Franklin County Considering Medical Training for 911 Dispatchers

Virginia-flagOfficials in Franklin County are considering medical training for 911 dispatchers. The Franklin County Board of Supervisors is considering the change to ensure that emergency calls are better handled because dispatchers would have the ability to give medical advice in situations such as cardiac arrest, allergic reactions, or drowning advice, officials say, could save lives when emergency services may be several minutes away. According to the Smith Mountain Eagle, Supervisors are weighing the cost of training–Dispatchers in Roanoke, Bedford, Pittsylvania, and Henry County are all able to give medical assistance.

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Home Day Cares Getting Tougher Regulations

Virginia-flagParents and child care advocates, yesterday, renewed their calls for better oversight of home day cares. There are a number of bills on the issue currently working their way through the legislative process; and child care advocates hope it results in stricter regulations. Supporters of reform want to see licensing —training and inspection standards — required for all home day cares; they also calls for background checks to be based on fingerprints rather than names. They are also urging tougher penalties against those who violate state regulations —but lawmakers are already indicating that compromise may be needed on some measures, in order to win approval on others.

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James River Restoration Efforts May be Put on Hold

US-Department-of-AgricultureA new conservation program may bolster restoration efforts along the James River. The Department of Agriculture recently announce its plan to invest in public-private partnerships to help improve water quality, support wildlife habitat and enhance the environment. The 370 million competitive grant is part of the five-year Regional Conservation Program made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Robert E. Lee Soil & Water Conservation District, which serves Lynchburg and the counties of Amherst, Appomattox and Campbell reimburse farmers who build fencing to keep livestock out of waterways. Projects must be supported by local and regional partners.

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Law school assistant dean: appeals court ruling may tell McDonnell “we think you might have gotten hosed”

Bob and Maureen McDonnell (Associated Press photo)

Bob and Maureen McDonnell
(Associated Press photo)

A George Mason University School of Law assistant dean says an appeals court decision to hear former Governor McDonnell’s appeal may have impacts far beyond Virginia — and the judges may be telling McDonnell “we think you might have gotten hosed.” A Richmond-based federal appeals court ruled yesterday McDonnell may remain free while he appeals his corruption convictions, saying the appeal raises a substantial question of law or fact that could warrant a reversal or a new trial. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Va. panel votes to protect gays from job discrimination

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A Virginia Senate committee voted Monday to prohibit discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The measure proposed by Sen. Donald McEachin, a Henrico County Democrat, was approved by the Republican-controlled General Laws and Technology Committee on an 8-7 vote. Republican Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel of Fauquier County joined minority Democrats in support of the bill. Vogel also cast the key vote on another measure to prohibit state agencies from including on employment applications a question asking whether the applicant has ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of a crime. The so-called “ban the box” bill was approved on an identical 8-7 vote. Measures similar to both bills have cleared the Senate in the past but were killed in the House of Delegates.

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Further reduction in school tests advances in Va. Senate

Education-News1RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A further reduction in high-stakes standardized tests taken by Virginia schoolchildren is advancing in the Virginia Senate. On a 3-2 vote Monday, a subcommittee approved a bill from Sen. John Miller that would reduce the number of Standards of Learning tests to the minimum required by federal law within three years. Miller says the number of required tests reached as high as 34 before being reduced to 29 by the General Assembly last year. The Newport News Democrat says his bill would cut the number of required tests in grades 3-8 to 14. Miller says the testing pendulum has swung too far in the direction of rote memorization, causing undue stress and stifling kids’ curiosity and creativity. The Virginia Education Association, the state teachers group, supports his bill.

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US Forest Service closing Va. forest roads for winter months

USDA ForestROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ The U.S. Forest Service is temporarily closing national forest roads in Virginia for the remainder of the winter. The closures announced Monday include forest roads in Craig, Botetourt, Giles, Bland and Monroe counties. The closures occur every year. They are intended to reduce damage to those roads from vehicle traffic during freezing and thawing temperatures. Closures also minimize soil erosion resulting from damage roads. The roads will remain closed until early April when temperatures consistently stay above freezing. The following roads are temporarily closed:

Craig and Botetourt Counties: Bunch (FS 5008), Cove Branch (FS 275), Enterprise Road (FS 742), Hall Road (FS 209), Hebron Road (FS 5064), Kelly Hollow (FS 267), Lignite Road (FS 180) between Oriskany and Bald Mountain, Mill Creek Road (FS 229), O & I Road (FS 5020), Patterson Road (FS 184), Potts Jeep Road (FS 5036), Price Mountain Road and trailhead (FS 5012 and 5012A), Rolands Run (FS 5027) and Tub Run (FS 257).

 Bland County: Round Mountain (FS 668) between Garden Mountain and VA 52 in Bastian

 Giles County: Dismal Road (FS 201) between White Cedar Horse Camp and Flat Top Communication Site.

 Monroe County, West VA: Wilson Branch (FS 5031)

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Va. Senate panel OKs mandatory campus sex assault reporting

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Legislation to mandate reporting of alleged campus sexual assaults to police is advancing in the General Assembly. A state Senate subcommittee approved a bill Monday submitted by Republican Sen. Richard Black of Loudoun County that would require any employee of a state college or university who learns of such an allegation to report it to a local law enforcement agency within 24 hours. Failure to do so would be a misdemeanor. Black’s measure is one of 10 bills advancing in the Senate that were prompted by several recent high-profile cases of alleged sexual assaults on Virginia campuses. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Delegates. Clergy, attorneys and crisis counselors who obtain the information on a confidential basis would be exempted from the reporting requirement under Black’s bill.

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Va. Senate committee defeats gun control proposals

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A series of gun control measures has been defeated by a Republican-controlled Virginia Senate committee. The Senate Courts of Justice panel voted Monday against bills aimed at beefing up Virginia’s gun control laws. The proposals include limiting handgun purchases to one a month and closing the so-called “gun show loophole” that allows sales by private sellers without a criminal background check. Committee chairman Sen. Thomas K. Norment, Jr. said at the hearing that a bill to make it illegal for those convicted of certain violent crimes from transporting or possessing guns had passed the committee. But the General Assembly’s database of vote results later showed that the vote failed by a large margin. The panel also voted to allow gun owners to obtain a lifetime concealed carry permit.

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Va. Senate OKs bipartisan redistricting, 2-term governor

WLNI-GENERAL-ASSEMBLYRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The state Senate has approved constitutional amendments that would establish a bipartisan redistricting process and enable the Virginia governor to seek a second term. But both measures approved Monday face long odds in the House of Delegates. The redistricting measure from Republican Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel of Fauquier County and Sen. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth would establish an independent commission to redraw General Assembly and congressional districts after each federal census. It passed on a 27-12 vote. The redistricting process is now controlled by the majority party in each chamber. The measure allowing the state’s governor to run for a second consecutive term, sponsored by Sen. Thomas Garrett of Louisa County, was approved 24-15. Virginia is the only state that does not allow the governor to seek re-election.

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