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2019-1-21

Alvin Lear Lucy

Alvin Lear Lucy, age 91, of Dolphin, VA passed away January 20, 2019.  He is the son of the late Elbert and Grace Lucy.  He was a U.S. Navy Veteran and a Brunswick Stew Master.  He was also a member of the Central Ruritan Club for years.  He is preceded in death by his wife, Jane Johnson Lucy; his son, Alvin Earl Lucy; Baby Boy Lucy; his son-in-law, Freddie Reekes; and his brother, Harold Lucy.  He is survived by his daughter, Peggy L. Reekes; his son, Michael Lucy and wife Susan; seven grandchildren; nine great grandchildren; and his brother, Carlton Lucy.  Funeral services will be conducted 2:00 p.m. Wednesday at Williams Funeral Home, Lawrenceville with interment at Liberty Church Cemetery.  The family will receive friends Wednesday from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., prior to the service, at the funeral home.  Memorial contributions may be made to Liberty Church c/o Jean Browder, 3827 Planters Rd., Lawrenceville, VA  23868 or Liberty Church Cemetery Fund, c/o Dorothy Lucy, 6062 Liberty Rd., Dolphin, VA  23843. 

Thousands March on Washington Despite Controversy

By Corrine Fizer, Capital News Service

WASHINGTON — Waving signs and chanting loudly, hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets of the nation’s capital. The crowd, drawn from across the country, made its way to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue to march for the rights of women and minorities.

The event — a reprise of the Women’s March protesting the inauguration of President Donald Trump in 2017 — began with a gathering in front of the rally stage in Freedom Plaza. Equipped with colorful and often humorous signs, marchers of all ages and backgrounds came together to address various issues surrounding women’s reproductive rights, sexism and racial injustice.

The march was not without controversy. It started after Tamika Mallory, co-president of the event, posted an Instagram photo of her with Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, calling him the “greatest of all time.” Farrakhan has been widely criticized in the past for anti-Semitic remarks.

Mallory declined to condemn Farrakhan’s statements and instead said that the Women’s March does not align with Farrakhan’s beliefs regarding the Jewish people. While some protested the march after Mallory’s comments, others came to march in solidarity with the Jewish community.

Sarah Boxer, a student from George Washington University, was one of those who showed support. Boxer, surrounded by her friends, held up a blue sign with the message: “I am a Jewish woman and proud.”

A seasoned marcher, Boxer said she was hesitant to come to the third annual Women’s March after hearing Mallory’s remarks. She said it’s important to remember that Mallory is just one person in a large organization.

“I have a lot of great women around me to support me,” Boxer said. “I’m proud to be a woman. I’m proud to be Jewish. I shouldn’t have to choose either side of who I am because of the controversy.”

Boxer added that she feels it is imperative for members of minority groups to show up and speak out.

“I think in order to have a successful women’s march, it’s important to recognize the impact that all women have, and I think it’s important that Jewish women especially talk about how they’re feeling,” Boxer said. “It’s important not to stay silent.”

Ahead of the third Women’s March on Washington, organizers unveiled what they called a “bold and visionary” policy platform — the Women’s Agenda. The plan serves as the organization’s “roadmap” to extending its advocacy year round.

The agenda calls for reproductive rights, racial justice, LGBT rights, immigrant rights, economic justice, civil liberties, disability rights and environmental justice. The group is calling for “universal health care / Medicare for all,” ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and an end to war.

Senate Votes to Repeal Racist "Jim Crow" Wage Law

By Daniel Berti, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Senate on Friday passed a bill to repeal a Jim Crow era-law that legalized wage discrimination against many African-Americans.

The Senate voted to rescind the law that allows employers to pay less than minimum wage to “newsboys, shoe-shine boys, ushers, doormen, concession attendants and theater cashiers” — jobs to which many African-Americans were relegated decades ago.

The Senate voted 37-3 for SB 1079, which removes those exemptions from the list of jobs not covered by the Virginia Minimum Wage Act.

On the Senate floor, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, said the exemptions were rooted in Virginia’s history of discrimination against African-Americans.

“There is no reason for the workers in these professions to be paid below the minimum wage,” Spruill said. “It’s time to end these Jim Crow laws.”

Spruill’s bill also eliminates the minimum wage exemption for babysitters if they work more than 10 hours per week.

Two similar bills are pending before the House Commerce and Labor Committee: HB 2001, sponsored by Del. Lashrecse Aird, D-Petersburg, and HB 2473, introduced by Del. Marcia Price, D-Newport News.

In 2018, Del. Paul Krizek, D-Alexandria, carried a bill with the same intent, and it died in committee. Krizek said the minimum-wage exemptions were “obviously aimed at African Americans who were in these service jobs because those were the jobs they could get at the time.”

Senate Agrees Not to Ask Job Applicants About Criminal History

By Corrine Fizer, Capital News Service

RICHMOND —  After two decades of pleas from criminal justice reform advocates, the Virginia Senate voted 24 to 16 on Friday to “ban the box” -- to remove the checkbox on state employment application forms that asks applicants about their criminal history.

Democratic Sens. Rosalyn Dance of Petersburg and Jennifer McClellan of Richmond sponsored the bill, SB 1199. Supporters included the advocacy group New Virginia Majority, which aims to “build power in working-class communities of color.”

Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of the group, said the bill could provide more opportunities to people who have committed crimes but served their time.

“Fair-chance policies like this benefit so many families and employers throughout the commonwealth. This bill is a step forward in establishing more equitable hiring practices that we want to see,” Nguyen said. “Employers should consider a candidate’s qualifications first without the stigma that comes with checking that box.”

Bobby Lee, a member of New Virginia Majority, said he is “overjoyed” with the Senate’s action.

“I got clean in 2007 and I have been on the right path ever since, but that box has held me back from being able to help other people,” Lee said. “I am a certified mental health and substance abuse professional. I got my voting rights back, I finished school, I was hopeful. And then job after job would never call me back.”

Lee said he applied to be a “peer recovery specialist” two years ago.

“When I interviewed for the job, I was told that I would’ve been hired on the spot if it weren’t for a conviction I received when I was 17 years old,” he said.

SB 1199 would prohibit state agencies from asking applicants if they have ever been convicted of a crime early in the application process. Agencies could pose such questions only after the applicant has received a conditional offer of employment; the offer then could be withdrawn “if the applicant has a conviction record that directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of the position.”

The legislation would not apply to law enforcement jobs or certain other positions that require background checks.

The bill now heads to the House of Delegates, where it has failed in the past.

How They Voted

Here is how the Senate voted on SB 1199 (Public employment; inquiries by state agencies and localities regarding criminal convictions, etc.)

Floor: 01/18/19  Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (24-Y 16-N)
YEAS -- Barker, Boysko, Dance, Deeds, Dunnavant, Ebbin, Edwards, Favola, Howell, Lewis, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, Mason, McClellan, McPike, Petersen, Ruff, Saslaw, Spruill, Stanley, Sturtevant, Surovell, Vogel-- 24.

NAYS--Black, Carrico, Chafin, Chase, Cosgrove, DeSteph, Hanger, McDougle, Newman, Norment, Obenshain, Peake, Reeves, Stuart, Suetterlein, Wagner -- 16.

Democratic-Socialist Lawmaker Wants to Repeal Right-to-Work Law

By Rodney Robinson, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — The General Assembly’s self-described socialist member is sponsoring legislation to repeal the state’s right-to-work law, which says employees can’t be forced to join a labor union.

Del. Lee Carter, a democratic socialist inspired by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, has filed House Bill 1806, which could force workers in Virginia to become union members and pay union dues as a condition of their employment.

Virginia is among 27 right-to-work states — a fact that business leaders often point to with pride. Carter’s bill aims to change that.

“Repealing it is bigger than just the actual technical changes that it would make,” said Thomas McIntire, Carter’s legislative aide. “It sends a signal to workers in Virginia saying that your voice matters.”

In right-to-work states, a workplace where employees are represented by a union is considered an “open shop”: People can work there without joining the union, and they can cancel their union membership at any time.

Critics of right-to-work laws say this allows freeloading: Non-union employees don’t pay union dues, but they benefit from the collective bargaining agreements and higher salaries that the union negotiates.

Carter ran as a Democrat in winning the 50th House District seat representing Manassas and part of Prince William County in 2018. He wants to repeal the state law that says, “No person shall be required by an employer to become or remain a member of any labor union or labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer.”

HB 1806 would allow “agency shops” or “union shops,” where all employees must pay the union either dues or a service fee.

“A collective bargaining agreement may include a provision establishing an agency shop or a union shop,” the bill says. “If such a provision is agreed to, the employer shall enforce it by deducting from the salary payments to members of the bargaining unit the dues required of membership in the labor union, or, for nonmembers thereof, a fee equivalent to such dues.”

McIntire said the fees would help the union provide better support to employees in the workplace.

Supporters of right-to-work laws say they are good for the economy.

States without such laws tend to have higher unemployment and a higher cost of living, said Scott Mayausky, commissioner of the revenue in Stafford County, Virginia. That’s because compulsory union membership drives up the cost of goods and services, he said.

In such situations, a company’s costs can increase — and that worries Mayausky the most.

“Statistically, if you look at a lot of the Rust Belt states that are big union states, those are the ones that have been struggling economically, and a lot of their companies are leaving,” Mayausky said.

Mayausky had two grandfathers who were coal miners, so he understands the good that unions can bring. But he believes this isn’t the time for repealing the right-to-work law in Virginia.

“We’re doing very well,” Mayausky said. “I don’t understand the push to change the right-to-work law when things seem to be headed in the right direction.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Virginia has about 176,000 union members — approximately 4.6 percent of wage and salary workers in the state.

McIntire said it was important for Carter to file the bill, which is pending before the House Rules Committee.

“This is at the core of what Del. Carter stands for when it comes to worker rights,” McIntire said. “It’s important to get this in now as early as possible.”

Apply Now for meherrin Regional Governor's School

The 2019 Meherrin Summer Regional Governor’s School sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education for identified gifted students in the General Intellectual Aptitude area in current grades 4-7 will be held at the Greensville County High School on July 8-11 and 15-18, 2019. Participating counties include Greensville, Mecklenburg, Brunswick, Southampton, and Sussex. For more information, contact the local gifted education coordinator, Brenda Matthews at Greensville Elementary 434-336-0907 Application Deadline – February 22, 2019

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