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VPM Daily Newscast February 16, 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, February 16, 2021:


  • Later today, anew state website is expected to go live giving Virginians one central place to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. Local health departments closed their online registration forms last Friday to prepare for the new statewide system. Over one million Virginians have received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Virginia Department of Health. About 340,000 people are fully vaccinated, which is nearly 12% of the state’s population.
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  • Senators Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) and Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) are calling on the governor to create a Teachers Reserve Corps. It would let volunteers teach if educators can’t work in-person. Gov. Ralph Northam has called on schools to start reopening by mid-March, but some school leaders are not certain that this timeline will work. Richmond Superintendent Jason Kamras has said following the governor’s guidance “literally not possible,” citing ongoing staff vaccinations and building renovations. 
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  • The snow and ice may be melting, but Central Virginia isn’t done just yet with the severe winter weather. Over the weekend, a winter storm dropped about half an inch of snow and ice across the region, causing power outages and downed trees. Wayne Albright, the lead forecaster at the National Weather Service in Wakefield, says there’s potential for another severe winter storm later in the week.
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  • A bill that bans Virginia voters from bringing guns into polling places passed a state senate panel yesterday. Theproposal, from Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria), has already passed the full House of Delegates. The legislation prohibits firearms from within 40 feet of a polling location. 2nd Amendment supporters have argued that the state already has laws against voter intimidation, and questioned how voters would be intimidated by a concealed firearm. The legislation still needs to be considered by the full state senate.
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  • Virginia could be the first state in the South to get its own Voting Rights Act. The House of Delegates approved that bill yesterday, and now it heads to the governor’s desk. The Virginia Voting Rights Act is designed to prevent last-minute poll closures and other election changes that could disproportionately affect voters of color. Republicans have universally opposed the bill, arguing that it would be expensive and time-consuming for local governments.
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  • Someone who administers Naloxone or other overdose reversal medication won’t be arrested and prosecuted in Virginia if they were using drugs themselves. That update to Virginia’s “Good Samaritan Law” was passed by the General Assembly on Monday. The bill still needs to be signed by the governor. Currently, the law provides legal immunity to someone who calls 911 during an overdose.The bill would extend that protection to people who administer CPR or Naloxone. The state’s Good Samaritan Law applies to people possessing or taking drugs, but doesn’t give immunity to dealers.
VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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