District Court judge issued a ruling Monday upholding Virginia laws mandating an ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period prior to receiving an abortion, but striking down portions of a law mandating hospital-style building standards in clinics.

“The Court recognizes that the waiting period following the ultrasound adds a logistical complexity to an existing myriad of hardships faced by those with limited resources and support networks,” wrote U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. But he said he wasn’t convinced they constituted “a substantial obstacle preventing women’s access to abortion in Virginia.”

Environment

Virginia’s Dominion Energy to Invest $594 Million in Clean Energy

By Emily Holbrook

Environment and Energy Leader- October 1, 2019

Dominion Energy has announced a new proposal filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC), which aims to give all customers greater access to clean energy sources. The proposal outlines expanded details of the first three years of implementation of the company’s 10-year plan to transform the state’s energy grid.

With SCC approval, the initiative will enhance service to customers through implementation of new technologies and a series of new programs developed with input from stakeholders and customers over the past several months.

 

Education

School accreditation stagnant across state, but Richmond sees some improvement

By Justin Mattingly

Richmond Times-Dispatch- September 30, 2019

Nearly the exact same number of Virginia schools meet the state’s standards of accreditation in the second year of a system that officials have trumpeted as being a better way to judge schools.
The Virginia Department of Education released its annual accreditation ratings Monday, revealing that 92% of the state’s public schools — 1,682 of 1,825 — are accredited this year, the same percentage as last year but higher than the 86% the year before. Last year, 1,683 schools met the state’s full standards.

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