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For & Against
11:59 am
Wed January 15, 2014

The Medicaid Expansion Push

One of the biggest issues for this legislative session is whether to expand Medicaid.  The Affordable Care Act assumed states would do that and offered to pay the full cost for the first three years – then scaling back to 90% over the next seven years.  

About half the states – including Virginia – refused, and that means about 190,000 people in the Commonwealth will still be without medical coverage.  Governor McAuliffe is pushing for expansion of Medicaid, but Republicans are pushing back with some surprising proposals.

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SOL Testing Reform
6:23 am
Wed January 15, 2014

VA SOL Testing In Line for Major Changes

Governor McAuliffe called on state lawmakers Monday night to modernize Virginia’s Standards of Learning testing program in the public schools.  Now House Republicans have rolled out their initial plans… and say enacting education reforms will be a long-term project. 

Their comprehensive plan would not only impact the SOLs, but also the array of courses that students can take and teacher compensation.

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New Inspector General Report
3:10 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Mental Health Care in Virginia's Jails

More than 6,000 people in Virginia’s local and regional jails are mentally ill according to a new report from Virginia’s Inspector General, but they’re not getting adequate care. 

Sheriffs, who oversee those jails, are begging the legislature for help.
 

There are about 70 jails in Virginia housing 6,346 people with mental illness, and John Jones, director of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, says that can lead to dangerous situations.

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Legislative Hearing Scheduled
1:34 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

The Future of Stadium Woods

A 14-acre  stand of trees on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg recently escaped destruction when the University agreed not to build an athletic practice facility on that spot. 

Now a Virginia Senator wants to make protection of the parcel, known as Stadium Woods, permanent.

Senator John Edwards applauds Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors for voting to save Stadium woods from development – for now. But he’s introduced a bill that would make protection permanent with a conservation easement on the land.

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House Bill 49
10:49 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Legislation to Ban 'Revenge Porn'

It’s a sign of the times that Virginia lawmakers may soon consider a bill to ban what’s popularly known as “revenge porn” – the posting of naked pictures by an ex-lover online. 
 

Albemarle County Prosecutor Denise Lunsford is a powerful woman, and when a former boyfriend posted nude pictures of her on Twitter, she went to court.  The pictures came down, but there was no legal penalty.  Now, Delegate Marcus Simon is stepping up to change that.  He sees revenge porn as a kind of assault and says Lunsford is not alone.

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