Ralph Northam

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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.           

carinsurance.org

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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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.

Northam campaign website

(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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