Unmanned Aircraft Manufacturer to Build Plant in Manassas

RapidFlight, a new unmanned aircraft manufacturer backed by venture capital, will establish a base in Manassas, according to a Friday announcement.

RapidFlight’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jay Gundlach praised Virginia in the announcement: “Thanks to its central location on the East Coast, we can readily work face-to-face with our government customers while also leveraging Virginia’s Unmanned Systems’ infrastructure to conduct operations and test our systems, rapidly delivering new capabilities to our nation.”

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89 Percent of Virginia Schools Meet Accreditation Standards but Administration Says That Doesn’t Reflect Reality

The Virginia Department of Education released the first accreditation data for schools since COVID-19 began, and 89 percent of Virginia’s districts are fully accredited for the 2022 through 2023 year, three percent less than 92 percent in the 2019 through 2020 period. But Governor Glenn Youngkin’s administration isn’t celebrating the relatively small decrease; instead officials say that shows that accreditation standards don’t capture the reality of COVID-19 learning losses.

“These ratings call into question the effectiveness of our accreditation standards in identifying schools where students are struggling to achieve grade-level proficiency,” Superintendent of Public Education Jillian Balow said in a press release announcing the accreditation rate.

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Some Virginia School Districts Concerned About New Transgender Model Policies Draft

Some school districts are already signaling resistance to new draft model policies from the Virginia Department of Education that will repeal current model policies controlling school district transgender policy.

“We want to assure you that Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) will continue its commitment to both implement and develop gender affirming policies for all ACPS students. As a School Board and division, we are concerned with these ‘model policies’ that do not align with our mission, vision and core values to support all students and staff, in particular our core value of ensuring that we provide a welcoming environment for everyone in our school community,” Alexandria City Public Schools said in a letter to students, staff and families.

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Rep. Spanberger Cursed at Rep. Good After He Defended Youngkin Transgender Policy and Criticized ‘Grooming’

The monthly Virginia congressional delegation lunch with Governor Glenn Youngkin became contentious on Monday when conversation turned to the Virginia Department of Education’s new model policies to replace current transgender policies, eventually leading to Representative Bob Good (R-VA-05) defending the policies. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) cursed at Good, according to reports.

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Youngkin to Stump for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Kansas GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Derek Schmidt

Governor Glenn Youngkin will attend a meet and greet in Kansas Thursday with gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Derek Schmidt, stop in Texas Friday for an appearance at the Texas Tribune Festival, and then headline an event for Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on September 27. Republican governors campaigning for other Republicans are a normal feature of an election year with a number of high-profile races, but Youngkin’s national appearances have also raised questions about Youngkin’s aspirations for higher office, which Youngkin himself has largely brushed off.

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Youngkin Announces 2022 GO Virginia Grants

Four projects focused on business development and jobs growth won the 2022 Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grant awards totaling $1.2 million.

“GO Virginia allows us to invest in key projects that will enhance our economic growth by fostering workforce development and stimulating new business opportunities,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a Tuesday announcement. “These projects exemplify the innovative partnerships that GO Virginia grants were designed to promote, driving regional advancement and strengthening our Commonwealth.”

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Schools Across Virginia Targeted by Fake Reports of Active Shooters on Monday and Tuesday

Over a dozen school districts across Virginia were targeted by hoax reports of active shootings or other violence on Monday and Tuesday. That’s part of a broader wave of similar hoax calls targeting schools across the U.S.

“On Monday, Virginia State Police personnel responded to assist numerous local police and sheriff’s offices with reports of active shooters on school campuses,” Virginia State Police Public Relations Director Corinne Geller told The Virginia Star. “None of the threats were deemed valid, and the state police, through collaboration with the Virginia Fusion Center, is now working with those same local law enforcement agencies to investigate the source of the threats and to determine if there is any evidence to connect them.”

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Lutron to Expand Presence in Virginia

Industrial and residential lighting controls manufacturer Lutron Electronics will invest $28.3 million to expand its presence in Hanover County, according to a Thursday announcement of a plan to build a 145,000 square foot manufacturing facility.

“Lutron has been a fixture here in Hanover County, Virginia for many years. It is exciting to see them invest in a manufacturing facility in our industrial park along Lakeridge Parkway and to have quality jobs created for the citizens of Hanover County and the Greater Richmond Region,” Hanover County Supervisor Faye Prichard said in a press release from the governor’s office.

