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Craig Carper

Craig Carper's picture

WCVE Public Radio political contributor.

Articles by Craig Carper

School Board Says Jones Budget Does Not Fund Critical Needs

Members of the Richmond School Board say the $689 million budget Mayor Dwight Jones presented on Friday is essentially flat in operational spending for education over the previous year.

The board and Superintendent  Dana Bedden had requested $24 million in additional funding for a 1.7 percent raise for teachers and faculty, new ESL instructors and implementing the academic improvement plan.

Mayor Jones says the additional funds would have required a 15-cent increase in the city’s real estate tax. It currently stands at $1.20 per 100 dollars of assessed value.

Wittman Says Net Neutrality Could Limit Content

Virginia’s 1st District Congressman Rob Wittman says the recent decision by the FCC on net neutrality injects government into the free market and will restrict creativity and innovation. Though Wittman says the FCC should back away from the new regulations. Wittman says customers will ultimately leave an internet service provider for another more competitive one should they charge unreasonable rates.

Wittman Not Ready to Lift Cuban Embargo

Virginia’s 1st District Congressman Rob Wittman says lifting the U.S. embargo on Cuba should not come without some serious concessions from the Cuban government.

Wittman says he’s generally in favor of opening U.S. trade to communist countries because of the positive influence of exposure to free markets.

Though before the American embargo on Cuban trade is lifted, many Republicans like Wittman want to see the country offer more freedoms to it’s people.

McAuliffe Announces Dental Care for Low-Income Pregnant Women

Yesterday (3/10) at the VCU School of Dentistry, Governor Terry McAuliffe officially launched a new program that will provide dental care for over 45,000 low-income pregnant women.

Dave Surrett, Dean of the VCU School of Dentistry, says expectant mothers who take care of their teeth and gums can prevent gum disease and tooth decay.

The mothers will keep their coverage for 60 days after they give birth.

208,000 Virginians Sign Up for Federal Health Exchange

Governor McAuliffe has announced that over 208,000 Virginians have signed up for the federal marketplace during the most recent open enrollment period, exceeding his goal of 160,000 people.

Now a total of 385,000 Virginians have signed up for the federal exchange. This comes just as the fee kicks in for those who choose not to purchase insurance. The uninsured will have to pay $95  or 1% of their income, whichever is greater, when they file their 2014 tax return.

McAuliffe Announces Trade Mission to Cuba

Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced an upcoming trade mission to Cuba. He’s hoping to expand agricultural business but also to lay the groundwork for trade in other sectors once U.S. Cuban relations normalize.

While the U.S. embargo on Cuba remains in effect for now, exceptions to the trade ban for agricultural and medical products have been in place for the past decade.

Since then Cuba has been purchasing Virginia soybeans, apples, poultry and pork. But recently those sales are down.

Virginia Receives Grant to Fight Child Hunger

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack joined Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe yesterday (3/9) at Woodville Elementary School to announce that school divisions in Richmond and Southwest Virginia will benefit from a $9 million dollar federal grant to fight child hunger.

The grant will provide children 3 meals per day, 365 days a year. In addition to existing breakfast and lunch programs, students will receive packs of non-perishable food to take home for dinner as well as meals for weekends and breaks.

McAuliffe Discusses Trade With Cuban Ambassador

Governor Terry McAuliffe met yesterday with Cuban Ambassador José Ramón Cabañas to discuss trade opportunities,before his appearance today at the Governor’s Agricultural Trade Conference.

While the U.S. embargo on Cuba remains in effect for now, exceptions to the trade ban for agricultural and medical products have been in place for the past decade.

Since then Cuba has been purchasing Virginia soybeans, apples, poultry and pork.

Governor McAuliffe says he’d like to increase that business.

Herring Says School Boards Can Include Sexual Orientation in Non Discrimination Policies

Attorney General Mark Herring has issued an opinion that local school boards have the authority to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their anti-discrimination policies.

General Herring says the Supreme Court has maintained that the constitution grants broad supervisory powers to local school boards, putting such matters within their discretion.

The opinion overrules a 2002 opinion by former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore that concluded school boards did not have the authority to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Virginia To Study Mental Health Screenings For School Children

A bill passed by the General Assembly this session would start a 2-year study of the logistics of performing voluntary mental health screenings in public elementary schools.

The bill is patroned by Republican Delegate Joseph Yost of Giles, who says the state should shift it’s focus on mental health services from response to prevention.

He says early screenings and community based treatment will keep more people out of hospitals and the criminal justice system.

The bill passed the General Assembly and is now headed to Governor McAuliffe.