Ralph Northam

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he is forgoing a racial reconciliation event at a historically black school after student leaders asked him not to attend.

Local news outlets report student leaders at Virginia Union University asked Northam in a letter dated Monday not to attend Thursday's scheduled commemoration of students who protested segregation in Richmond almost 60 years ago. Student government president Jamon Phenix said Northam's visit could overshadow the tribute.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's embattled governor has hired a state agency director removed by lawmakers following an audit showing mismanagement.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the General Assembly voted this month to remove Jay DeBoer from the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulations. Days later, Ralph Northam appointed the 65-year-old as a special assistant.

Northam's press secretary Alena Yarmosky says DeBoer's salary will remain at $151,759. She says "options continue to be assessed" following his "abrupt termination."

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WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) - A bill that requires religious leaders to report suspected child abuse or neglect is now before Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam for his signature.

The Winchester Star reports both the House and Senate have approved the bill, which requires ministers, priests, rabbis, imams and other religious leaders to report suspected abuse to law enforcement.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed legislation that will lower and simplify state tax bills.

Northam signed tax-overhaul legislation into law Friday.

The legislation will give taxpayers refunds this year to compensate for higher state taxes on 2018 income. The rebate will be up to $110 for individual filers and $220 for couples.

In future years, the law raises the amount taxpayers can take on their standard deductions.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is asking lawmakers to pass a state budget that has a "greater focus on the issues of equity."

Northam met with a group of lawmakers Thursday to discuss his spending plan.

The Democratic governor also sent a letter to key members of the GOP-led General Assembly outlining his priorities. Top among them, Northam says, are increased funding for struggling schools and more spending to lower the number of evictions.

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(AP) The lawyer representing one of the women who has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault is urging state lawmakers not to delay a public hearing on the matter.

Attorney Nancy Erika Smith released the statement Monday on behalf of Meredith Watson after it became clear that lawmakers are not moving forward anytime soon with impeachment proceedings against Fairfax.

Smith said Fairfax should have to testify publicly. There's been no indication so far that legislative leaders want public hearings on the matter.

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(AP) A group of black clergy and community leaders is asking for a moratorium on the widespread calls for Virginia's governor and attorney general to resign over their admissions they wore blackface in the 1980s.
 
The Rev. Rodney Hunter is co-director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and pastor of Richmond's Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church.
 
He said Monday that the records of Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring show "they are different people" than they were when they wore blackface more than three decades ago.
 

Virginian Pilot

(AP) A top Virginia Republican served as an editor for a college yearbook that includes racial slurs and at least one image of a person in blackface.

Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment was managing editor of the 1968 yearbook for the Virginia Military Institute.

The yearbook includes a photo of a man in blackface standing with others in costumes and uses racial slurs to describe a student from Bangkok, Thailand.

The contents of the yearbook were first reported Thursday by The Virginian Pilot.

Don Rush (File Photo)

Governor Larry Hogan has called his fellow governor in Virginia to step down.

The Maryland Republican’s remarks on a CBS affiliate comes on the heels of racist photos in Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook.

Hogan said, “It’s completely unacceptable. I’m sure he has lost the confidence of the people.”

WBOC reports that the scandal led to the postponement of an event that had been scheduled for Salisbury University in which Hogan, Northam and Delaware’s governor John Carney were the appeared.

Lt. Governor's Accusers Goes Public

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Another top Virginia Democrat has admitted to wearing blackface decades ago. Attorney General Mark Herring issued a statement Wednesday saying he wore brown makeup and a wig in 1980 to look like a black rapper during a party as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia.
 
The revelation further roils the top levels of Virginia government. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax are already facing controversies, and Herring would be next in line to be governor after those two men.
 

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(AP) A Republican lawmaker and close friend of Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he believes the governor will remain in office based on their frequent conversations.

State Sen. Richard Stuart told The Associated Press that he speaks daily to Northam and talked to him on Tuesday.

Stuart said he believes the governor won't resign after Northam told him he felt responsibility to stay in office and make amends. He said the governor told him that he doesn't intend to run away from the problem.

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NEW YORK (AP) - The racist photo on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's yearbook page wasn't the only thing that disgusted Monifa Bandele. She was especially appalled that the image was published as he was graduating from medical school on his way to become a pediatrician.

The 1984 photo has stirred a national political furor and reopened the long history of bigotry in American medicine. The revelations about Northam gave many African-Americans a new reason to be distrustful of doctors.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A political death watch took shape at Virginia's Capitol as Gov. Ralph Northam consulted with top administration officials Monday about whether to resign amid a furor over a racist photo in his 1984 yearbook.

Practically all of the state's Democratic establishment - and Republican leaders, too - turned against the 59-year-old Democrat after the picture surfaced late last week of someone in blackface next to another person in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. The photo was on Northam's medical school yearbook page.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, is clinging to office amid rising calls from within his own party to resign over a photo of someone in blackface in his 1984 medical school yearbook.

Northan denies being in the yearbook photo even though he had apologized for it Friday and said previously that he was in it.

The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus said Sunday that Northam "still does not understand the seriousness of his actions."

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's state House and Senate are working on competing versions of the state budget as a deadline approaches.

