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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State alcohol agency fines music festival concessionaire

lockn fest logoLYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) _ State regulators have fined the concessionaire for a music festival at least $10,000 for license violations. The Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control found that San Diego-based Best Beverage Company violated two conditions of its license for the 2013 Lockn’ Festival in Nelson County. The violations included allowing illicit drug use and inadequate illumination that prevented enforcement officers from identifying participants and their activities. The fines are listed in a final order issued by the ABC last week. Lockn’ Festival organizer Dave Frey tells The News & Advance that the company admitted no wrongdoing. The ABC had revoked the company’s concession license in July. The company appealed the decision and its license remained in effect for the 2014 festival.

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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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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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Poplar Forest gets grant for archaeological work

WLNI-MFOREST, Va. (AP) _ Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest has received a grant to help the National Historic Landmark conduct the archaeological exploration and research. Officials say the more than $132,000 grant comes from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. The grant will be used for work required for the design of a proposed new entryway and parkway to the historic house and grounds. Officials with the group that maintains Jefferson’s personal retreat in Bedford County say the work will ensure that the parkway will not negatively impact important historical resources.

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Maryland and Virginia competing for FBI headquarters

WLNI-MWASHINGTON (AP) _ Some Virginia officials believe last month’s elections have given the commonwealth a better chance of being the next home of the FBI’s headquarters in an ongoing battle with Maryland’s Prince George’s County. Virginia officials tell The Washington Post that Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s loss of control off the powerful Appropriations Committee could level the playing field and help Virginia. Both states are angling for the largest new federal campus since the CIA built its Langley, Virginia headquarters in 1961. The General Services Administration is working to swap the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover Building in downtown Washington for a new 2.1 million-square-foot campus. It would consolidate 11,000 FBI workers from across the region. Maryland lawmakers say the pitch for a Greenbelt location should win on its merits.

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McAuliffe to propose gun control measures

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is pushing for new regulations on gun ownership. The governor introduced a package of gun control measures in Arlington Monday that he said were necessary to keep Virginians safe. Among the legislation he will pursue during the 2015 legislation session is a bill that would limit handgun purchases to one a month. Another bill would prohibit people subject to protective orders from possessing firearms.  Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a gun control advocate, was a major donor to McAuliffe’s 2013 gubernatorial campaign.  The measures will likely face strong opposition in the GOP-controlled General Assembly. A spokesman for House Speaker William J. Howell said the governor’s announcement was “disappointing.”

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McAuliffe plans to budget $28M for voting machines

STATE-NEWSVIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe is planning to include $28 million in his budget for new voting machines across Virginia that would create a paper trail for individual votes. McAuliffe announced the plan during an appearance in Virginia Beach on Monday.  The Virginian-Pilot reports (http://bit.ly/1GIexD4 ) that the proposal would pay for new machines in about 2,100 precincts and reimburse about 400 that have already moved to the newer systems.  In addition to the newer technology, uniformity in the machines would avoid confusion and make it easier to find repairmen if needed during elections.  Some voters and candidates reported difficulties casting accurate votes using touch-screen voting machines in the November election.

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Virginia lawmaker in teen sex case withholds decision on future

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A Virginia legislator who made a recent plea in a teen sex case says he will wait to decide on his political future. Del. Joseph Dee Morrissey, D-Henrico, spoke after attending church services Sunday in Richmond. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Morrissey says he was “disappointed” that Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other legislative leaders urged him to resign. Morrissey entered an Alford plea Friday to a misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In an Alford plea, a defendant acknowledges there’s sufficient evidence for a conviction but doesn’t admit guilt. Morrissey was sentenced to 12 months in jail with six suspended. His attorney, Anthony Troy, says Morrissey will ultimately serve three months.

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Incentives to help Virginia students get certifications

WLNI-MRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Seven Virginia community colleges will receive $500,0 in incentives for students that complete certifications in demand by businesses and industry. Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office says the pilot program will help 500 Virginians earn certifications in areas such as welding, commercial driving and project management. Participating community colleges include Blue Ridge, Germanna, Thomas Nelson, Virginia Western, Danville, Patrick Henry and Southside Virginia. The initiative is part of McAuliffe’s plan to grow and diversify the state’s economy and supports his goal of seeing an additional 50,000 getting industry certifications before the end of his term. Officials say the certifications can lead to careers that boast median wages  that are at or above Virginia’s per capita personal income of $48,377.

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