Ralph Northam

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has announced a new public information campaign aimed at explaining recent changes in public education policy.

Northam launched a "Virginia is for Learners" website Monday to highlight the state's effort at modernizing curriculum and helping students developing "real-world skills."

Policy changes Virginia has enacted in recent years include fewer standardized tests, known as Standards of Learnings exams, and new high school graduation requirements that require work-based learning experiences.

creative commons

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia winery plans to double its yearly production thanks in part to a state grant.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday that New Kent Winery plans to buy an extra 120 tons of Virginia grapes during the next three years to increase their output. The winery plans to spend $715,000 and create seven new jobs as part of the expansion.

Northam said the winery will receive a $15,000 Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development facility grant, the first such grant he's awarded since taking office. New Kent County will match that grant with local funds.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is blasting his own political party for not letting him sponsor a table at major fundraising event.

The Democratic Party of Virginia recently rejected Fairfax's bid to donate $2,500 to pay for a table at the party's annual Blue Commonwealth dinner.

DPV spokesman Jake Rubenstein said the party does not feel "comfortable" accepting money from Fairfax after two women came forward accusing him of sexual assault.

Northam campaign website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Ralph Northam is taking a victory lap after Virginia landed significantly more new planned jobs and capital investment in his first 16 months in office than his last four predecessors.

Northam said at a Capitol news conference Wednesday there have been 305 new projects that are expected to produce nearly $16 billion in new investments and create 50,000 jobs.

Those figures include Amazon's new headquarters and a $3 billion planned investment by Micron, one of the world's largest semiconductor companies, in northern Virginia.

crreative commons

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia regulators have passed a rule requiring a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from power plants in the next decade.

The Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board approved the new rule Friday.

The Department of Environmental Resources says Virginia is the 12th state in the country to adopt such a regulation and the first in the South.

Environmentalists praised the new rule and urged Gov. Ralph Northam to veto language in the state budget that would effectively bar the state from joining a carbon cap-and-trade program.

u.s. army

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Ralph Northam is calling for the removal of an arch honoring the former president of the Confederacy at Fort Monroe, where the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia 400 years ago.

The Daily Press reports that Northam's office presented a letter to the Fort Monroe Authority Board of Trustees Thursday supporting removal of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Arch, a wrought-iron structure built in 1956 by the Army with $10,000 from the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has withdrawn from plans to be a commencement speaker at his alma mater, Virginia Military Institute, and won't participate in any other graduation ceremonies amid the persisting scandal over a blackface photo.

News outlets report the Democrat is abstaining from graduations throughout Virginia this season. Northam's spokeswoman Ofirah Yheskel said Monday that he deiced weeks ago to skip ceremonies over concern he would divert focus from graduates.

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BURKE, Va. (AP) - Virginia's governor pulled out of an event where he would have faced protesters for wearing blackface in the 1980s.

The Washington Post reported that Gov. Ralph Northam cited safety concerns for cancelling his appearance at a Sunday fundraiser for a Democratic state senator in northern Virginia.

Walking Dead promotion

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A new spinoff from the hit zombie TV show "The Walking Dead" is set to film in Virginia.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday that production of the unnamed show will begin in central Virginia this summer.

The governor's office said the show will feature two young female protagonists and focus on the first generation to grow up "in the franchise's apocalyptic realm."

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A law firm may soon finish its probe into how a racist photo appeared on a yearbook page for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

Richard Cullen told The Associated Press in an email Monday that the firm hopes to finish up by the end of April. Cullen is an attorney with the firm McGuireWoods and is leading the investigation on behalf of Eastern Virginia Medical School.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax says he's asked prosecutors in Boston and North Carolina to investigate sexual assault allegations two women have made against him.

Speaking at a Wednesday news conference, Fairfax again said the allegations are untrue and the sexual encounters he had with the women were consensual.

Fairfax says he'll cooperate fully with prosecutors in Boston and Durham, North Carolina, where the women say the assaults took place.

creative commons

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia House of Delegates has approved increases to truck registration fees and regional gas taxes to pay for improvements to Interstate 81.

The House voted Wednesday to accept an amendment proposed by Gov. Ralph Northam that included the tax and fee increases.

Supporters said the increases would raise taxes in areas around I-81 by about 7 cents a gallon. They said the extra money would pay for urgently needed upgrades to the highway to improve safety and traffic flow.

virginia state website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia lawmakers have voted to eliminate the suspension of driver's licenses for motorists with unpaid court fines and costs.

The Senate voted Wednesday evening in favor of Gov. Ralph Northam's proposed budget amendment to reinstate driving licenses for more than 627,000 Virginians who currently have suspended licenses. The House approved the measure earlier in the day.

Current Virginia law mandates the automatic suspension of licenses for unpaid court debt.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The first of two women to accuse Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault says she still wants him to resign.

CBS News released excerpts Sunday of its interview with Vanessa Tyson, who says Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex in 2004. The full interview will air Monday.

Fairfax says the encounter was consensual.

Northam campaign website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is encouraging eligible high school students to register to vote.

The Democratic governor recently issued a proclamation designating the week of April 21 as Virginia High School Voter Registration Week. The governor's said it is the 4th year in row the state has done such a designation.

