State Lawmakers will get back to work today when the General Assembly goes into session.
One of the bills up for debate this year could effect which members will be returning for future sessions.
One legislator is introducing a bill to change the re-districting process.
Currently, the party in control of the General Assembly draws the legislative lines.
But some Democrats want to create a non-partisan re-districting commission.
Supporters of the bill say partisanship has diminished the number of competitive races.
Republicans say the new measure is just as political as the practice it aims to eliminate.
[IN Q=WE IN SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA]
((SEN. CREIGH DEEDS/(D) BATH CO.: WE IN SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA, IN PARTICULAR, KNOW HOW BADLY THAT PROCESS CAN GO TO NOT ONLY COST US SEATS BUT CUT UP THE DISTRICTS IN A PARTISAN WAY THAT HURTS OUR AREA.))
((DEL. MORGAN GRIFFITH/(R) SALEM: THE DEMOCRATS THOUGHT IT WAS FINE WHEN THEY WERE IN CONTROL THE WAY IT IS. I THINK IT IS A LITTLE DISINGENUOUS TO NOW WHEN THEY'RE IN THE MAJORITY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER A HUNDRED YEARS TO SAY OH, WE WANT TO CHANGE THE RULES NOW.))
[SUPER=01-Sen. Creigh Deeds/(D) Bath Co.; :00]
[SUPER=01-Del. Morgan Griffith/(R) Salem; :14]
[OUT Q=CHANGE THE RULES NOW.]
Lawmakers will also elect a new Speaker today and the governor will deliver his State of the Commonwealth address.
There will be one state leader missing from tonight's gubernatorial State of the Commonwealth address.
Attorney General Jerry Kilgore will be at an undisclosed secure location to preserve Virginia government in case of a terrorist
The move comes at the recommendation of state anti-terrorism experts.
A spokeswoman for the governor says the government can not ignore it's own advice.
[TAKE TAKE TAKE]
[Take State of Commonwealth FS]
News 7 will be at the capitol for Governor Warner's address.
Join us tonight for the governor's message, along with analysis from our political expert Tom Morris.
We also hope to have live Republican reaction from Richmond. Our coverage begins at 7.
Today the House is expected to take up a bill to restore federal unemployment benefits to the nation's jobless.
The Senate opened the new Congress by approving a five-month extension of benefits.
The extension was approved after Democrats failed to expand the measure to include about a million unemployed workers who have exhausted both state and federal benefits.
The bill has to be on the president's desk by tomorrow in order to avoid any disruption in benefits.
The U-S military is still preparing itself for war with Iraq, even though officials say it's NOT inevitable.
The U-S is assembling a battle staff in the Persian Gulf.
The base in Qatar is equipped to coordinate a large- scale war on land, sea, and in the air.
Staffing the command post is taking place, in the event President Bush decides military force is needed against Saddam Hussein.
Meanwhile, chief U-N weapons inspector Hans Blix plans to confront Iraq next month about unanswered questions regarding its arms declaration.
In business news this morning, Union workers at Salem's General Electric plant are planning a two-day strike next week over health- benefits.
The strike will involve about 14- thousand workers across the country. It's expected to start early Tuesday morning.
According to a statement from the I-U-E C-W-A, the union is angry that G-E has increased the amount that workers and retirees must pay toward their health insurance when the company is enjoying multi-billion dollar profits.
The Salem G-E plant employs about one thousand workers. Nearly 400 are union members.
In other news, Wall Street reopens for trading today after a mixed closed yesterday.
Ed Crane has that story and more in this morning's Marketwatch.
[SUPER=01-Ed Crane/Reporting; :00]
[OUT Q=I'm EC, CBS Marketwatch, NY]
((WE SAW A BIG RUN UP IN STOCK PRICES YESTERDAY AS WORD OF THE PRESIDENTS
ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE FILTERED OUT, NOW THAT HE'S MAPPED OUT THE PLAN,
WALL STREET'S REACTION WAS TEPID AT BEST:
FOR BLUE CHIPS IT WAS ANOTHER CASE OF BUY ON THE RUMOR AND SELL ON THE
THE DOW GAVE BACK 32 POINTS...
BUT THE NASDAQ NOTCHED IT'S 4TH STRAIGHT POSITIVE CLOSE GAINING 10 POINTS.
SOME STOCKS THAT COULD BE IMPACTED BY THAT PROPOSED ROLL BACK OF TAXES ON
DIVIDENDS ARE GENERATING SOME INTEREST.
AMONG THEM TWO TECH GIANTS THAT ARE SITTING ON A PILE OF CASH, MICROSOFT AND
DELL, AND SOFTWARE MAKER ORACLE WHICH IS ALREADY SAYING IT WILL CONSIDER
OFFERING DIVIDENDS, WHICH UNTIL NOW HAVE CARRIED A TAX BITE OF UP TO 36
AMONG STOCKS TO WATCH DYNEGY IS UP ABOUT 20 PERCENT AFTER THE HOUSTON ENERGY
GIANT REPORTED AN IMPROVED OUTLOOK FOR 2003, AND SURPRISINGLY GOOD REDUCTION
IN IT'S DEBT LOAD.
RAMBUS, THE COMPANY WITH THE TECHNOLOGY TO ENHANCE CHIP PERFORMANCE IS UP 4
PERCENT AFTER SIGNING TWO FRESH DEALS TO PROVIDE THAT TECHNOLOGY TO SONY AND
AND SONIC, THE FAST FOOD CHAIN KNOW FOR IT'S ROLLER SKATING SERVERS IS UP 14
PERCENT AFTER FISCAL FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS THAT BLEW PAST ESTIMATES.
