Pipeline company and opponents hold events in Salem

Mountain Valley PipelineThe proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline brought competing interests to the Salem Civic Center Wednesday night.   The story from WFIR’s Kelsea Pieters:

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Another bitter Medicaid battle looms in Richmond

General-AssemblyGovernor McAuliffe will once again attempt to tie Medicaid expansion to the state budget, setting the stage for another likely bitter and partisan General Assembly session. Last year’s battle nearly shut down state government until Republicans regained control of the Senate. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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UVA to make public reviews of response to rape allegations

UVA-LogoCHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan says the school will make public reviews of how it responds to sexual assault allegations. The Daily Progress (http://bit.ly/1r2m0Lf ) reports that Sullivan announced the move Wednesday at a Faculty Senate meeting. Sullivan established an ad hoc group to conduct a review of the school’s policies and practices. She also asked the Charlottesville police to conduct a review. Another review will be done by an independent counsel. The reviews follow a Rolling Stone article describing an alleged gang rape at a fraternity house. The magazine has since apologized for what it calls discrepancies in details of the account. The university also is being reviewed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights’ Title IX.

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Virginia groups get funding for youth anti-smoking

wfir-linkRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth is awarding grants to groups across the state for youth tobacco-use prevention programs. The foundation says the $9.2 million in funding over the next three years for 62 groups will fund classroom-based prevention programs for preschool through high school students. Officials also say 24 other groups will share $48,000 to start or support chapters of its teen volunteer group that promotes healthy, tobacco-free lifestyles for youth. Y Street was named the top youth advocacy group for tobacco-use prevention in the nation in 2011 by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. In 2013, the group added 527 new members, who collectively completed nearly 1,000 projects and volunteered more than 3,000 hours. Since 2004, more than 7,000 teens statewide have participated in Y Street.

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Gifts to governor toned down under McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he has not received any big-ticket gifts since taking office this year, a notable departure from what was commonplace under past administrations. A list of gifts received by McAuliffe was included in the governor’s recently filed statement of economic interest. The list shows the governor accepted mostly trinkets related to trade missions. The statement says he didn’t receive access to vacation homes or tickets to sporting events that were frequently given to previous Virginia governors. McAuliffe instituted a $100 gift limit shortly after taking office. He said it was part of an effort to clean up Virginia’ reputation. McAuliffe’s predecessor, former Gov. Bob McDonnell, was found guilty in September of illegally accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans in exchange for promoting dietary supplements.

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McAuliffe proposes Virginia state budget changes

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants to more than double the pot of money he can spend trying to lure companies to Virginia, ease school districts’ teacher retirement burdens, and give raises to rookie deputy sheriffs. The governor unveiled these and other proposed changes to the state’s biennial budget Wednesday at a Capitol briefing to state lawmakers. To help pay for the Democratic governor’s priorities, McAuliffe wants to limit tax credits designed to bolster the coal industry and sell off $250 million worth of unclaimed property that’s been turned over to the state. The governor is renewing his push to expand Medicaid, a top legislative priority that’s been blocked by Republican lawmakers who control the General Assembly. Lawmakers will take up the governor’s proposal in January when the 2015 legislative session begins.

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Expert says police bribery case is unusual, local officers selected for larger task forces are usually the best

WFIR-LOGO-1A Salem police officer has pleaded guilty to a federal bribery count occurring as a member of the Drug Enforcement Agency regional task force. Kevin Moore admits trading sexual favors to female drug suspects in return for promises of leniency.  A criminal justice expert says it’s not unusual for local law enforcement agencies to share officers with state and federal agencies, and the ones selected are usually the best. As a result, such corruption cases, while always possible, are relatively infrequent. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Governor McAuliffe wants to regulate day care centers

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants to require day care providers that receive public subsidies to acquire a state license. The governor’s staff told reporters in a press briefing in Richmond late Tuesday that McAuliffe will seek the new regulations during the 2015 legislative session.The measure could affect 1,920 day care providers that currently operate without a license. The governor’s staff said the measure is in response to recent tragedies involving unlicensed day care providers, including an Oct. 21 fire at an in-home day care in Chesterfield County that killed a 1-year-old boy. McAuliffe is set to unveil a proposed budget Wednesday morning that will include $2.7 million for 28 additional licensing staffers to handle the extra workload.

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Salem lawyer confirmed to serve as federal judge

State-NewsThe Senate confirmed last night Elizabeth Dillon for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Dillon is the first woman to serve as a federal judge in the Western District, which stretches from Lynchburg to Lee County and extends north to Winchester. Dillon, a former assistant city attorney for Roanoke, was recommended by Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and nominated by President Obama to fill the vacancy left by Judge Samuel Wilson, who retired in August.

 

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Virginia awarded health care grant

State-NewsRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia has been awarded a $2.6 million federal grant to develop new statewide health care models. Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the grant on Tuesday. The models will be built around a series of public health goals ranging from reductions in tobacco use to improved mental health care. The one-year grant was awarded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It will provide financial and technical support beginning in January to develop the Virginia Health Innovation Plan. The goal of the plan is to improve health outcomes for Virginians, regardless of insurance status. The Virginia Health Innovation Plan will be developed by the Virginia Center for Health Innovation in collaboration with public and private stakeholders.

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