Tommie McNeil

Reporter, Richmond Bureau

Tommie McNeil is a State Capitol reporter who has been covering Virginia and Virginia politics for more than a decade. He originally hails from Maryland, and also doubles as the evening anchor for 1140 WRVA in Richmond.

Virginia residents have just a little more time to provide feedback to the Department of Education as it redesigns public school performance report cards, which provide accountability ratings. The final product is not only supposed to allow users to sift through information more fluidly, but will also provide a more customized layout of demographics. 

Vince LoPresti/Flickr via NPR

Hate drones?  They may soon become a way of life in the Commonwealth.

The anticipated surge in unmanned aerial vehicles-or UAVs-won't only be as a result of their popularity with hobbyists, but because of their use by emergency responders, power companies, and other industries.

As a result of not expanding Medicaid in Virginia, a new state Work Group is examining how to offset rising healthcare costs and the money it passed up from the federal government.  

This includes conducting an analysis of so-called “provider assessments”—which could tax hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities for specific services.

The provider assessments would enable Virginia to receive matching federal Medicaid dollars. Analyst Deborah Bachrach from Manatt says all of the potential models must follow the same guidelines.

File Photo

For years the use of hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—has been exclusive to Southwest Virginia, but some organizations and communities are vehemently opposed to it. Now, as companies are exploring more energy sources throughout the state, such as natural gas and shale, officials are feeling more pressure to amend regulations that govern the practice. 

State Water Commission Chair and Delegate Thomas Wright says he's in favor of offshore drilling and whatever the state can do to produce more energy—but he also advocates environmental stewardship.

While Israeli leaders have voiced their displeasure about the Iran nuclear deal amidst already strained relations with the U.S., some have wondered if that dynamic has had any impact on Virginia's business relationship with Israel. 

Virginia-Israel Advisory Board Executive Director Ralph Robbins says here, officials don't have to get too much into politics, and economic development transcends any politics at the higher levels.