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Virginia Department of Education Publishes New Draft of Model Policies to Replace Transgender Model Policies

The Virginia Department of Education posted a new draft of model policies to replace the Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students. The draft policies published Friday include an emphasis on parental rights as a major shift away from a current emphasis on protecting students’ gender identity from people, including family, who may not be understanding.

The first point under the Guiding Principles section of the draft states, “Parents have the right to make decisions with respect to their children: Policies shall be drafted to safeguard parents’ rights with respect to their child, and to facilitate the exercise of those rights.”

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Indoor Vertical Farm Company to Build Campus in Chesterfield

Plenty Unlimited, Inc., announced plans to invest $300 million to construct the world’s largest indoor vertical farming campus, which will be located in Chesterfield and is expected to have a strawberry farm completed in late 2023 or early 2024.

“At Plenty, we’re on a mission to sustainably grow fresh food for everyone, everywhere,” Plenty CEO Arama Kukutai said in a press release from the governor’s office. “This campus will raise the bar on what indoor vertical farming can deliver. The scale and sophistication of what we’re building here in Virginia will make it possible to economically grow a variety of produce with superior quality and flavor. We look forward to continuing to work in close partnership with the government of Virginia as we endeavor to rewrite the rules of agriculture.”

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Secretary of Finance: Virginia’s August Tax Revenues Up 5.4 Percent, Economic Indicators Mixed

August General Fund tax revenues rose about 5.4 percent compared to August 2021 when adjusted for an extra deposit day this year. That’s a good sign but Secretary of Finance Stephen Cummings told legislators September’s data will be more significant for analysts and legislators who are trying to figure out what fiscal year 2023’s finances will look like.

“August collections exceeded projections, driven by employment and wage growth year-over-year,” Cummings said in a press release from the governor’s office.

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Youngkin, Wittman, Luria Attend Reagan Institute Roundtable on Domestic Manufacturing Competitiveness

The Ronald Reagan Institute held a round table hosted by Governor Glenn Youngkin and Representative Rob Wittman (R-VA-01), and attended by others including Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA-02). The Monday event held at Mount Vernon is part of the organization’s national effort to dialogue with business leaders and elected officials about a report from its Task Force on Manufacturing Competitiveness.

On Monday evening Youngkin said in a statement, “The Commonwealth of Virginia holds a vital role in bolstering U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and it’s a key priority of my administration. I want to thank the officials and legislators who worked on the Reagan Task Force report and convened today to address our workforce shortages, industrial capacity, supply chain resilience, address any deficiencies and brainstorm solutions for the betterment of the Commonwealth. Virginia is home to important defense contractors and more have moved their headquarters to the Commonwealth in the last year. Together, we can grow the Commonwealth’s defense economy and enhance Virginia’s defense manufacturing capabilities.”

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First Lady Youngkin Presents Spirit of Virginia Award to An Achievable Dream

First Lady Suzanne Youngkin presented the Spirit of Virginia Award to An Achievable Dream, an organization that partners with the Newport News, Virginia Beach, and Henrico school districts to operate six schools serving 2,000 students in total.

“Education is a critical component of opportunity for all and An Achievable Dream’s approach to caring for the whole student, supporting families, and setting high standards is unparalleled,” Youngkin said in a Wednesday press release. “When we honor Virginians who are changing lives for the better, we need look no further than the administrators and teachers in these schools.”

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Virginia Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Cluster Gets $52.9 Million in Grants from Build Back Better Regional Challenge

Virginia’s advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing (APM) cluster will receive $52.9 million in grants as one of 21 winners in the federal Build Back Regional Challenge, according to the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

“After meeting with the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership and pushing the Department of Commerce to support this project, I am thrilled to see the Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Cluster Growth Hub named one of the American Rescue Plan Build Back Better Regional Challenge winners,” Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) said in a September 2 press release. “This support will continue to strengthen the foundation and accelerate the growth of pharmaceutical manufacturing in the United States. As a proud supporter of the American Rescue plan, I am glad to see that Virginia continues to reap the benefits through job creation and economic growth.”

