Gas Buddy: prices for 2017 will be higher than last year but much lower than five years ago

If you’re planning a long road trip any time this year, the analysts at Gas Buddy say you should be prepared for noticeably higher prices than in 2016  — but still well below those of five years ago. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Hundreds in Richmond rally to support health care law

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Hundreds of people  gathered for a rally outside the Virginia Capitol to oppose Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.High-ranking Democrats including Sen. Tim Kaine, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott and Donald McEachin spoke to the crowd Sunday in Richmond. The rally was one of many around the country in support of the federal health care law, which President-elect Donald Trump has promised to overturn and replace.The speakers said the law had expanded access to health care and emphasized the importance of provisions that limit lifetime caps on coverage and prevent insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.Attendee Kate Barrett of Richmond says she worries that if the law is repealed, her daughter, who has an incurable cancer, could be denied coverage or become unable to afford treatment.

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GOP governors’ group pours $5 million into Virginia race

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Republican Governors Association has donated $5 million to a political-action committee to help the GOP take back the Virginia governor’s mansion. The donation is the largest in Virginia political history and suggests Republicans like their chances to win this year’s race for governor. However, the RGA could take the money back if that outlook changes. . Democrats have won three of the past four governors’ races in Virginia, where governors are limited to a single term. RGA spokesman Jon Thompson says the group sees Virginia “as a race that’s very vulnerable for party flip.”  Former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie is seeking the GOP nomination for governor along with Prince William County board chairman Corey Stewart and state Sen. Frank Wagner.

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Redskins coach heading to LA, full slate of High School basketball tonight, and a NFL Preview

We had Mike Tilley on The Morning Line for the Mike Tilley Sports Report. 

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Bev Fitzpatrick on The Morning Line

Bev Fitzpatrick from the Virginia Museum of Transportation talked about the spring 611 excursions on The Morning Line. 

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Virginia Tech professor says Attorney General nominee reinvented himself during confirmation hearing

Brandy Faulkner

A Virginia Tech professor  says Jeff Sessions performed well during this week’s confirmation hearing by portraying himself very differently than most see him. WLNI’s Ian Price has more:

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Supporters of Sessions point to prosecution of Ku Klux Klan members and other civil rights cases when he served as a U.S. Attorney in Alabama.

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Northam joins rally for minimum wage, driver’s license bills

Ralph Northam

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam has joined a group of labor and community activists at a rally in support of raising Virginia’s minimum wage and offering driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.Dozens of people gathered Thursday outside the Capitol for the demonstration. Northam, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor, said it’s impossible for Virginians to support their families on the current $7.25 minimum wage.Democratic Del. Marcus Simon introduced a bill that would gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Previous efforts to raise  Virginia’s minimum wage have failed, and the bill has little chance of passing the GOP-controlled General Assembly.The demonstrators also called for the passage of a bill allowing the issuance of temporary driver’s licenses to people who can’t receive a permanent one because of their immigration status.

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Bill exempts some fracking chemicals from records requests

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A bill advancing in the Virginia Legislature would exempt certain chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing from disclosure in response to a public records request.Del. Roxann Robinson’s bill would exempt information about chemicals deemed a trade secret from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. Robinson, a Republican, introduced a similar measure last year. She says it’s necessary to protect the oil and gas industry and its closely held trade secrets.But opponents say the bill could hinder first responders in an emergency and keep landowners in the dark about pollutants that might be affecting their groundwater.Fracking involves pumping water, sand and chemicals underground to split open rock formations and allow oil and gas to flow.A House of Delegates subcommittee advanced the measure on a 4-3 vote Thursday.

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Transgender bill backers urge GOP support

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Advocates in Virginia for a North Carolina-style transgender bathroom law are urging Republican lawmakers to give their full support to the measure.Social conservatives joined with Republican Del. Bob Marshall at a Capitol news conference Thursday to promote legislation that would generally prohibit individuals from using a bathroom of the opposite sex in government-owned buildings. Marshall’s bill would also require public school principals to notify parents with 24 hours if a child requests to be recognized as a member of the opposite sex.Marshall, Republican National Committee member Cynthia Dunbar and others said the legislation was needed to help protect children.Theodore Kahn, a transgender man, spoke out against the bill during the new conference, saying it discriminates against the transgender community.

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Taking a vacation this year? Expect more company

If our recent snow days and chilly temperatures have you thinking about a vacation this year, you have plenty of company. AAA says it looks like a busy year for the travel industry. WLNI’s Evan Jones has more.

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