Ralph Northam

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam says he's going to veto a GOP-drawn map aimed at fixing an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

Northam said Tuesday the GOP-led General Assembly's redrawing effort is too partisan and a federal court is best situated to draw a new legislative map.

A House committee voted along party lines last week to advance a GOP-drawn map that supporters say does not unfairly advantage either major political party. Opponents said the map is unfair to African-American voters.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has asked a group of experts to advise him on how to fight the state's opioid epidemic.

Northam signed an executive order Friday establishing an advisory commission on opioids and addiction.

The governor, who is a pediatric neurologist, said the commission will review the state's current approach at curbing opioid abuse and offer feedback on ways to improve.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia and the Army Corps of Engineers have finalized an agreement to build a 500-foot jetty on Tangier Island to help protect a navigation channel and harbor.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the agreement Monday and said the new jetty would help the island's seafood industry. The jetty is expected to cost about $2.6 million, and the state will cover about 20 percent.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says his state is well positioned to lead the development of the nation's offshore wind industry.

The Democrat spoke Friday in Norfolk at a conference sponsored by industry members and Virginia's Sierra Club chapter.

Dominion Energy and the Danish firm Orsted already plan to install two turbines 27 miles (43 kilometers) off the coast for a pilot project. But Northam said Virginia has the capacity for offshore turbines to generate power for 500,000 homes.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia officials committed to spending up to $60 million to set up state shelters and secure response teams ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Virginia escaped the worst of Florence's wrath after the storm took a southward turn, devastating the Carolinas. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports members of Democratic governor Ralph Northam's administration are defending the costs, but some Republican lawmakers say the high price tag deserves further scrutiny.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's governor has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the potential impact of Tropical Storm Florence.

The order issued Saturday by Gov. Ralph Northam helps mobilize resources to prepare for the storm, mitigate any damage and streamline the process Virginia uses to send assistance to other states.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's governor wants a federal court to begin the process of redrawing 11 House districts found to be unconstitutionally gerrymandered, saying he believes lawmakers tasked with the job are at an impasse.

Gov. Ralph Northam sent a letter Friday to Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox, urging Cox to ask the court to step in. The Democratic governor says "all signs indicate" the General Assembly won't enact a fixed map by an Oct. 30 deadline the court imposed.

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(AP) A federal court has rejected a request from Virginia Republicans that an October deadline to complete a state-level redistricting process be put off until the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on the case.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia denied the request in an order issued Thursday.

The court ordered lawmakers in June to redraw the state's legislative map by Oct. 30 after it found that some districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered. Republicans are appealing the ruling and had wanted the deadline put on hold.

historic drawing

HAMPTON, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and other state officials will visit a historic African-American cemetery in Hampton later this week to celebrate an easement that will protect the site.

The Daily Press reports the William Tucker 1624 Society will kick off its commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in English North America with a ceremonial easement signing.

The easement will protect the two-acre Tucker Family Cemetery. An ancestor of the Tucker family is believed to be the first African-American born in North America.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has scheduled a special session of the General Assembly so lawmakers can comply with a court order to redraw the state's legislative map.

The governor announced Monday that he had signed a proclamation calling lawmakers back to Richmond on Aug. 30. The special session will come after a federal court in June found that 11 House of Delegates districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered and ordered lawmakers to redraw the state map by Oct. 30.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Virginia investigators say they've found no evidence of abuse at a detention facility after immigrant teens described being strapped to chairs with their heads covered with bags.

The investigation found the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center does use restraint chairs on "out-of-control" residents considered a safety threat, but that doesn't meet the legal threshold of abuse or neglect.

Regulators made several recommendations to improve conditions inside the facility.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Ralph Northam is proposing a plan to use extra state revenue from federal tax cuts to give a tax break to low- and moderate-income families.

Northam outlined his proposal to reporters Friday, ahead of a speech to state legislative committees next week.

Northam says recent changes in federal tax law have so far largely benefited corporations and high-income people. He wants to make the earned-income tax credit fully refundable, which he says could mean a windfall of "several hundred dollars" for about 400,000 families in Virginia.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the city of Charlottesville have proactively declared a state of emergency ahead of the one-year anniversary of a violent white nationalist rally in Virginia that left a woman dead and dozens of others injured.

Officials said Wednesday the declaration would streamline state and local operations this weekend while also allocating $2 million in state funds. The declaration authorizes the Virginia National Guard to assist in security efforts.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Virginia has moved one step closer to launching its first offshore wind project.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday that Dominion Energy has filed for approval from the State Corporation Commission to erect two wind turbines.

The initial demonstration project would stand about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. If approved, electricity would begin to flow in 2020.

The power company has teamed up with Orsted, a Denmark-based energy firm.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia has launched a new program connecting all emergency rooms to a new program designed to streamline and speed up doctors' access to patient information.

Officials said the Emergency Department Care Coordination Program is the first of its kind in the country.

Gov. Ralph Northam said at a news conference Tuesday that the program is a "huge step in the right direction." Northam, a pediatric neurologist, said the program will give doctors the tools to improve care while cutting unnecessary costs.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia has picked a consultant to help boost its chances of becoming the east coast hub of the offshore wind industry.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that the state Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy had picked BVG Associates as its advisor. The company is tasked with developing a plan to make Virginia more attractive to the offshore wind supply chain and service industries.

