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VPM Daily Newscast: January 14, 2021

VPM's daily newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Hosted by Benjamin Dolle, episodes are recorded the night before so you can wake up prepared.

Listeners can subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Megaphone, and Spotify.

  Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of January 14, 2021: 


  • Additional security measures are being put in place around Capitol Square and state buildings in downtown Richmond. Starting today, Capitol Square will be closed until after next Wednesday’s presidential inauguration. According to the Department of General Services and Capitol Police, extra fencing is being installed  around state buildings. These facilities will also have protective barriers. Access to them will be limited. Officials say these measures will be in place through at least January 21st.

     

  • Governor Ralph Northam gave his third State of the Commonwealth address to an uncharacteristically empty House of Delegates chamber last night. Lawmakers watched virtually - a measure of protection against COVID-19, which has infected over 400,000Virginians in the past 10 months. A large focus of Northam’s speech, and the response from Republican members Del. Kirk Cox and Sen. John Cosgrove was on the pandemic.


  • Virginia is still focused on its first priority groups -- frontline healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities, and while that continues, some localities are moving forward. The Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield and Chickahominy health departments will enter Phase 1B next Monday. Many essential workers will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine, starting with first responders, workers in corrections and homeless shelters, school staff, and childcare workers.

     

  • This afternoon, Governor Ralph Northam and health officials will give  an update on the state’s response to the ongoing pandemic. The second phase of vaccine distribution began this week, which Virginians will likely hear more details about. As of yesterday, more than 193-thousand people have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Nearly 23-thousand have been fully inoculated.  Starting this afternoon at 2, VPM News will be streaming the Governor’s press conference on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


  • When Virginia’s General Assembly kicked off its 2021 session yesterday, lawmakers mourned the death of state Sen. Ben Chafin to COVID-19. But the bipartisan goodwill didn’t last. Republicans blocked what is normally a routine vote to extend the session length from 30 to 46 days. Democratic Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn stripped three Republicans of committee assignments. Her action comes after the lawmakers signed a letter asking Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results of the November presidential election.

     

  • The first day of the General Assembly session in Richmond also saw the first day of protesters hoping to influence policymakers. New Virginia Majority and other progressive groups rallied outside of the Science Museum of Virginia, where the Senate is meeting in-person.

     

  • The VCU Wilder School has released a poll about Virginians’ knowledge of the state budget. Eighty-one percent don’t think there’s enough evidence to approve or disapprove of the state budget. The budget was passed in last year's special session called by Gov. Ralph Northam to address the state’s $2.8 billion budget shortfall. “The poll reflects an overwhelming majority of Virginians feel that the government has not provided information on how their taxpayer dollars are being spent,” former Gov. Douglas Wilder said in a statement. According to the poll, nearly half approve of Northam’s transparency in spending federal resources for the pandemic, while 36% disapprove.
VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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