One-Fourth of Virginia State Senate Incumbents Are Running in Contested Primaries

Democrats currently hold a 22-18 majority in the Virginia State Senate, which holds elections every four years rather than every two. 

The chamber is already poised to welcome at least 11 new members next year: ten incumbents are retiring, and two incumbents are running in the same district, leaving 11 districts open, over one-fourth of the chamber.

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GOP Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy Makes the Cut for the GOP Debates

Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy has risen in the polls to a top 5 candidate. Now the Ohio businessman and political outsider has secured a spot on the Republican National Committee debate stage.

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Virginia Gov. Youngkin Eliminating Degree Requirement for Many State Jobs

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is taking historical measures by eliminating degree requirements and preferences for nearly 90% of commonwealth classified positions.

The new “landmark” hiring preferences will provide equal consideration for all qualified applicants and allow state agencies to broaden their recruitment and talent pool.

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Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin to Deploy National Guard Troops to Southern Border

Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin will deploy National Guard troops to the southern border, his office announced Wednesday.

The Virginia governor will send 100 troops to the Texas-Mexico border to address the surge in illegal immigration and drug smuggling that he says is killing five Virginians each day, according to the announcement. Youngkin joins Florida, Tennessee and Nebraska in helping Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott secure the southern border.

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Virginia Middle School Students Host ‘Fight Clubs’ with Parental Help, Principal Says

Middle school students in northern Virginia have created “fight clubs” with the assistance of parents, and the violence is entering the school building, the school’ principal says.

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As Space Runs Out, Iconic Virginia’s Arlington National Cemetery Future Uncertain

by Sarah Roderick-Fitch   Virginia’s Arlington National Cemetery, one of America’s most notable symbolic memorials to freedom, will soon run out of room. Despite two extensions in progress meant to expand capacity until 2060, the 639-acre cemetery’s eligibility requirements and geographical footprint must change to preserve space for future generations…

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Republican Lawmakers Call for DEI Spending Report to Investigate Virginia Public Colleges

Republican lawmakers in Virginia are requesting a spending report that focuses specifically on the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts at state colleges and universities, Higher Ed Dive reports.

Two lawmakers in particular are paving the way for this new initiative: House Speaker Todd Gilbert and House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore. In a May 4 letter, Gilbert and Kilgore requested the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) “to study the growing cost of public higher education in the Commonwealth.”

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Poll Shows a Majority Support Easing Perimeter Rule around Reagan National

A recent poll shows a majority of northern Virginia residents support expanding the flight distance perimeter around Reagan National Airport, allowing the airport to accommodate more routes, thus making fares more competitive, according to supporters of the measure.

Recent legislation introduced by Utah congressmen Burgess Owens and Hank Johnson, known as The Direct Capital Access Act, part of the 2023 Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill, would allow for the increase and creation of longer-haul flights in and out of Reagan. The legislation would add 28 flights in and out of the 1960s-era perimeter rule for incoming and outgoing flights.

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Virginia’s Miyares Joins Lawsuit Against Robocall Company

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares has joined a nationwide lawsuit against Avid Telecom for “violating” the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for allegedly “facilitating billions of illegal robocalls.”

Miyares is joining a bipartisan coalition of 48 attorneys general from across the country in filing the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. 

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DeSantis Enters Presidential Race with ‘Skewed’ Narrative He’s Better Positioned to Beat Biden than Trump

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially launched his presidential campaign Wednesday, ending months of speculation and ratcheting up what promises to be an intense battle for the Republican Party nomination. 

DeSantis enters the race as a top tier candidate, but still lagging far behind frontrunner Donald Trump, according to just about every poll out there. 

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Virginia Legislation Introduced to Help Navy Sailors Combat Mental Health Issues

A group of Virginia bipartisan congressional leaders are leading the charge with legislation to improve access to mental health services and reduce suicides among Navy sailors.

