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VPM Daily Newscast January 22, 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 Friday, January 22, 2021:


  • Gov. Ralph Northam and Dr. Danny Avula, who’s heading the state’s vaccination efforts, blamed lagging data for the state’s seemingly slow vaccine rollout Thursday. Speaking at a mass vaccination event for pre-registered essential workers, Avula said vaccine providers in Virginia don’t immediately submit data to the state. He said once all data is reported, Virginia will rise up the national rankings, which it currently sits near the bottom of

     

  • A bipartisan group of Virginia Senators are calling for changes to who can give COVID-19 vaccines. Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) is sponsoring the bill, which she says would allow any qualified health care provider to administer the vaccine. Every state Senator has signed on as a co-sponsor.

     

  • State lawmakers are looking to copy a federal program that gives tax credits to developers who build affordable housing. Virginia is short about 150,000 units of affordable housing. Del. Jeff Bourne and Sen. Mamie Locke, who are sponsoring the legislation, hope the tax credits can spur investment to bring that number down. A recent report found the program would cost the state around $200 million annually, but that cost would be offset by jobs and taxes generated from the developments. 

     

  • Richmond’s public housing agency, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority, is undergoing an internal investigation. The Richmond Times-Dispatchis reporting RRHA will review what led to the cancellation of a $35 million affordable housing development project in Jackson Ward.

     

  • The Virginia Senate passed a bill by the narrowest of margins Thursday that seeks to move Virginia’s mid-year elections from May to November. Currently, many localities hold their local contests in May, which Democrats say depresses turnout. Every Republican, except Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), voted against the measure. The final vote was 19-19, with Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax breaking the tie.

     

  • A Virginia House subcommittee killed several bills seeking to reform corporate political donations Thursday. Virginia is just one of five states with no limits on corporate donations. The subcommittee did order a study into reforms and advanced legislation banning personal use of campaign money. One reform sought to ban public utilities, like Dominion Energy, from making campaign contributions, but was killed in both chambers this week. 

     

  • The deadline to apply for utility relief has been extended in both Richmond and Petersburg. The programs provide financial assistance to residents who’ve faced economic hardship and have fallen behind on their utility bills. Residents can only get help with their city utilities, like water and sewage, and not bills from outside utility companies, like Dominion Energy. The deadline in Richmond is now Sunday, Jan. 31. In Petersburg, it is Friday, Jan. 29.
VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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