Civics Exam Proposed for Virginia High Schoolers

RICHMOND — Virginia would require high school juniors to pass the same civics exam required of hopeful U.S. citizens, if a lawmaker can find support for a bill he has filed for the 2015 General Assembly session.

Del. Richard P. “Dickie” Bell, R-Staunton, wants to amend the state code to make a passing score on the test be a requirement for graduation.

Read More: Civics Exam Proposed for Virginia High Schoolers - The News Virginian

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Recent State Revenue News is Good, But Legislators Cautious

While this past week offered optimism on recent Virginia revenue collections, area state legislators are guarded about what the news means for state funding for Virginia local governments and schools.

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This week will offer the legislators a chance to further dig into the upcoming budget. The Senate Finance Committee will come to Staunton on Thursday for a two-day retreat, while the House Appropriations and Finance committees will meet early in the week in Abingdon.

Read More: Recent State Revenue News is Good, But Legislators Cautious - The News Virginian

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SOL Committee Member Offers Update on Work

Can Virginia’s nearly two-decade old Standards of Learning education accountability system be changed?

A 32-member committee of educators and Virginia legislators have been at work since the summer looking at potential changes to the SOLs. Already, the committee has made 12 recommendations to the Virginia General Assembly, SOL Innovation Committee member Karen Thomsen told a group in Augusta County Tuesday night.

 

Read More: SOL Committee Member Offers Update on Work - The News Virginian

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Area state agencies cope with budget cuts

The cuts are needed to bridge a shortfall in state revenues this fiscal year. Other cuts will be announced later to cover state revenue shortfalls for fiscal year 2016.

Read More: Area State Agencies Cope with Budget Cuts - The News Virginian

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Lawmakers Urge Respect for Public Input

When an important regional decision is in the works that could impact the property or livelihood of hundreds or thousands, citizens are usually encouraged to contact their legislators to make their wishes known.

That avenue won't be as useful to those with concerns about the natural gas pipeline proposed to run through Augusta County.

Read More: Lawmakers Urge Respect for Public Input - The News Leader

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Local Attorney Jones to fill Vacant Juvenile Judge Slot

Longtime Waynesboro attorney Linda Schorsch Jones was selected Thursday by the General Assembly to fill the 25th Circuit juvenile and domestic relations court vacancy.

Del. Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, confirmed Jones' selection. He said she is expected to take the position on Dec. 1.

 

Read more: Local Attorney Jones to Fill Juvenile Judge Slot - The News Virginian

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State Budget Cuts to Impact Valley

It's belt tightening time for Virginia state agencies, local governments and higher education after Monday's announcement by Gov. Terry McAuliffe of cuts in state funding to those entities to cover a two-year $2.4 billion revenue shortfall.

Higher education in the commonwealth will lose $45 million in funding this fiscal year and the next, while aid to Virginia localities will be cut this fiscal year and next by $30 million. State agencies will be cut $92.4 million this year and $100 million in fiscal year 2016.

 

Read more: State Budget Cuts to Impact Valley - The News Virginian

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Area legislators hope to minimize impact of spending cuts

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Legislators network with Valley businesses at summit

WEYERS CAVE -- Small businesses from the Shenandoah Valley received access to resources, heard stories of startup businesses’ success and networked with area state legislators Monday at the second annual Valley Business Summit.

The summit, the idea of Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, was hosted by Blue Ridge Community College at the Plecker Workforce Center.

This year’s focus was on small businesses, said Dennis Burnett, executive director of The Shenandoah Valley Partnership, one of the sponsors for the summit.

 

Read More: Legislators Network with Valley Businesses at Summit - The News Virginian

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Revenue Shortfall Threatens Higher Education, Parks Funding

WAYNESBORO — Sen. Emmett Hanger said Tuesday that he hopes the Virginia budget will be finalized by the end of this week.

Hanger, R-Mount Solon, said one of the sticking points is how to deal with an estimated $1.35 billion shortfall in revenues over the next two years. He said that while the state’s rainy day fund can cover part of the shortfall, the remaining half will have to come from spending reductions.

 

Read More: Revenue Shortfall Threatens Higher Education, Parks Funding - The News Virginian

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