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VPM Daily Newscast: December 16, 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 Thursday, December 16, 2021: 

  • Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin made “election integrity” a central part of his campaign.  As Ben Paviour reports, he’ll soon have authority to reshape the staff of Virginia’s election administration.  

  • Wednesday was the deadline for political parties to nominate their picks for all 133 local electoral boards in Virginia. The party that wins the governor’s race also gets a two-to-one majority on the boards, who choose voting sites and hire registrars. Barbara Tabb, of the Virginia Electoral Board Association, says the partisan system increases transparency. The appointments are staggered every year, and Tabb says it’s mostly Republican vacancies this round. That means Democrats will keep their majority on most boards for another year. 

  • State officials say there was a second ransomware attack affecting Virginia agencies.  The first cyberattack happened on Sunday.  According to the  Richmond Times-Dispatch, the IT system used for managing employee payroll and timesheets at the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services has been quote “paralyzed” by these incidents. For multiple days, the system used for lawmakers to draft and introduce legislation for the upcoming General Assembly session has been down as well.   

  • Virginia home care workers, immigrants, parents and business owners are calling on U.S. Senate leaders to pass the president’s Build Back Better spending plan. One part of the legislation provides funding to help older Virginians and people with disabilities continue living in their own homes. Tony Hedgepeth makes just over nine dollars an hour as a home care worker for veterans. He spoke at a press conference yesterday about the need for additional support. The bill has stalled in the Senate and likely won’t get a vote before the end of the year. 

  • Governor Ralph Northam wants to spend $1 billion over the next two years on programs to clean up Virginia’s waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. The funding is part of Northam’s proposed budget. The budget still needs to go through the General Assembly early next year and be approved by Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin. If approved, the plan includes nearly $290 million to assist farmers and landowners implementing conservation practices. It also dedicates more than $230 million to repair outdated sewer and septic systems.