- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 5, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Latest on Virginia’s General Assembly taking up Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s vetoes and amendments (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

State lawmakers have upheld Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s changes to a bill that delays Dominion Virginia Power’s plans to shut down 11 coal ash ponds until the utility provides more information about possible contamination and closure alternatives.

The measure as amended by the governor requires site assessments of the ash ponds by Dec. 1. The assessments must describe any water pollution, evaluate clean closure options including recycling or the use of a lined landfill, and demonstrate long-term safety.

Both chambers of the General Assembly upheld those amendments Wednesday.

Without the governor’s changes, the measure would have allowed state environmental officials to issue long-term closure permits before the assessments were conducted.

Dominion Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Farrell II sent a letter this week to McAuliffe saying the company agreed it would be “prudent” to conduct the assessments.

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3:30 p.m.

Virginia Republicans have rejected again a bid to expand Medicaid, saying the state can’t afford to extend its public health coverage to thousands of poor adults.

The GOP-controlled House of Delegates rejected an amendment to the state’s budget that would have given Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe the ability to expand Medicaid.

Thirty-one states have expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, including some with Republican governors.

McAuliffe has tried unsuccessfully for three straight years to expand Medicaid. He renewed his push last month after President Donald Trump’s failed attempt to overhaul health care.

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2:30 p.m.

Virginia lawmakers have voted to give family members greater access to law enforcement records in completed investigations into unattended deaths.

The Senate on Wednesday rejected an amendment from Gov. Terry McAuliffe that would have allowed relatives to request only the summary of such investigations under the Freedom of Information Act.

Supporters said the measure would help bring closure to families of people who die of suicides or overdoses. Opponents said it could hinder investigations by releasing too much information in drug-related deaths or add to families’ suffering.

The governor will decide whether to veto or approve it.

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This item has been updated to correct that the vote took place in the Senate, not the House of Delegates.

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1:10 p.m.

Virginia lawmakers have rejected Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s proposal to give Alexandria more time to fix an infrastructure issue that sends millions of gallons of untreated sewage into the Potomac River.

The Senate on Wednesday voted down McAuliffe’s amendments to a bill that requires a fix by 2025. The governor wanted to push the deadline back as far as 2030 if certain conditions were met.

Part of Alexandria’s sewer system gets overwhelmed during almost any type of wet weather, sending untreated waste into nearby waterways and on to the Potomac River many of times each year.

Many lawmakers felt the wealthy city wasn’t moving quickly enough to address the problem. Alexandria has said the bill’s deadline is impossible to meet.

The chamber voted on whether to enroll the bill its current form without sending it back to the governor, but fell several votes short. McAuliffe now must decide whether to veto or approve it.

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This item has been updated to correct that the vote took place in the Senate, not the House of Delegates. .

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12:50 p.m.

A Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates is joining a growing list of GOP lawmakers who are retiring.

Del. Dave Albo announced Wednesday that he was retiring after more than two decades in office because of personal financial pressures.

Albo, a moderate Republican, represents a competitive district in Northern Virginia and leads the influential courts committee.

All 100 House seats are up for election this year and Democrats are making a concerted effort to chip away at the Republicans nearly two-thirds majority. Albo said he believes he could win reelection, but said the financial strain of serving in a part-time legislature has become too much.

House Speaker William J. Howell and a handful of other Republicans are also retiring.

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12:35 p.m.

The two Democratic candidates for governor in Virginia are pushing Republican lawmakers to expand Medicaid, signaling the issue could be a major campaign talking point this year.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam held a news conference Wednesday to call on GOP legislators to accept a budget amendment that would give Gov. Terry McAuliffe the power to expand the public health care program for the poor and disabled.

Northam’s opponent in the Democratic primary, Tom Perriello, also made postings on social media urging the expansion of Medicaid.

Virginia Republicans have rejected efforts to expand Medicaid, saying its long-term costs are too high.

The GOP-controlled General Assembly, which is back at the Capitol to consider McAuliffe’s vetoes and amendments, is expected to reject Medicaid expansion later Wednesday.

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2:22 a.m.

Virginia state lawmakers are set to return to the Capitol to consider Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s vetoes and amendments to legislation they passed earlier this year.

Lawmakers will also consider the governor’s tweaks to the state budget at the so-called “veto session” on Wednesday.

The governor, a Democrat, vetoed 40 pieces of legislation on hot-button social issues like guns, abortion and immigration. The Republicans who control the General Assembly do not have the super majorities required in both chambers to overturn a veto.

McAuliffe has also proposed a budget amendment that would give him power to expand Medicaid, saying the issue had gained new urgency after President Donald Trump’s recent defeat in repealing the Affordable Care Act. But state Republicans say they remain opposed to expanding the public health care program.

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