The Richmond Times Dispatch reports the House Appropriations approved its revised two-year budget that includes extra money for teacher and state employee pay, an offer of money to colleges and universities to forestall tuition increases. It also includes down payments on high-tech education initiatives for Amazon and the state's growing technology business sector.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Missteps by Virginia Democrats in a debate over late-term abortions are giving Republicans hope they've found a powerful issue in a tough political environment.

Virginia Republican leaders vowed Thursday to make abortion a front-and-center issue during this year's legislative elections. And President Donald Trump indicated he sees the issue as a political winner.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - After nine minutes of debate, the Virginia House sent a bill providing more than a half-billion dollars in incentives for Amazon to Gov. Ralph Northam for his signature.

News outlets report that the House voted 83-16 on Monday in favor of the measure, which would create $550 million in "post-performance" incentives for the technology giant, based on job creation.

Northam has said he will sign the bill, which would give Amazon cash grants of $22,000 per new full-time job for the first 25,000 jobs.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Ralph Northam has announced the start of statewide community office hours when constituents can have one-on-one meetings with a representative from the governor's office.

The Office of Constituent Services and Community Engagement will schedule quarterly visits in each region of the state.

Currently, the office facilitates communication between constituents and the governor through phone, email, letters and meetings in Richmond.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Legislation to legalize casinos in Virginia is advancing in the General Assembly, but the odds of passage are still unknown.

A pro-casino bill was approved with bipartisan support Monday by the General Laws and Technology Committee in the state Senate.

The legislation would allow developers to build casinos in Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth if residents approved local referendums. The legislation now also lets the Pamunkey Indian Tribe build casinos in Richmond and Norfolk with local approval.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Microsoft plans to expand its data center operation in Southside Virginia.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that the tech giant was going to make a "significant" investment at its operations in Mecklenburg County. He said the expansion will create 100 new jobs.

Northam approved a $1.5 million grant for the expansion. The company will also be eligible for the tax breaks for data centers. The data center tax breaks by are far the biggest type of business tax breaks the state offers.

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It could be called governor’s day on the campus of Salisbury University.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that all three governors from Virginia, Maryland and Delaware are expected to appear on campus in February.

It will be Governor Larry Hogan’s first appearance this year after becoming the first Maryland Republican to be elected to a second term in decades.

Meanwhile, Delaware Governor John Carney and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam – both Democrats – are also expected to make an appearance.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wants to make it easier to vote early and harder for political candidates to bring in big checks.

The Democratic governor outlined a package of proposed legislation Monday that includes a bill to allow no-excuse absentee voting.

Virginia currently limits absentee voting to people with qualifying reasons.

The governor is also proposing new campaign finance limits that would cap donations at $10,000, block direct donations from corporations, and prohibit lawmakers from the personal use of campaign funds.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is promoting a series of gun-control measures he says promote public safety while still respecting individual gun rights.           

The Democratic governor announced seven proposals at a Capitol news conference Friday ahead of the start of the legislative session.           

The proposals include a so-called "red flag" measure to take away guns temporarily from people who are considered dangerous.

A number of other states have passed similar measures since a mass shooting at a Florida high school last year.           

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Ralph Northam has proposed a package of environmental legislation aimed at safely disposing of coal ash, helping coastal communities deal with flooding caused by climate change and continuing the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay.

The legislative agenda unveiled Thursday includes the Coastal Protection Act. The law would allow the state to use an estimated $50 million in revenue from the sale of carbon pollution credits for coastal resilience projects.  It also would dedicate funds for economic transition for coal communities.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - More than 182,000 Virginians have enrolled in new health coverage that begins in the new year.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the enrollment in the new coverage under Medicaid expansion on Wednesday.

The coverage is available to 19- to 64-year-olds who are not eligible for Medicare and meet income requirements, which vary by family size. SNAP recipients and parents whose children receive Medicaid coverage can use a short-form application to sign up by Jan. 4.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is asking state lawmakers for an extra $21.6 million for affordable housing and to help tenants facing eviction.

The Democratic governor highlighted parts of his forthcoming budget plans on Monday. He'll present his full budget to the GOP-led General Assembly on Tuesday.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he wants lawmakers to approve spending $50 million to make it easier for people to get faster internet service.

Northam said Friday that his forthcoming state budget plan will include adding $50 million to the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative. The program encourages internet service providers to expand broadband access to underserved areas.

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Environmentalists in Maryland appear to believe they now have the wind at their backs offering up the prospect of getting the General Assembly to approve the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act in the next legislative session.

The measure calls for increasing the state’s renewal energy sources for the state’s electricity to 50 percent by 2030 and to come up with a plan for 100 percent by 2040.

While Governor Larry Hogan vetoed an earlier version of the measure that called for 25 percent by 2020 he has not weighed in on the current legislation.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wants to boost state spending on school counselors as a way to keep kids safer.

The Democratic governor announced Thursday that he plans to ask the Republican-controlled General Assembly to approve $36 million in new spending to hire more school counselors and better address students' emotional needs.

Northam said he also wants to spend $3.3 million to help increase safety training for school officials, including active shooter drills.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wants to increase state spending on efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and improve the state's water quality.

Northam announced parts of his upcoming state budget plan Wednesday related to water issues.

The Democratic governor wants to increase funding for a program meant to help farmers improve water quality. He's also proposing to boost funding for a fund that helps cities and suburbs reduce pollution from storm-water runoff.

Northam said the spending would speed up efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

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