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Virginia Senate Approves Transportation Funding Bill

In a 25-15 vote, the Virginia Senate has approved state's transportation reform bill. The measure now heads to Gov. Bob McDonnell.
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In a 25-15 vote, the Virginia Senate has approved state's transportation reform bill. The measure now heads to Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The Virginia Senate has passed the first long-term reform to the state's 27-year-old system for funding repairs and upkeep of its 58,000-mile network of highways, reports the Associated Press.

The Senate voted 25-15, which now sends the bill to Gov. Bob McDonnell. The measure would be the defining policy legacy in the fourth and final year of the single, non-renewable term Virginia allows its governors.

The measure would replace Virginia's 17.5 cents-per-gallon retail gasoline tax with a 3.5 percent wholesale tax on gasoline and a 6 percent levy on diesel fuel. It boosts statewide sales taxes from 5 percent to 5.3 percent. It increases the titling tax on car sales and adds a $100 registration fee for fuel-sipping hybrid vehicles. The bill also rules out proposed tolls on Interstate 95 south of Petersburg.

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Since September, Florida has been fighting an infestation of the Oriental fruit fly, an invasive pest that threatened more than 400 crops. The state declared the insect eradicated as of Saturday.
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Obama Remembers Scalia As 'Consequential,' Vows To Appoint Replacement

President Obama struck a somber tone, remembering the late-Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as a "towering legal mind" who influenced a generation, but made it clear, he intends to replace him.
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Colonialism Comment Puts Facebook Under Scrutiny

A Facebook board member lambasted a decision by regulators in India, the social network's second-largest market. He thereby sparked new scrutiny of Facebook's intentions in that country.

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