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Virginia will ease restrictions on gatherings, venues and restaurants on May 15

Virginia will ease restrictions on gatherings, venues and restaurants on May 15

RICHMOND, Va. () — Virginia will ease restrictions on crowd-size limits for sporting events, entertainment venues and gatherings starting on May 15, Gov. Ralph Northam . Starting then, restaurants will also be allowed to stay open and sell alcohol past midnight again.“Sales are going to go sky high as soon as the restrictions ease to 2 a.m.,” said Kevin Sheffield, a bartender at Lady N’awlins in Richmond.Crediting the growing vaccination rate in Virginia, Northam signaled it was time to ease some of the measures imposed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. , the Virginia Department of Health...

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April 22, 2021
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Virginia lawmakers pass bill making simple marijuana possession legal starting July 1

Virginia lawmakers pass bill making simple marijuana possession legal starting July 1

RICHMOND, Va. (/WAVY) — The Virginia General Assembly gave final approval to a bill to legalize simple possession of marijuana and limited home growth beginning July 1, 2021, three years sooner than initially planned. The accelerated timeline won a majority in the House and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) broke a 20-20 tie in the Senate on Wednesday during a session dedicated to the consideration of Gov. Ralph Northam’s budget and bill amendments.The vote makes Virginia the first state in the South to green-light recreational cannabis and the 16th state overall, plus D.C. Virginia follows ....

April 7, 2021
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More P-EBT payments coming for food insecure students in Virginia after nearly 6 months of waiting

More P-EBT payments coming for food insecure students in Virginia after nearly 6 months of waiting

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)–After nearly six months of waiting, more help is on the way for 650,000 students whose families have struggled to pay for meals during virtual or hybrid learning, according to the Virginia Department of Social Services.The program was launched under the CARES Act last spring when schools initially closed. The most recent of two total payments went out in September 2020.Virginia Social Services Commissioner Duke Storen said Congress re-authorized the P-EBT program in a subsequent spending package. He said the new federal guidelines will expand eligibility to more than...

March 15, 2021
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Bill requiring consideration of autism, mental illness in criminal justice system passes in Virginia

Bill requiring consideration of autism, mental illness in criminal justice system passes in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- Advocates say a law that bars Virginia courts from fully considering a person’s disability or mental illness is causing defendants with autism to fall through the cracks.A recently passed bill would require judges to take these conditions into consideration in more stages of the criminal justice system. Some prosecutors fear there could be unintended consequences.Matthew Rushin, a Black male with autism from Virginia Beach, is expected to be released this spring after originally being sentenced to 50 years in prison. Rushin, 22, was expected to serve a reduced term of...

February 11, 2021
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Virginia passes bills to legalize marijuana, abolish death penalty, remove mandatory minimums

Virginia passes bills to legalize marijuana, abolish death penalty, remove mandatory minimums

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- It was a historic day in Virginia politics as bills to legalize marijuana, abolish the death penalty and eliminate several mandatory minimum sentences passed in the General Assembly. These votes are a big step forward but it’s not the end of the road. Friday was the midpoint in the session after which no new legislation can be introduced. It was also the last day for the House and Senate to pass bills originating in their chamber before they cross over to the other body for consideration.  In the coming weeks, the House and Senate will have to iron out differences on...

February 6, 2021
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Bill banning guns at Virginia polls advances as contentious election season comes to an end

Bill banning guns at Virginia polls advances as contentious election season comes to an end

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– A bill to ban guns at polling locations in Virginia advanced in the General Assembly, as the Inauguration of now-President Joe Biden marked the end of a contentious election season.would prohibit firearms within 40 feet of polling sites, electoral board meetings and places where ballots are being counted. It includes exemptions for certain groups, including law enforcement and those whose homes fall within the gun-free zone.Violators could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria), the bill’s chief sponsor, said the alleged plot by two armed...

January 20, 2021
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Virginia Democrats are backing off a ban on the new sale of assault weapons (at least for now)

Virginia Democrats are backing off a ban on the new sale of assault weapons (at least for now)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- Virginia Democrats appear to be backing off a ban on the new sale of assault weapons–at least for now–but that won’t stop Second Amendment supporters from rallying in Richmond come January.At the beginning of 2020, a slew of gun control bills , drawing national attention and criticism from President Donald Trump. The ban was arguably the most controversial in a package of eight proposals pushed by Gov. Ralph Northam in response to a mass shooting in Virginia Beach in 2019.Ultimately, after it passed in the House. The legislation, sponsored by Del. Mark Levine...

December 23, 2020
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As Virginia hospitalizations hit new high, model says some regions could run out of bed space by January

As Virginia hospitalizations hit new high, model says some regions could run out of bed space by January

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- Hospitalizations from coronavirus are at a new high this week in Virginia. Meanwhile, one model projects some regions could run out of bed space by January if the current growth rate continues.On Thursday, put hospitalizations statewide at 1,853, a grim figure representing a gradual increase of more than 800 inpatient admissions over the last month. The total also surpasses previous peaks, including the initial wave last spring that prompted Gov. Ralph Northam’s Administration to begin planning for field hospitals.“Rights are important but we need to emphasize...

December 4, 2020
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Virginia lawmakers back away from tear gas, rubber bullets ban

Virginia lawmakers back away from tear gas, rubber bullets ban

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- In a bill to prevent local police from using military equipment, Virginia lawmakers are backing away from a sweeping ban on tear gas, rubber bullets and other crowd control tactics.These methods came under fire after they were used against demonstrators in a series of racial justice protests in Richmond, prompting two City Council members Action on that was deferred so the new police chief could improve training, which he admitted was lacking.At least one Democrat is calling that recently passed in the House of Delegates “weak” but some parts still go too far for law...

September 14, 2020
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