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VPM Daily Newscast January 19, 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 Tuesday, January 19, 2021:

  • Martin Luther King Junior’s birthday was celebrated around the country and in Virginia Monday. In Richmond, the non-partisan group, Brown Virginia, hosted a virtual advocacy day. Speakers included Governor Ralph Northam and many other statewide officials, including Janice Underwood. She’s the Commonwealth’s Chief Diversity Officer and the first person to have a cabinet-level job like this in the country.  She says collecting data on diversity, equity and inclusion is an essential first step toward combating structural racism. “You can’t change what you don’t measure and you can’t measure what you don’t acknowledge,” Underwood said. Underwood says she wants to lead a national conversation to transform how government operates, which, she says, will lead to healing and reconciliation.


  • City and state officials were worried about potential acts of violence throughout this week. This prompted Virginia’s Capitol to go on lockdown on Monday, during a yearly pro-Second Amendment rally. While most demonstrators stayed in their vehicles, armed groups did gather near the Capitol including some extremists. They were outnumbered by news crews, a much different sight than last year’s rally, which drew more than 20,000 people.


  • The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence marked Martin Luther King Day with a vigil to the lives lost to gun violence. Gun control advocates are expecting a quieter General Assembly session this year. Their priorities include banning firearms at polling places and on the grounds of Capitol Square.


  • A small number of armed, far-right groups gathered on foot near the state capital in Richmond. But there have been no reports of arrests for violations of the city’s new gun ban. The city approved the ban in September after months of Black Lives Matter protests where some demonstrators were openly armed. City Council member Mike Jones said he was eager to see how the ordinance would be enforced this week. Richmond Police Department posted the language of the ordinance on its Twitter account, along with a reminder that Virginia is and remains an open carry state and RPD recognizes the public’s right to assemble.


  • The full Virginia senate will soon consider a bill that would allow plans sold on the state-run insurance exchange to cover abortion services. Plans sold on the exchange have been barred from covering these servicessince 2013, following a recommendation from then Gov. Bob McDonnell. Republican Senator Stephen Newman of Campbell County criticized the bill, saying that it will lead to taxpayers paying for abortion services. But, Democratic Senator Jennifer McClellan of Richmond, who’s sponsoring the bill, says that’s not true.


  • Richmond school board members are torn on whether to bring back Superintendent Jason Kamras back for two years, or four. This was first reported by the Richmond Free Press. Following up on this news, VPM spoke with local parents and RPS staff to get their thoughts.


  • A staff member for newly-elected Republican Congressman Bob Good has apologized for some of her social media posts. She was also on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol during the January 6th insurrection.


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