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Tanya and Tim Brosnan found their dream home in  Fredericksburg, Virginia, last fall, but once they moved in, they realized they couldn’t log in. Their home has no access to broadband.

“Honestly, I never even thought that would be a question I would need to ask,” Tanya Brosnan said. "It's 2020. How can I not get internet?”

Their home has no cable lines, no satellite access and no high-speed internet. They make due with hot spots and a router to boost the signal. But it doesn’t reach throughout the house, and Brosnan says it’s painfully slow.

It took weeks of negotiations to settle on an end to balance billing, a much-loathed feature of Virginia’s medical system that’s been locked in a legislative deadlock for years.

Lawmakers were jubilant on Thursday as both the House and Senate unanimously passed identical legislation to remove the risk of surprise hospital bills for some Virginians. The often-expensive fees often come when patients seek emergency care at an out-of-network hospital, or receive treatment from out-of-network doctors at a facility that’s otherwise covered by their insurance.

Both House and Senate lawmakers proposed legislation this year to give pharmacists more independence in administering certain drugs. But differences between the two bills could lead to a deadlock in a conference hearing, ending any chance of a final version being passed by the General Assembly.

A conference committee in the General Assembly this week will attempt to clear the final hurdle needed to bring sports betting to Virginia.

The Virginia House and Senate passed bills authorizing gambling on sporting events, and the combined bill is expected to be signed into law. It would bring sports betting, both in person and online, to the commonwealth as soon as this fall.

RICHMOND — Del. Mark D. Sickles was describing a landmark LGBT rights bill on the House floor recently when he noticed a fellow Democrat waving at him — a signal that it was time to wrap it up.

 

“Maybe LGBT rights are boring now,” Sickles (D-Fairfax) later quipped.

 

With Democrats in control of Virginia’s House, Senate and governor’s mansion for the first time in a generation, legislation that is revolutionary by Old Dominion standards has been passing rapid-fire out of both chambers — sometimes with barely a yawn.

 

Virginians would be able to place legal bets on professional and college sports under legislation both chambers of the General Assembly adopted on Monday.

The Senate voted 27-12 to approve Senate Bill 384, proposed by Sen. Jeremy McPike, D-Prince William. He said it would bring sports betting out of the shadows for regulation by the Virginia Lottery and allow the state to benefit from new tax revenue on the activity.

 

RICHMOND — Virginia legislators have been advancing a plan to transition from the federal health insurance exchange to the state’s own online marketplace as a way to save money and improve access to affordable insurance.

Legislation would establish a state-based exchange so Virginia residents who purchase individual health plans can shop for coverage. Health officials say they can run the insurance market better than the federal government and reduce premiums for residents.

HRC celebrated the passage of the Virginia Values Act through both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly, a bill that will grant non-discrimination protections to Virginians on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and several other characteristics. Similar legislation passed through the Virginia Senate several times in recent years, but was blocked by anti-equality lawmakers in the House of Delegates. In the 2019 election, voters in the commonwealth elected pro-equality majorities to both houses of the General Assembly, making this victory possible.

Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, came to Richmond for the first time 30 years ago for a gay rights lobby day. Only a handful of legislators talked to him.

“I don’t think it made a difference - at least not at that time,” said Ebbin, who became Virginia's first openly gay legislator after he was elected in 2003. “Things have changed.”

Bipartisan collaboration plays an essential role in the economic health and growth of the commonwealth and has proved critical in fueling the state’s record low unemployment rate and booming economic growth.

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