A bill has passed the General Assembly that will allow 5 depressed Virginia cities to open casinos if the residents vote to approve, Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Richmond. Residents will also choose the builders.
Marijuana will be decriminalized in the Old Dominion, for possession up 28 grams or just under an ounce. There will be a fine of $25 on the first offense and the record can be expunged if dismissed by the court.
It will now be up to cities and counties what to do with statues of Confederate soldiers. They will no longer be required to get approval from the state to remove them.
A commission will be appointed to look at removing the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee representing Virginia in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall. If they decide to remove it they will also decide a replacement.
Local authority will be expanded in several areas. Teachers will be allowed to have collective bargaining if local areas approve it. Only teachers will be allowed to unionize, not Sheriffs or firefighters. Counties will now be able able to impose taxes much as cities do now on cigarettes, tourism, and events.
The legislature has also agreed to increase the minimum wage from the current $7.50 and hour to $9.50 and hour beginning January 1st. By 2023 minimum wage would go to $12. Certain workers are exempt such as farmworkers and students who are under 18.