Judges pick districts that favor Democrats; A criminal investigation into MVP?; Free beer for coworking; The robots are coming and other headlines


Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

♦ In a move that bodes poorly for Republicans chances of hanging onto their one-seat majority in the House of Delegates, federal judges selected a redistricting plan for the House that would give Democrats a majority in six districts currently held by Republicans, including the seats occupied by House Majority Leader Kirk Cox and House Appropriations Chair Chris Jones. – The Washington Post

♦ The Charlottesville-based Legal Aid Justice Center expanded its lawsuit challenging the detention of immigrant children to include more than 10,000 kids. – Associated Press

♦ Shipbuilders in Newport News are at the center of a regulatory dispute over beryllium, a toxic carcinogen used in blasting grit. The Obama administration cracked down with new exposure rules that the Trump administration is now rolling back. – Reuters

♦ Two Roanoke lawyers say they’re trying to get the EPA to investigate the Mountain Valley Pipeline for allegedly continuing work while the permit was suspended. It’s not clear if the EPA is in fact investigating, but a former State Water Control Board member says she provided a statement to investigators, though she wouldn’t elaborate on what it was about. – The Roanoke Times

♦ The House of Delegates voted to shut down all public schools in the state on Election Day. The move was pitched as a safety measure to limit the general public’s access to school buildings, but some school officials said the measure goes too far because not all schools are used as polling places and those that are generally close already. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

♦ The Senate voted on party-lines to allow firefighters and EMTs to carry concealed guns in schools and other places they’re banned. The patron, Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, who was wearing a revolver on the floor, said first responders enter into dangerous situations and might need to defend themselves. Democrats, who unanimously opposed the measure, called it a bad idea. – The Washington Post

♦ State lawmakers are considering emergency measures they can take to help furloughed federal employees, including legislation to put a 30-day hold on evictions. — WVTF

♦ The Virginia Board of Psychology voted to develop regulations governing conversion therapy. The process could take years. — WCVE

♦ A coworking chain that wants to offer free beer as an amenity is pursuing legislation that would create a special ABC license for shared office space. – Richmond BizSense

♦ The U.S. Supreme Court says it won’t hear an eminent domain case filed by a group of Roanoke-area residents against the Mountain Valley Pipeline. – The Roanoke Times

♦ A proposal to name a Richmond street in honor of former resident and tennis-great Arthur Ashe as a sign of “progress toward racial reconciliation” is facing opposition from residents who say they don’t want to have to change their addresses. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

♦ Residents opposed plans in Roanoke for a new open-air bus station, calling it a “crime magnet.” The mayor responded that people use the bus to get to work and deserve a safe, updated facility. – The Roanoke Times

♦ A busted National Weather Service radar that covers central and eastern Virginia is getting repaired despite the government shutdown. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

♦ Virginia State Police are rolling out new state inspection decals that are smaller and more resistant to tampering. – News Leader

♦ The robots are coming. George Mason University is now home to the largest fleet of autonomous delivery vehicles on a college campus. For $1.99, students can get pizza, Starbucks and Dunkin’ brought to them by the devices, which look like a white cooler with six wheels. – Associated Press

♦ And Giant Food Stores, which operates Martin’s, is putting a 6-foot-3 googly-eyed robot that cleans up spills in all 172 of its stores. “Over time, I expect these robots will be used for many other tasks including product location and even basic customer service.” – The Culpeper Star-Exponent

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