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Mixed Views about Bills to Increase Alcohol Sales

January 20th, 2016 by VCU Capital News Service

By Matt Chaney
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginia restaurant owners have mixed perspectives on legislation that would allow their establishments to sell more alcoholic beverages.

Two Republican lawmakers from Virginia Beach – Sen. Bill DeSteph and Del. Scott Taylor – have proposed changing the 20-year-old requirement that restaurants and caterers with liquor licenses limit their alcohol sales to 55 percent of their total revenue. This means that under the current law, a little less than half of all sales in restaurants must come from food. Wine and beer sales are not considered in this ratio.

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Republicans Decry Virginia as ‘Soviet Union of Health Care’

January 20th, 2016 by VCU Capital News Service

By Matt Chaney
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A group of Virginia lawmakers called for legislation to reform Virginia’s “monopolistic” and “inefficient” health care system.

“With the Affordable Health Care act taking place several years ago, we’re hearing outcries from people about the high deductibles and the out-of-pocket costs,” Del. Kathy Byron, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Commerce and Labor, said during a press conference Wednesday.

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Bill Seeks to Cut Carbon Emissions, Protect Coastline

January 20th, 2016 by VCU Capital News Service

By Diana DiGangi
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Two lawmakers have reached across the aisle to sponsor legislation that they hope will lower utility bills for consumers as well as reduce carbon emissions in order to protect Virginia’s vulnerable coastline.

Del. Ron Villanueva, R-Virginia Beach, has teamed up with Sen. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, to address the issue. Their bills would use emissions fees from power plants to invest in renewable energy projects in the coal regions of Southwest Virginia and annually pump about $125 million into flood protections and more than $80 million into energy efficiency programs for homeowners.

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Transparency Caucus Urges Open Government

January 19th, 2016 by VCU Capital News Service

By Kyle Taylor
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Two first-term legislators, a Republican and a Democrat, announced the formation of a new bipartisan caucus Monday, one targeted to make the Virginia General Assembly more accessible to the public.

The Virginia Transparency Caucus is the brainchild of Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, and Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Midlothian. They want their colleagues to follow their lead in giving the public access to what happens in legislative committees and subcommittees.

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Students Seek Relief from College Loans

January 19th, 2016 by VCU Capital News Service

By Sterling Giles
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Students from colleges and universities across Virginia protested at Capital Square this week, seeking help with college loans. And on Tuesday, a bipartisan trio of lawmakers touted their plans to address the issue.

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Protesters Oppose Atlantic Coast Pipeline

January 19th, 2016 by VCU Capital News Service

By James Miessler and Brian Williams
Capital News Service

RICHMOND — About 50 people rallied Tuesday to oppose private contractors coming on their land surveying for proposed pipelines without consent. The group of protesters, composed of six separate organizations, demanded legislators repeal the Wagner Act, a statute which allows companies like Dominion to survey on the land of private citizens.

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200 Rally at Capitol for ‘Common-Sense Gun Laws’

January 18th, 2016 by VCU Capital News Service

By Jazmen Townsend
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – About 200 people huddled on the Capitol grounds Monday to urge the General Assembly to pass legislation they hope will curb gun violence.

Lawmakers, students and others spoke at the rally on Martin Luther King Day, calling for what Gov. Terry McAuliffe termed “common-sense gun laws.” They also showed their support for President Barack Obama’s recent executive action to expand background checks on firearms sales.

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Poll Finds Support for Sex Assault Reporting Laws

January 18th, 2016 by VCU Capital News Service

By Brian Williams
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Most Virginians support the state’s new law on reporting sexual assaults on campus, according to a poll released Monday by the Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute.

In the CEPI’s latest findings, 86 percent of Virginians support the current law, which was approved by the 2015 General Assembly and signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Support for the law was greatest among parents and among Virginians age 34 to 44.

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Bills Would Ban Disputed Conversion Therapy

January 18th, 2016 by VCU Capital News Service

By Diana DiGangi
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – With confidence and high spirits, Democratic lawmakers and gay rights advocates on Monday kicked off their third consecutive year of fighting for an end to conversion therapy for minors in Virginia.

The controversial treatment, also known as reparative therapy, is aimed at turning homosexuals into heterosexuals and is based on the view that homosexuality is a mental disorder. Conversion therapy is also performed on those questioning their gender identity.

“This is snake oil,” Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, said. “Conversion therapy can’t work, it never has worked, it’s not based on any science whatsoever. The physicians, the medical community – they have told us that. This is damaging to minors, specifically to minors.”

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Senate Resolution Commemorates Moses Malone

January 15th, 2016 by VCU Capital News Service

By Sterling Giles
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – During his 20 years in the NBA, Moses Malone received thunderous applause from arenas full of fans. On Thursday, four months after his death, the NBA legend received another show of appreciation – from members of the Virginia Senate.

The Senate passed a resolution to commemorate Malone, a Petersburg native who died of heart disease at age 60. The measure was sponsored by Sens. Rosalyn Dance of Petersburg and R. Creigh Deeds of Bath County.

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