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Youngkin Highlights New State Tax Deduction on Military Retirement Benefits

Governor Glenn Youngkin held a ceremonial signing highlighting legislation from State Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) and Delegate John McGuire (R-Goochland) that creates a state tax deduction on military retirement income.

“As part of my Day One Game Plan, I’ve pledged to fight for a reduction in military veteran retirement pay taxation, and today, we are delivering on that promise. This is a great step toward making Virginia the most veteran-friendly state in the country. As we near the anniversary of 9/11, I feel honored to support our service members in this way. I want to thank the legislators for their incredible work as we continue to advocate for our military-connected communities, veterans, and their families,” Youngkin said in a press release Friday.

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Attorney General Miyares Creates Election Integrity Unit

Attorney General Jason Miyares has created a 20-member Election Integrity Unit within the Office of the Attorney General [OAG]; the unit will investigate and prosecute violations of election law, provide legal guidance, and work with law enforcement to protect election purity.

“I pledged during the 2021 campaign to work to increase transparency and strengthen confidence in our state elections. It should be easy to vote, and hard to cheat. The Election Integrity Unit will work to help to restore confidence in our democratic process in the Commonwealth,” Miyares said in a press release.

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General Assembly Leaves Vacancy on State Corporation Commission, Senate Republicans Object to Judge with Ties to Loudoun Prosecutor

RICHMOND, Virginia — The General Assembly reconvened for one day on Wednesday to elect four judges to circuit, district, and juvenile courts, but didn’t fill a vacancy on the three-member State Corporation Commission. Senate Republicans abstained on one vote to appoint current District Court Judge Matthew Parke Snow to the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court. Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) criticized Snow’s links to Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj.

Snow and Biberaj used to practice criminal defense and civil law together in Leesburg. Biberaj has come under fire from Republicans for embracing a progressive prosecutorial philosophy.

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Delegate Keam Resigns to Join Biden Administration

Delegate Mark Keam (D-Fairfax) resigned to take an unspecified role in the Biden administration, and two Democrats have already announced their candidacies for an expected special election to complete his term in the Democrat-favoring district.

“Today, Delegate Mark Keam announced that he has resigned from the General Assembly. We thank Mark for more than a decade of public service in the House of Delegates and honor the history he made as the first Asian-born immigrant and the first Korean American elected to any state-level office in Virginia,” Fairfax County Democratic Committee Chair Bryan Graham said in a Tuesday press release.

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Virginia Law Enforcement Launches Annual Holiday DUI Enforcement Campaign

Virginia law enforcement is kicking off its annual holiday-season DUI enforcement campaign over Labor Day weekend. The rebranded campaign, now called Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, is a combination of a public awareness campaign and high-visibility enforcement.

“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over reflects a shared commitment to stop impaired driving at the source,” Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Acting Commissioner Linda Ford said in a press release from the governor’s office. “The message to Virginians is simple: If you’re old enough to drink, act like it. Do your part to save lives.”

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Virginia Supreme Court Allows Loudoun County Schools Grand Jury Investigation to Proceed

Attorney General Jason Miyares’ grand jury investigation into the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) can go forward after the Virginia Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit from the school board seeking to block the investigation.

In a Friday opinion, the Supreme Court said the only grounds for blocking the injunction would be under a violation of the Virginia Constitution, which grants authority to school boards to oversee schools.

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Youngkin Signs Executive Order Focused on Teacher Shortage, Launches Pilot Program Centered Around Student Learning Loss

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed his third executive directive as part of an announcement of his administration’s efforts to address teacher shortages; at the same event in Stafford County, Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera announced the Bridging the Gap Initiative, aimed at addressing learning losses.

“So when we have a shortage of teachers and we’re trying to bridge the gap, we’ve got to work extra hard in order to close the gap of teachers as well,” Youngkin said, emphasizing the importance of in-person learning within the context of learning losses.

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Youngkin Administration Will Repeal RGGI Involvement by the End of 2023

Acting Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles said the Youngkin administration is planning to complete repeal of Virginia’s involvement in a greenhouse gas regulatory program by the end of 2023.

“The administration will put forth in the coming weeks a notice of intended regulatory action, or NOIRA, which will repeal the trading rule and end Virginia’s participation in RGGI [Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative]. This NOIRA will set the stage for a full administrative process act, or APA, regulatory action,” Voyles said at a Wednesday meeting of the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board.

