Liberty football is moving to NCAA’s top division

From Liberty University: Liberty received notification today that the NCAA has approved its request to enter into the Football Bowl Subdivision reclassification process. Liberty University submitted the waiver with the NCAA in January, requesting relief to enter into the two-year FBS reclassification process without an invitation to join a FBS conference. The NCAA academic and membership affairs staff approved the request after seeking feedback from the NCAA Division I Strategic Vision and Planning Committee, the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee and the NCAA office of legal affairs. The NCAA waiver approval was based upon Liberty providing substantial information demonstrating its readiness to begin the reclassification process, Liberty’s ability to follow current FBS institutions who have demonstrated viability without a conference affiliation and the university’s ability to satisfy FBS requirements. Starting with the 2017-18 academic year, Liberty’s football program will begin the two-year FBS reclassification process. Liberty will compete as a FBS independent during the 2018 season, which includes having three FBS home games. The football program will be bowl eligible starting with the 2019 season and will be required to play at least five home FBS opponents.

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VT prof: Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s actions not unheard of

A Virginia Tech professor says whoever replaces now resigned National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will face an uphill battle in separating the constant association between the Trump administration and Russia. As WLNI’s Ian Price reports:

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As further court action awaits, immigration debate continues

President Trump’s executive order on immigration now awaits further court action on several fronts — including one in Virginia. And as the legal process continues, the reasons behind that order remain debated. More from WLNI’s Evan Jones.

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Lawmakers still grappling with ethics law

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The Virginia General Assembly is set to adjust the state’ ethics laws for the fourth straight year, as lawmakers continue struggle over what kind of gifts they can take from lobbyists and special interests.Lawmakers are working on legislation clarifying that public officials cannot accept tickets to watch sporting events in luxury boxes. The moves comes a year after a top aide to Gov. Terry McAuliffe accepted an invitation from the Washington Redskins to watch a playoff game from one of the team’s boxes with the approval from the state’s ethics council’s staff.The team is in active discussions with state officials about building a new stadium in Virginia, and lawmakers said the gift violated the spirit of a 2015 ethics overhaul.

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Democratic candidate apologizes for Sept. 11 comparison

Tom Perriello

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello is apologizing for comparing President Donald Trump’s victory to the attacks in the United States on Sept. 11.Perriello said Trump’s election was “a little bit like, you know, a political and constitutional September 11” during a recent campaign stop. The comments were recorded and posted in a video online.The former congressman apologized for the comparison Wednesday on Twitter and said he would not do it again.Perriello is facing Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in the Democratic primary, set for June.Virginia’s 2017 gubernatorial race is gaining increasing national attention, as both Trump fans and critics want to use the contest as a referendum on the president’s first year in office.

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Threshold for felony theft remains at $200

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia House Republicans have rejected an effort by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to raise the felony theft threshold from $200 to $500.   A GOP-controlled House panel killed the legislation Wednesday, which the Democratic governor had made one of his top legislative priorities. GOP Del. Rob Bell said the measure was misguided and that criminals do not need a cost of living adjustment. Bell said increasing the threshold could undermine Virginia’s low crime rate. But supporters of increasing the nearly 40-year-old threshold needed to be updated because the cost of goods had gone up and Virginia was too often saddling young people caught stealing with felony records.

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Proposals to change Virginia redistricting process are dead for the year in Richmond

Any efforts to change the way Virginia handles legislative redistricting are now dead for the year. Supporters of change say it’s needed to create a fairer electoral process. But House Republican leaders say the current process is already fair. WLNI’s Evan Jones has more.

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State revenues surge, but not in time to aid budget

Governor Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia tax revenues surged last month, but Gov. Terry McAuliffe cautioned against assuming that the state’s recent revenue swoon is over.The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports McAuliffe announced Monday that revenues rose 7.4 percent in January over the previous January. He also says collections for the first seven months of the fiscal year are up 4.6 percent and ahead of the annual forecast revised in the face of last year’s shortfall.Despite the good news, officials say the improved outlook will not result in increased budget spending. Last year, budget officials were caught off guard when payroll withholding grew more slowly than expected, primarily because lower-paying jobs replaced high-wage jobs that were lost in northern Virginia and other parts of the state especially vulnerable to cuts in federal spending.

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State lawmakers pass immigration enforcement bill that faces certain McAuliffe veto

Virginia lawmakers have completed passage of a bill that would require local law enforcement officials to continue holding undocumented immigrants past their scheduled release dates until federal authorities arrive. But it seems certain to face the governor’s veto. More from WLNI’s Evan Jones.

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Federal judge blocks Trump travel ban for Virginia residents

McLEAN, Va. (AP) – A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction barring the Trump administration from implementing its travel ban in Virginia, adding another judicial ruling to those already in place challenging the ban’s constitutionality.A federal appeals court in California has already upheld a national temporary restraining order stopping the government from implementing the ban, which is directed at seven Muslim-majority countries.But the preliminary injunction issued late Monday by U.S. District Judge Leonie (LAY-uh-nee) Brinkema in Alexandria is a more permanent type of injunction than the temporary restraining order issued in the Washington state case.Brinkema’s injunction, though, applies only to Virginia residents.In her 22-page ruling, Brinkema said the Trump administration offered no justification for the travel ban and wrote that the president’s executive power “does not mean absolute power.”

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