Senate Democrats Celebrate Repeal of Jim Crow Minimum Wage Statute

Richmond – Senate Democrats led a bipartisan effort to overturn a Jim Crow-era exemption from the state’s minimum wage law that has remained in place for decades. In a racially targeted statute, Virginia’s current minimum wage law excludes “newsboys, shoe-shine boys, ushers, doormen, concession attendants and theater cashiers” from receiving the full minimum wage.

“It’s clear that this law was put into place to keep African American Virginians from advancing,” said Senator Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake). “Hardworking Virginians deserve wage protections, regardless of the job that they do. I am proud to champion this long overdue legislation and to witness its bipartisan passage in the General Assembly.”

Last week, the House of Delegates passed SB1079 with a vote of 84-14, removing this racist hold-over from our minimum wage law. On January 18, 2019, the Senate passed this bill with bipartisan support. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

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