Judge strikes down law that required disclosing race on marriage licenses; UVA gets $100 million donation for first-generation students and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• A federal judge struck down a Virginia law requiring couples seeking a marriage license to disclose their race. “We’re very pleased, of course,” said the civil rights attorney who filed the suit. “The only unfortunate part is that it took a United States district judge to strike a Jim Crow provision that the state of Virginia insisted on defending in court.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• “A special prosecutor appointed three years ago to investigate more than $10,000 in missing cash from the Petersburg Bureau of Police’s evidence room and allegations of financial improprieties at four other city agencies has ended the probe without filing further criminal charges, Petersburg’s chief prosecutor said Friday.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• The New York Times visited Culpeper to talk to Trump voters about impeachment. – The New York Times

• Democrats are mounting challenges in rural House of Delegates districts where Republican leaders are so confident of victory they’re sending their volunteers to other districts to help out in tighter races. – The Washington Post

• “With its shiny new office tower up and running downtown, Richmond’s resident utility giant Dominion Energy is moving forward with plans to demolish a neighboring building while it mulls construction of a potential replacement.” – Richmond BizSense

• State prison officials have spotted drones near their facilities 33 times since 2018, raising concerns about aerial smuggling operations. – The Virginian-Pilot

• VDOT is focusing on increasing transit options, carpooling and ridesharing to reduce congestion on I-95. – The Free Lance-Star

• The state tobacco commission voted to provide a $2 million grant to a veterinary school in far Southwest Virginia, but some members worried it was too much for a project that already appears to be doing well on its own. – The Roanoke Times

• “A major state effort to cut the number of prison inmates in restrictive housing — segregation, as it’s often called — has resulted in a 66% decline since 2016, the Department of Corrections reported Friday.” – The Virginian-Pilot

• Researchers in Richmond say rezoning schools to increase diversity would result in “improved learning improvements and a reduction in prejudice.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A New York real estate developer who was the first in his family to attend college donated $100 million to UVA to establish a scholarship fund to support first-generation students. – The Daily Progress

• A group of volunteers from Bedford County is visiting apple orchards to rescue unharvested fruit that they will distribute to churches and foodbanks. “‘Good golly,’ said Sarah Ramey, taking in all the apples on the ground and in the trees that for whatever reason — perhaps they were too small, imperfect in shape or color — were not harvested. ‘This is a treasure here.’” – The Roanoke Times

Sign up here to get these headlines and the Mercury’s original reporting delivered to your inbox daily in News to Know, our free newsletter.