State lawmakers vote to shield identities of companies supplying execution drug

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The General Assembly approved a controversial amendment involving the death penalty yesterday when they returned to Richmond for a veto session. WLNI’s Ian Price has details:

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State lawmaker sues Attorney General Herring over unmet request

Va. AG Mark Herring

Va. AG Mark Herring

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A Virginia lawmaker is suing the state attorney general for not providing a written opinion requested seven months ago. Loudoun County Republican Del. Dave LaRock claims Democrat Mark Herring is not doing his job as required by state law. He filed papers Wednesday asking the Richmond Circuit Court to order the attorney general to fulfill his request for an advisory opinion about laws against sex discrimination. LaRock says Tuesday’s federal appeals court ruling in favor of a transgender student who wants to use the boys’ restroom at school illustrates the urgency of his request. Herring spokesman Michael Kelly says that same ruling shows “the law in this area is developing very rapidly in very significant ways.” Kelly said lawyers are researching and LaRock will get a response “in due course.”

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Bedford home is a “total loss” after fire

Monte Video House Fire (7)From Bedford Fire Department: On April 20, 2016 at approximately 9:58 p.m. the Bedford Fire Department responded to 1972 Monte Vista Road for a report of fire in a private dwelling. The first arriving engine found a two-story wood frame home with heavy fire showing throughout.  Although units arrived just ten minutes after the initial 911 call, the amount of fire found on arrival along with a lack of water supply in the immediate area hampered efforts.  The original home, which had several additions, was made of wooden logs and according to the owner was constructed in 1765.  The home was a total loss.  No injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.  Firefighters from the Town of Bedford, Moneta, Forest, and Huddleston operated on scene.  The fire is being investigated by the Bedford County Fire Marshall’s Office.

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Lynchburg Parks & Rec to host neighborhood meeting on recent Fairview shootings

City of LynchburgFrom the City of Lynchburg:  The Lynchburg Parks and Recreation Department, in partnership with the Lynchburg Police Department and other City departments, will host a neighborhood meeting on Monday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fairview Recreation Center, 3621 Campbell Avenue. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss recent criminal activity in the Fairview neighborhood including the incidents that occurred in Younger Park and on Maryland Avenue. Residents will hear what is being done to address these issues and will be given the opportunity to voice their concerns and to offer possible solutions to issues that are negatively affecting their neighborhood. This meeting is open to the public.

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Arsonists believed responsible for several large wildfires in SW counties

wlni-defaultWildfires are creating some big problems right in parts of southwest Virginia — and fire officials say arrests appear likely for some of them. One fire got close enough to Hurley High School in Buchanan County to keep it closed yesterday as a precaution. WLNI’s Evan Jones has more:

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Compromise reached on Virginia economic development plan

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republican leaders say they’ve reached a compromise on a new economic development initiative backed by some of the state’s biggest corporate titans. McAuliffe and House Majority Leader Kirk Cox said Tuesday they’ve agreed to a compromise plan that allows the initiative, called Go Virginia, to move forward while putting off a key sticking point for a year. It was developed last year by business leaders, university officials and others as a way to boost Virginia’s sluggish economy by providing state funds to projects that promote regional cooperation.The proposed compromise, which lawmakers will vote on Wednesday, gives McAuliffe greater sway in appointing Go Virginia’s board. The compromise puts off debate on whether legislators would have veto power over the board’s proposed grant making.

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Attorney General Herring backs legality of governor’s execution plan

Va. AG Mark Herring

Va. AG Mark Herring

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia’s attorney general says he doesn’t believe a proposal to allow the state to obtain lethal injection drugs from anonymous compounding pharmacies would violate federal law. Republican Del. Jackson Miller had asked Attorney General Mark Herring for an opinion before lawmakers reconvene Wednesday to consider Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s proposal. In his opinion released late Tuesday, Herring rejected the argument that federal law allows pharmacies to compound drugs only with a valid prescription. Herring said it’s “settled law” that lethal injection drugs don’t constitute a practice of medicine, “rendering a prescription unnecessary and unavailable.” He added that no court has ever invalidated a state’s lethal injection protocol on those grounds. McAuliffe’s proposal replaces a measure that sought to allow the state to execute inmates in the electric chair if drugs aren’t available.

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Virginia lab approved by CDC to test for Zika virus

WLNI-HEALTH-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The commonwealth of Virginia will now be able to timely detect any potential Zika virus outbreaks.Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services announced Monday that it is now able to test blood samples for the Zika virus after being appropriately designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine tells local media that previously, all suspected blood samples were sent to the CDC for testing, resulting in a massive backlog of samples from across the country. It took two to three weeks to receive results. Now, Levine says it could only take days to determine if a Virginia resident has the virus. Zika is a virus spread through mosquitoes and sexual activity and causes a mild illness. According to the CDC, if a pregnant woman is infected it can cause birth defects.

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Court overturns Virginia school’s transgender bathroom rule

wlni-defaultRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A federal appeals court has overturned a policy barring a transgender student from using the boys’ restrooms at his Virginia high school. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the Gloucester County School Board policy is discriminatory. A federal judge had rejected Gloucester High School student Gavin Grimm’s sex discrimination claim. The appeals court’s ruling establishes legal precedent in the five states in the 4th Circuit, including North Carolina, which faces a lawsuit challenging a new state law requiring transgender public school students to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificate. Grimm 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.

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As SOL testing nears, state expands use of “computer adaptive testing”

Education-News1SOL testing for Reading, Mathematics and Science, begins later this month, and this year, the Virginia Department of Education has expanded its use of computer adaptive testing. Using this method is less time consuming for students because it allows educators to streamline the tests. More from WLNI’s Denise Allen Membreno.

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