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Youngkin’s Job Approval, Favorability Ratings Positive in New Poll

Governor Glenn Youngkin has a 55 percent job approval rating according to a new poll from Roanoke College, up from 53 percent in May. Opinions about President Joe Biden, former Governor Ralph Northam, and former President Donald Trump have all increased as well.

“The main ‘good news’ in this poll is that sentiment toward government officials and their job approval is up,” Institute for Policy and Opinion Research Director Dr. David Taylor said in a press release accompanying the poll results. “The country may now be moving in a more positive direction based on what respondents say even though people are still not happy.”

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Republicans Say California’s 2035 Ban on Gasoline-Powered Cars Will Apply in Virginia

Glenn Youngkin

California regulators moved forward with a plan to ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2035, a policy that also impacts Virginia and other states that have chosen to link their emissions law to California’s. In the wake of the decision reported by The New York Times, Virginia Republicans are once again expressing frustration over the 2021 legislation that tied Virginia’s regulations to California’s zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) requirements.

“In an effort to turn Virginia into California, liberal politicians who previously ran our government sold Virginia out by subjecting Virginia drivers to California vehicle laws,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a Twitter statement Friday.

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Virginia Board of Contractors Cuts Some Construction Trades Licensing Requirements

The Virginia Board of Contractors voted to reduce licensing requirements in construction-related trades, a change meant to address a shortage of skilled labor and to comply with Governor Glenn Youngkin’s push for regulatory cuts. The cuts reduce the years of experience requirement for journey-level tradesman in in-demand construction fields from four to two years, create an extra pathway for skilled workers to become licenses, and eliminate a continuing education mandate.

“This is a major win for all Virginians,” Youngkin said in a press release. “Increasing opportunities for people to become licensed in high-demand, high-paying jobs while also helping businesses find the talent they desperately need will strengthen our Commonwealth. Since day one my administration has been working to reinvigorate job growth and make Virginia the best place to live, work and raise a family. I’m confident that these actions will move us closer to that goal.”

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DroneUp Expands Virginia Beach Headquarters, Expects to Deliver Packages for Walmart by End of Year

RICHMOND, Virginia — A drone delivered a small package to Virginia’s Executive Mansion on Wednesday morning as part of an announcement that Walmart partner DroneUp is expanding with 655 new jobs plus a drone pilot training facility at Richard Bland College. In May, DroneUp announced that it would deliver to 34 sites across the U.S. by the end of 2022. Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said that would include customers near three Walmart drone delivery hubs in Chesapeake, Chesterfield County, and Chester.

“Our delivery capacity will be four million homes by the end of this year. Our goal is 30 million by the end of next year,” DroneUp CEO Tom Walker told the media. “Our partnership with Walmart is unique because there’s 4,700 Walmarts. 92 percent of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart. So as we work with the FAA and negotiate that broader range, we’re starting to go three, four, five, ten miles. It’s not long before 92 percent of the U.S. population can be receiving products.”

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Youngkin, Petersburg Officials, and Other Leaders Launch Partnership to Help the City

Governor Glenn Youngkin, Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond), Delegate Kim Taylor (R-Dinwiddie), and Petersburg Mayor Samuel Parham announced the Partnership for Petersburg on Monday. The partnership is an effort to help poverty-stricken Petersburg by improving education, health care, public safety, transportation, economic growth, and relationships between the community and leaders.

“Today, we formally launch the Partnership for Petersburg, a holistic partnership bringing more than 40 initiatives under six separate pillars to make a significant difference in the lives and livelihoods of Petersburg’s great people as well as the economic health of the city itself,” Youngkin said in a press release. “It is my sincerest hope to be able to point to the Partnership as a model for our work with other cities across the Commonwealth.”

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Citing Technical Errors, Virginia Department of Education Delays Review of History Standards

The Youngkin administration asked the Virginia Board of Education to delay reviewing new history and social science standards, a necessary first step that includes public hearings. On Wednesday, in the first meeting with a majority of Youngkin-appointed members, the board agreed to delay accepting the standards for first review until September, although board President Daniel Gecker expressed concern about falling behind on a timeline to approve the standards.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow asked for the delay, saying that would allow the five new Youngkin-appointed members more time to get up to speed and to address technical errors like the accidental omission of language that referred to George Washington as the “Father of Our Country.”

