Contact: Roberta Oster
Communications Director
C: 804-615-4192

Governor Signs Bills to Remove Racist Language from Virginia’s Minimum Wage Act

March 12, 2019 – Richmond

Governor Ralph Northam signed two bills today (SB 1079/HB 2473) (Sen. Lionell Spruill, Sr., Del. Marcia “Cia” Price) to remove racist Jim Crow-era language from Virginia’s Minimum Wage Act.

The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, along with our legislative patrons, fought to help pass these bills that will help workers.W e partnered with both Del. Price and Sen. Spruill to build support with constituents and legislators.

The racist language in the code stipulated that “newsboys, shoe-shine boys, babysitters who work 10 hours or more per week, ushers, doormen, concession attendants, and cashiers in theaters” would be exempt from Virginia’s minimum wage requirements. These professions, historically held by African-Americans, deserve to be paid at least minimum wage.

Benjamin Hoyne, Policy Director for the Virginia Interfaith Center said, “This bill removes government-sanctioned discrimination based on someone’s job title. This is a great victory for workers in our Commonwealth.” Virginia Interfaith Center is looking forward to championing more bills to protect Virginia’s workers from wage theft and wage discrimination.


The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy advocates economic, social, and environmental justice in Virginia’s policies and practices, through education, prayer, and action.
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