Framework for Retail Marijuana Market in Virginia One Step Closer

A committee of Virginia lawmakers advanced a bill Friday that seeks to establish a retail market for sales of recreational marijuana beginning next year – a measure lawmakers are mulling almost two years after the state legalized the substance.

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Economic Experts Weigh Youngkin’s Decision to Halt Virginia Ford Plant

Growth in plants connected to electric vehicles has roared across the country. Not everyone, however, is quickly jumping in. When Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said last week that he stopped efforts to establish a Ford Motors battery plant at a megasite in the state due to its Chinese partner, it was the first time University of Texas professor Nathan Jensen could recall a state rejecting an economic incentive deal for a battery plant.

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Youngkin Unveils New Plan, Announces $230 Million for Behavioral Health in Virginia

Gov. Glenn Youngkin will propose $230 million in his upcoming budget amendments to bolster Virginia’s behavioral health system and build crisis care capacity as part of a three-year plan unveiled Wednesday.

Youngkin’s plan, titled “Right Help, Right Now,” is aiming to reshape the state’s strained behavioral health care system. The plan outlines a six-pronged approach – ensuring same-day care for individuals in a behavioral health crisis, relieving the burden of law enforcement and decriminalizing behavioral health, building capacity for treatment beyond hospitals, targeting substance use disorder treatment, prioritizing the behavioral workforce in underserved communities and innovating crisis care services.

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Virginia Companies, Research Universities Get $1.5 Million in Tech Grants

Rotunda at University of Virginia

Virginia companies and research universities will receive more than $1.5 million to fund 24 technology-related projects in the commonwealth.

The technology funding will be awarded through the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation’s Commonwealth Commercialization Fund. The program was launched in 2020 to promote technologies that could yield more economic development and job creation in the state, according to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office.

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Youngkin Responds to Trump Dig: ‘That’s Not the Way I Roll’

Virginia GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Friday brushed off former President Trump’s criticism of him – which followed his lieutenant governor, Winsome Sears, saying Trump should remove himself from GOP electoral politics. 

“Listen, you all know me,” Youngkin told reporters. “I do not call people names. I really work hard to bring people together … . That’s not the way I roll and not the way I behave.”

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Youngkin Defends Gender Identity Policies: ‘Children Don’t Belong to the State’

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin defended his policy regarding gender identity rules for the public school system, saying children don’t belong to the state.

Under the rules, student bathrooms and sports teams should be based on sex assigned at birth, not gender identity. Parental approval would be required if a student wants to change their name, according to the new policy.

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Commentary: Youngkin Is Right – Under Democrat Rule, Virginia Is a Border State

Recently, Virginia Democrats and dishonest mainstream media pundits have attempted to dunk on Governor Youngkin for saying that under Democrat rule, “Virginia is a border state.” But while Virginia doesn’t share a physical border with Mexico, Governor Youngkin’s comments nonetheless underscore a stark reality for Americans in Virginia and throughout the entire country – thanks to Joe Biden and failed Democrat policies, every state is now a border state.

Governor Youngkin’s comments on Fox News were in reference to the opioid crisis that is sweeping our nation – a crisis that Democrats are apparently oblivious to or unwilling to acknowledge is directly related to the surge of illegal immigration at our southern border. The entire country, not just border states, is experiencing a spike in fentanyl overdoses as thousands of pounds of the deadly narcotic pour into the country. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 107,000 fatal drug overdoses in 2021, the highest number on record. In just the past two months, border patrol officers have seized more than 5 million fentanyl pills at just the border crossing in Nogales, Arizona.

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Youngkin Still Wants Commanders in Virginia, Path Unclear

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin wants the Washington Commanders to relocate to Virginia, but after funding plans fell apart during the last legislative session, the path forward is not yet clear.

“If the Commanders are going to relocate they should relocate to Virginia,” Youngkin recently said while visiting Annandale for a rally geared toward parents, according to ABC 7.

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Commentary: Virginia is Ground Zero for the ‘Latino Realignment’

The left denies it, but it’s truly happening – a massive realignment is underway in the American electorate as Latinos are leaning in with the GOP. This November, Republicans are running Hispanic nominees in key battleground districts, headlined by rising stars like Myra Flores, Cassy Garcia, and Monica De La Cruz in Texas, Michelle Garcia Holmes and Alexis Martinez Johnson in New Mexico, Lori Chavez-DeRemer in Oregon – and of course, Yesli Vega in Virginia. Over the past two years, the Old Dominion has been ground zero for this shift, providing a glimpse into what the future of the Republican Party might look like on a national scale.

