A new statewide survey of Virginia middle and high school students shows significant decreases in those practicing risky behaviors — especially smoking. The survey results show smoking among Virginia high school students is down to just about 8%, and student use of harder drugs like heroin cocaine and meth is down significantly. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court could place new limits on the reach of federal bribery laws used to prosecute elected officials as it takes up the public corruption case of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. The justices on Wednesday will consider whether to overturn McDonnell’s conviction for accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman in exchange for promoting a dietary supplement. The court is expected to clarify what distinguishes bribery from routine actions that politicians perform as a courtesy to constituents. McDonnell says his role in setting up meetings and hosting events for Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams was part of the customary services doled out by every politician. Prosecutors say McDonnell accepted personal benefits with the understanding he would take official action to help Williams.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A Virginia panel is grappling over whether public officials should be allowed to accept luxury box tickets to sporting events under the state’s new ethics law. The Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council wrestled with the issue Tuesday, but put off making a decision. Staff members for the commission say tickets to sporting events would generally be exempt from the $100 cap on gifts officials can receive because they qualify as “widely attended” events. But Republican Del. Todd Gilbert questioned whether lawmakers intended for the exemption to be applied so broadly. The issue was recently thrust into the spotlight after a top official of Gov. Terry McAuliffe administration accepted an invitation from the Washington Redskins to watch a playoff game from one of the team’s luxury boxes.
From Lynchburg Police: The Lynchburg Police Department is investigating credit card fraud at several Food Lion grocery stores in and around the Lynchburg area. On March 09, 2016, the two adult males pictured in the attached surveillance photos used several sets of stolen credit card numbers to purchase multiple gift cards. Anyone who can identify these suspects is asked to contact Detective T. D. Wecker with the Lynchburg Police Department at 434-455-6178, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-798-5900. Visit the Central Virginia Crime Stoppers website to enter a web tip, or text “CVCS” plus your message to 274637.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Republican leaders of the Virginia General Assembly are calling on Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to convene a special legislative session to discuss the governor’s recent restoration of voting and other civil rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons. House Speaker William J. Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. sent a letter to McAuliffe Tuesday requesting a special session. The GOP leaders said McAuliffe’s actions last week to restore certain civil rights to convicted felons was a “matter of great consequence” to Virginians that deserves a thorough debate. McAuliffe issued a sweeping order last week restoring the rights of 206,000 felons to vote, saying the move would help undo Virginia’s long history of trying to suppress the black vote.
UPDATE: 3-year-old Mason Ryan was found safe in a wooded area about 3 miles from his home. Police were able to find him by following the sounds of his dog – that he went missing with last night – barking.
Henry County Police are searching for a missing boy. Mason Ryan, 3, was reported missing from the Wagon Trail Road area of Spencer just before 6 p.m. Monday evening. He was last seen with a dog and wearing a yellow Batman logo t-shirt, according to police. Mason’s mother stepped into another room, and when she returned he along with the small brown dog were gone. Virginia State Police, along with fire and rescue, and volunteers are assisting the Henry County Sheriff’s Office with the search.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia officials want residents to show their gratitude for the teachers in their communities.The state has launched a “Thank a Teacher” campaign ahead of Teacher Appreciation Week asking residents to send thank-you notes to K-12 teachers until May 6. The campaign has been organized by the Virginia Lottery, the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia PTA to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, which is May 2-6. Residents can get postcard notes through their participating PTA chapters or send digital thank-you notes here. There will also be thank-you note writing stations at select Virginia Lottery retailers.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Gov. Terry McAuliffe says Republicans who claim he was motivated by politics in restoring voting rights for more than 200,000 convicted felons should do something to earn the support of those newly registered voters. During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, the Democratic governor said GOP lawmakers “should be very careful at how they frame this, very careful of their rhetoric.” He noted the state’s long history of policies that prevented black people from voting when he signed the executive order on Friday. Republicans in the General Assembly have accused McAuliffe of trying to hand Virginia to his good friend Hillary Clinton in November. McAuliffe said if politics were his motivation, he could have done it last year to help Democrats control the state Senate.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A Virginia school board will ask the full 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the court’s ruling that a high school discriminated against a transgender teen by forbidding him from using the boys’ restroom. In a statement presented at the Gloucester County School Board meeting Thursday night, Chairman Troy Andersen said the board decided unanimously to file a petition for an en banc hearing before the court. A three-judge panel ruled Tuesday that the policy is discriminatory. A federal judge had rejected a sex discrimination claim by Gloucester High School student Gavin Grimm, who was born female but identifies as male. After complaints, the school board adopted a policy requiring students to use public restrooms corresponding with their biological gender.