Teacher raises, new habitat for Hampton Roads seabirds, Dems and Bloomberg, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Lawmakers in the House and Senate proposed a state budget that would give larger raises to teachers and state employees. Gov. Ralph Northam had proposed a 3 percent raise over the course of the two-year budget. The House is advancing a plan that includes a 4 percent raise over two years, and the Senate is proposing a 3 percent bonus the first year and a 4 percent raise the second.—The Washington Post

• The House is also proposing a $10 million grant to help Virginia Beach renovate the municipal building that was the site of a mass shooting and another $77,000 for a state-level study of the attack. Neither the Senate nor Northam included similar funding in their budgets.—The Virginian-Pilot

• “State Sen. Amanda Chase, a suburban Republican known for embracing President Trump and wearing a .38 Special on her hip, will have a ‘huge’ announcement Monday — feeding speculation that she will run for governor next year.”—The Washington Post

• Gov. Ralph Northam announced the state would in fact create a new habitat for about 25,000 seabirds whose nesting grounds are being paved over for a tunnel expansion in Hampton Roads. Initially the state had abandoned the conservation measure after the Trump administration “advised such measures were ‘purely voluntary’ under the new interpretation of the law.”—Associated Press

• Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, who is lead patron of a proposed assault weapon ban, asked local prosecutors to investigate whether the head of the Hopewell GOP violated intimidation and harassment laws by protesting outside his home with a rifle. “I hope you kissed your wife,” the protester, Brandon Howard, said in a Facebook video. “I hope you kissed your husband. I hope you kiss your children goodbye before you come and take mine [firearm], because that’s the last time you’d have ever kissed them in your life.”—VPM

• Mike Bloomberg spent Saturday campaigning in Virginia, a state into which he plowed more than $10 million of his fortune to help Democrats win control of the legislature. “Yet Bloomberg’s visit also came amid renewed scrutiny of his support as New York mayor of stop-and-frisk, which a federal judge eventually ruled had led to stops that violated minorities’ rights, and of allegations of sexist behavior during his business career. At the Democratic Party’s annual gala in Richmond, he received both warm embraces and cold shoulders.”—The Washington Post

• Washington and Lee students predicted Bernie Sanders will be Democrats’ 2020 presidential nominee at the university’s mock convention, a quadrennial research project that has correctly forecasted the presidential nominee of the party out of power 20 out of 26 times since 1908.—The Roanoke Times

• Local governments are frustrated new solar developments are largely exempt from local tax assessments.—The Danville Register & Bee

• A judge ruled Fredericksburg can move a downtown slave auction block, tossing a lawsuit filed by a local business owner whose argument that the loss of the marker would hurt foot traffic to his storefront prompted a boycott by the local NAACP.—The Free Lance-Star

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