Ralph Northam

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is proposing nearly $100 million in new funding to help at-risk preschoolers.

Northam announced Tuesday that his budget proposal for the upcoming legislative session includes a proposed $94.8 million in new funding for early education efforts.

Passing a two-year state spending plan will be a top priority for the General Assembly during the 2020 session. During last month's legislative elections, voters gave Democrats full control of the General Assembly for the first time in a generation.

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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.

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DILLWYN, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he's suspended a policy that allowed prison officials to strip-search an 8-year-old girl who was visiting her father.

Northam told The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in a statement Friday that he was "deeply disturbed" by reports of the incident.

He said the state's secretary of public safety and homeland security would suspend the policy and immediately conduct an investigation.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A commission assigned to research racist laws from Virginia's past recommended Thursday that dozens of them be repealed, including measures that resisted desegregation, prevented black voters from casting ballots and prohibited interracial marriage.

While most of the measures are outdated and “have no legal effect,” they are still enshrined in law, the nine-member commission of attorneys, judges, scholars and community leaders wrote in an interim report.

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Virginia is taking steps toward dropping requirements that new Medicaid enrollees have a job and pay part of their premiums.

Those provisions were key parts of a bi-partisan compromise nearly two years ago that allowed Virginia to expand Medicaid to low-income, able-bodied adults.      

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday that he's pausing the state's pursuit of federal approval for those provisions.

He said Virginia is unlikely to implement those provisions after Democrats won control of the General Assembly last month.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A new report by the Virginia State Board of Education says there remains a persistent achievement gap for certain student groups and the state faces a growing shortage of high-quality teachers.

The report was officially presented to lawmakers and Gov. Ralph Northam on Sunday, and it calls for elected officials to rethink how schools are funded.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's governor is urging the Trump administration to stop a company that makes fish-oil supplements from fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.

Gov. Ralph Northam has asked U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to place a moratorium on the catching of menhaden in the bay.

Northam's letter, dated Wednesday, says the moratorium will protect a fish that's vital to the bay's food chain and serves as food for striped bass, dolphins and birds.

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ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - Local officials in a handful of Virginia counties have voted to honor and defend gun rights by declaring their counties to be "Second Amendment Sanctuaries."

The movement has spread in Virginia since the Nov. 5 election, when Democrats gained majority control of both the state Senate and House of Delegates.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has said his party's leaders will push for gun control measures.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Republican-led legislative commission in Virginia tasked with offering solutions for curbing gun violence says it has no recommendations to make.

The Virginia Crime Commission issued a short report Tuesday saying that staff found "inconclusive evidence" was available to develop recommendations.

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is actively campaigning for Democratic legislative candidates ahead of Election Day.

It's a sign of how far he's come since a blackface scandal almost forced him from office in February.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Former Virginia Gov. Gerald Baliles has died at age 79. The Democrat was known as the "transportation governor" and for his work to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and increase foreign trade.

Gov. Ralph Northam issued a statement from Baliles' family saying the state's former chief executive died Tuesday. He had been battling cancer.

Baliles, who served from 1986 to 1990, pushed through a 10-year, $10 billion transportation initiative during the first year of his administration that required increases in the gas and sales taxes.

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Wicomico County has extended its ban on outdoor burning.

County officials exemption from the emergency measure include gas charcoal grills and the staging of fireworks displays.

WBOC reports that recreation campfires on private property and public campgrounds are okay.

But those camp fires cannot be more than 2 feet wide and 3 feet high.

Campfires at Roaring Point and Sandy Hill will be permitted but monitored.

Any violation of the ban could result in a $500 fine for each incident.

Virginia

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Worsening dry conditions affecting Virginia have prompted Gov. Ralph Northam to place the state under a drought watch.

The watch issued Friday advises residents, local governments and businesses to use less water. It is meant to get people ready in the event of "a significant drought event."

The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor report shows nearly 56 million residents are now living in drought conditions in parts of 16 Southern states, including Virginia.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A new monument honoring the contributions of influential Virginia women is set to be officially unveiled on the state Capitol grounds.

The Virginia Women's Monument will be dedicated Monday morning at a ceremony featuring musical performances and remarks by state officials, including Gov. Ralph Northam. Hundreds are expected to attend.

Organizers in the effort to build the monument say it's the first in the nation on a state capitol's grounds to showcase a wide range of achievements and contributions by women.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he has restored voting and other civil rights to more than 22,000 felons who have completed their sentences since taking office last year.

Northam announced the milestone Wednesday. The restored rights include the right to vote, serve on a jury and run for public office.

The Democratic governor previously announced in February that he'd restored rights to more than 10,000 felons.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia has kicked off its 22nd annual campaign for state employee workforce giving.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the start of the "Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign" on Wednesday.

Over the years, donations from state workers have helped children, adults and veterans, including those in need of permanent housing and food security. Money raised through the campaign has also been given to programs that help animals and protect the environment.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Ralph Northam has issued an executive order setting a goal for Virginia to produce 100% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050.

