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2018 Capital News Service

GREENSVILLE/EMPORIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

LOCAL BOARD MEETING

The Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services Administrative Board will hold its regular meeting Thursday, August 15, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services located at 1748 East Atlantic Street.

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3 Legislators Call for Stricter Pipeline Standards

Religious Leaders Call for Expanding Health Care

Higher Ed Advocates Lobby Legislators

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Like Florida, Virginia Seeks Offshore Drilling Exemption

Outgoing Governor Urges Lawmakers to ‘Work Together’

A Last-Minute Guide to Governor’s Inauguration

Pastor Preaches Forgiveness at Legislative Breakfast

Legislative Black Caucus aims to help disadvantaged

Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Official Portrait Unveiled

Incoming and Outgoing Governors Outline Priorities

Senate Democrats Announce Legislative Plans

New Immigrant Rights Legislation Aims to Protect Undocumented Virginians

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Transportation Secretary Defends Tolls on I-66

Blizzard hits Hampton Roads; freezing temperatures across Va.

By Christopher Wood, Capital News Service

A “bomb cyclone” brought blizzard conditions to Hampton Roads and left frigid temperatures across Virginia on Thursday as it moved up the East Coast.

The storm dumped up to 12 inches of snow in southeastern Virginia localities, forced the closure of the Port of Virginia and cut power to more than 26,000 Dominion Virginia Power customers in the region. Service to all but a few thousand was restored late Thursday, the utility said on its website.

Snowfall amounts ranged from 4 to 8 inches in the Williamsburg area and 2 to 3 inches around Richmond, according to the National Weather Service.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Wednesday afternoon in advance of the storm that struck a broad swath of eastern, central and Northern Virginia.

As the storm moved up the East Coast it brought blizzard conditions to New England. Boston appeared to record its highest tides in nearly 40 years.

The Virginia Department of Transportation reported that more than 630 roads were affected by storm and urged caution as wind-chill temperatures from zero to 5 below could make pavements dangerously slick. The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory for storm-stricken areas.

Motorists were urged to check www.511virginia.org or call 511 before traveling.

Virginia State Police in the Chesapeake and Richmond divisions responded to 356 crashes and 409 disabled vehicles. No fatalities or serious injuries were reported.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management advised caution during the continuing cold weather. Before the storm there were at least three weather-related deaths in Virginia, the agency said.

Citizens in need of assistance were asked to call 211. Those with hearing impairments can call 711 for the Virginia Relay Center and then call 800-230-6977. Out-of-state or videophone users may also dial that number.

Governor Declares Emergency As Snowstorm Nears

By George Copeland Jr., Capital News Service

RICHMOND – State officials on Wednesday urged Virginians to prepare for a winter storm that could dump up to a foot of snow on parts of the commonwealth over the next few days.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency at 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, authorizing state agencies, including the National Guard and Virginia State Police, to assist local governments in responding to the storm, which may impact roads and bridges.

The sudden cold snap follows temperature drops across the Southeastern United States, including a rare snowfall in South Carolina. Parts of Eastern Virginia, including Hampton Roads, the Northern Neck and Eastern Shore, are expected to receive the most snowfall – up to 12 inches.

“With this forecast in mind, all Virginians should take the necessary precautions now to ensure they are prepared for the travel disruptions, power outages and other threats to health and safety that could arise during this significant weather event,” McAuliffe said in a press release.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is already at work, according to Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne.

“VDOT has already taken measures to pre-treat roads and preposition equipment, crews and materials to treat roads in advance of the storm and will work throughout the storm to plow roads,” Layne said. “Driving conditions during the storm are expected to be hazardous, and motorists are urged to stay off the roads until the storm passes.”

State officials encouraged residents to keep track of road conditions by accessing the 511virginia.org website, using the free VDOT 511 mobile app or calling 511. VDOT also has a Snow Plow Tracker that shows the location of most plows.

Other help and assistance during the storm can be reached by dialing 211 or #77 on mobile phones for vehicular emergencies. Virginians with hearing impairments can call 711 for the Virginia Relay Center and then 1-800-230-6977.

Virginians Urge Legislators to Expand Medicaid

By DeForrest Ballou and Adam Hamza, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A procession of health-care advocates urged state legislators Wednesday to expand Medicaid and increase funding for Virginians with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

At a hearing on the state budget that the General Assembly must craft this spring, dozens of speakers expressed support for expanding Medicaid – an idea advocated by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Gov.-elect Ralph Northam and other Democrats but opposed by most Republican lawmakers.

The speakers included Nichole Wescott Hayes, a volunteer for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.

“ACS-CAN is part of a larger coalition of health-care-related agencies, Healthcare for All Virginians. And we are trying to expand Medicaid so that we can cover the gaps of the 300-some-thousand individuals who are without coverage at this time,” Hayes said.

“The whole ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ is not just about tourism; it’s about helping each other. That’s kind of the bedrock of what Virginia is about.”

Medicaid, which is funded by the federal and state governments, provides health care for low-income Americans. The federal Affordable Care Act encouraged states to expand Medicaid and promised that the federal government would pay for it. But most Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly fear that the state would be stuck with the bills if it expands Medicaid.

Health care was the dominant topic at the hearing. Of the 82 speakers, roughly half addressed that issue.

For instance, Kelly Brookes of Henrico County has a daughter with cerebral palsy. She advocated for more equitable education.

“My child should not have to prove that she is capable of learning, which she absolutely is,” Brookes said. “She should be able to receive the same education as other kids.”

Rachel Deane, who works for a nonprofit group called the Legal Aid Justice Center, said it’s important to attend events like hearings on the state budget.

“I think it’s always just a good opportunity for us to be at a budget hearing and to talk directly to members of the General Assembly about what funding we need for youth to be successful,” Deane said.

The center provides legal representation for low-income individuals. Deane is the legal director for the group’s program serving children.

Her goal at the hearing was to ask for funding of programs that could keep children out of the correctional system. She sat alongside a group wearing tan shirts with the words, “Guide us, don’t criminalize us.”

Mark Strandquist also addressed the legislative panel. Strandquist is the creative director for ART 180, another program run by the Legal Aid Justice Center. During his presentation, he played a recording of children who have been helped by ART 180.

“We literally view our role as being a megaphone for youth whose voices have been silenced. That’s why I literally played audio recordings made by the youth over the microphone,” Strandquist said.

The General Assembly will convene next Wednesday for a 60-day session. The major item on the agenda is to write the state budget for the next two years.

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