Happy National Voter Registration Day 🗳🎉
In this week’s Virginia Updates Newsletter for September 20 📬 We’re sharing information on how to get #VoteReady for this year’s upcoming Midterm Election!
We also have news on: Tax Rebates that started to go out on September 19 and will continue over the next few months. Find out if you qualify and more to know. Additionally, whe Glenn Youngkin administration proposed new policies for the state's schools regarding how they treat transgender students, including restricting which bathrooms they can use and which pronouns they may go by.
In this week’s newsletter, we have news on:
▪️ National Voter Registration Day
▪️ Tax Rebates Going Out Now
▪️ Governor Glenn Youngkin's New Transgender Policy
▪️ Virginia Headlines: Baby Giraffe born in Virginia Zoo & New Complex Center coming to Suffolk
▪️ COVID-19 & Vaccine Data
🗳 National Voter Registration Day
Today is National Voter Registration Day! It involves volunteers and organizations from all over the country hitting the streets in a single day to encourage people to register to vote.
With less than 50 days until the November elections, election officials want to make sure those eligible are registered to vote.
If you’ve recently moved, turned 18, or changed your name you may not be #VoteReady! Take this opportunity to update your voter registration at bit.ly/va-register
Virginia offers online voter registration. You can register by mail to vote in Virginia by printing a voter registration form, filling it out, and mailing it to your local election office. You can also register to vote in person if you prefer.
🏦 Tax Rebates Out Now
Eligible taxpayers will receive a one-time payment of up to $250 per individual and up to $500 per married couple, according to the Virginia Department of Taxation.
Starting Monday, September 19, the department started to send out roughly 250,000 rebates per day, six days per week, after a soft launch last Friday. They’ll go in the order of who filed their taxes first. The state should issue your rebate by Oct. 17, as long as you filed your taxes by July 1. That means you should receive your rebate either by direct deposit or check in the mail by Halloween.
The department expects to issue over 3.2 million rebates total.
Want to find out if you qualify? The Virginia Tax website posted a lookup tool on Monday to allow taxpayers to check their eligibility – www.tax.virginia.gov/rebate. You’re not eligible for a tax rebate if you did not file income taxes this year.
📜 Governor Glenn Youngkin's New Transgender Policy
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's administration has proposed new policies for the state's schools regarding how they treat transgender students, including restricting which bathrooms they can use and which pronouns they may go by.
The Virginia Department of Education released its 2022 Model Policies online Friday, effectively rolling back the work of Youngkin's predecessor, former Governor Ralph Northam. The new rules will impact the more than 1 million children enrolled in the state's public school system.
The revamped rules explicitly state that students must only use bathrooms and locker rooms associated with the sex assigned to them at birth. If a student wants to participate in a sport or other extracurricular activities, they must, again, only participate in teams that align with the sex assigned at birth.
Further, the legal name and sex of a student can't be changed "even upon written instruction of a parent or eligible student" without an official legal document or court order. Teachers and other school officials can only refer to a student by their pronouns associated with their sex at birth. But they also don't have to refer to a student's preferred names regardless of paperwork if they feel doing so "would violate their constitutionally protected rights."
Virginia now joins a growing number of state legislatures across the U.S. that have adopted new restrictions on gay and transgender students. Like Virginia, these policies often limit conversations about sexuality and gender identity in schools.
There have been more than 200 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced at the state level this year alone, according to the LGBTQ rights group, Freedom for All Americans. Some go as far as to restrict access to gender-affirming medical care.
The Virginia Department of Education says the basis for these new rules is to support "the rights of parents" to determine their child's exposure to LGBTQ issues.
The public can still comment on the draft model policies later this month on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall website – https://townhall.virginia.gov/L/Forums.cfm.
📰 Virginia Headlines
ABC 8 News – Virginia Zoo welcomes baby giraffe after a surprise birth. On Friday, September 9, Imara, one of the zoo’s Masai giraffes, gave birth to her ninth calf. Because of both her birthday and the number of Imara’s births, the baby was named Tisa, which means nine in Swahili. Masai giraffes, which are native to eastern Zambia, are currently listed as endangered due to habitat loss and poaching. The Zoodoption program goes towards giraffe conservation efforts as well as animal care at the zoo.
Yahoo News – A company wants to build America’s 3rd-largest warehouse complex in Suffolk. A group of Suffolk residents concerned about road safety from a proposed development project will rally Wednesday night before a City Council vote. Council is voting to rezone about 540 acres of farmland for the Port 460 project which would allow Maryland-based Matan Inc. to construct about 10 warehouses. If approved, the site could house the third-largest warehouse complex in the United States.
The Port 460 logistics center would be built on Pruden Boulevard near U.S. 58, about five miles from downtown Suffolk. The area is a key freight corridor to the Port of Virginia in Norfolk. According to a Matan report, Port 460 could easily move goods to other parts of the state and beyond. Supporters believe the plan will boost the economy and create thousands of jobs, including construction jobs to improve the roadways for the project’s truck traffic.
Residents are mostly concerned about traffic congestion, though, because several residential subdivisions are near the property.
‼️ COVID-19 & Vaccine Data
The Virginia Department of Health reported Monday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 2,074,003. The 2,074,003 consists of 1,469,037 confirmed and 604,166 probable cases. There are 21,693 COVID-19 deaths, and Virginia’s 7-day positivity rate is now at 14.8%.
Vaccine Summary: As of Monday, September 19
Total Doses Administered: 16,644,066
People Vaccinated with at least 1 dose: 7,100,340 or 82.7%
% of Adults (18+) Vaccinated with at least 1 dose: 92.6%
People Fully Vaccinated: 6,233,869 or 72.6%
% of Adults (18+) Fully Vaccinated: 81.3%
People Vaccinated with Booster / Third dose: 3,713,926
For more information on Virginia's vaccination efforts, please visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA
Register to Vote Today!!
- María Reynoso, Executive Director