Reps. Jennifer Kiggans, Rob Wittman, Bobby Scott and Jennifer McClennan are leading efforts to increase access to mental health resources while requiring mental health screenings for sailors on limited duty, entitled the Sailor Standard Care Act.

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Trump, DeSantis, Ramaswamy, and More: News and Notes from the Presidential Campaign Trail

A glitchy start to the Ron DeSantis campaign, Tim Scott fires back at “The View,” Vivek Ramaswamy takes on Target, and Nikki Haley gets a CNN Town Hall.

There’s no rest for the weary on the expanded presidential campaign trail.

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Virginia Records the Largest Job Increase in Nearly a Decade

Virginia’s labor participation rate rose to the highest recorded in nearly a decade, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics.

April’s labor force participation rate increased by 0.3% to 66.2%, the highest since June 2014. The labor force in the commonwealth has risen by 21,687 this month. The BLS recorded more than 25,000 Virginians were employed in April than in March – leading the decline in unemployment to 3.1%.

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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin Is ‘Reconsidering’ Running for President in 2024: Report

Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is reportedly “reconsidering” his decision not to run for president in 2024, according to Axios.

Youngkin was often named as a potential candidate for president, but seemingly closed the door when he announced on May 1 that he wouldn’t run for president “this year.” Republican donors are urging Youngkin to reconsider as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to jump in the race Wednesday and former President Donald Trump continues to dominate in the polls, according to Axios.

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Oklahoma State Superintendent Cites Teachers’ Unions as ‘Marxist’ and ‘Terrorist’ Organizations

Oklahoma state superintendent of schools Ryan Walters repeated Saturday that teachers’ unions are “Marxist” and “terrorist” organizations that are not advocating for students or teachers, but seeking power and financial gain for their leaders.

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Virginia Gov. Youngkin Finalizes Legislation from Reconvened Session

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin took final action on 17 pieces of legislation pending from the reconvened legislative session, signing 12 and vetoing five.

The legislation ranged from energy to medical marijuana. The governor celebrated the General Assembly voting approving nearly all of his amendments. Youngkin expressed disappointment for a few pieces of legislation rejected by the Assembly – mainly a key piece of energy legislation and the protection of minors regarding social media.

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Virginia Revenue Collections Remain Ahead by Nearly $500 Million

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin says the commonwealth is ahead almost $500 million for the year-to-date general revenue collections – consistent with a prior forecast.

The revenue collections in the first 10 months of the fiscal year were 2.7% higher – adjusted for policy or timing impacts. Although, the unadjusted revenue collections were down 8.2% in April, a 0.9% reduction for the fiscal year-to-date.

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Virginia Gov. Youngkin Signs Legislation Boosting Controlled Environment Agriculture

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed legislation to expand sales tax exemptions for controlled environment agriculture commercial facilities.

The new law will promote emerging agriculture cultivation systems, which proponents believe will create a source of sustainable, nutritious food options – aiding worldwide food insecurity. 

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Miyares Urges Biden Administration to Uphold Title IX

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares has joined nearly two dozen state attorneys general imploring the Biden administration to protect female athletes by upholding Title IX.

The opposition from the coalition follows a proposal from the Department of Education to allow biological males to compete in female sports. 

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Rural Virginia Communities to Receive Broadband Grants

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced funding to provide 20 predominantly rural, underserved communities with broadband access.

More than $59.5 million in grants will be made through the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative, supplying broadband access to nearly 30,000 homes, businesses and community institutions, such as schools, libraries, public safety centers and health care providers.

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Virginia Governor Signs Bill Requiring Porn Sites to Verify User Age

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia signed a bill requiring pornography sites to verify their users’ age Friday night, WTKR reported.

The bill, SB 1515, states that online providers who have a “substantial port” of sexual content on their sites are open to civil liability if they do not take steps to verify their users are above the age of 18. SB 1515, which passed the state senate by a 37-3 vote, and a 96-0 vote in the House of Delegates, defined “substantial portion” to be more than a third of the content on the site.

