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VPM Daily Newscast February 3, 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 Wednesday, February 3, 2021:


  • The Virginia Department of Education will issue guidance later this month aimed at helping local school districts better protect students who are transgender or nonbinary. Studies have shown that LGBTQ students in Virginia face higher rates of discrimination and harassment than their peers, both from other students, but also from school staff. Advocates say transgender students are especially targetted, and their academic success often suffers as a result.

     

  • A measure to ban guns from the grounds of the Virginia Capitol narrowly passed the Virginia Senate on Tuesday. The bill provides exceptions for law enforcement, security personnel, active military officers and select government officials. Those in violation would have their weapons taken and could face misdemeanor charges. The bill now heads to the House.

     

  • A bill that would give financial support to community college students studying in high-demand fields, like healthcare and technology, was advanced by a state Senate committee on Tuesday. The “Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back,” or “G-3,” program has been a key focus of Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration. The program was supposed to start last year, but was put on hold due to the fiscal impact of the pandemic.

     

  • The state Senate voted Tuesday to require schools to provide an in-person option next school year. Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico), the bill’s patron, says the costs of virtual learning have been devastating. She and her party were joined by a handful of Democrats in approving the bill, pointing to support for reopening from the American Association of Physicians. The bill now moves to the House, where it is expected to be met with more resistance.

     

  • For the second time in its 20-year history, the Monument Avenue 10K will not be held this year, at least not in its usual form. Organizers say the event will be held over four days at two parks in early June to allow for physical distancing. The race will still feature start and finish lines, mile markers and a medal for participating. 

     

  • The Richmond Board of Elections voted Monday night to remove the city’s top elections official. Registrar Kirk Showalter faced calls to step down from state Democrats following last year’s general election. Richmond’s votes took weeks after the election to count, and incomplete results for some local races displayed misleading results for days. One candidate has criticized Showalter for failing to reach out to candidates or helping eligible candidates get on the ballot. An attorney representing Showalter at the meeting said they would file a lawsuit.

     

  • The Virginia House unanimously passedlegislation to expand eligibility for federal SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps, earlier this week. In a 2017 study, the Virginia Poverty Law Center estimated the proposed expansion could provide benefits to an additional 25,000 Virginians. That number has likely increased, however, due to the pandemic and the resulting recession. 

     

  • Essential workers may soon have an easier time applying for worker’s compensation following a COVID-19 diagnosis. Legislation approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday would streamline that process for medical workers, firefighters, law enforcement and corrections officers who are disabled or die after contracting the virus. Lawmakers noted that police and corrections officers are at higher risk for getting sick, because they come in contact with many people each day.

     

  • Chesterfield County is hosting COVID-19 testing events every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this month at three area churches. The events require no reservation. More information can be found at chesterfield.gov.
VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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