Virginia Democrats keep 10-seat majority in House of Delegates with Tuesday’s victories – Virginia Scope

Democrats Candi King (Prince William) and Angelia Williams Graves (Norfolk) are the newest members of the Virginia House of Delegates after winning special elections on Tuesday. King defeated her Republican opponent Heather Mitchell in HD-02 after Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy resigned in December to focus her attention on running for Governor. Graves defeated her Republican opponent Sylvia Bryant in HD-90 after Del. Joe Lindsay resigned his seat when he was appointed to the Norfolk General District Court.

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Virginia Crime Commission endorses getting rid of all mandatory minimum sentences – Roanoke Times

by Amy Friedenberger

The Virginia State Crime Commission has endorsed abolishing all mandatory minimum sentences from the state code. Legislators will take up the significant proposal to get rid of 224 offenses with mandatory minimums during the General Assembly session beginning next week. The commission, a bipartisan advisory body that studies criminal justice, voted 9-2 on Tuesday to end mandatory minimums, with the lone Republican, Del. Les Adams, R-Pittsylvania, and Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone voting against the recommendation.

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‘Very frustrating’: Some health systems vaccinate stay-at-home workers as providers struggle to get doses – Virginia Mercury

by Kate Masters

Third and fourth-year medical students at Virginia Commonwealth University came back from winter break expecting to resume clinical rounds, a key part of their curriculum that allows students to take a hands-on role in patient care. Instead, at a Jan. 1 meeting, faculty from the medical school’s Office of Student Affairs — along with Dr. Arthur Kellermann, the CEO of VCU Health System — made a surprising announcement.

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Former city police chief Kenneth Miller named interim city manager in Petersburg – Progress-Index

by Sean Jones

PETERSBURG – Former Petersburg Chief of Police Kenneth Miller has been appointed as the city’s Interim City Manager following the resignation of current City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides.  Miller’s last official day at the helm of the Police Department was Nov. 1, 2020. He was first brought to Petersburg in 2017 as Chief of Police, later being elevated to Deputy City Manager for Public Safety where he oversaw Police, Fire and Emergency Services.

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Richmond’s Top Public Health Official Backs Paid Sick Leave – VPM News

by Roberto Roldan

Advocates for mandatory paid sick leave in Virginia have found an ally in Dr. Danny Avula. Avula heads the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts and has been leading the local response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He often joins Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney for weekly updates on the virus’ spread and efforts to contain it, becoming somewhat of a local celebrity in the process. On Tuesday, Avula joined a press conference with advocates from the Virginians For Paid Sick Days Coalition, made up of 25 different organizations. 

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Waters remain muddy for Mountain Valley Pipeline’s stream crossings – Roanoke Times

by Laurence Hammock

The route a natural gas pipeline will take to cross hundreds of streams and wetlands in Southwest Virginia has grown even murkier. As part of a rewriting of a federal permitting process, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality said last month that it would deny future water quality certifications for pipelines more than 36 inches in diameter under the so-called Nationwide Permit 12.

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In-person return for Henrico elementary school students delayed until Jan. 25 – Henrico Citizen

by Tom Lappas

Henrico elementary school students will have to wait a bit longer to return to school in person, the Henrico Citizen has learned. Significant increases in most COVID-19 metrics in the county have prompted officials to delay for the second time – by two weeks, to Jan. 25 – the planned resumption of in-person learning for all elementary students whose families selected it. Teachers would be expected back in schools by Jan. 19 as part of the plan, which Superintendent Amy Cashwell discussed with elementary school principals Tuesday morning.

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Extra info:

Kirk Cox urges Governor Northam to take decisive action to speed vaccine distribution in Virginia

  • Cox urged Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to take decisive action immediately to speed vaccine distribution in the Commonwealth. Cox called on the Governor to introduce an emergency appropriation to unlock new federal funding for vaccine distribution, to expand private-sector distribution similar to the federal government’s model for long-term care facilities, and to expand eligibility for vaccines as quickly as possible. 

Republican Del. Jason Miyares announced his fundraising numbers as he seeks his party’s nomination to run for Attorney General.

  • The Jason Miyares for Attorney General campaign today announced that he raised over $240,000 within the first 30 days of the campaign. From December 2 to December 31, the campaign raised $242,915 from over 200 donors with over $228,000 cash on hand.

Democrats congratulate the newest Democrats in the General Assembly after Candi King and Angelia Williams Graves won special elections on Tuesday.

  • “Throughout her campaign, Candi King always kept the hardworking people she was fighting for front and center,” said Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia. Swecker also congratulated Graves. “Councilwoman Graves ran an excellent campaign and I’ll be thrilled to see her sworn in as the next delegate to represent the 90th district.” 

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