Virginia is one of several east coast states interested in becoming the manufacturing base of the burgeoning offshore wind industry.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is asking a judge to toss out a lawsuit that seeks to overturn state laws restricting abortion rights.

Herring's office filed the motion to dismiss Friday in federal court in Richmond. The attorney general's office argues that while the abortion-rights groups that filed the lawsuit raise legitimate concerns, the issues should be addressed by the state legislature, not the courts.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia collected $550 million more than expected in revenues last fiscal year.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the surplus Thursday. He said it was an encouraging sign of economic momentum in the state.

The surplus was attributable to increases in income tax payments. A strong stock market and a boost in federal defense spending are likely major factors for that growth.

Lawmakers have already set aside the surplus to replenish the state's rainy day fund.

The extra money comes at a fortuitous time for Virginia.

Virginia Lottery

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's state-owned lottery program had its best year on record with profits topping $600 million for the first time.

Gov. Ralph Northam's office announced Wednesday that the state lottery had a record $2.14 billion in sales in fiscal 2018.

Officials said lottery players took home $1.3 billion in prizes and 48 tickets won prizes of $1 million or more.

Lottery profits are used to bolster education spending. Virginia's state lottery started in 1988.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan says Maryland will recall the four members of the National Guard he sent to the U.S.-Mexico border and will not deploy other resources until a federal policy of separating immigrant children from their families is rescinded.

Hogan made the announcement Tuesday on Twitter.

The Republican governor says he has ordered four crewmembers and a helicopter to immediately return from where they were stationed in New Mexico.

Smith College

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) - William & Mary's first female president is scheduled to be sworn in during a ceremony on July 2.

The school in Williamsburg, Virginia, said in a statement Friday that Katherine A. Rowe will be sworn in by Gov. Ralph Northam. The brief ceremony will begin at noon in the Great Hall of the Wren.

Rowe will become William & Mary's 28th president. She'll also be the first woman to lead the institution in its 325-year history.

Rowe will replace W. Taylor Reveley III, who is retiring after 10 years.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Film crews will be in northern Virginia this summer shooting a portion of the sequel to the blockbuster hit "Wonder Woman."

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday the filming will take place over several weeks in the Alexandria area. Reports have identified empty Landmark Mall as one location, but the Virginia Film Office declined to confirm specific locations.

"Wonder Woman 1984" will star Gal Gadot in the lead role, as well as Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A new panel of state officials and business leaders has approved a new grant to help train Virginians in making wine, cider, craft beer and hard liquor.

Gov. Ralph Northam's office announced Wednesday the GO Virginia board had approved a $250,000 grant for Piedmont Virginia Community College and Germanna Community College. The funds will be used to establish two new training centers and to develop a new curriculum to help train candidates in making alcoholic beverages.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a new state budget that expands Medicaid to as many as 400,000 low-income adults.

The Democratic governor signed the legislation Thursday on the steps outside the state Capitol. He said the bipartisan compromise on Medicaid expansion is a stark contrast to the "chaos and partisan warfare" in national politics.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's administration says it is looking for advice on how to make the state more attractive to offshore wind power.

Northam's office announced Tuesday that the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is seeking a contract to provide a strategic plan to make Virginia an east coast hub for the offshore wind energy industry.

Virginia currently doesn't have any offshore turbines.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a bill requiring jails and prisons to supply feminine health products to inmates for free.

WVIR-TV reported Wednesday that House Bill 83 will go into effect on July 1. State jails and prisons used to decide individually what they would charge for pads and tampons. Incarcerated women sometimes had to pay up to several dollars. This law now requires the Department of Corrections to ensure a free supply at every jail and prison in the state.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The state of Virginia is developing a new data-driven way to prioritize what parcels of land should be a top priority for conservation.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the new strategy Tuesday.

Matt Strickler is the state's secretary of natural resources. He says the new analysis method will weigh factors like biodiversity, water quality protection and high-value forest cores.

Strickler says the system should be up and running in a "matter of months." He says it's too soon to say what parcels of land will be a top priority. 

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has asked the federal government to make more than 200 low-income areas eligible for new tax breaks.

Northam said last week that he'd nominated 212 so-called "opportunity zones" to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

A new tax overhaul passed last year allows for tax breaks for certain kinds of investments in certain designated low-income census tracks.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia lawmakers have rejected a proposal by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to raise taxes to help improve the Washington-area's struggling public transit system.

House Republicans voted Wednesday against small increases on real estate and hotel taxes in Northern Virginia to fund Metro. The new taxes would have raised about $30 million a year.

Instead, the state will rely more on existing funding for road projects to help cover the state's $150 million a year in new Metro spending.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Richmond International Film Festival has named former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe as the recipient of its 2018 Pioneer Award for Excellence in Public Service & Leadership.

Each year, the festival honors state and national leaders who are paving a future path in leadership and evoking change in communities.

This year, McAuliffe was chosen for effectively ending homelessness among the state's military veterans.

The award will be presented to McAuliffe by Gov. Ralph Northam during the festival's Military Spotlight on April 29.

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