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Youngkin Highlights 100,000 Virginia Jobs-Added Milestone

Nearly 100,000 more Virginians are employed than at the end of January, a key milestone highlighted by Governor Glenn Youngkin in a Friday press release.

“With 100,000 jobs added since January, we are well ahead of pace to reach our goal of 400,000 jobs during my term. However, the slowdown in monthly job creation and the lower level of job participation have my full attention. We will continue the critical work to return more Virginians to the workforce and will double-down on policies that make Virginia attractive for job growth and business investment,” Youngkin said. “We remain laser-focused on our mission to make Virginia the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

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Virginia Republicans Refute Rumor That Reconvened Session Will Include Anti-Abortion Legislation

The General Assembly will reconvene September 7, which has triggered alarm from pro-choice groups who are worried that Republicans may try to introduce pro-life legislation. But a spokesperson for Governor Glenn Youngkin said that the session will be focused on appointing judges and that Youngkin’s pro-life legislation won’t be introduced until the 2023 session.

“Governor Glenn Youngkin is calling the legislature back to Richmond on September 7, and we have a feeling he will try to sneak an abortion ban through the House of Delegates,” REPRO Rising Virginia tweeted Thursday.

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With $3.2 Billion in Excess Cash, Youngkin Setting Aside $397 Million for Tax Relief Proposal in 2023

RICHMOND, Virginia — Governor Glenn Youngkin is directing $397 million in excess funds to be set aside for unspecified tax relief in 2023, as Virginia has $3.2 billion in excess cash — $2 billion in unplanned revenues plus Fiscal Year 2022 spending that was $1.2 billion less than planned.

“Today I formally report to the General Assembly that Virginia ended the fiscal year with a record general fund balance,” Youngkin said at a Friday morning joint meeting of the House of Delegates Finance and Appropriations Committees and the Senate Finance Committee.

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Youngkin Speaks at First Board of Education Meeting with Majority Youngkin-Appointed Members, Board Advances Lab Schools Planning

RICHMOND, Virginia – Governor Glenn Youngkin and First Lady Suzanne Youngkin made an unannounced appearance at the Virginia Board of Education meeting Wednesday, the first board meeting held with a majority of Youngkin-appointed members. The board is considering how to implement changes required by laws passed by the General Assembly while considering the administration’s priorities, including how to move forward with lab school expansion.

“We’ve accomplished a lot in the first seven months that I hope gives this group a great foundation. At the heart of it, the budget that I had the great privilege of signing this past June was exactly the budget that I think collectively, on a bipartisan basis, we hoped for in education. The largest education budget in the history of Virginia. An extraordinary investment in Virginia’s children. A ten percent raise for teachers. A thousand-dollar bonus. A $1.25 billion dollar capital foundation that supports well over $3 billion of investments into our schools, into the facilities themselves,” Youngkin said in remarks delivered to the board.

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Report: Virginia Agencies Ignored Lessons from 2018 Snow Storm that Could Have Helped with January’s I-95 Traffic Jam

A new report on the January 2022 I-95 snow incident says that Virginia agencies failed to apply lessons from a December 2018 snow incident on I-81.

“VDOT needs to improve on applying what is learned from prior events and ensure it is applied to future events,” the Office of the State Inspector General (OSIG) recommended in an August report. “Lessons learned from the 2018 I-81 Snow Incident, as well as those from the 2022 I-95 Snow Incident, should be analyzed and incorporated into each agency’s policies and procedures.”

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Youngkin Recognizes August as Hidden Heroes Month

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed a certificate Friday recognizing August as Hidden Heroes Month in Virginia to honor caregivers for wounded, ill, or injured military and veterans.

“Virginia is proud to partner with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and their Hidden Heroes program to support and acknowledge caregivers that receive little support or acknowledgment for their selfless sacrifices,” Youngkin said in a press release. “In fact, most of these Hidden Heroes simply consider the challenging work they do as unconditional love or carrying out their civic and patriotic duty, without realizing they should be categorized as caregivers. I call on all my fellow Virginians to join me in thanking and supporting them. They deserve nothing less.”

