Happy Monday, Community! Here are your VA Updates for August 23 📬
We have news updates on;
- Afghan Refugees Arrive to Virginia
- Bus Driver Shortage
- Marijuana Update
- Redistricting Update
- Vaccine Update
🔶 Learn more about the COVID-19 and the vaccine @ vaccinate.virginia.gov
⚠️ FREE COVID-19 TESTING & VACCINES: Counties across Virginia continue to offer free COVID-19 testing and vaccines. As COVID starts to rise again, we will repost all free testing sites and vaccination clinics when they become available on our instagram story.
Afghan Refugees Arrive to VA
Governor Ralph Northam announced last week that Virginia would take in thousands of Afghan refugees.
Many started to arrive Friday and are staying at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale as they await relocation to a more permanent destination.
A college spokesperson said the refugees will stay at the campus anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Many refugees are destined for Army bases.
Roanoke, Richmond and Newport News have also started to take in a few hundred refugees as they also await relocation.
If you would like to support these families in need, there are many organizations in the DMV area collecting supplies and donations. Visit the links below:
How to Help:
Stories to Read:
Bus Driver Shortage
School systems across Virginia have seen a mass shortage of bus drivers and they need your help!
In Central Virginia, there are more than 200 bus driver vacancies, a vast majority of them in Chesterfield and Henrico counties.
In the metro-area, starting wages for bus drivers range:
HENRICO - $14.90/hr
HANOVER - $15.75/hr
RICHMOND - $16.58/hr
CHESTERFIELD - $17.21/hr
“We encourage anybody with driving credentials to step forward,” Northam said. “It’s about helping our children, helping our schools. We’re confident that will happen.”
In Stafford County, they will offer a $3,000 sign-on bonus to new school bus drivers with a commercial driver’s license and will continue offering a $1,000 bonus to new drivers without the license.
If you or someone you know may be interested, please visit THIS LINK to check job postings on Indeed. You can find more job listings on your local school county website.
Marijuana Laws Update
Virginia lawmakers are already discussing speeding up the three-year delay between marijuana legalization last month and the beginning of retail sales.
“We have legalized the use of marijuana, but we have not legalized the actual purchase of marijuana,” said Delegate Paul Krizek, D-Alexandria, during the first meeting of the legislature’s Joint Commission on Cannabis Oversight.
Members of the commission outlined a proposal from the state’s four licensed medical marijuana producers to begin selling to recreational customers while the wider marketplace ramps up.
Currently, the only legal way to obtain marijuana is to grow it yourself or receive it as a gift from someone who has, and even that arrangement is complicated as it is not legal to purchase seeds or plants. The General Assembly reconvenes for its next regular session in January.
Virginia's new redistricting commission, which consists of eight state legislators and eight private citizens, could not agree on hiring a single firm to draw the state’s new political boundaries.
The redistricting commission has 45 days to submit new maps to the General Assembly for an up-or-down vote. If the commission fails to agree on a plan, or if the legislature rejects it, the Supreme Court of Virginia would draw the new maps.
Before being submitted to the General Assembly, any proposed map for the House of Delegates must be approved by three of the four House members of the commission, with a similar requirement for the Senate map. That means that any two members of either party could block the proposal.
Redistricting is the process of drawing new congressional and state legislative district boundaries. With the new 2020 Census data, Virginia will draft and enact new district maps.
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration formally approved the first COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccine, developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be subject to a full review by regulators and to get an approval that puts it on par with other marketed vaccines. The full approval could make it easier for employers, the military and universities to mandate vaccination and may reassure some people who are hesitant about the vaccine.
Vaccine Summary: As of Monday, August 23
Total Doses Administered: 9,808,587
People Fully Vaccinated: 4,764,188 or 55.8%
% of Adults (18+) Fully Vaccinated: 66.9%
People Vaccinated with at least 1 dose: 5,384,516 or 63.1%
% of Adults (18+) Vaccinated with at least 1 dose: 75.1%
For more information on Virginia's vaccination efforts, please visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA
The Virginia Department of Health reported Monday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 741,159. The 741,159 consists of 567,306 confirmed and 173,853 probable cases. There are 11,675 COVID-19 deaths, and Virginia’s 7-day positivity rate is now at 9.5%.
Thanks for joining us this week! Stay tuned for more coming soon on the Election and learn more about the candidates running for office.