Northam has also launched a challenge to high schools to register at least 65 percent of their senior class. Schools that do so will get a banner from the governor commending their voter registration efforts.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Dominion Energy has bowed to pressure from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and others and has agreed to spend $870 million on energy efficiency programs over the next decade.

CEO Tom Farrell told Northam of the company's plans in a letter sent Tuesday. Dominion had recently argued before state regulators that its energy efficiency spending should be significantly less.

The $870 million figure was agreed to last year by Dominion and others as part of a part of a major overhaul of energy regulations.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Ralph Northam has filed a budget amendment that would eliminate the suspension of driver's licenses for motorists with unpaid court fines and costs.

The amendment announced Tuesday would also reinstate driving licenses for more than 627,000 Virginians who currently have suspended licenses.

Current Virginia law mandates the automatic suspension of licenses for unpaid court debt.

Virginia collects about $10 million a year from people who pay to reinstate their licenses after they've been suspended for unpaid fines and costs.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has appointed a new boss of the state's juvenile justice department.

Northam announced Tuesday that he was appointing Valerie Boykin, a current deputy director, as the department head. Boykin is from Suffolk and first joined the agency in 1980 as a probation officer.

Northam said the Department of Juvenile Justice Director Andrew Block was stepping down next month after five years leading the agency.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed legislation creating a new advisory board aimed at promoting issues important to the black community.

Northam said Friday he signed a bill creating the African American Advisory Board.

The 21-member board will advise governors on issues important to African Americans and submit annual reports to lawmakers.

The board can also undertake studies and conduct research to present to the governor as well accept and spend grant money.

creative commons

RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- Would-be makers of switchblades in Virginia are out of luck.           

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday he has vetoed legislation that would allow people to make and sell switchblades to out-of-state buyers.           

Current law prohibits Virginians from owning switchblades, throwing stars and brass knuckles. Republican-led attempts to overturn the law in past years have failed.           

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A proposal to ban Virginia motorists from holding cellphones while driving may get a second chance.

One bill died during this year's legislative session. But AAA has asked Gov. Ralph Northam to amend another bill to include the ban.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that AAA is calling on Northam to amend a bill that would bar drivers from holding a cellphone while driving in a highway work zone. That bill cleared the legislature. AAA wants the legislation to apply to driving on any road.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginians will soon be paying fewer taxes on tampons and diapers.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that he'd signed legislation that lowers the sales tax rate on essential personal hygiene products. The legislation taxes those products at 2.5 percent, instead of 5.3 percent or even higher in some parts of the state.

Supporters said the legislation was needed to help Virginians afford essential products. State officials estimate the new law will result in about $5 million a year in lower tax revenues.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school has won a national award for fostering diversity as it weathers the scandal ignited by a racist photograph from its 1984 yearbook.

The Virginian-Pilot reports the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education picked Eastern Virginia Medical School for its Institutional Excellence Award this year. School president Richard V. Homan says he learned of the award a few weeks ago, "after the chaos," but couldn't announce it because of the association's rules.

creatitive commons

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has vetoed legislation that would make it easier for nonresidents to get concealed handgun carry permits.

The bill narrowly passed the GOP-controlled General Assembly, but Northam signed the veto on Tuesday.

The bill would have required state police to issue a temporary permit 90 days after receiving an application unless police determined the applicant was disqualified. Under current law, nonresidents can apply for a five-year concealed carry permit.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's unemployment rate has held steady at 2.8 percent for six months.

Gov. Ralph Northam's office announced Monday that the rate remained unchanged in January.

According to the governor's office, Virginia has the sixth lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the country. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the U.S. in January was 4 percent.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia first lady Pam Northam has expressed regret after the mother of an African-American teenager complained that a tour of the governor's mansion was racially insensitive.

Northam said Wednesday that she's working to make sure the stories of slaves who worked in the mansion's kitchen pre-Civil War are told properly.

Northam's statement comes amid heightened racial tension in Virginia politics. Gov. Ralph Northam apologized recently for wearing blackface decades ago.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a package of bills aimed at reducing the state's eviction rate.

Northam announced Thursday he'd signed several pieces of tenant-friendly legislation that's part of his affordable housing priorities. Among the legislation are bills that give tenants more time to pay rent and fees ahead of an eviction notice and limit the number of legal actions a landlord may file.

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Virginia’s First Lady Pam Northam has gotten into some hot water.

During a tour of the governor’s mansion cottage by some African American children she handed them some cotton and asked them to image being slaves.

That’s according to Leah Walker director of the state Office of Equity and Community Engagement in the Virginia Department of Education.

She wrote that during the tour which included Walker’s daughter and two of her fellow pages – the only African Americans in the group -- were asked to hold the cotton the First Lady retrieved from a bowl.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Embattled Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is compared himself to Jim Crow-era lynching victims as he resists widespread calls to resign, prompted by allegations of sexual assault.

In a surprise speech Sunday in the state Senate at end of the 2019 legislative session, Fairfax denied the allegations and said the truth is on his side.

He mentioned legislation that the General Assembly passed expressing "profound regret" for lynchings in Virginia between 1877 and 1950. Fairfax, who is black, said his opponents were "willing to do the same thing."

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed legislation banning people under 21 from buying tobacco and nicotine products, a measure enacted in a state known historically for its tobacco production. 

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the bill, signed Thursday, received bipartisan support as well as backing from Altria, the nation's largest tobacco company.

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