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VPM Daily Newscast: Feb. 15, 2023

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VPM Daily Newscast

The VPM Daily Newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Episodes are recorded the night before.

Listeners can subscribe through NPR One, Apple Podcasts, Megaphone, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts. 

Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Feb. 15, 2023:   

Chinese firms, individuals own 14,000 acres of Virginia farmland: USDA
Reported by VPM News’ Jahd Khalil

Virginia elected officials passed a bill Monday banning the sale of agricultural land to “foreign adversaries,” with China specifically in mind. When pushed, supporters of the effort have not specified current landholdings.

According to USDA records obtained by VPM News in a public records request, about 14,000 acres of Virginia farmland are owned by Chinese companies or individuals. None of that land was purchased during the past 10 years, and about 96% of it belongs to pork-giant Smithfield Foods.

Bipartisan effort to end solitary confinement falls flat, advocates say
Reported by VPM News’ Whittney Evans

The General Assembly approved a measure Tuesday to ban the use of solitary confinement in Virginia prisons. It was spearheaded by unlikely collaborators, but some advocates for abolishing the practice say the bill misses the mark.

Originally, it capped the number of days prison officials can hold people in isolation to 15 during any 60-day period and required officials to notify family members when a person is separated from the general population. But it lost support from advocates when the bill was amended on the House floor. Those provisions were removed earlier this month.

In other news: 

In case you missed it: 

VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.