Virginia Delegate Seeks to Expand Hate Crime Laws to Protect Police

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

A lawmaker representing the Shenandoah Valley wants police and first responders protected under Virginia hate crime laws.

20th District Delegate Richard “Dickie” Bell (R) recently filed a bill with the General Assembly that calls for expanding the definition of hate crimes to include crimes committed against police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel.

Bell says officers like the ones killed last month in Dallas were attacked based on the uniform they had on.

Read More - VA Delegate Seeks to Expand Hate Crime Laws to Protect Police - NBC 29

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Weekday Religious Education Supporters Voice Anger, Resolve

STAUNTON — Over 100 people attended a meeting Thursday night to demonstrate their opposition to the recent decision to end Weekday Religious Education in Staunton City Schools. The Staunton School Board voted 5-1 to end release time for WRE at a meeting held on July 18.

Supporters of the program have objected to the time that the meeting was held – 8 a.m. – saying that it was impossible for many parents to attend at that hour because of work, and to the fact that there was little notice given before the vote.

Sara Crenshaw, Vice President of Staunton WRE, spoke briefly to the crowd, detailing the recent vote, and laying out her objections. In addition to emphasizing the importance of “teaching our children values,” Crenshaw also noted that the program was decades old and held up by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read More - Weekday Religious Education Supporters Voice Anger, Resolve - The News Virginian

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Community Members Protest WRE Cancellation

STAUNTON — The sanctuary of St. Paul's United Methodist Church was packed. And it wasn't even a Sunday.

More than 100 Staunton residents gathered Thursday night to discuss the decision by the Staunton School Board to discontinue Weekday Religious Education, which has been an institution in the Valley for decades.

Read More - Community Members Protest WRE Cancellation - The News Leader

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Monument at Woodrow Wilson Hospital Dedicated to Local Military History

FISHERSVILLE — A monument now stands to memorialize a part of Augusta County’s history that is disappearing as fast as the generation which created that history.

Community members gathered at noon Monday near Valley Career and Technical Center to remember soldiers who were treated at Woodrow Wilson General Hospital during World War II.

“It’s the sacrifice of all those people that allows us to enjoy the freedoms of today,” Guest speaker Del. Richard P. “Dickie” Bell said. He added that he believes the public has begun to take our freedoms for granted, and that is why Memorial Day was chosen as the day to dedicate a monument for an institution that was a part of the community.

Read More: Monument at Woodrow Wilson Hospital Dedicated to Local Military History - The News Virginian

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Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation Awards 27 Scholarships

The Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce recently recognized outstanding high school senior students from public and private schools in Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County at its annual Academic Achievers Reception held at the Robert Plecker Workforce Center on the campus of Blue Ridge Community College.

Twenty-seven of these students applied and were awarded scholarships.  It was the largest number handed out in the sixteen year history of the program!

Read More: Greater Augusta Chamber of Commerce Foundation Awards 27 Scholarships - Augusta Free Press

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Governor, Lawmakers Celebrate rehab center's new project

FISHERSVILLE-Governor Terry McAuliffe stood in front of the crowd at the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center Monday morning, wanting to honor achievements.

Students, families and staff celebrated the first graduates of a new, innovative job training program, a collaboration of WWRC and CVS Health.

Read More - Governor, Lawmaker Celebrate Rehab Center's New Project - The News Virginian

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McAuliffe vetoes Bell's virtual schools bill

The legislation, sponsored by Del. Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, would have set up a full-time virtual school network that would have been available to as many as 5,000 Virginia K-12 students starting in 2018-19.

Read More - McAuliffe vetoes Bell's virtual schools bill - The News Virginian

 

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Governor still undecided on virtual schools bill

WAYNESBORO-The Virginia House and Senate both approved Del. Dickie Bell's virtual schools bill, but it still hasn't become law. The reason is that Gov. Terry McAuliffe hasn't made a decision if he plans to veto the bill or sign it into law.

Speaking to the News Virginian on Thursday, the governor's spokesman said McAuliffe is expected to take action on the bill by next week at the latest.

Read More - Governor still undecided on virtual schools bill - The News Virginian

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Bell meets with governor regarding virtual school bill

Delegate Dickie Bell emerged with optimism following a 20-minute meeting Thursday morning with Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Secretary of Education Anne Holton on the delegate's virtual school legislation.

"He (the governor) said he supports virtual education,'' Bell said. Bell must now wait to see if McAuliffe signs the amended legislation coming out of a House-Senate conference committee this weekend. The bill passed the Senate 23-17 earlier in the week, but changes made in that chamber created the need for a conference committee.

Read More - Bell meets with governor regarding virtual school bill - The News Virginia

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Bell's virtual schools bill passes General Assembly

Since he took office in 2010, Del. Dickie Bell has worked to make virtual education an option across Virginia.

On Monday, legislation to expand the current pilot program of 100 high school students in virtual education to 5,000 K-12 students across Virginia, passed the state Senate.

The Senate vote was 23-17, and Bell said the legislation must clear a conference committee before heading to Gov. Terry McAuliffe for his signature.

Read More - Bell's virtual schools bill passes General Assembly - The News Virginian

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