The order announced Tuesday says the goal will help address climate change, a challenge that "poses potentially devastating risk to Virginia."

The order sets an intermediate goal of reaching 30% renewable energy by 2030. It also says the Commonwealth's agencies and executive branch institutions will aim to procure at least 30 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2022.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A law firm's investigation into whether Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam appeared in a racist yearbook photo cost nearly $368,000.

The Virginian-Pilot reports invoices obtained through a freedom of information request show Eastern Virginia Medical School received the final bill on Aug. 16.

McGuireWoods LLP said in May that it couldn't determine whether Northam is in the picture published in 1984 of a man in blackface next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia governor embroiled in a blackface scandal earlier this year is appointing a new top aide whose job will be to make government more inclusive.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday that he's appointing Janice Underwood to a newly created senior position whose duties will include formulating a strategic plan to "address systemic inequities" in state government.

Underwood is the former director of diversity initiatives at Old Dominion University.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The federal government is making low-interest loans available to residents and business owners in parts of northern Virginia impacted by flooding in early July.

Gov. Ralph Northam's office said in a statement that businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The borrowed funds are meant to help repair or replace real estate, equipment and other assets damaged or destroyed in the July 8 flooding.

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FORT MONROE, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is praising the state's removal of Confederate president Jefferson Davis' name from an archway at the site where the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia 400 years ago.

Northam said at a news conference Tuesday that removing the letters from a 1950s-era archway reading "Jefferson Davis Memorial Park" at Fort Monroe will make the state more "welcoming and reflective of our values."

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - Just over 300,000 low-income Virginia adults have enrolled in the state's expanded Medicaid program.

Gov. Ralph Northam made the announcement Wednesday at a health center in Alexandria.

State officials have previously estimated that roughly 400,000 adults would be newly eligible for Medicaid under the expansion lawmakers approved last year.

Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey said in a news release that more than 229,100 newly eligible adults had received some type of health service.

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FORT MONROE, Va. (AP) - Virginia's Department of Historic Resources is backing an alternative to Gov. Ralph Northam's call to take down a 1950s-era archway honoring the president of the Confederacy.

The preservation officer at Fort Monroe says that instead, just the letters reading "Jefferson Davis Memorial Park" should be removed from the arch at the historic U.S. Army site.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is asking his administration to come up with a plan to improve early education efforts for low-income kids.

The governor announced a new "Executive Leadership Team on School Readiness" Wednesday made up of education, social services and budget officials he's tasked with expanding access to early education in Virginia.

Northam said he wants the team to develop a plan to make sure all kids aged 3 to 4 have access to publicly subsidized child care and education programs by 2025.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he's found $1.5 million in state money to spend on outreach efforts for the 2020 Census.

The Democratic governor announced Tuesday he's authorized using money from the state's Economic Contingency Fund for the census effort.

Earlier this year the Republican-led General Assembly rejected Northam's request that money be included in the state budget. But Northam's office said the funding was vital to ensure a complete count of historically "hard-to-count" populations during the next census.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is struggling to raise big money in a key election year after a blackface scandal nearly ended his political career.

New campaign finance reports filed Monday show the Democratic governor raised slightly more than $300,000 between April and June. That's far below the seven-figure hauls his predecessors, former Govs. Terry McAuliffe and Bob McDonnell, raised during similar periods when they were in office.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is urging the federal government to grant tax breaks on donations to the victims of a recent mass shooting.

Northam issued a proclamation Tuesday saying that the Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund performs an "essential government function."

Northam urged the IRS to issue a similar finding so that donations to the fund, which was established by the United Way, are tax deductible.

Northam said the fund has received more than $3 million in donations from thousands of contributors so far.

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The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority unveiled a new payload processing facility.

CEO and Executive Director of the agency Dale Nash compared the facility to an operating room for the spaceport on Wallops Island.

WBOC reports that the site will be used to prepare satellites and other payloads for rocket launches.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam attended yesterday’s ribbon cutting ceremony telling those in attendance that the new facility will add to the economic diversity of the state’s Eastern Shore.

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Republican Elizabeth Lankford owner of Blue Crab Bay Company says she will run for the state senate on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

She will be challenging incumbent Democrat Lynwood Lewis in November’s general election.

She told the Salisbury Daily Times that she would focus on issues ranging from the opioid crisis and health insurance costs to flooding that has gotten worse over the last decade.

Meanwhile, Lewis was firsts elected to the state Senate in 2014 to replace Ralph Northam after he won his bid for Lt. Governor.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia is now a key election battleground in the long-running fight over gun laws.

Interest groups and activists on both sides are gearing up for a major clash after Republicans on Tuesday adjourned a special legislative session.

Virginia is the only state where control of the Legislature is up for grabs this year. The GOP currently holds a narrow majority.

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