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Virginia Gov. Youngkin Announces Funding for School Safety

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has announced a grant program to improve student safety by beefing up security infrastructures in schools of higher needs.

The Stronger Connections program is a $16.4 million competitive grant program aimed at improving school security to curb assaults on schools, which may be vulnerable to attacks.

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DOJ’s Shadowy ‘Community Relations Service’ May Be Behind Covenant Killer Manifesto Coverup, Sources Say

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Metropolitan Nashville Police Department have refused to release the manifesto and related documents of the Covenant School killer, citing spurious reasons for their denials. 

But is a shadowy Department of Justice unit billing itself as “America’s peacemaker” behind the information freeze? Some say the disclosure dance has all the markings of the Community Relations Service. 

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Virginia Gov. Youngkin: We Have This Moment Where Every State Is a Border State

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, in an exclusive interview with The Center Square, had strong words for the Biden administration’s handling of the crisis at the southern border and the lifting of Title 42.

Youngkin signed an executive order Tuesday while delivering remarks at Stafford High School in Stafford County, marking National Fentanyl Awareness Day. During his speech, the governor blamed the Biden administration for failing to take action against the flow of the deadly drug across the border.

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In Bid to Cut Higher Education Costs, Virginia House Speaker Requests JLARC Study

House of Delegates Speaker Todd Gilbert has requested the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to look into the rising cost of public higher education in Virginia – particularly the increase of administrative staff positions tied to diversity, equity and inclusion.

In a letter addressed to Hal Greer, executive director of the commission, Gilbert cites a November 2014 report from the commission entitled, “Addressing the Cost of Public Higher Education in Virginia.” In it, the commission adopted 16 recommendations. The speaker says it is “unclear which, if any,” of the recommendations were adopted from the 168-page report.

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Youngkin Announces Partnership with Google and NOVA

Gov. Glenn Youngkin joined Virginia education leaders and Google executives in announcing a new cybersecurity training program with Northern Virginia Community College.

The announcement was made at an event Thursday at the NOVA campus in Alexandria. The new program will offer a Google Career Certificate in cybersecurity, which is proponents say is an emerging technical field.

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Miyares: Virginians to Receive More than $3.6 Million from Intuit Settlement

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares has announced Virginians affected by the alleged “tricks” from TurboTax owner Intuit will receive more than $3.6 million as part of a nationwide settlement.

Miyares says more than 119,000 Virginia consumers were “tricked into paying to file their federal tax return.” The commonwealth’s restitution is part of a nationwide settlement of $141 million to be distributed to millions of lower-income Americans.

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Virginia Senator, Colleagues Introduce College Transparency Act

Virginia U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine has joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in introducing the College Transparency Act, which would give students and their families access to make more informed decisions about colleges and areas of study to best fit their needs.

Kaine and his colleagues hope the legislation will help students and their families make better, more transparent decisions looking at the larger picture when determining the best path in higher education, ultimately leading to successful careers.

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Virginia Gov. Youngkin Praises Dominion’s Energy Plan

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin praised the new integrated plan released by Dominion Energy, touting his administration’s energy plan in comparison.

The energy company released its 2023 Integrated Resource Plan, which outlines “strategic pathways” to ensure the energy provider can consistently deliver power to residents and Virginia businesses.

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Youngkin Passes on 2024 Presidential Bid, Focuses on Virginia Elections

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has ended months of speculation he will make a run for the White House in 2024.

Youngkin was asked by Wall Street Journal editor-at-large Gerard Baker at the Milken Institute’s “Governing America” discussion if he was planning on “dusting off” his fleece jacket to hit the campaign trail this year. Youngkin didn’t mince any words with a simple, “no.”