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The University of Virginia Will Not Say If 4.7 Percent Tuition Increase Will Be Reversed

All but one public university in Virginia are taking steps to address students’ tuition burden after a call to action from the governor. 

Earlier this year, Glenn Youngkin requested that the commonwealth’s public universities reverse their planned tuition increases, citing inflation.

The University of Virginia (UVA) is the only public university not to announce a plan to reverse its tuition increase. NBC29 reports that UVA students will see a 4.7% tuition and fee increase, raising rates for first-year in-state students to $14,878 and $50,348 for out-of-state students. 

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Virginia Budget Deal Includes Middle-Class Tax Cuts, Grocery Tax Cut

After months of debate about Virginia’s biennium budget, lawmakers reached a deal to provide an income tax cut for the middle class, a reduction in the grocery tax and a pay raise for teachers.

The deal earned approval from Republicans and Democrats in a joint conference committee, but still needs to pass the House of Delegates and the Senate and be signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Republicans narrowly control the House and Democrats narrowly control the Senate.

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Youngkin in ‘Utter Disbelief’ over Supreme Court Decision Leak

Virginia’s Governor Tuesday reacted strongly to the news that the Supreme Court of the United States’ (SCOTUS) confidentiality had been violated, and a draft of its decision in a high-profile abortion case has been released. 

“I am in utter disbelief that the sacred confidentiality of the Supreme Court would be violated in this manner,” said Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) in a press release.

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Virginia Prohibition on School Mask Mandates to Be Determined by Courts

A new Virginia law prohibits school divisions from enforcing face mask mandates, but at least one school district and some parents are suing the commonwealth to overturn the legislation.

Senate Bill 739, which Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed into law in February, allows parents to opt their children out of any school-imposed mask rules. Under the legislation, which school districts were required to comply with beginning March 1, school officials are prohibited from using any disciplinary or academic punishments to enforce mask rules if a parent opted a student out.

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Virginia Democrats Encourage House GOP to Back Felon Voting Rights Constitutional Amendment

Virginia House and Senate Democrats are urging House Republicans to support resolutions to allow voters to decide the fate of two proposed constitutional amendments: the automatic restoration of voting rights for felons and same-sex marriage rights.

To adopt a constitutional amendment, both chambers of the General Assembly must pass two identical resolutions two years in a row, with a House of Delegates election in between those years. If approved in the Legislature, the proposed amendment would appear on the general ballot during the fall elections. If supported by the majority of voters, the proposed amendment would be adopted.

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Virginia Democrats Encourage House GOP to Back Felon Voting Rights Constitutional Amendment

Virginia House and Senate Democrats are urging House Republicans to support resolutions to allow voters to decide the fate of two proposed constitutional amendments: the automatic restoration of voting rights for felons and same-sex marriage rights.

To adopt a constitutional amendment, both chambers of the General Assembly must pass two identical resolutions two years in a row, with a House of Delegates election in between those years. If approved in the Legislature, the proposed amendment would appear on the general ballot during the fall elections. If supported by the majority of voters, the proposed amendment would be adopted.

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Youngkin Stays on Virginia Public Schools, Rescinds Curricula Found in Violation of Civil Rights

Virginia GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Friday followed through on his first official initiative after taking office in January to review, then rescind what his considers “inherently divisive concepts including Critical Race Theory” in commonwealth public school curricula.

Youngkin announced the move in a 19-page report in which he states: “Executive Order One charged the [commonwealth’s] superintendent of Public Instruction to begin the work of identifying and addressing inherently divisive concepts including ‘Critical Race Theory. … This interim report rescinds certain policies, programs and resources that promote discriminatory and divisive concepts as directed by Executive Order One.”

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Court: Virginia County Can’t Enforce Mask Rules, Must Expunge Punishments

A court ordered that Loudoun County, Virginia Public Schools cannot enforce its mask mandate on students and will need to expunge students’ records if they had been punished for not wearing masks.

Loudoun County schools had intended to end the mask mandate Feb. 22, but the court order requires them to end it immediately. The school district immediately complied with the order and sent a letter to the school community, students and staff that explained the new policy.

