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.
A number of changes are in the works for Virginia’s open-government laws. For instance, the General Assembly passed more than a dozen bills earlier this year that would amend the Freedom of Information Act. Other controversial bills were referred to a state advisory council to be studied—and potentially reintroduced in next year's session.
Children typically have a state-provided safety net if they're left without a suitable parent—especially when they've been abused. But what about the elderly adult or someone who suffers from a disability or mental illness? Who do they turn to? Who takes care of them, and who pays for it? These are some of the many questions the Commonwealth is trying to answer.
Last year alone Adult Protective Services investigated more than 17,000 reports of adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation, with about 1,800 of them perpetrated by family members.
While a domestic violence victim may be too afraid or embarrassed to admit that he or she is being abused, pets that witness or endure it don't lie. And now with a backdrop of the trauma endured by pets, animal control, law enforcement, and victims’ advocates are learning how to identify and pursue domestic abuse cases.
Virginia has some of the best medical schools in the country, but state leaders are realizing that many medical students will live and get their education here--and, upon graduation, will look for better opportunities elsewhere. A state panel has been tasked with not only helping to produce more medical school graduates, but also keeping them in the Commonwealth.
Some Virginia lawmakers admit that they take it personally when sex traffickers decide to make the Commonwealth a hub for their business—especially since they target children. It's why even after making great strides over the last several years in holding those predators accountable, lawmakers remain very aggressive in stopping this at the source.
Many studies reveal that traffickers target runaways and children from broken homes who have been through the foster care system. Alicia Cundiff with Richmond Justice Initiative explains why.