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VPM Daily Newscast: November 9, 2021

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

Listeners can subscribe through NPR One, Apple Podcasts, Megaphone, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts.       

Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Tuesday, November 9, 2021:

  • A group of Democratic Virginia Senators shared a list of complaints with the state Supreme Court yesterday. They’re concerned with Republican nominees for Special Master, who will eventually help the court draw new legislative maps. Patrick Larsen reports

  • The Virginia Employment Commission has made headway in clearing a backlog of disputed unemployment claims. But the commission remains inefficient compared to other states, according to an audit presented to state lawmakers yesterday. Ben Paviour has more. 

  • The fate of two proposed constitutional amendments are unclear after Republicans seemed to win control of the House of Delegates last week. One proposal would give former felons the right to vote in Virginia. Only two Republican lawmakers voted for the amendment last year. Democratic state Senator Mamie Locke sponsored the proposal. She argues access to voting should be a bipartisan issue. The amendment needs to be approved by the General Assembly AGAIN this year to appear on voters’ ballots next November. A spokesperson for Delegate Todd Gilbert, who leads the House Republican caucus, says they haven’t met since the election to discuss the amendment. A second amendment would remove text in Virginia’s constitution banning same-sex marriage. 

  • It’s week three in a month-long trial against white nationalists who planned the 2017 Unite the Right rally. VPM legal reporter Whittney Evans has an update from yesterday’s hearing. 

  • A group of employees at Diversity Thrift in Richmond are protesting what they call unsafe working conditions at the historic LGBT community center and nonprofit. Protesters are demanding a $16 per hour base pay, an increase in the number of full-time employees, and the power to appoint someone to represent employees on the Board of Directors. The protesters’ demands also include an investigation into a pattern of sexual harassment in the organization that they say led to a hostile work environment. They’re demanding the resignation of Diversity Thrift president and executive director Bill Harrison and chief accountant Dia Idleman. A protest in support of these demands is taking place across the street from Diversity Thrift tonight between 6pm and 8pm. 

  • Four new bike lanes are coming to Richmond by next summer. The Department of Public Works announced last week that work is underway on the new routes, which are part of the city’s Vision Zero traffic plan. Brookland Parkway and Warwick Road will get buffered lanes, offset from traffic by at least three feet -- and Walmsley Boulevard will get a lane right next to car traffic. On Marshall St, the city will add markers to let drivers know to share the road with bikers - but won’t create a new lane for cyclists due to space limitations. The projects will also install higher-visibility crosswalks and additional curb ramps. 

  • John Tyler Community College announced Friday that three buildings and several streets will get new names. According to the Progress-Index, it’s because the Virginia Community College Board told its 23 schools to consider renaming campuses, streets and facilities that honor the Confederacy, or people who promoted segregation. The name changes at JTCC are expected to coincide with when the school becomes Brightpoint Community College in late 2022. The school’s campuses are in Chester and Midlothian. 

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