GOP blocks repeal of Jim Crow-era wage restrictions; Pipeline cost legislation advances; Discovery rules delayed; Crab fraud ‘unparalleled’ and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW
Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• The House of Delegates blocked a bill to repeal a Jim-Crow-era law that says shoe-shine boys, caddies, ushers and doormen don’t have to be paid minimum wage. Republicans said they supported the concept in theory but were concerned the governor could amend it to force a vote on raising the overall minimum wage. “All we’re asking is that the governor tell us he won’t,” said Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Legislation that aims to limit how much Dominion Energy ratepayers get charged for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was approved by a House of Delegates committee over the company’s objections, a rare occurrence in the General Assembly. – Associated Press

• Bills that would allow no-excuse absentee voting are moving forward for the first time with bipartisan support. — WCVE

• Republicans in the House of Delegates voted to block the state from joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative or adopt a cap-and-trade program. – Daily Press

• A state prison inmate is suing the Department of Corrections alleging he was put in solitary confinement for circulating a petition asking for better medical care. – WVTF 

• The Supreme Court of Virginia is delaying the implementation of a long-planned reform of the state’s criminal discovery rules, which are among the most restrictive in the nation and sometimes leave defendants uncertain what evidence will be presented at trial. Prosecutors said the proliferation of police body camera footage complicated the debate. – The Washington Post

• A legislative push by Gov. Ralph Northam to put new limits on campaign contributions and bar donations from corporations doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. – Associated Press

• Advocates pushing Virginia lawmakers to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment continue to call on House Speaker Kirk Cox to hold a floor vote, though it’s not procedurally clear how that might work and Cox’s office isn’t commenting. “There is one man, and one man only, standing in between 160 million women across this country [and] their ability to finally be enshrined as human beings equal to men in the United States Constitution,” said Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Prince William. – The Washington Post

• The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond is hearing a challenge to Virginia’s habitual drunkard law, which allows judges to prohibit certain people from possessing or consuming alcohol. The case is brought by the Legal Aid Justice Center on behalf of four homeless alcoholics from Richmond and Roanoke. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Property values in Charlottesville increased $500 million last year. – The Daily Progress

• Leaders in the Danville area are debating how tax revenue from still-hypothetical casinos should be divided up between localities. – The Danville Register & Bee

• About a dozen people gathered outside state health department offices to protest tight guidelines governing opioid prescriptions for chronic pain. “I’m losing good doctors in pain management because they’re afraid of the [Drug Enforcement Administration],” said one attendee with back problems. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Officials in Bristol are wondering if anyone wants to buy their landfill after learning it’s operating at a substantial loss. – Bristol Herald Courier

• A federal judge sentenced a Newport News seafood distributor to three years in federal prison for passing off more than 300,000 pounds of imported crab meat as Chesapeake blue crab. Prosecutors called the extent of the fraud “unparalleled.” – The Virginian-Pilot

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