When the General Assembly voted last year to ramp up Virginia’s minimum wage to $12, agricultural employees were among a handful of groups excluded from the increase — an exemption that traces its roots to Jim Crow-era segregation.
Lawmakers in the Senate said Monday they stand by that decision, voting down legislation passed by the House of Delegates that would have extended the state’s employment laws to farmworkers for the first time.
“I understand the exuberance and I understand the need to move forward, but we just had a robust discussion on this last year,” said Sen. Lynwood Lewis, D-Accomack, one of 10 lawmakers on the Senate’s Commerce and Labor Committee who opposed the legislation.
On Thursday, lawmakers in the Virginia House of Delegates took the first step in a long, complicated process of repealing a voter-approved constitutional amendment that prohibits two people of the same gender from marrying.
Approved in 2006, the Marshall-Newman Amendment’s prohibition on same-sex marriage is no longer enforced in the commonwealth, ever since a pair of Supreme Court decisions in 2013 and 2015, respectively, overturned a law prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex marriages, and declared all remaining bans on same-sex nuptials unconstitutional.
However, due to Virginia’s complicated legal framework — and the fact that the ban was a constitutional amendment, rather than a simple statute — eliminating Marshall-Newman from the state’s constitution requires having a pro-LGBTQ majority in both legislative chambers that will approve a bill to repeal the amendment, followed by an election, after which a different legislature must pass the exact same bill. If approved, the proposal then goes on the general election ballot where voters must approve it.
RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Governor Ralph Northam announced the results of the Commonwealth’s disparity study Friday which identified the need to address diversity in state contracting.
Following the results, Northam established goals of 23.1 percent discretionary spending with woman- and minority-owned businesses and 42 percent with SWaM-certified businesses in Virginia.
“State contracting, which represents more than $6 billion annually, can be a powerful tool to create economic opportunity. This study makes clear that the Commonwealth has significant work to do to maximize the participation of woman- and minority-owned businesses in state contract work,” said Northam.
Every year over the past three years, lawmakers in Virginia’s General Assembly have introduced legislation that would require railroads moving freight through the commonwealth “to operate with a crew of at least two individuals.”
This year, it’s being pushed by Del. Jeion Ward, D-Hampton, in a bill that’s been referred to the House Labor and Commerce Committee.
With the exception of a handful of short, local lines, that crew size is already standard across the industry.