No use of the phrase ‘mask mandate’ could have been a political move by Gov. Northam
During Governor Ralph Northam’s 32-minute news conference Thursday, not once did he use the phrase ‘mask mandate’ while addressing the policy for grades K through 12 -- even when asked about it multiple times. That has many wondering if it was a political move ahead of November’s election.
Lynchburg businesses ahead of the curve as Virginia bans foam containers
Ralph Northam signed a bill that will eliminate single-use plastic at state agencies and public colleges and universities by 2025. This comes after he signed a bill banning all food vendors from using Styrofoam starting July 1, 2025. Some Lynchburg businesses are already ahead of the curve. “We knew that a lot of our recipients were actually microwaving the Styrofoam,” said Tracey Dixon, executive director of Lynchburg Daily Bread. She said the bigger issue was disposing the containers; so, for the past year, they switched to mineral-based containers.
Gov. Ralph Northam visits Giles County school as deadline nears to offer in-person learning
Ralph Northam made it clear that all state public school systems must offer some form of in-person learning by mid-March. In Southwest Virginia, most systems have long offered in-person instruction. The governor’s visit underscored the progress systems like Giles County have made in ensuring students are served. That’s really the hope/light at the end of a long dark tunnel.”AdIn Giles, 70% of teachers have been vaccinated. Over 60% of all teachers in the state have been vaccinated, according to the Governor.
Local superintendents react to Governor Northam’s push to return to the classroom
ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – A major factor in fully reopening Virginia schools is COVID-19 vaccine distribution. As Governor Ralph Northam laid out his expectations for reopening schools across the state, some superintendents were left with questions. “Is there any room to re-look at the mitigation efforts we have in place such as the six-foot physical distancing?” said Roanoke County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Ken Nicely. Some school systems like Roanoke County have had students back in the classroom and are preparing to welcome more. “We’ve now maximized our available staff and space to have as many students in-person as possible,” said Nicely.
Radford superintendent weighs in on push for in-person learning
RADFORD, Va – Superintendents in southwest Virginia are standing by the Department of Education’s call for more in-person instruction. Radford City School Superintendent Robert Graham says while the hybrid learning model has done a great job of keeping his students safe during COVID-19 surges, Graham believes the best place for learning is in the classroom. Graham says he is grateful for the flexibility of parents, students and teachers throughout the school year. “We have greater success with in-person learning than we do virtual, now that’s not to say that some of our students aren’t excelling with virtual learning and they have an art teacher certainly have stepped up and provided just outstanding instruction,” Radford City School Superintendent Robert Graham said. Graham says the division will be working with the Department of Education and the New River Health to make any adjustments.
Online petition urges Amherst County leaders to oppose First Amendment resolution
AMHERST COUNTY, Va. – A local NAACP chapter is urging the Amherst County Board of Supervisors not to adopt any First Amendment Sanctuary resolution against Governor Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 restrictions. “[A resolution] is not a great thing because health matters,” said Gloria Witt, a member of the Amherst County NAACP chapter. The chapter started an online petition to support restrictions and oppose Amherst County from accepting a resolution of their own. Witt points out that while they’ve collected 400 signatures so far, only a fraction are from Amherst County residents. Dean Rodgers, Amherst County administrator, says the Board is still in the drafting stage.
Lynchburg commonwealth attorney reacts to Governor Northam’s comments on parole board
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg’s commonwealth attorney says she’s disappointed in Gov. Ralph Northam’s comments in support of the Virginia Parole Board’s decisions. Northam was asked Thursday about the Board’s recent vote to grant Gregory Joyner parole. Northam said he has confidence in the board because they look at each case individually. “He expressed no sympathy, no care or concern for the victim’s surviving family members, or any care or concern for anyone out of any of these cases who had to live in the wake or aftermath or someone else’s violent offense,” said Bethany Harrison, Lynchburg commonwealth attorney.
