State Government

A line in this year’s Virginia state budget calls for the shuttering of two psychiatric hospitals in southwestern Virginia.  But some are calling for them to remain open at a time when recent events have spotlighted the urgent need for more mental health services, not fewer.

Governor Terry McAuliffe’s budget proposal would provide $1 million to cover the costs of shutting down two psychiatric hospitals in southern Virginia.  The plan raised an outcry at a time when it’s becoming clear that there’s already a lack of sufficient beds for people in psychological crises in the state.

Bill Would Save Petty Thieves from a Felony

Jan 13, 2016

Someone who steals merchandise valued at more than $200 can be convicted of a felony in Virginia – denied the right to vote, and required to tell employers about past criminal conduct.  Now, there’s a move in Richmond to raise the threshold for a charge of larceny, making it possible for thieves to steal up to $1,500 worth of stuff and be charged with a misdemeanor.  The idea has store owners seeing red as Sandy Hausman reports.

The Associated Press

Amid much pomp and circumstance, day one of the Virginia General Assembly kicked off today in Richmond. 

 A chorus of the national anthem, a pledge to the flag, and an oath of office, and the 2016 session of the House of Delegates is off. But before it all, a prayer for the legislators.  

"Our most gracious heavenly father, I pray that as they face the onslaught of nearly 3,000 pieces of legislation that you'll give to each of them the wisdom to discern what is best and what is right."

Creative Commons, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Virginia’s Governor has proposed a series of changes to public education aimed at preparing students to join the workforce, but the state’s teachers may not like some of his ideas.  

Terry McAuliffe wants to set new requirements for high school grads, emphasize hands-on instruction, and offer industry credentials.  He thinks schools should be allowed to hire industry experts to teach on a temporary or part-time basis, but at the Virginia Education Association, which represents teachers, President Meg Gruber has doubts when it comes to science and math.

Virginia Could Build Two New Prisons for Kids

Jan 11, 2016
VA Dept. of Juvenile Justice

On any given day, the state of Virginia is dealing with about 5,000 kids who’ve broken the law.  Some are on probation or parole.  Others are in community programs, but about 400 are locked up.  Eighty percent of them end up committing new crimes within three years of being released.  Now, lawmakers in Richmond will debate reforming the juvenile justice system by building two new detention centers.

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