Dogwood Daily: Republican state Senator declares opposition to school desegregation plan
By Sean Galvin
September 4, 2019

Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all of today’s Virginia news coming right up. And if you’re a fan, please forward to three friends who need to know what’s going on in the Commonwealth and tell them to subscribe here

But First…

Virginia has been named the worst state for workers for the second year in a row by a new Oxfam study. The dubious distinction comes less than two months after CNBC ranked it as the best state for business in the country.

5 things you need to know today

  1. Republican state Senator declares opposition to school desegregation plan— State Sen. Glen Sturtevant, R-Chesterfield announced he would oppose rezoning plans aimed at creating more racially diverse student populations for two of Richmond’s whitest schools. School leaders have pitched a plan to combine two predominantly-white elementary schools with other schools a few miles away. Mayor Levar Stoney dismissed Sturtevant’s opposition as an “election-time gimmick.” Sturtevant is facing a difficult re-election challenge from Democratic candidate Ghazala Hashmi, a community college administrator, who roundly denounced her opponent’s stance. –Richmond Times-Dispatch
  2. $50 million gift to George Mason University comes with conditions— Newly released documents show that a $50 million gift made to George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School by the estate of Allison and Dorothy Rouse earlier this year comes with strings attached. The grant was given with a promise to “promote the conservative principles of governance,” according to the documents. University officials assured there was nothing improper about the grant, which is the largest ever for the school. The university faced criticism last year when records revealed an arrangement with the Koch Foundation gave donors say in what professors the university hired and fired. -NBC 4 Washington
  3. New group awards companies who pay employees a living wage— The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Living Wage Campaign, which advocates for companies to raise employees’ pay, awarded six employers for offering strong benefits and wages. The group is following in the footsteps of campaigns launched in Northern Virginia, Richmond, Blacksburg, and James City County, similarly focused on supporting an increase in workers’ wages. The United Way in Virginia published a report in 2017 showing that 63 percent of the more than 16,600 households in Harrisonburg suffered from insufficient household income. -The Citizen
  4. Northam names nine people to commission aimed at eliminating Jim Crow-era language—  Governor Northam named nine people to a commission in charge of removing Jim Crow-era discriminatory language from state laws and regulations. The commission comes after legislation was passed earlier this year eliminating a law that said positions traditionally held by African Americans didn’t have to be paid minimum wage. The commission is scheduled to hold its first meeting next week, with a report to follow in November. -The Middletown Press
  5. Lone Democrat making bid for General Assembly in far southwest Virginia— Although there are six General Assembly seats up for grabs in deep southwest Virginia, Starla Kiser is the only Democrat currently running for office there. The area has leaned overwhelmingly red in recent years, with the last Democrat holding a seat there in 2014. Kiser, a doctor, knows that Democrats in the region face difficulty but says she is up for the challenge. “There is a lot more that unites people out here than divides us, so I want to focus on issues that can best move the needle forward,” she said. Kiser is facing off against Republican Will Wampler, an attorney whose father and grandfather were both elected officials, to take over the seat of Del. Todd Pillion, R-Abingdon. -The Roanoke Times

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