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VPM Daily Newscast: February 1, 2022

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.        

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Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Tuesday, February 1, 2022 

Virginia Republicans look to freeze minimum wage   

Reported by VPM News’ Ben Paviour 

In 2020, Democrats passed the first increase to Virginia’s minimum wage in over a decade. It’s gradually risen to $11 an hour this year and will hit $12 next year. Del. Nick Freitas (R- Culpeper) says those hikes hurt workers by interfering with market forces. He’s proposing the freeze the minimum wage here it is now. The bill has one final vote in the GOP-controlled House. It’s likely to run into more obstacles in the state Senate, where Democrats have already killed similar legislation. A study last year by the Congressional Budget Office found that raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would cut employment by about 1% across the U.S. But it also found the hike would also bring nearly 1 million people out of poverty.

General Assembly considers “Dram Shop Laws” as way to combat hazing 

Reported by VPM News’ Whittney Evans 

The General Assembly is considering a bill that would allow people to sue bars and restaurants – if they serve alcohol to an underage customer who goes on to cause an accident or injury. Advocates say this builds on efforts to curb hazing - which sometimes takes place off campus at bars and restaurants. But industry groups oppose the bill, saying it will lead to higher insurance costs for businesses. 

“Herstory” made with new Petersburg Fire Chief 

Reported by VPM News’ Meghan McIntyre  

Yesterday, Tina Watkins was sworn in as the City of Petersburg’s new fire chief. She’s the first woman to lead the department in its nearly 250-year history. Colleagues describe Watkins as having a big heart for people and cares for those she works with on and off the job. “You now join the ranks of Virginia’s seven African American fire chiefs, and you are the one woman fire chief leading this side of the way,” Melvin Carter, Richmond’s Fire Chief, said highlighting this historic moment. Watkins began her career as a firefighter in 1988 and served as the Battalion Chief for Richmond Fire and Emergency Services for the past 11 years. 


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