General Assembly Votes to Make Virginia First Southern State to Abolish Death Penalty

The Virginia General Assembly passed a death penalty repeal on Monday. Governor Ralph Northam is expected to sign the bills, which would make Virginia the first state in the South to ban capital punishment. Advocates have argued that the death penalty is vulnerable to wrongful conviction, is expensive, cruel, and applied unfairly, but opponents say some of the most heinous crimes require a death penalty to make sure the criminal doesn’t get free. During the 2021 session, House Republicans have emphasized the names of victims of particularly serious crimes, who they say are being ignored by Democrats.

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Democrats Kill Right-to-Work Repeal in Virginia House

Delegate Lee Carter’s right-to-work repeal died in crossover Friday, much like in the previous two years, but on Wednesday, Carter fought to give it one last chance. On the floor of the virtual House session, Carter raised a motion to discharge the bill from committee, a procedural move that would allow delegates to vote on hearing the bill in the House even though it had not been passed out of committee.

Carter said, “I’ve introduced this bill for the last three years running, and its fate in both previous years has been to die in crossover without a recorded vote on its final disposition.”

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Free Tuition for Low, Middle-Income Students in Two-Year Programs for High-Demand Jobs Passes Virginia House

Governor Ralph Northam’s Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back (G3) program passed the Virginia House of Delegates with near-unanimous support Thursday. HB2204 establishes a fund and program to provide free community college to low and middle-income students taking community college degrees in high-demand fields. The program is one of Northam’s signature policy proposals that he first called for in his campaign for governor, according to his January 2018 address to the Joint Assembly.

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Virginia House of Delegates Votes to Remove Statue of Segregationist Governor Harry Byrd, Sr.

The Virginia House of Delegates voted 63 to 34 on Wednesday to remove to storage the statue of former Democratic Governor Harry Byrd Sr. from Capitol Square. Byrd served as governor for four years from 1926-1930, and as Senator from 1933 until 1965. He wielded extensive political power which he used to oppose the New Deal and civil rights legislation. His legacy has come under fire in part because he advocated “Massive Resistance,” an effort to block school desegregation mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.

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The Virginia Star’s Person of the Year 2020: The Nominees

Gun rallies, a general election, COVID-19, and social unrest – it’s been a busy year for Virginians. The Virginia Star is compiling a list of Virginia’s top newsmakers; the staff has picked twelve people, and we’re also looking for reader suggestions: who should come in first and why? Who else should be on the list?

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