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Montgomery County School Board Member Says She Hasn’t Resigned After Walking Out of Meeting

The Chairwoman of the Montgomery County School Board says she intends to keep her job after storming out of a meeting earlier this week and offering the position to speaker at the meeting. 

“I have not resigned,” Sue Kass told The Virginia Star by email Thursday. 

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Loudoun County Public Schools Won’t Comment After Judge Orders It to Follow Executive Order on Masks

After a group of parents sued Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) for forcing students to continue wearing masks despite Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) issuing executive order banning that practice, LCPS declined to comment on the situation. 

Wayde B. Byard, LCPS’ public information officer, told The Virginia Star Thursday that the only comment he could offer was already made by Superintendent Scott Ziegler. 

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Virginia Mom Rips Into School Board over Hypocritical Mask Rules

A Virginia mother addressed her children’s school board Thursday night regarding the district’s mask mandate, which subverts Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order allowing parents to choose whether or not to mask their children in school.

A Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) mother, Carrie Lukas, condemned the school board for requiring children to mask up for school while “across Virginia, right now, adults are gathering in gyms, bars and clubs and laughing together maskless.”

“Yet my five kids spent all day today, eight hours, in masks in Fairfax County Public Schools,” she said. “My first grader has never been inside his school without a mask. He’s never had a chance to smile at his friends or hear his teachers’ unmuffled voice, and it is outrageous and ridiculous.”

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Virginia Attorney General Says College Mandate Vaccines for Students Illegal

Virginia’s Attorney General released a legal opinion Friday saying that under Virginia law, vaccine mandates for college students are illegal. 

“Absent specific authority conferred by the General Assembly, public institutions of higher education in Virginia may not require vaccination against COVID-19 as a general condition of students’ enrollment or in-person attendance,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in his opinion. 

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Exclusive: Inside Virginia Gov. Youngkin’s Meeting with Democrat Delegate Who Questioned Governor’s Christian Faith

A source inside the Virginia Capitol Thursday spoke exclusively to The Virginia Star about Wednesday’s tiff between Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) and Del. Don Scott (D-Portsmouth), who claimed in an interview with the Washington Post that the Governor was not comporting himself in a manner consistent with his Christian faith. 

At the time of Washington Post’s publication, Scott was expecting the governor to meet with him in his office. 

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Virginia Gov. Youngkin’s Office Responds to Criticism over Critical Race Theory Tip Line

The office of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) responded Wednesday to criticism it has drawn over an email Critical Race Theory (CRT) tip line it has made available to Virginia’s parents.

“The governor’s office set up [email protected] as a resource for parents, teachers, and students to relay any questions or concerns,” Youngkin spokesperson Macauley Porter told The Virginia Star. “Governor Youngkin was elected to serve all Virginians and has utilized a customary constituent service, to hear from Virginians and solicit feedback.”

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Loudoun County Schools Respond After Students Refuse to Wear Masks

group of students walking into school

After a large group of students at Woodgrove High School, part of Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS), decided to defy the school’s mask mandate Monday, LCPS has responded. 

“This morning 30 Woodgrove students (out of a student body of 1,585) refused to wear a mask. They were asked to move to the auditorium where they could use the Schoology platform to continue their studies,” Wayde B. Byard, LCPS’ Public Information Officer, told The Virginia Star by email. “Teachers dropped periodically in to help students with their work. A lunch period and bathroom breaks were arranged. Several students opted to go home and were allowed to do so.”

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Virginia Public Universities Rescind Vaccine Mandates Following Youngkin’s Order

Some of Virginia’s public universities have rescinded their vaccine mandates after Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) took office this week and signed a flurry of executive orders on his first day. 

One of those orders banned vaccine mandates by employers. 

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Youngkin Says It’s Time to ‘Turn Page’ on COVID Pandemic

Glenn Youngkin standing at podium

Newly inaugurated Gov. Glenn Yougkin (R) spoke about the future of Virginia Monday afternoon in his first address to the Virginia General Assembly. 

In his speech, Youngkin said the sate is ready to be finished with the pandemic, noting that he was elected to “turn the page” on COVID-19. 

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Four Major School Districts Plan to Defy Youngkin Mask Mandate Ban

After inaugurated Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) banned schools from establishing mask mandates on his first day as Virginia governor, four major school districts say they won’t abide by his new rule.

Executive Order Number Two (2022) and Order of Public Health Emergency One banned the mandates. 

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