CITING DISAPPOINTING HOLIDAY SALES, TWO RETAILERS WERE IN THE SELL MODE
TUESDAY, HIGH END JEWELER TIFFANY, AND HOME ELECTRONICS RETAILER TWEETER.
PROMISES OF INCREASED PRODUCTION FROM SAUDI ARABIA HAVE SENT OIL PRICES IN
RETREAT, THEY'RE NOW JUST ABOVE 31 DOLLARS A BARREL. GOLD IS ALSO TRADING
MARTHA STEWART'S BACK ON THE FED'S RADAR SCREEN. THE U-S ATTORNEY
INVESTIGATING THE CASE IS RE-INTERVIEWING WITNESSES IN CONNECTION WITH HER
ALLEGED INSIDER TRADING OF IMCLONE SHARES. THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REPORTS
IMCLONE'S FORMER CHAIRMAN AND STEWART CRONY SAM WAKSAL MAY COOPERATE IN THE
STEWART PROBE IN HOPES OF A MORE LENIENT SENTENCE.
GET MORE BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL NEWS ROUND THE CLOCK AT CBS DOT MARKETWATCH,
I'M ED CRANE, NY.))
(tape tosses to stocks)
Southern California firefighters have contained a wildfire that burned more than 750 acres and damaged three homes.
The hot Santa Ana winds have started dying down, allowing crews to fully surround the fire.
Authorities say one of several downed power lines apparently started the blaze.
Utility crews are now working to restore electricity to thousands of customers.
Dozens of whales have died after stranding themselves on a beach off southern New Zealand.
[SUPER=03-Stewart Island, New Zealand;]
Conservation workers and residents are trying to save survivors of a pod of about 159 pilot whales that swam ashore today.
Marine officials said they expect most of the whales will die, since time is running out to save them.
Officials say they're extremely dehydrated.
New Zealand has one of the world's highest rates of whale strandings, which are thought to happen when the animals become disoriented or when a dominant animal leads others ashore.
Lynchburg is considering a uniform policy in some of its public schools.
City educators say they need more time to study the issue.
The principals of Marvin Bass Elementary and Linkhorne Middle told the school board last night there is interest in implementing a uniform policy in their schools.
E-C Glass High School is also said to be studying the idea.
But administrators say it goes beyond simply being in favor of uniforms.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=It's the second]
((JAMES MCCORMICK/LYNCHBURG SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: IT'S THE SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH QUESTION I THINK OR POINT YOU HAVE TO MAKE. YOU CAN SAY ARE YOU IN FAVOR OF UNIFORMS, YES OR NO? IF SOMEBODY SAYS YES, I THINK WE HAVE TO KNOW THE WHYS. WHAT IS IT THAT UNIFORMS WOULD CHANGE IN OUR SCHOOLS?))
[SUPER=01-James McCormick/Lynchburg School Superintendent]
[OUT Q=in our schools?]
McCormick says, under state law, any uniform policy would have to be optional.
There's a new pair of fashion designers in our area.
Actually, Tom Martin and Mark Jones really aren't designers, but, engineering professors at Virginia Tech.
They're in the midst of developing e-textiles--which are fabrics with electronic sensors.
The goal is to incorporate the fabrics into military gear and equipment, as well as other things.
[IN Q=ONE OF THE]
(( TOM MARTIN: ONE OF THE APPLICATIONS WE'D LIKE TO HAVE IS A SHIRT THAT WOULD MAP OUT A BUILDING FOR YOU AS YOU WALK THROUGH IT. MIGHT BE USEFUL FOR THE BLIND, MIGHT BE USEFUL FOR FIREFIGHTERS 16:21 ))
[SUPER=01-Tom Martin & Mark Jones/Developing 'E-Textiles';]
[OUT Q=FOR FIREFIGHTERS]
Jones and Martin, along with some of their students, have been working on the e-textiles project for a little more than a year now.
The group will receive funding over the next two years through a grant from the National Science Foundation.
(Kimberly tosses to bump)
A record company based in Roanoke will be vying for a Bluegrass Grammy.
Gary Reid has been fielding congratulations since the nominations were announced.
His record label, Copper Creek, is 25 years old, but the latest C-D from The Roland White Band is the first to garner a grammy nomination.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I think all of the smaller independent]
((GARY REID: I THINK ALL OF THE SMALLER INDEPENDENT LABELS, IT'S A TOUGH ROW TO HOE AND JUST HAVE TO KEEP AT IT ALL THE TIME. IT'S MORE THAN A FULL TIME JOB, A LABOR OF LOVE.))
[SUPER=01-Gary Reid/Copper Creek Records]
[OUT Q=a labor of love.]
Copper Creek will face tough competition, including southwest Virginia native and bluegrass veteran Ralph Stanley.
He has two albums in the running for Best Bluegrass Album.
The Grammys will be awarded February 23rd in New York City.
A local antiques dealer is making his business history.
John Elkins is retiring and liquidating all his merchandise after 26-years of selling fine pieces.
His 12-thousand square foot retail gallery holds thousands of items including furniture, rugs and porcelain.
Beginning today, all items will be marked down 30-percent in a sale that runs until the place is empty.
Hundreds of buyers are expected at the Glade Hill location.
Elkins says his career in antiques has been fun and that it allowed him to travel extensively.