Campbell County passes resolution against Governor’s ‘unconstitutional’ executive order, Northam responds
CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. – The Campbell County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a resolution and call themselves a “First Amendment sanctuary.”The resolution calls Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order unconstitutional. At the same time, Cline clarified what’s not in the resolution. However, the resolution doesn’t state that people should wear masks or social distancing. The board also encouraged the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office not to participate with state agents in enforcing the governor’s regulations. Northam called Campbell County out during Wednesday’s press conference.
Bedford County residents pack Board of Supervisors meeting in support of proposed resolution
BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – Bedford County residents packed the hallway and meeting room Monday as the Board of Supervisors discussed a resolution against Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order limiting gatherings to 25. Chairman John Sharp silenced the crowd, explaining the resolution was not on the meeting’s original agenda. The resolution would order the county sheriff and commonwealth’s attorney to arrest, detain and prosecute state agents who are enforcing the governor’s executive order. The board said they have no control over the sheriff or attorney, but stand with the public. Bedford County resident Isaiah Knight wrote the resolution and led the public into the meeting.
Local counties drafting ‘no shutdown resolutions’ against Governor Northam’s new executive order
CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. – Some localities are frustrated by new restrictions in Virginia and are taking action. Bedford, Campbell and Appomattox counties are all drafting ‘no shutdown resolutions’ against Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order, calling it unconstitutional. Campbell County Supervisor Matt Cline says it goes against the First Amendment right to gather. After a vote, the topic failed to make it on the agenda. Campbell County supervisors plan on discussing the resolution at their next meeting on December 1.
Virginians react to Governor Northam’s support of legalizing recreational marijuana
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Governor Ralph Northam cited racial equity as one reason he’s supporting the legalization of recreational marijuana. The governor plans on introducing legislation when the General Assembly convenes in January. While Walker supported legislation for medical marijuana, he calls marijuana a gateway drug. “This is another form of drugs that lead to harder drugs, which then lead to the destruction of life.”But others support the governor’s decision. While Pedini says legalization could bring millions of dollars of tax revenue to the Commonwealth, Walker suggests finding others ways help with costs.
‘WTF governor’: Roanoke restaurant uses marquee to send message to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam
ROANOKE, Va. – A local restaurant is sending a strong message to Gov. Ralph Northam about reopening the state. The marquee at The Coffee Pot in Roanoke says “WTF Governor U R Killin Us Open SWVA.”Owner Carroll Bell said Tuesday reaction has been positive. He understands the governor has a tough job to do and is just trying to keep people safe, but he said Northam needs to move faster. He said he may put up a new message this week, but as of Tuesday he hadn’t decided exactly what that will be.
Gov. Northam announces plan to reopen Virginia
Northam outlined four criteria that have to be met before the commonwealth can move toward the first phase of reopening the economy. The Governor said once Virginia reaches those metrics, the state can begin loosening current restrictions. “As I’ve said before, we can not and will not lift restrictions the way you turn on a light switch,” Northam said. He said the first phase will involve allowing some businesses to reopen with strict safety restrictions in place. He said he's hopeful Virginia can get to phase one by that date, but stressed it won't happen any sooner.
With rising COVID-19 cases, Gov. Northam says Virginia not ready to reopen
He said Virginia has to meet multiple criteria before state officials can start to look at the possibility of reopening the state. "We have not met that criteria," Northam said. The Governor also said when the time comes to reopen, Virginia will need abundant resources for screening, testing and tracking COVID-19, as well as isolation options. On Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted, “LIBERATE VIRGINIA.”LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2020"As the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I, along with this staff, is fighting a biological war," Northam said.
SafeSide Tactical suing Gov. Northam for closing indoor gun ranges
ROANOKE, Va. – A local indoor gun range and retail store with several locations is suing Gov. Northam for closing down indoor gun ranges via executive order. SafeSide Tactical ownership told 10 News that their company filed a lawsuit against Northam on Thursday, as well as an injunction to have indoor gun ranges reopen. According to the lawsuit, EO 53 mandated the “complete and categorical closure of all indoor shooting ranges.” Under the order, indoor gun ranges are classified as “recreation and entertainment businesses,” and therefore non-essential. The lawsuit argues that indoor shooting ranges “cannot be properly placed” into the recreation and entertainment category.