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Minneapolis Star Tribune CEO Apologizes for ‘Pain’ Caused by Cartoon Poking Fun at Muslim Call to Prayer

Star Tribune CEO and publisher Steve Grove has apologized for the “pain” caused by a cartoon that made some readers feel “targeted and mischaracterized.”

Mike Thompson’s debut cartoon for the paper featured a man telling his wife: “Broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer at all hours will make Minneapolis too noisy.”

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Youngkin Meets with Japanese Prime Minister to Discuss Economic Interests

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo to discuss trade and business investments between the commonwealth and Japan.

Japan is the second stop on Youngkin’s Asian tour, concluding with a visit to South Korea. The governor highlighted mutual economic interests, which they hope will strengthen relations.

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Virginia Attorney General Gives Update on Operation Ceasefire

 Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares held a press conference in Lynchburg to provide an update on Operation Ceasefire, which was initiated late last year in an effort to reduce gun violence and violent crime through a “multifaced approach.”

Joining Miyares at the press conference were several prosecutors and law enforcement officers to discuss their ongoing plan for tackling rising crime.

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Virginia Breaks Job Numbers Record

Virginia has shattered a record with more than 4.5 million people in the commonwealth’s workforce, Gov. Glenn Youngkin says.

The workforce was recorded at 65.9 percent in March, which is over 1 percent higher than it was before the beginning of the pandemic. Virginia eclipsed the national average by 3 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Hundreds of Methodist Churches in Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Depart the Denomination Over ‘Human Sexuality’ and Other Matters

On Saturday, 264 congregations part of the United Methodists of the Holston Conference had their requests processed to leave the denomination, citing “issues around human sexuality and other matters.”

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Youngkin Signs Executive Order Establishing Virginia Trade Office in Taiwan

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin took historic steps by signing an executive order establishing a foreign trade office while meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan in Taipei earlier today, kicking off his Asian tour. 

This will be the commonwealth’s fourth international office; others are in Japan, South Korea and Germany. Youngkin is scheduled to visit Japan and South Korea during his Asian trip.

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Virginia Ranks First in Highway Performance and Cost

Virginia has been crowned No. 1 for best highways in the country for performance and cost-effectiveness, according to a new report.

The commonwealth’s highway system moved up one spot from last year, according to The Reason Foundation’s 27th annual Highway Report. Within the report’s key metrics, Virginia also ranked No. 1 overall and in the “capital-bridge disbursements ratio” category.

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Virginia Port Cities to Receive Grants for Revitalization Projects

Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced $1.5 million in grants to support revitalization projects in the Virginia port communities of Newport News, Norfolk and Portsmouth before his trade mission trips to Asia later this month.

The grants come from Port Host Community Revitalization Fund, which supports redeveloping dilapidated structures, improving maritime operations, expanding business opportunities, creating jobs and preventing environmental hazards.

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Thousands of Deceased Voters Removed from Virginia Rolls

Nearly 19,000 voters will be removed from the voter rolls in Virginia after the Department of Elections discovered death records had not been previously shared.

The Virginia Department of Elections has announced it has begun instituting improvements to cull its voter rolls of voters “who are known to be deceased.” General registrars made a request to allow more ways to confirm the death of registered voters.

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Court: Virginia Parents’ Lawsuit Can Continue Against Loudoun Schools over Bias Incident Reporting Form

School buses

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the dismissal of a lawsuit made by Loudoun County, Virginia, parents against their public school system over a bias reporting system, which they argue could chill their children’s freedom of speech.

The appeals court overturned a lower court decision to dismiss the lawsuit Friday, saying that the case against Loudoun County Public Schools’ based on student’s First Amendment rights could continue in federal court.

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Minneapolis First Big City to Broadcast Muslim Call to Prayer Five Times Daily Year-Round

Minneapolis has become the first major city in the United States to allow the Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast over speakers five times per day, year-round, including in the early mornings and late evenings. The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously Thursday – during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan – to approve an amendment to the city’s noise ordinance that would allow the “adhan” – “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” call to prayer to be sounded every day, year-round, five times daily.

