At an Eyes on Richmond Forum at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Dan Mortensen, the Executive Director of the Virginia Council on Economic Education, spoke of the group’s efforts to teach K-12 teachers how to instruct young people about economics. Effective this year, all Virginia high school seniors must have a full year of economics and personal finance education in order to graduate. Many schools are teaching elements of economics to students at the elementary level.
Articles by Craig Carper
Reynolds American Incorporated, the maker of Camel cigarettes is banning smoking in most parts of their offices and buildings. Reynolds, the nation’s second biggest tobacco company, says they are bringing their smoking policies in line with modern standards. Employees will be prohibited from smoking traditional cigarettes, cigars and pipes at their desks or in offices, conference rooms, hallways and elevators. The policy will take effect once construction of new indoor smoking areas is completed.
Several days into his Asian trade mission, speaking to reporters via conference call from Bejing, Governor Terry McAuliffe says he has 5 or 6 handshake deals with Asian companies to establish or expand operations in Virginia. McAuliffe says his trade contingent had many successful meetings in Japan highlighted by a new $32 million deal with automotive manufacturer Dynax Corporation to expand operations in Botetourt County that will create 75 new jobs.
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) addressed a Public Square at the Richmond Times-Dispatch Tuesday (October 21) discussing how the U.S. should clarify the war powers of the President and Congress. Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution says Congress will declare war. Article 2 establishes the President as the Commander in Chief. Senator Kaine says while the President has the authority to defend against an imminent attack when the country’s strategy goes from defense to offense, congressional authorization is required.
Just a week after Governor McAuliffe announced 509 layoffs in the Department of Corrections, the state agency says it needs $45 million over the next two years to meet its healthcare obligations to the state’s prison population. The bulk of the costs come from a state medical services provider terminating its contract and the department having to replace those services at higher cost.
The Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections, which faces a $45 million health care shortfall, says expanding the state’s Medicaid program would lower costs to taxpayers to deliver prisoner healthcare. Virginia has approximately 30,000 individuals currently incarcerated. Over half of those receive their constitutionally required healthcare services from a private healthcare provider. Last year just over 10% of the states inmates qualified by being 65 years or older, on dialysis, pregnant or having another chronic health condition
Richmond School Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden addressed the Eyes on Richmond Forum at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church last week, where he discussed a dropout rate that’s declining and a school system population that is growing for the first time in years, but still faces many challenges.
Virginia’s Health Commissioner Marissa Levine is confident that the Commonwealth is as prepared as possible for a potential Ebola outbreak. Commissioner Levine says the risk to Virginians is extremely small and that regular screenings are in place for passengers arriving in the state from West African countries. Thus far they’ve produced nothing.
The virus is not airborne but must be spread through direct contact, particularly through secretions. It’s extremely fatal, with a 50-70% fatality rate.
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced yesterday (10/15) that Virginia will lay off 556 state employees, largely from the department of corrections, to help close an $882 million dollar budget gap due to reduced federal spending brought on by sequestration. The state will close the Powhatan Correctional Center, as well as two smaller corrections facilities and delaying the opening of a new women’s correctional center.
The Governor is also leaving vacant positions unfilled, including several dozen state troopers, though no cuts were made to public schools.
At a Republican rally for Dave Brat and Ed Gillespie in Ashland yesterday (10/15), U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky shared his vision to grow the GOP brand nationally. Paul says the Republican party must reach out to new groups they’ve previously ignored, including the poor and minorities.
The Senator believes Republicans can make gains with minorities on issues like school choice, and more lenient sentences for non-violent drug offenders.
Paul wants to establish what he calls “economic freedom zones.”