Northam: Virginia coronavirus cases could peak in late May
RICHMOND, Va. – Gov. Ralph Northam says projection models suggest Virginia could see a surge in coronavirus cases between late April and late May. He gave that estimate at a news conference Wednesday, telling Virginians they needed to prepare “for the long haul.”The governor also announced Virginia had received a third shipment of personal protective equipment from the federal Strategic National Stockpile, which has struggled to fill requests from states. The delivery included face shields, gowns and masks, but Northam says Virginia still needs more. The news comes as Virginia’s confirmed cases and number of deaths continues to climb.
No vehicle safety inspection enforcement among Virginia’s new actions in fight against the coronavirus
These measures include eliminating co-pays for Medicaid services, suspending enforcement of vehicle safety inspections for 60 days and suspending visitation to state correctional facilities. Health care:Eliminating co-pays for services covered by Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS), including COVID-19-related treatment as well as other medical care. Waiving pre-approval requirements for many critical medical services and enacting automatic extensions for approvals that are already in place. Expanding access to telehealth services, including allowing Medicaid reimbursement for providers who use telehealth with patients in the home. Vehicle inspections:Northam directed state police to stop enforcing vehicle safety inspections for 60 days.
Banning hair discrimination, plus 31 other bills Gov. Northam signed into law
RICHMOND, Va. – Governor Ralph Northam announced on Wednesday he signed 32 bills into law. Among these is House Bill 1514 -- banning racial discrimination on the basis of hair. This bill was sponsored by Delegate Delores McQuinn and clarifies that when the law bans racial discrimination “on the basis of race,” that includes “traits historically associated with race, including hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.”Delegate McQuinn stated in a press release, "Nobody deserves to be discriminated against simply due to the hair type they were born with, or the way in which they choose to wear it. The acceptance of one’s self is the key to accepting others.”Here are the other 31 bills Gov. Northam signed into law:
Gov. Northam signs 16 bills into law, including parole reform for offenders who committed crimes as juveniles
RICHMOND, Va. – Several pieces of legislation have officially cleared the governor’s desk and will become law this summer. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday he signed 16 bills into law. One of the bills, HB 35, is about parole reform. Read more about HB 35 here. All 16 measures will become law on July 1 unless otherwise noted in the bill’s text.
State of emergency issued as flooding hits parts of Southwest Virginia
ROANOKE, Va. – As parts of Virginia see heavy rain and widespread flooding, Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency on Thursday evening. The severe weather has shut down roads and caused widespread flooding, especially in parts of southwest Virginia. More than 500 residents in and around the town of Richlands, in Tazewell County, have been displaced by flooding and needed rescue from their homes, according to emergency officials. We are grateful to first responders who are working to rescue people from flooded homes and keep citizens safe,” said Gov. Officials also remind citizens not to drive over any flooded roads, as it only takes six inches of water to move a vehicle.
’I will continue to listen to the voices of Virginians’: Gov. Ralph Northam reacts to Lobby Day in Richmond
Ralph Northam has released a statement after Lobby Day in Richmond. One person was arrested during an otherwise peaceful demonstration Monday at the Capitol that drew more than 20,000 people. This resulted from weeks of planning and extensive cooperation among state, local, and federal partners in Virginia and beyond. Thousands of people came to Richmond to make their voices heard. I will continue to listen to the voices of Virginians, and I will continue to do everything in my power to keep our Commonwealth safe."
Northam to ban guns from Capitol grounds
Ralph Northam plans to declare a temporary emergency Wednesday banning all weapons, including guns, from Capitol Square ahead of a massive rally planned next week over gun rights. Northam’s planned announcement comes days after Democratic leaders used a special rules committee to ban guns inside the Capitol and a legislative office building. That ban did not include Capitol grounds, which are under the governor’s control and are where a huge number of gun-rights advocates are expected to rally Monday. One official said Northam decided to ban all guns from the grounds of Capitol Square after receiving reports for weeks about inflammatory online postings by out-of-state pro-gun and militia groups who are promising to attend Monday’s rally. Gun laws have become a dominant issue this legislative session and there’s been a heavy police at the Capitol.