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Hanover County Public Schools Introduces Restroom Policy Opposed by Transgender Advocates

After refusing to pass a transgender policy required by Virginia law, the Hanover County Public School Board has introduced a proposed transgender policy that, if enacted, will require a written request from both the student and their parents if that student wants to use a restroom or locker room that doesn’t correspond with their biological sex. Under the proposed policy the school board would approve or deny the requests.

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Youngkin Announces New Fellows to Join Virginia Management Fellows Program

Ten new fellows will join the Virginia Management Fellows program, a joint project between Virginia Tech and the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management aimed at preparing fellows for permanent roles in Virginia agencies.The 10 fellows will be part of the 2022-2024 cohort, the fifth cohort since the program was approved by the General Assembly in 2017.

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Speaker of the House Gilbert Reappoints Retired Judge Hupp to Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission

Speaker of the House of Delegates Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) reappointed retired judge Dennis Hupp to a two-year term on the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission (VCSC), a body that creates felony sentencing guidelines.

“As someone who has had the pleasure of practicing before Judge Hupp, I know what an exceptional jurist he has been, and I’m grateful to him for agreeing to return to the Criminal Sentencing Commission where we previously served together,” Gilbert said in a Monday announcement.

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Youngkin Announces About $27 Million in Loans for Low-Income Housing

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced about $27 million in loans for the 2022 Spring Affordable and Special Needs Housing (ASNH) awardees on Friday. The funds are aimed at 34 projects for both existing and new units for low-income households.

“These projects will provide critical support to our most vulnerable populations, strengthening our economy, and improving the quality of life for countless Virginians,” Youngkin said in a release. “Stable and affordable housing is foundational to building a thriving economy. These projects were carefully selected to ensure they make the most impact on their future residents and the surrounding communities.”

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Sen. Lucas Dramatically Scales Up Fundraising, Digital Ahead of Primary with Sen. Spruill

Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) has raised 424.8 percent more money in the last 18 months than in the same period leading up to the previous Senate election cycle, according to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP).

“I’d attribute that to her being in a highly competitive primary this time and building a much stronger public profile for herself,” CNalysis Director Chaz Nuttycombe told The Virginia Star.

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Youngkin Approval at 49 Percent, Majority Support Failed Gas Tax Suspension in VCU Poll

Governor Glenn Youngkin hit 49 percent job approval and 38 percent disapproval in a new poll from the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). The poll included questions focused on key budget policy debates, and reports 58 percent support a three-month gas tax suspension.

“The responses in the poll suggest what I have always stated: The people are always ahead of the leaders,” former Governor Doug Wilder said in a press release. “The grocery tax proposal is very receptive; gas tax suspension and/or stipend is greeted positively, which can be viewed as a direct response to rising inflation.”

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Youngkin Presents Virginia Values Veterans Certification to Walmart

Governor Glenn Youngkin presented a Virginia Values Veterans (V3) certification to Walmart on Monday, commemorating national Hire a Veteran Day.

“The fabric of the Commonwealth I often refer to as the spirit of Virginia. And the spirit of Virginia is so much stronger with our veterans being so woven into that fabric,” Youngkin said. “So I want to thank our veterans first for loving our nation and for serving selflessly. I want to thank our veterans’ families, because when you serve, they serve. And finally, I want to thank Walmart.”

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Virginia Unemployment Rate Had Largest Drop in a Year in June

Virginia’s unemployment had its largest drop in a year in June, down to a 2.8 percent unemployment rate, while labor participation stayed stable 63.8 percent.

Governor Glenn Youngkin highlighted the result in a Friday press release.

“The June unemployment rate dropping to 2.8 percent is promising news for Virginia’s economic health and is a welcome return to pre-pandemic unemployment levels,” Youngkin said. “In such a competitive labor market, we remain committed to expanding workforce development opportunities for Virginians. While the 94,000 job additions is promising, we must remain vigilant regarding the workforce participation rate, which does continue to lag. I am focused on increasing Virginia’s participation rate across the commonwealth.”

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Youngkin Pushes Back on Call for Executive Action on Abortion

Delegate Dave LaRock (R-Loudoun) is suggesting that Governor Glenn Youngkin could condition funding for Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia on if their medical centers stop providing abortions, but Youngkin has said that he can’t do that.

