racial disparities

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is proposing about $22 million for efforts to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies and reduce the racial disparity in the state's maternal mortality rate.

Northam announced Monday that his budget proposal for the upcoming legislative session includes funding to expand Medicaid coverage for new moms and increase home visits from care providers.

Funding is also included to study the possibility of Medicaid reimbursement for doula services and to increase access to long-acting contraception.

creative commons

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A proposal to decriminalize marijuana possession in Virginia has been quickly snuffed out.

The Republican-controlled state Senate Courts of Justice Committee rejected Sen. Adam Ebbin's decriminalization bill Wednesday on a party-line 9-5 vote.

The measure would have eliminated jail time for possession of marijuana, instead making it punishable by a maximum $100 civil penalty.

Ebbin, an Alexandria Democrat, argued that criminalization of marijuana has failed to reduce use of the drug and has made criminals out of nonviolent citizens.