Happy Presidents Day! Did you know our state is known as the home 🏛 of Presidents?
That’s right! The state that produced the most U.S. presidents is Virginia with 8 men having served in office, including; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.
Now that we have the fun facts of our way, let's get into this week's updates --
This week we’re sharing info on more ways you can help the William Fox Elementary School that burned down last week. We have the latest happening in the General Assembly as they enter their 6th week in session and cover AG Miyares decision to back-out Virginia from the ERA lawsuit.
We wrap up our newsletter with trending headlines across the commonwealth and share the latest COVID-19 and Vaccine Data.
Here’s this week's updates;
▪️ How to Help Fox Elementary
▪️ General Assembly Week 6
▪️ AG Withdrawals VA from the ERA
▪️ In other news, Virginia Headlines
▪️ COVID-19 Data
▪️ Vaccine Data
Helping Fox Elementary School
The Virginia Commonwealth University Rams and Richmond Spiders basketball teams faced off Friday for the final Capital City Classic of the season; they are also joining forces to provide aid for William Fox Elementary School, which burned down February 11.
For the next two weeks, people are encouraged to donate school supplies and other supplies that were lost in the fire. Donations can be dropped off in the lobby of the Siegel Center of VCU or the ticket office at the Robins Center at University of Richmond .
School supplies can include the following:
New and gently used K – 5th Grade Level Books (There is a particular need for books featuring diverse characters and experiences. Fox Elementary is a majority minority school.)
Clorox Wipes & Hand Sanitizer (unopened)
Crayola Crayons or Colored Pencils
Packs of Washable Markers
Composition or Spiral Notebooks
Wide-ruled loose-leaf paper
Boxes of tissues
Black, blue or red ink pens
Reusable water bottles
Can't donate supplies, but still want to help? Richmond Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said community members who want to help can donate funds to the RPS Education Foundation at bit.ly/help-rps-va.
General Assembly Week 6
Legislators during the past month worked through more than 2,000 potential laws, including hundreds proposed by regional politicians, and are poised to take up hundreds more as the Virginia General Assembly begins the second half of its 2022 session.
More than 2,100 bills were filed by the state’s 140 lawmakers this year. The crossover deadline was Tuesday, which means each chamber will now spend the next month considering whatever bills were previously approved by the opposite body.
Bills that survive the House and Senate will be given to Governor Glenn Youngkin for signing into law.
And as state budget negotiations continue this week, budgets by both parties include a one-time tax rebate of several hundred dollars for individuals and families as well as an elimination of the grocery tax, which Gov. Youngkin has called for it through his gubernatorial campaign.
Virginia AG decides to Leave the ERA
Attorney General Jason Miyares moved Friday to withdraw Virginia from a lawsuit that seeks to force the federal government to recognize Virginia’s 2020 vote to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and add the text to the Constitution.
In a court filing, Miyares asked that the commonwealth be dismissed as a party to the lawsuit, which was initiated by his Democratic predecessor and is currently on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The move doesn’t end the case, with two other states — Illinois and Nevada — still fighting to try to have the National Archives accept the women’s rights amendment.
Advocates say the Equal Rights Amendment - which was initially proposed in Congress in 1923 and passed in 1972 - would enshrine equality for women in the Constitution, offering stronger protections in sex discrimination cases and giving Congress firmer ground to pass anti-discrimination laws.
Opponents warn it would erode commonsense protections for women, such as workplace accommodations during pregnancy, and could be used to support abortion rights.
In other news, Virginia Headlines
ABC 8 News: The number of police officers pulled from their positions for dishonesty or excessive force is growing in Virginia, with more than 146 police officers decertified for lying and using excessive force. With that, Each department seems to handle decertification and employment differently.
CBS News: Born without legs, Adonis Lattimore wins state wrestling championship in Virginia. The Landstown High School senior has been wrestling since he was in second grade and has put in the time to work to the top, CBS affiliate WTKR reported.
WTOP News: New Virginia law makes masking in schools optional, but still required on school buses. Governor Glenn Youngkin signed the bill into law on Wednesday after the state legislature accepted his amendments to make the law effective March 1, to allow a preparation period for school districts.
COVID-19 & Vaccine Data
The Virginia Department of Health reported Monday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 1,628,593. The 1,628,593 consists of 1,161,344 confirmed and 467,249 probable cases. There are 18,145 COVID-19 deaths, and Virginia’s 7-day positivity rate is now at 8.0%.
Vaccine Summary: As of Monday, February 21
Total Doses Administered: 15,351,588
People Fully Vaccinated: 6,167,213 or 71.8%
% of Adults (18+) Fully Vaccinated: 81.8%
People Vaccinated with at least 1 dose: 6,932,762 or 80.7%
% of Adults (18+) Vaccinated with at least 1 dose: 91.7%
People Vaccinated with Booster / Third dose: 2,782,410
For more information on Virginia's vaccination efforts, please visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA.
Thanks again for joining us this week!
Please be kind and respect one another, we are all in this together.
- Maria, Editor in Chief