Dogwood Daily: Hey Virginia, We're #32 (In Teacher Pay)!
By Matt Blair
January 28, 2020

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.

But first…

Talk about finding creative ways to re-use your waste! A tugboat was intentionally sunk in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday to serve as an artificial reef for fish and other sea life.

Five things you need to know today …

  1. Teachers rally in Richmond– Teaching is both an extremely difficult and important job, but the pay in Virginia doesn’t exactly reflect that. Thousands of Virginia teachers came to Richmond yesterday to the rally for increased education funding. The Virginia Education Association’s “Fund Our Schools” rally called for over $1 billion in new education expenses. Gov. Ralph Northam already proposed a 3% teacher raise in 2021-2022, but the Virginia Education Association say it isn’t enough and is calling for a 5% raise. Virginia teachers are currently paid $8,500 less than the national average and ranked 32nd in the country for pay. –The Virginian-Pilot 
  2. Minimum wage hike– Virginia’s minimum wage employees may soon start to see a pay bump. The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee voted 12-3 along party lines to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. Currently, Virginia’s minimum wage sits at $7.25, the federal minimum. The panel recommended a different implementation approach than the one in the bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax), calling for raising the minimum wage $1 per year until it hit the $15 mark. -Richmond Times-Dispatch
  3. Businesses push General Assembly for LGBTQ protections– More than 30 Virginia employers sent a letter to Virginia lawmakers calling for more comprehensive LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. The letter was addressed to House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) and Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Falls Church), and it encourages them to pass the Virginia Values Act. The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Del. Mark Sickles (D-Arlington), would extend protections to LGBTQ Virginians in employment, public spaces, and credit transactions. -Richmond Times-Dispatch
  4. Northam pushing for new driving laws– Gov. Ralph Northam wants the General Assembly to pass several bills to make roads safer and improve travel in the state, including a ban on handheld cell phones and stricter seat belt laws. Additional measures include a ban on open containers of alcohol and raising the state gas tax to fix roads. “These are common-sense measures that will save lives and keep our keep our highways safe,” Northam said. -The Roanoke Times
  5. Staunton rejects Second Amendment Sanctuary discussion– Don’t expect to see the city of Staunton becoming a Second Amendment Sanctuary any time soon. Councilwoman Andrea Oakes attempted to convince her fellow council members to hold a public hearing on the issue, but all of the other members rejected the call. While the issue hasn’t officially been on the agenda, many community members have already voiced their opinions on the subject at the past few meetings. Council members also voted 4-3 to bar the topic from the agenda again unless a majority of the council voted on it to be included. -Staunton News Leader

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