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Amazon Requests $152 Million in Incentives from Virginia for New HQ2 Campus

Amazon warehouse

Amazon applied for economic development incentives from Virginia for its new HQ2 campus in Arlington, requesting the state pay $152 million to the company by 2026. 

Arlington was chosen as the site for Amazon’s second quarters four years ago – a move the company said would bring 25,000 jobs to the area by 2030. The tech giant has roughly 8,400 employees assigned to HQ2, and the average wage of these jobs must meet or exceed $156,800, according to Amazon spokesperson Rachael Lightly.

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Maryland, Delaware and Virginia Reach Agreement on Possible MARC Expansion

Maryland is advancing discussions on potential plans to expand MARC commuter rail service into Delaware and Virginia – a move officials hope will expand access for transit riders across state lines.  

The Maryland Department of Transportation has signed framework agreements with the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority and Delaware Transit Corp. for potential MARC Train Service expansions, Gov. Wes Moore announced Thursday. The possible future expansions could extend MARC service to Newark, Delaware, and to Alexandria, Virginia. 

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Deal on Adjustments to the Virginia Budget Could Come Later in the Summer

Negotiations on adjustments to Virginia’s two-year budget could stretch into the summer as budget wranglers in the General Assembly wait for a clearer picture of the state’s revenues, according to leading lawmakers. 

Lawmakers adjourned the legislative session in February without a final agreement on amendments to the state’s budget that passed last summer. Instead, legislators agreed to pass a “skinny” budget that addressed a few key priorities – including funding to address a $200 million shortfall for school funding due to a calculation error. 

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Virginia Lawmakers Approve Gov. Youngkin’s Amendments to Hemp Bills

Virginia lawmakers approved amendments proposed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin to a pair of bills establishing regulations on hemp-derived products in the commonwealth, which includes a provision allowing some products containing both THC and CBD that are used therapeutically to remain on store shelves. 

The politically-divided General Assembly flocked to Richmond Wednesday to reconvene for a one-day session to consider the governor’s proposed amendments to 78 bills and three vetoes. Some of the governor’s amendments proposed technical changes to measures, while others proposed entire substitute bills. 

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Virginia Saw Exports Soar to $5.1 Billion in 2022

Virginia’s agricultural and forestry exports soared to a  value of more than $5.1 billion in 2022, according to new data released this week by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 

China is the state’s top export destination by far, purchasing $1.45 billion in agricultural and forestry products in 2022. Egypt, Taiwan, Venezuela and Canada are also in the top five destinations for Virginia’s agricultural exports. Soybeans and soybean meal are the state’s top exports, followed by pork, poultry and tobacco, according to data from VDACS. 

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Sarah Sanders Signs Bill to Ban Parole for Rapists and Human Traffickers

Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders signed a bill Tuesday to stop criminals in prison for rape, first-degree murder, human trafficking and some other felony offenses committed after 2024 from being released early.

The Protect Arkansas Act will make those who commit any of 24 felonies including rape, aggravated robbery and child pornography possession ineligible for parole and require people incarcerated for a variety of other felony crimes like manslaughter and fentanyl delivery committed in 2025 or later to serve at least 85 percent of their court-assigned sentences. Sanders signed the act surrounded by law enforcement personnel, and tweeted, “The failed public safety status quo ends today in Arkansas.”

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Biden Administration to Investigate Loudoun County Public Schools over Sexual Assault Cases

The Biden Administration’s Education Department (ED) announced its intention to investigate the controversial Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) district over its mishandling of two sexual assault cases by the same culprit at two different schools.

According to the Daily Caller, the investigation will be led by the ED’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The case revolves around a male student who used the school’s extremely loose “transgender” policy to identify as a girl by wearing a skirt, and thus was allowed to use the women’s restrooms without hindrance. He then went into a restroom at the Stone Bridge High School in May of 2021 and raped a female freshman.

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