At a recent rally at the Virginia Capitol, LaRock said, “Here’s what I’m asking him to do: direct UVA and VCU medical centers to immediately cease these abortion proceedings. He needs to direct that state grants and other funds will not be distributed to entities who in any way promote, facilitate, or engage in taking the life of pre-born babies. A number of measures have passed through the legislature to this effect, very often to be vetoed by a hostile governor.”

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First Lady Youngkin Presents Third Spirit of Virginia Award to Equine Rescue

First Lady Suzanne Youngkin presented the third Spirit of Virginia aware to horse rescue nonprofit Hope’s Legacy on Thursday.

“Horses have a special place in my heart, and the work that animal rescues, like Hope’s Legacy, provide to God’s creatures surely inspires. It has been an honor meeting Maya and witnessing her care of these beautiful animals and interacting with these beautiful animals. Your selfless work exemplifies the true Spirit of Virginia,” Youngkin said in an announcement.

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Del. Anderson Revives Political Battle over Menhaden Reduction Fishing in the Chesapeake Bay

After dead menhaden fish washed ashore on Silver Beach in Northampton County on July 5, Delegate Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) is reviving an old political battle over banning reduction fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.

“The menhaden issue predates our terms by decades, but the reality of the Chesapeake Bay is that we have one company in Virginia that is harvesting 100,000,000 pounds of menhaden fish from Virginia waters annually,” Anderson wrote in a Wednesday letter to Governor Glenn Youngkin.

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Virginia Finished Fiscal Year 2022 with $1.94 Billion Surplus

Virginia’s Fiscal Year 2022 General Fund revenues finished with a $1.94 billion surplus, after finishing Fiscal Year 2021 with a $2.6 billion surplus, the largest in Virginia’s history.

“While I am pleased that our additional revenue can be reinvested in Virginia, the Commonwealth’s general fund revenue surplus confirms that Virginians have been overtaxed for way too long,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a Thursday evening announcement of the 2022 surplus.

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Virginia Barber Board Votes to Reduce Training Hours for Cosmetology License

The Virginia Board for Barbers and Cosmetology has voted to reduce the training hours required for a cosmetology license from 1,500 to 1,000, although steps including a public hearing remain in the process to change the regulation. Governor Glenn Youngkin highlighted the July 11 vote in a Tuesday press release.

“Reducing regulatory obstacles that get in the way of both businesses and talented Virginians from entering the workforce has been a priority of mine since day one. Not only will this allow individuals to get to work sooner and help businesses find skilled workers, but it even reduces the amount of student loans a graduate will have to take on,” Youngkin said.

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Empower AI Expands Richmond Presence with Data Center on Site

RICHMOND, Virginia — Empower AI, a provider of artificial intelligence technology for Medicare and Medicaid, held a grand opening at its new office outside Richmond. Governor Glenn Youngkin and Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel toured the office with company officials.

“We think about the role that Medicaid and Medicare plays in the lives of so many Americans and Virginians, and to have the kind of trust in analytics that can detect errors at the kinds of rates that you all do, and make sure that we’re having an efficient execution of this most important of services — it is really exciting,” Youngkin said in remarks to employees. “So I just hope all of you feel the weight and the gravity of what you’re doing in order to deliver one of, if not the, most essential services to so many Americans and Virginians.”

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DOJ, Envigo Settlement Ends Beagle-Breeding-for-Testing at Cumberland Facility; ‘Huge Win for Humanity,’ Says Sen. Boysko

Envigo and DOJ officials announced a settlement in the government’s lawsuit against the Cumberland beagle-breeder-for-medical-testing; 4,000 beagles will be relinquished to the Humane Society of the United States and Envigo will be permanently prohibited from engaging in activity at the facility requiring an Animal Welfare Act license.

“This settlement brings to an end the needless suffering caused by Envigo’s blatant violations of animal welfare laws at this facility,”  Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) said in a Monday press release. “We will continue to vigorously enforce animal welfare laws to ensure that animals are provided the humane care that they are legally owed and deserve.”

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Eleven Virginia Companies Graduate from Training Program for International Markets

The Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program announced 11 graduates on Wednesday, the culmination of a two-year program to help Virginia companies launch into international markets.

“The success of Virginia businesses both at home and broad is key to maintaining a strong and resilient economy,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) press release.

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